On May 28th, I had the extraordinary pleasure of attending the Black Owned Small Business Expo held at the Waldorf Cultural Center in Waldorf, Maryland. This gathering of BOB’s and the people who love to buy from them was hosted by event manager and community engagement specialist, Danielle Jones of DanieBJones. Danielle provides her event management expertise to the Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland Metropolitan areas with plans for expansion along the east coast.
(Black Owned Small Business Expo creator/coordinator, Danielle Jones of DanieBJones)
It has been a loooong time since I have been to a well-organized, well attended, vendor driven event where customer service was prioritized and the products and services were so diverse. The Black Owned Small Business Expo was incredible! Yes, this event recap is sponsored, but all opinions are my own and this tea is always unfiltered.
(Myself and my good, good girlfriend, Chandra Gore, CEO of Chandra Gore Consulting)
Incredible is truly an understatement; Danielle’s professionalism is top shelf and worth recognition. Not only was this event coordinated as a one-stop shop for Black Owned Business patrons, it was also an environment that embodied UJAMAA – common-unity/community. Vendors were encouraged to practice cooperative economics, network amongst the participating small business owners with emphasis on the importance of referring attendees to visit neighboring vendors.
(Linda Kiedi, founder of KIESSE, LLC - culturally diverse themed party supplies & favors)
This was also a family affair! Dani’s husband Thomas fried fish and chicken wings, served with a side of cole slaw and/or french fries. Black folks can’t manage to get together without fish or chicken involved and trust me, ol’ boy put his thang down in that kitchen. Other fixins’ were available: fresh fruit, baked goods, candy and an assortment of drinks too!
Her father, Darrell Burrell, opened the event in prayer, speaking success, financial growth, exposure, and prosperity over every listening ear. The desire to see EVERYONE win and develop beyond being “small businesses”, eventually expanding and creating employment opportunities within our community could be felt.
(Faith-TYTH Ambassador, Danielle B. Jones, Tonya Groce)
Auntie Tonya Groce assisted as vendor liaison, promoter, photographer and Facebook Live media correspondent for the day. She was everywhere, grinding, to ensure each vendor was recognized and given an opportunity to share about their business with those who could not attend while encouraging online viewers to pay the event a visit.
The event was absolutely free, open to the public, AND STARTED ON TIME. The venue was clean and offered ample parking. Everyone who came did receive a black paper swag bag – they were gone quickly and I never got one! All guests where encouraged to donate to Dani’s nonprofit (I told you she is doing the dag on thang) – Today’s Youth Tomorrow’s Hope. In exchange for your financial support of TYTH, you received a reusable nylon drawstring backpack. They were available for $3/bag or 2 for $5, 3 for $10. Monies raised goes towards youth and teen mentorship, after-school homework help, athletic programming, and entrepreneurship training. If you are interested in learning more, click here.
You think that's it? Boo, think again. Danielle is also the creator of the Black Owned online Marketplace at BlackBizPlace.com. Similar to Purchase Black (which is no longer in business), WeBuyBlack.com, or Egrassrootsbusiness.com (among many others), BlackBizPlace.com is a platform where black owned small businesses owners can showcase, sell, buy and trade products with consumers and other business owners around the world. Businesses that open a Marketplace store via the website will receive a percentage of the sales from business referred to the Marketplace. That's right! Open a store, get a colleague to open one too and you get paid when they get paid! Danielle is bomb!!! Yassssss. I love her spirit and her desire to see our people thrive.
If you missed this event, don’t worry…. Dani hosts the Black Owned Small Business Expo twice each year, once in the Spring, then again in the Fall. Annually, you have two chances to register as a vendor or shop ‘til you drop. I have no doubt that this Expo will grow in the years to come. I will be there again on November 25, 2017 and I want to see your smiling face in the place. Let’s link up!! If you signed up for my Daily Black Business Newsletter, you definitely will be notified of event details as they are released.
I couldn’t make it to all 50+ vendors but… over the next few weeks I will also be uploading interviews with various participants from the Expo! If you have not already subscribed to the Minority Report Youtube Channel, now is the perfect time to do so. You won’t want to miss the one on one conversations from emerging Black entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for more!
*This post is a sponsored: I received compensation in exchange for writing this article.