How one Raleigh resident is creating opportunities for Black-owned businesses in North Carolina

Johnny Hackett Jr. in front of statues
Johnny Hackett Jr.

  • 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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

26 thoughtful holiday gifts ideas from Black-owned businesses

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McBride Sisters wine
  • If you’re looking to support Black-owned businesses while shopping for the holidays this year, you’ve come to the right place.
  • Below, we’ve rounded up 26 of the best gifts from Black-owned businesses, big and small.
  • Check out all of our holiday gift guides for ideas categorized by budget and type. 
  • 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.

The 26 best gifts from Black-owned businesses:

Medium roast coffee beans

BLK & Bold Coffee

BLK & Bold Coffee, $12.99

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.

An indoor plant

The Nice Plant

The Nice Plant Blooming Energy Box, $43.99

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. 


A satin-lined beanie

Kink and Coil Sink l

Kink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $35.99

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.

We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair

A vegan leather cardholder

vegan cork leather wallet

Vegan Cork Leather Slim Cardholder by mindthecork on Etsy, $25.20

If their old wallet is tired and tattered, this cardholder made of vegan cork leather is a gift they can put to use right away — and use every day going forward.

A simple skincare regimen for men of color


Ceylon Skincare Set, $34.95

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.

A timeless watch

Asorock Watches

Asorock Monolith Watch, $135

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. 

Yummy organic popcorn

Major's Project Pop

Major’s Project Pop Organic Kettle Corn 2 Pack, $31

Made using organic ingredients, Major Project Pop Kettle Corn is a healthy, tasty snack anyone will enjoy. 

Hydrating hair products


Briogeo Merry Multi-Masking Kit, $36

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.

Spices made by a professional chef

Chef Max spices

Chef Max Signature Spices, $9 each

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.

An all-purpose serum for skin and hair

Glow Skin Deep

Glow Skin Deep Glow Serum, $22

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 Fenty skincare set

Fenty Skin

Fenty Skin All Four One 4-Piece AM + PM Skincare Bundle, $112

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.

A hair and beard trimmer

Bevel Trimmer

Bevel Trimmer, $199.95

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.

A wine gift set

McBride Sisters wine

McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99

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. 

An Afrocentric-patterned face mask

Upenyu masks

Cloth face mask by Upenyu, $13.50

Featuring Afrocentric patterns, Upenyu’s cloth face masks are a great gift for when you’re feeling tired of wearing boring, solid-color masks.

Catchy stationery

Effie's Paper

Effie’s Paper Stationery Sets, $18

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.”

A holiday candle

Southern Elegance candle

Shop Southern Elegance Holiday Candle, starting at $16

Southern Elegance has an array of holiday-themed scented candles that make for great gifts, whether you’re spoiling someone else or indulging in something festive for yourself. 

A pair of designer sneakers

fear of god blue suede 101 sneakers

Fear of God Blue Suede 101 Sneakers, $302

Shop all Fear of God products at Ssense now.

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.

Stylish eyewear

Coco and Breezy Eyewear

Shop prescription eyewear and sunglasses at Coco And Breezy 

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.

Weatherproof Chelsea Boots

Baxter Wood

Baxter Wood Chelsea Boots, $125

Delivering a futuristic take on classic Chelsea boot style, Baxter Wood is also helping preserve the environment by using recycled and natural rubber for its waterproof boots.

A tin of green tea

Golde Pure Matcha

Golde Pure Matcha, $32

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.

Beautiful art prints


African American Wall Art by SBrownArt, starting at $26

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.


Organic hair products

Mielle Organics

Shop all Mielle Organics products here.

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.

A silk-lined hoodie to protect natural hair

Kin Apparel Silk Lined Hoodie

Kin Silk-Lined Hoodies, starting at $54.99

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.

A puzzle for kids

Puzzle Huddle

Shop in-stock puzzles, starting at $12.95

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. 

Clothes from a popular streetwear brand


Alife Collegiate Hoodie, $138

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.

A moisturizing body balm

Golden Grooming Co. Body Balm

Golden Grooming Co. Body Balm, $5.99

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider