Marc Clarke and Morgan Gantt are both huge promoters of the Buy Black movement. So much so that they have taken the next step in the online commerce landscape in order to provide burgeoning businesspeople a place to exist in cyberspace.
The partners have launched a digital marketplace called Archer & Pine, which curates artisans to their e-commerce platform, allowing Black creators to display and sell their products and services. But they picked a significant place in Black economic history for their inspiration.
“Archer and Pine were the streets in the area known as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” said Clarke a veteran radio and media personality who hosts an evening show on New York’s Radio 103.9. “Due to segregation, the African-American community couldn’t buy anything in Tulsa or do anything so they were forced to build their own. And they did.”
The concept comes from the days nearly a century ago in Tulsa when Black businesses flourished in the district, creating self-sustained wealth within the community. It’s something that Clarke and Gantt feel can be accomplished again.
“We came together on this concept of how we can combine the passion for what we do on a daily basis with the passion we have for our community and helping to put some things into place that can inspire and drive people to be more successful and have more opportunities,” Gantt said. “Archer & Pine didn’t have a name at first but the idea and concept of online and the digital disruption that’s affecting every industry, that was probably the first thing Marc and I started talking about.”
Clarke’s depth of experience in radio interviewing matched with Gantt’s experience in building e-commerce businesses and other web platforms for small businesses have created a well-balanced partnership. Brought together by a mutual friend, the two remained in contact over time – expressing a similar interest grounded in community.
The venture, which they launched last month on Cyber Monday, is digitally curated. Listing products by each artisan, it helps businesses get ready to promote their products through what they call their “four major pillars”: preparedness, product quality, scalability, and presentation. It then helps them to create a business plan to help them sell and distribute their products.
Artisans featured on the e-commerce site maintain full control of their products, retaining 80 percent of each sale made. Currently featuring 13 creators hailing from as far as Nigeria to as close as DC, each artisan is selected by Gantt and Clarke.
“The part about the brands being ready is, we’re not a magical solution for the brands to have massive sales, we’re an addition to what they’re doing,” Clarke said. “That’s why we don’t necessarily take a big chunk because we are there, but we’re not there to necessarily be your marketing machine.”
Utilizing a B2M (business to many) model, Gantt and Clarke’s mission is to be a key piece in each business’ puzzle in the pursuit of becoming a household brand name.
“When we talk about Cakes by Cynthia or Pittman’s Popcorn or any of these products, there’s no reason why with help they couldn’t be house named brands. That’s where we harp on the B2M model. Explaining to brands the opportunity to be in one place and distribute your product all over the world,” Gantt explained.
Clarke and Gantt hope to grow their marketplace to include 150 businesses by this time next year, creating diverse opportunities for entrepreneurs of all types through their affiliate program, as well as work on the front lines of thought leadership.
“We’ve gotten tremendous feedback, people reaching out to us everyday with folk they know would be a good fit or wanting to participate,” Gantt said.
To learn more about Archer & Pine visit them at archerpine.com.