What Happened

PurchaseBlack Is Closed

 

 

This is Brian AM Williams, founder of Purchase Black LLC. It’s true, after 3 years of dedication to Black owned business, I have decided that PurchaseBlack.com will cease operations and close.

I know that this business represents something bigger than itself. I am aware that there were many who believed in the core mission & who wanted to see the positivity it was built to create. However, in business, there has to be not only potential, but the right circumstances, resources, partnerships, value, and more to truly turn a good opportunity into a thriving reality.

I felt that the meaning of PurchaseBlack.com was too great for me to just close & leave it to everyone to figure out why. Out of respect for you, I want you to know the true reasons.

From the beginning, the goal of the business was to make a large, self-sustaining, positive impact on the African American community. I wanted to rebuild trust between Black customers & Black businesses. I wanted to give everyone, regardless of their race, a place where anyone could easily buy Black. It was never about making money. Making money was (and is) necessary to make the difference. The difference was always the true goal. I sincerely mean that.
So why close? As the business gained traction, I found that many drivers to reaching the real, true goal were significantly out of reach, given the level of resources needed to make it a reality. I found that many of my assumptions about the market, potential partners & investors, customer preferences and more were just far enough out of reach to make closing PurchaseBlack a decision that makes more sense than staying open.
Frankly, we simply don’t have enough businesses making enough things in the Black community that match the things Black people have expressed they want to buy. Black companies over-index in hair care, skin care, cosmetics, handmade jewelry & apparel, but grossly under-index in most other areas. As our goal wasn’t to find just any Black business, but just the highest quality companies, we must have a larger pool of companies to select from in order to have a scalable company capable of growing to achieve our original mission. Unfortunately the Black community does not yet have that diversity of industry with enough depth to support true scalability. No amount of marketing, social media, capital, employees, products, or investors could have changed that.
There’s the elephant in the room, and I have been living with it for years. Black people, simply, are not very motivated to support Black owned businesses. We see it as a “favor” sometimes, something that’s novel to do, but not apart of our cultural existance. Buying Black is not apart of who we are as Black people. We make excuses that do not make sense given the fact that many of us know that no one except us are going to support our communities. We can’t take a bad experience at a Black company, and blame every Black company for it. Having interacted with hundreds of Black companies, I can say that we, Black people, are failing to take care of ourselves with regard to how we treat our businesses. We are all guilty. But we don’t have to continue to be. To continue is a choice, and I hope that we will soon choose differently. We have the power to create real change that no one can take away from our community, but we have to want that more than we want to spend our money elsewhere, or we will never actually get it. I believe in Black people, and I believe we will eventually make the right choices. I just hope it happens soon.
It’s not easy to close PurchaseBlack, but it is easy to be proud of what has been done. I have had the opportunity to meet incredible people & leaders of national organizations. I have won national championships, made tens of thousands of dollars for Black owned companies nationwide, and I’ve released the best Black multi-vendor mobile application to date. I have a laundry list of television, radio, online, magazine, and even international publications. I created something that gave a community something to believe in, and I am grateful for every single second of it. It has come to define me, and I fully carry the label of a true believer in Black people, Black business, and Black progress in America.
This was difficult. This cost me well over $150,000 of my own personal money without a single financial equity investor of any kind (and believe me, I tried to get investors). I don’t, nor have I ever had that kind of money, so I poured all that I could into making PurchaseBlack happen, piece by piece. Other than prizes and a small crowdfunding campaign, PurchaseBlack came completely from my own soul and pocket. Now that it’s closing, I have some distance to travel. So, I am doing a few things. First, I am making a list of every single Black business I have found over the last 3 years into a PDF that I am giving away in exchange for donations. Second, I am offering my final product, a “Blessed” sweatshirt, because that’s how I feel. It will only come in one color. Black. Last, I am making the PurchaseBlack page a “Thank You” donation page. Im not asking any of you to give anything, but it is certainly appreciated if you do. I know that this effort meant something important, and Im hoping that meaning extends to more than just me.

This Has Been A Blessing to My Life. As a Black Man, as a Black Person, There is Nothing I Could Have Experienced That Makes Me Love Being Black More Than What I’ve Gained From PurchaseBlack.com

Thank you seems to not be enough to show how much I appreciate all of you. In those inevitable long working nights, your positivity was the fuel that kept me going. I stood upon the shoulders of all that have come before me to make something that I believe could take the community even one small step forward. Although PurchaseBlack will no longer be around, I am thankful to be both an inspiration, and inspired by you. My supporters were not all Black. They were not all American. But they all were believers in making a difference. Proud is not a big enough word to capture how I truly feel. I have you to thank for that. I am still proud. I am still inspired. I am still motivated. I always will be.
– To an America that is as good as its promise

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