This has been a tumultuous year for small businesses — but there are still ways we can all do our part to help out.
Participation in Small Business Saturday is imperative for those who are able to do so. According to a study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), at least 41% of businesses were forced to temporarily close due to the global health crisis, and a small portion of those businesses have since shuttered permanently.
Small Business Saturday, which was created by American Express in 2010 and falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year, encourages consumers to spend their dollars at independent retailers and restaurants during the busiest holiday weekend in the United States. The event has been highly successful over the years with nearly $20 billion spent by Americans on Small Business Saturday in 2019, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported.
Over the past decade, consumers have reported spending an estimated $120 billion across all 10 Small Business Saturdays combined. Shoppers can participate in Small Business Saturday by shopping or dining at local small businesses and are encouraged to tag #ShopSmall on social media. American Express also offers a Shop Small Online Directory.
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Black-owned businesses have been pushed to the forefront as consumers around the world seek out ways to amplify their support for people of color amid conversations on racial inequality following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.
The 15 Percent Pledge, created by Brother Vellies founder Aurora James earlier this year, aims to uplift Black-owned businesses by calling on major retailers to commit to dedicating at least 15% of their shelves to Black-owned brands. The nonprofit has published a holiday 2020 Black-owned business gift guide that includes apparel and beauty and wellness products.
Other minority-owned businesses, including Latinx-owned companies, have also been hit hard by the pandemic: A survey of 150 Latino-owned businesses in the Washington, D.C., area — conducted by American University — showed that 65% of owners reported that the pandemic has resulted in “extreme” changes to their businesses.
Consider shopping the small and minority-owned businesses below this Small Business Saturday.
Among brands to consider shopping is Andrea Gomez. Founded in 2016 by Venezuelan-born designer Andrea Gomez and her two sisters Leonor Gómez and Mariela Gómez, the brand operates out of New York City and the trio continues to release shoe styles inspired by the allure of Venezuela. The brand offers a variety of shoe styles, including booties, mules, flats and heels at Andrea-gomez.com. Prices start at $395.
Frēda Salvador is a Latina-owned brand founded by best friends Cristina Palomo Nelson and Megan Papay. Their designs are created in a California workshop before being handmade in a family-run factory in Spain. The brand offers lace-up boots, shearling-lined sneakers and slippers at Fredsalvador.com. Prices start at $150.
Aminah Abdul Jillil
The Black-owned, Las Vegas-based brand was founded by former professional dancer Aminah Abdul Jillil. Many of her shoes stand out with bold accents — oversized bows, chain detailing and bejeweled ankle straps at Aminahabduljillil.com. Average price points are around $275.
Ashlie Hallman, who FN highlighted during Black Business Month, offers affordable footwear with her brand Smash Shoes, which is focused on sizes 10 and up. Smash Shoes, which Hallman — who is 6 feet tall, plus sized and wears a size 13 shoe — debuted six years ago, was inspired by her own frustration in attempting to find cute, on-trend footwear in her size. Price points are around $20 and up.
Founded by Jamela Acheampong, Kahmune offers footwear in a range of skin shades. The entrepreneur came up with the concept after unsuccessful searches to find shoes to complement her darker complexion.
Blackstock and Weber
Founded by Chris Echevarria, Blackstock and Weber is a black-owned footwear brand that focuses on the penny loafer. With design training from the Fashion Institute of Technology and mentorship from retail giant Mickey Drexler, whom he worked under at J.Crew, Echevarria set out to launch his direct-to-consumer men’s footwear label two years ago. Prices start at $295.
Flor de Maria
The footwear brand founded by Flor de Maria Rivera has been seen on the feet of A-listers such as Kylie Jenner and Ariel Winter. Rivera launched the line in hopes of filling a niche in the market for heels that are high-quality, comfortable and affordable.
Founder Aurora James, who has been named the 2020 Person of the Year by FN, launched Brother Vellies in 2013. The brand offers uniquely designed footwear with price points around $300 and up.
Jeffrey Henderson, a famed footwear designer who worked for Nike for almost 15 years, brought his NinetyNine Products sneakers to the U.S. market in January 2019. Since the debut of the Point, he has done giveaways for people in admirable, but often overlooked professions who need underfoot comfort all day long — teachers, in particular.
Founder Amina Means, a Nigerian-American designer, launched the brand after spraining her ankle. After almost three years of not being able to wear the shoes she loved, Means decided to take her infatuation with heels to the next level: She endeavored to make them both stylish and more comfortable.