According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), of the 11.6 million woman-owned companies in the U.S., 5.4 million of these firms are women of color businesses. While they represent the fastest growing sector of any female demographic—with the Women Business Collaborative reporting that WOC businesses have grown by 50% from 2014 to 2019—in 2019, female minority-owned businesses averaged less than half of the revenue of white women-owned businesses.
Why is elevating women of color entrepreneurship so important? According to the Latino Economic Development Center, “four million new jobs and $981 billion in revenue would be added to the US economy if there was a revenue parity between minority and white women-owned firms.” Supporting American minority woman-owned companies provides financial security for their business ventures, creates new jobs and growth opportunities, and fuels our economy.
Empowering WOC Businesses
Certification from national women’s business councils and local organizations in the United States can assist those seeking to enter the private sector. Starting businesses requires networking, marketing, mentoring, and access to capital. That’s why certification through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is a key first step for all female founders. WBENC is dedicated to driving the growth of BIPOC women-owned business through their Women of Color programs and networking events.
Female founders can also seek out local, regional, and national resources dedicated to furthering their business aspirations. These include the National Association of Black Women Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Latina Leaders of America, and Indigenous Women’s Business Network are key to their success. Securing venture capital or meeting eligibility requirements for certain grants, these resources for women of color businesses are indispensable.
Buying from BIPOC women business owners supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in our communities and economies. These businesses often face unique challenges because of systemic barriers and historical inequalities. By consciously choosing to patronize these establishments, you’re not just making a purchase, you’re contributing to a more equitable economic landscape.
Successful WOC entrepreneurs serve as role models, inspiring future generations and breaking stereotypes. Your support amplifies their visibility, providing them with a platform to showcase their products and services. Plus, businesses owned by minority women bring diverse perspectives, which often lead to innovative products and services that cater to a broader audience. As a certified woman-owned business, Church Hill Classics is excited to feature our top graduation gift ideas from women of color entrepreneurs.
Founder and CEO Bev Jennings’ principles of diversity, inclusivity and sustainability are woven into the fabric of her See Company clothing company, a black women-owned business. In fact, 80% of her employees, suppliers and contractors are women, minority and/or members of the LGBTQ community, which explains the acronym See: See Everyone Elevate. Jennings’ sustainable pieces combine everyday comfort with evening elegance. See Company’s reversible tunics, palazzo pants, wrap dresses, and versatile shawl wraps are timeless must-haves for the grad’s first post-college job.
Like many entrepreneurs, Tracey McGhee created Ms. Jetsetter because she saw a need for fashionable and well-made accessory bags that could stand up to the rigors of travel. For graduates who are passionate about traveling around the globe, they’ll love high-quality, durable organizers that will stand up to their sense of adventure. Ms. Jetsetter’s travel accessories are perfect for women-on-the-go and designed with fashionable water- and stain-resistant fabrics. From jewelry cases, laundry bags, hanging toiletry carriers, eco travel bottles, and travel tech holders, this black female entrepreneur’s gift collection combines functionality with style. Plus, they’re great for grads traveling for post-college interviews or for those with long-distance job commutes.
Grads who love running, yoga, rowing, skiing, or even a casual walk will love ObservaMé—an athletic leisure clothing company that founder Karen Fultz-Robison describes as “activewear for the mind, body, and soul.” ObservaMé’s men’s and women’s jackets, hoodies, pants, capris, tops, and vests are made of luxurious sustainable fabric. These materials support high-intensity performance through UV protection and moisture absorption. Best of all, the innovative long sleeves feature custom wrist openings for convenient sports watch placement (available for lefties or righties).
Artisanal Pottery & Textiles
Rachael Vigil-Hernandez started Salutierra as a love letter to her rich Salvadorian culture. In fact, every Salutierra product is handmade in El Salvador by skilled artisans who employ time-honored ancestral techniques in the creation of each piece. Vigil-Hernandez’s eco-friendly line of sustainable goods include elegant purses, museum-worthy jewelry, and one-of-a-kind ceramics. Help your grad stock her kitchen with Salutierra’s collection of earthenware pottery and intricately handwoven placemats, napkin rings, and coasters.
Home & Office Decor
Artist Justina Blakeney combines vibrant botanical prints with adventurous bohemian sensibilities for her Jungalow home collection. Infusing color, joy, and positive vibes into her wallpaper, bedding, rugs, and decorative home accents, Blakeney’s signature pieces will transform any bare room into a welcoming, meditative retreat. Mix and match textiles, prints, ceramics, and wooden accent pieces to help graduates decorate their new digs.
Jewelry & Clothing
A citizen of the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Nations, Bethany Yellowtail started her B. Yellowtail label in 2015 with a passion for sharing authentic Indigenous designs with the world. Bethany’s Native American fashion and lifestyle brand includes bold textiles, exquisite jewelry, and decorative accessories. Help a college grad make a bold splash at her first post-college job with empowering statement pieces. Gift her with B. Yellowtail’s luxurious scarves, dresses, and suits as well as made-to-order, hand-assembled necklaces and earrings.
Help her keep chic and carry on with a reinvented travel bag from MinkeeBlue. Founder and designer Sherrill Mosee designed the product to solve the “overload bag syndrome.” Mosee wanted to create an organizational fashion bag in gorgeous styles and vegan options that cater to today’s busy women whose roles change throughout the day. So, she put her degree in engineering to work and came up with fashionable totes and backpacks that transition easily from day to night. For gifts for strong women, your female grad will love MinkeeBlue!
Buy BIPOC Women-Owned Products
Economic empowerment of minority women can lead to broader societal changes by challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity. WOC small businesses are more likely to reinvest in their communities, supporting local initiatives and fostering social cohesion. By consciously choosing to support women of color entrepreneurs, you’re not just making a transaction, you’re contributing to a more inclusive and equitable society. Your choices as a consumer have the power to drive positive change and create a more diverse and thriving business landscape.