Johnny Hackett Jr. is the founder of The Black Dollar Corp., a retail location and online directory.
The directory gives Black entrepreneurs opportunities to gain exposure and customers.
Hackett also runs Black Friday Market, which has 90 Black-owned vendors and hosts community events.
This article is part of a series focused on American cities building a better tomorrow called “Advancing Cities.”
Johnny Hackett Jr. appreciates being a part of the entrepreneurship community in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 2019, he started The Black Dollar Corp. to support Black-owned businesses in the state through a retail location and online directory.
“We’re trying to give a platform for African American entrepreneurs to be found, to get more exposure, to get more customers,” Hackett, 37, told Insider.
Hackett, who was recently named one of the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” said he often partners with the city to spread the word about programs and initiatives.
“So many different opportunities exist here in Raleigh,” he said. “It’s just a place where an entrepreneur can come and get off the ground running. There’s a lot of community support and there are a lot of folks who are invested in making sure that upstart companies do have a chance here.”
Hackett moved to Raleigh just before he started high school and later attended North Carolina A&T State University. His background is in information technology, and he’s worked for Xerox, IBM, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
He first got into entrepreneurship in 2009 when he founded the nonprofit Life Foundation to educate teens about taxes, credit, health insurance, and other life skills.
“I felt like I wasn’t utilizing my strengths to the best of my ability for the community,” Hackett said. “I started to see how many businesses and organizations didn’t have the tools that they needed to either gain access to funding or open certain doors.”
So he started building websites for business owners – and that paved the way for a directory.
Becoming Raleigh’s official Black-owned business directory
The goal of #BlackDollarNC, which features an interactive map, is to increase visibility for North Carolina-based, Black-owned businesses. Owners can add themselves to the directory for free, and it now lists about 1,100 companies. Each day, about 500 people visit the site, Hackett said.
Raleigh’s Office of Economic Development and Innovation engaged Black Dollar Corp. to expand reach, and thus #BlackDollarNC became the official Black-owned business directory of Raleigh. Hackett’s main goals are adding more businesses, turning the directory into a social channel, and expanding to other parts of the US.
Retail space gives entrepreneurs a place to sell goods
Black Dollar Corp.’s newest initiative is Black Friday Market, a department store located in downtown Raleigh where Black-owned businesses without retail space can sell their products. The store opened in December and features more than 90 companies selling clothing, beauty products, artwork, and food items. The market also hosts events.
Companies pay a fee to sell their products in the store and keep 100% of the sales, Hackett said. The store has been a hit so far, he added, and he plans to open more locations in North Carolina and elsewhere.
Hosting events engages the community
Street festivals that feature kids’ activities, musical performances, and food give businesses the opportunity to sell their products. Hackett said they saw a large turnout for their May and June events and is expecting a similar outcome for July’s.
This spring, they also hosted a scavenger hunt. Residents could earn points for posting on social media, attending events, signing up for newsletters from the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, and collecting stickers from locations for a chance to win $5,000 – but the money must be reinvested in a Black-owned company.
“It’s just awesome meeting these folks and talking to them, understanding what their talents are, and then trying to support them as best we can,” Hackett said.
Shopping for more gifts? Read all of our gift ideas in this helpful roundup of all our gift guides.
The holiday season is officially here and gifts are on most people’s radar. This year, though, many of us are making a conscious effort to be more inclusive and supportive of diverse communities as we do our shopping. One way to do that during the holidays (and any other time of year) is to buy from Black-owned businesses.
In doing so, you’ll discover many new and interesting brands, and support under-represented small businesses that make some truly great stuff. Shopping from Black-owned businesses shouldn’t be the only effort you make to dismantle or address systemic racism, but it is one small choice that can have an impact.
We rounded up 26 thoughtful gift ideas from Black-owned businesses ranging from small stores on Etsy to bestselling brands.
Take a look at some of our favorites, below. You’ll likely find something for everyone on your list – and yourself, too.
If you’re shopping for a coffee lover, BLK & Bold’s fair trade coffee beans might be the perfect gift. The brand also donates 5% of its profits to initiatives that help sustain youth programming, enhance workforce development, and eradicate youth homelessness.
Indoor plants are much more than an extra responsibility. They help purify the air, have been proven to reduce stress, and look good aesthetically. The Nice Plant’s Blooming Energy Box includes a small plant and a few other useful things, like a sage smudge stick, palo santo bundle, and room spray, to make their home more peaceful and relaxing.
Most people with naturally curly and kinky hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil’s Satin-Lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if you’d prefer to wear the hat without it.
Including a detoxifying face wash, a hydrating toner, and a clarifying moisturizer, this three-step skincare kit was designed specifically for men of color. If he isn’t one for hoarding skincare products, this simple kit can help him achieve healthier skin.
Founded by Nigerian-American Ben Iroala and Zambian-American Andrew Mutale, Asorock specializes in making elegant timepieces — and the Monolith Watch is a unique design that can elevate any simple outfit.
Briogeo is one of our favorite haircare brands, and their gift sets are always on point. This kit includes Briogeo’s bestselling Don’t Despair, Repair! Honey Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask and sample size containers of two of the brand’s other masks. They’re designed to work on all hair types.
Created by professional celebrity chef Maxcel Hardy, these spices are the result of years of culinary experience. Gift these to your favorite cook and they’ll be able to incorporate them into many new recipes.
Founded in New Jersey by Marshay Monet, Glow Skin Deep was originally created to address uneven tone, blemishes, and acne scars in her own skin. Now available for everyone, the facial serum makes a great gift for skincare fans, and can also be used as a moisturizing beard oil.
Rihanna’s bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything you’ll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer, and a nightly moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here.
Designed for men of color, whose facial hair and skin tend to be slightly thicker, the Bevel Trimmer will help the one you’re gifting maintain a well-groomed look without the razor bumps that traditional trimmers can cause. Read our full review here.
As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a gift for the wine lover on your list. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot.
During times where we can’t always see our loved ones in person, stationery can be very useful for sending letters and thoughtful notes. Created by Kalyn Johnson Chandler, Effie’s Paper takes something as boring as stationery and makes it fun with cute and catchy lines like “Joy is not Cancelled” and “Good Things are Coming.”
One of the most popular streetwear brands in recent years, Fear of God by Jerry Lorenzo is known for its comfortable approach to casual style. These sneakers are a perfect way freshen up someone’s footwear rotation.
Founded by twin sisters Coco and Breezy, this Black-owned eyewear brand has a great selection of fashionable sunglasses and prescription glasses. Each style is designed to be gender-neutral, so everyone can wear them.
If the person you’re shopping for is looking for a healthy, energy-boosting alternative to coffee, matcha might be a good fit. One teaspoon of Golde’s Pure Matcha features more caffeine than a shot of espresso and they won’t experience that awful crash.
Released as part of artist Stacy Brown’s Urban City Life Collection, this work of art is a great gift for anyone in the process of furnishing a new space. It comes in a range of sizes that can be hung on a wall or framed for tabletops.
Founded by registered nurse Monique Rodriguez, Mielle Organics is a natural haircare brand that caters to types three and four hair. The brand will help you learn about your curl type, factors like hair porosity, and most importantly, provide you with all-natural products designed to maintain healthy hair.
Kin Apparel hoodies feature a silk-lined hood to help protect natural hairstyles. Even if the person you’re gifting isn’t too concerned about their hair, the hoodies are so comfortable, they’ll want to wear them daily.
Founded by a father who struggled to find diverse puzzles for his children, Puzzle Huddle offers a variety of kids’ puzzles that showcase children of color. The theme of the puzzles includes important values like education, achievement, and culture.
Alife is easily one of the most iconic streetwear brands in fashion — and it happens to be Black-owned. The brand delivers timeless staples that anyone can work into their wardrobe, whether they consider themselves to be fashion-forward or more of a casual dresser.
Made from a blend of natural oils and shea butter, Golden Grooming’s Body Balm is a great alternative to lotions that dry down too quickly. Golden Grooming Company donates 5% of sales to programs that foster entrepreneurship in youth of color from underserved communities, in addition to providing financial support for students at HBCUs.