EBONY Power Talks: Business Disruptors
EBONY Power Talks: Business Disruptors features VP of Omni Retail Marketing for Walmart, Maya Bowie in conversation with President of ABFF Ventures, Nicole Friday, CEO of Black Opal, Desiree Rogers, and President and Co-owner of Black Opal, Cheryl Mayberry McKissick.
As a Black female executive, Bowie reached a point in her career where she wanted to further her commitment to social responsibility. Inspired by Walmart’s action to create a center for social equity, and in particular, Black equity, Bowie joined Walmart to engage in pushing these conversations to the next level.
Rogers and McKissick saw an opportunity in the beauty industry to reach Black consumers and acquired the beauty brand, Black Opal. “As Black women, we know how much make-up we use and how we are really key drivers in the business. We’re trendsetters but how much of this money is coming back into our communities?” Rogers says. “We know that only .5% is coming back as revenue to Black-owned businesses.”
Raising capital has always been a challenge for Black entrepreneurs. Most Black female business-owners struggle to maintain their business for the initial three years. “The statistic is less than 5%…but if you do make it past those three years, people that invested in you tend to have made a great investment.” Rogers notes. “People that invest in you were getting 80-90% better return than from companies that were not owned by diverse founders.” McKissick adds. “And the hustle never ends. Once you have a business of scale, it allows you to do other things… scholarships, internships… but you must have the money to do it.”
Walmart started a Beauty Accelerator Program for founders to connect with marketers and other resources. “It sends a signal to the investment community that Walmart is interested in this brand, so they’re worth your investment.” Bowie says.
Similar to Walmart’s Beauty Accelerator Program, The American Black Film Festival (ABFF), was also established as an incubator program. “There have been a number of emerging artists that have come through our program.” Friday states. “Ryan Coogler actually started at ABFF. And that’s really what it’s all about. Having the platform to give opportunities to deserving people.”
As their conversation continues, Bowie, Friday, Rogers, and McKissick discuss the breadth of opportunity that still remains for Black women in business and in the beauty industry.
EBONY Power Talks: Business Disruptors is presented by Walmart.