Black cultural influence on the world is undeniable, yet Black brands and Black small business owners are often overlooked and undervalued. Take Forbes for example, their most recent list of highest paid TikTok earners did not include a single Black creator. And studies highlight the fact that many Black-owned businesses struggle to raise capital. There is plenty of documentation about the disadvantages that Black-owned businesses face. We hear those narratives often, but we can also work to shift those plotlines in a more positive direction.
There’s a popular African proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In other words, having a supportive community is the most optimal way to thrive. That concept drives Flourysh, a newly launched community-driven marketplace that boosts the visibility and growth of Black-owned businesses.
Launched on January 17, 2022 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), Flourysh is the brainchild of co-founders Steve Canal and Enitan Bereola II. These best-selling authors, entrepreneurs, marketers, and visionaries are putting their extensive experience working with mega corporations and cultural icons to work in this new venture that is dear to their hearts.
“When the opportunity came up to have a platform, to shop and discover the premier Black-owned brands, it was a no-brainer—like a dream come true,” says Bereola II, a FAMU grad raised in the Bay Area by African American and Nigerian parents. “All the seeds that we’ve planted have sprouted into this beautiful garden. And the work that we put in and the way that culture is going and society is going, it has just been this natural intersection. It’s a testament to the fact that when you work and are doing your part authentically, you’ll always be in position—you’ll always be on path. That’s where we are now.”
Flourysh brings independent brands, storytellers, and shoppers together into one ecosystem. The brands and storytellers (writers who help to amplify the brands) are vetted through an application process. Once brands are part of the community, they can connect with each other as well as writers and other professionals—from PR to marketing—who can help boost their respective business journeys.
Every brand that’s on-boarded to Flourysh is invited to a Slack channel, which is its own community. Included on the channel are also PR professionals, sales professionals, and Bereola II, co-founder and creative director. They all get to talk to each other, share data, insights, and more.
“Everybody’s in there being a resource for the brands that are on board,” says Canal, the Haiti-descended, New Orleans-based, New York-raised co-founder. “We want to make sure that whatever you need to perform at a high level is there. We provide data of potential investors. We provide data of storytellers. We’re going to make sure we provide that resource that can help the brand achieve a high level of success.”
Brands that apply but aren’t initially invited to join the marketplace will receive constructive feedback. Brands that are selected will join a diverse collection of vendors selling everything from vegan snacks to coffee to watches to clothing to lingerie and more.
“I’m able to use what I learned in corporate America to help small businesses build,’ says Canal. “I was on tour with Damon John for five years funding Black business, and I’ve seen so many businesses do amazing work. So,to be able to build and create and provide access through Flourysh isthecherry on top. We have the creativity of Enitanand a team where storytelling is also a big piece.
“So, it’s not just coming on the site and shopping. It’s learning about the people behind these brands because we want the world to understand that Black people are dope, and we are creators who also know how to run businesses. We keep you dancing in the club, we keep you dancing at functions, we keep you entertained on TV, and we tell you what to wear. That’s rooted in what we do every day but also through business—if we have the opportunity to be entrepreneurs. So, through Flourysh, being able to foster discovery and growth through technology and live events—that’s in our DNA.”