Seattle Program Re-Invents Black Friday For Black Businesses 

Bennett holds coffee from ‘Seed to Bean.’

When thinking of Black Friday, one’s mind might go to stores like Macy’s, Best Buy or Nordstrom. Money is usually spent on big, corporate retail stores that dominate the market. The Black Black Friday website states that in Seattle, Black-owned businesses are five times more likely to shut down compared to white-owned businesses. The program Black Black Friday presents a new level of investment and commitment to Black-owned businesses presently and into the future. 

Ad agency DNA Creates and social enterprise Intentionalist have partnered up to offer prepaid gift cards at a 20% discount for the first 250,000 buyers at participating Black-owned businesses. 

The campaign has received over $1 million in free marketing to advertise the campaign and holds sponsors, supporters and partners like BECU, The Seattle Times and Spotify. Former professional athletes like Doug Baldwin and Brad Evans have also endorsed the program.

Alan Brown, founder and chair at DNA Creates, one of few LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-owned ad agencies, said their idea for Black Black Friday came as a call to action in 2020 when racial discrimination was at the forefront of social rights discussions in the country. 

“We really saw that not only was the Black community struggling, but Black businesses were really struggling,” Brown said. “Struggling to stay in business, struggling to draw in customers.” 

Black Black Friday originally started as a social campaign, but the teams at DNA Creates and Intentionalist strived to make more of an impact. 

“We’ve been strategizing on how to make this into more than just a nice-to-do social campaign,” Brown said. “But really find a way to really make a difference and drive incremental business for Black-owned businesses”

The list of Black-Owned businesses where Seattleites can shop includes local staples like Boon Boona Coffee, Black Arts Love and Taste of the Caribbean, to name a few in the Capitol Hill area. 

Many Black owners struggle to attain loans due to the lack of financial capital. The Black Black Friday program allows consumers to not only spend their money at these businesses but also re-invest their spending habits in locally-owned businesses that have struggled on their way to success. 

Malika Bennett, Owner of Black Arts Love Gallery which houses over 30 different vendors, stands behind her desk. (Riley Zalbert)

“You know, sweat, blood, tears went into developing and getting that business to the point where it’s now accessible to the public,” Malika Bennett said, owner and founder of Black Arts Love.

The program allows for businesses to grow as a whole, while giving opportunities for people like Bennett to continue their work in opening doors for others in their community who share the dream of owning a business of their own.

“I recently reconnected with a young lady named Aviva Love. She had these beautiful T-shirts, and she came back to me recently and was like ‘Malika, you’ve made such a difference in my life and showing me that I can have this business,’” Bennett said.

Black Arts Love focuses on selling art, self-care products, clothing and other items from local Black vendors. Bennett’s call to action has created a space for Black vendors to display their creativity and start their own businesses.

Riley Zalbert

The dream of owning a business has become a reality for Efrem Fesaha, owner of Boon Boona Coffee. The variety of coffee offered at Boon Boona, sourced from countries like Kenya and Ethiopia, offers a way for people to experience different African cultures in a genuine manner. 

“A much more authentic way of having coffee, getting to see the traditional side of coffee, getting to hear the stories around certain beers that are being produced by Métier [Brewing Company], going to places like Communion and getting a rich experience in the food and history,” Fesaha said. 

Every business that is part of the program offers an authentic experience into a different part of Black Culture. Whether you enjoy eating out, buying art, shopping for clothing and finding unique pieces, these businesses offer great products and services that are worth spending on this Black Friday. 

Black Arts Love is offering top sellers like Spire candles, children’s books from local authors, chocolates, body butters and sugar scrubs. Boon Boona Coffee is offering the last of their fall seasons special, the salted caramel pumpkin drink, and even releasing a surprise coffee too, in collaboration with Métier. All these deals will be for products that will be sold at 20% off with the prepaid card.

“You are investing in the creativity of Black people in our culture. You’re investing in your community by allowing for those spaces, those diverse businesses to take up space in the city so that we can see the full realm of creativity and ingenuity that’s out there in our community,” Bennett said. 

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