Black People : Buy Black: Why is it so Hard?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by river, May 13, 2004.

  1. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    (A true story)

    I lived in Los Angeles for 22 years. One day I got tired of buying products for my hair from the Koreans. After the Rodney King riots the posters went up "BUY BLACK." That's what I was determined to do. But behind every counter in every store that sold Ultra Sheen or Perm Repair or Ambi was a Korean face. They followed me around the store, sticking up my a** like I was there to get a five-finger discount. I left each store in disgust going to the next store and the next store. Nothing but Koreans. I got desparate--running up and down Crenshaw Blvd like I was bugging. Still the signs said "BUY BLACK." Okay what are they selling? $300 Kinte cloth dresses, incense, casette tapes.

    Brother I don't have $300 to spend on one dress. If you want my business sell me something I can use. Because I'm tired of having to go to the Koreans for some Dark and freakin' a**ed Lovely!

    Is anybody listening?
     
  2. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I hear you. Charity and I (my 16 year old) were talking about this very thing recently. She said, "Moma, I wanna help my black people, but they hurt me trying to help them." This was in reference to 2 clothing stores in our city. She liked their jeans but could not afford the $80 price tag. Also, we have two black hair care stores. One is owned by a Japenese woman and the other by a black man who is married to a Korean woman. I have often wondered why none of the sucessful black beauticians opened their own hair care store. Most of the asian women who own stores for black hair care are not friendly in the least bit. I notice this not only in my city but in many of the surrounding cities...asians own the stores...we buy from them...hmmm.
     
  3. kente417mojo

    kente417mojo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I agree and hear you river and Joyce. This is a good question because I think we all have been in this situation and still are. It is hard to support black owned businesses because they seem to more expensive than the korean or white owned stores. Why is that? Most of the places that I have been to for clothing or whatever it may be, have been so expensive that I had to resort to going back to the other stores. Then they talk about how no one supports their own race. Well, I'm not going to go broke just to buy black, even though that's what I really would rather do. I can't go broke to make you rich. I mean, they are not supporting the community by providing us with decent prices, something that really needed. In some ways it seems worse that our own people would screw us like that because you would think we'd at least get some kind of break. The funny thing is these stores aren't even "Big Time". They are just starting out or they are mom & pop type stores. It's only a hop, skip and a jump to the competitor. I had an Aunt who did hair and she was the same way. Overpriced.....til all her customers were gone.
     
  4. sistahisis

    sistahisis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Playing Devil's Advocate

    Greetings All!

    we can't necessarily blame the black owners of business for their prices being to high. i believe it comes down to access to affordable wholesale products. i work in an office that issues business licences and you would be surprised at how many asian people are starting import/export business because they have connections to companies IN china IN japan IN korea etc... Black Business Owners (BBOs) usually don't have those kind of connections. BBOs have to buy their products from a wholesaler that bought their products from another wholesaler that bought their products from the importers. BBOs usually have ridiculously high overheads compared to their asian counterparts.

    their is a multitude of asian owned banks out here in l.a. that i'm sure primarily funds asian business ventures.


    that's just one possibility on why their prices are so high.

    another is that the more you buy wholesale, the cheaper your price. if you are a small business owner with only one location that does not get a lot of traffic, i'm sure you are not likely to spend too much of your money to buy new products until the ones in the store are almost gone. if your prices are too high, then u will never make enough to increase your selection.




    yeah, i agree that prices out here are ridiculously high. there is no way i can argue with that. one thing that you should keep in mind about that part of crenshaw: there's mostly poor people who live in that neighbourhood HOWEVER let's not forget about view park and windsor hills and them folks. some business owner try to market their products only to certain members of the community and i do not agree with that. 300 dollar dresses is an outrage!! But not all the stores on crenshaw are like that, so i'm just putting that out there.
     
  5. kente417mojo

    kente417mojo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Those are very good points. Never really thought of it that way. Thanks for the insight. :peace:
     
  6. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Thank you sisahisis,

    My view of the question is not so much with the prices but with the products. Many African inspired outlets subscribe to the practice of bartering (sp?) I remember a store inside the Baldwin Hills mall that had a beautiful embroidered dashiki suit with matching pants. I asked the brother in charge how much it cost but he wanted to determine how much I liked it before telling me how much it was. I don't play this mess so I started walking. Then he told me the price which was too high so I said I would give him thirty. He said fifty. It's a deal. You can't do that in an asian or white store. I don't even buy clothes in asian stores because the pants are not cut to go over the hump. Knowahsayin?

    But it's the beauty products. Why don't we sell them? These are mostly Johnson & Johnson products. Are they imported from China? Do you need connections in Japan to get a good wholesale price on Flori Roberts and Posner?
     
  7. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    indeed i hear you very loud as a business owner myself
    and surely my goals is to hold prices as low to beat out koreans & arabs
    most of all meet my own people standard where they don't have to pay
    their arm and leg ! but as i see businesses of folks like my self who get
    beat down by their own more then any race
    i may have it for under 10 bucks and wal-mart have it for 12 to 15 bucks
    our people still jump to wal-mart instead of supporting their own why ??

    can buy black if we don't keep them in business to serve us ! these are facts
     
  8. happy69

    happy69 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    African-Americans and African-American businesses are going to have to come to the table. If they want Us to support them; then they are going to have to support Us. They are going to have to compete.
    If you don't want to buy in Asians stores(and We have to stop supporting people who do not support Us); and the Black stores are too high. Skip both; and go to a store that sells the products that you want-if they have African-Americans working there... that too is a help to Our communities.

    Bartering is a great idea. That along with opening up and creating homebusinesses can revive Us. If We are revived, Our communities will be revived. You want people who don't give anything to Our communities Out- that is easy...stop giving them Your Money.
     
  9. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Being Black does not excuse us from the most basic rule of business: If you offer a product that people want, at a price they can afford, they will support you. In addition to the product, good customer service will also get a store (black, asian, white, or otherwise) repeat business. It is unrealistic of a blacked owed store to expect people to spend $75 on a shirt that they can get at Walmart for $40. This is basic business...it is really common sense.

    I support/shop black businesses all the time, but only the good ones get my money. I go to the Afram in Baltimore every year, the African fesitval in Harlem, African & Soul Food restaurants, and Black Book Stores. However, if I go into a place, and the owner acts like I'm not there, then I'll leave no matter who it is. I recently went to an African restaurant in Silver Spring Maryland, and had to wait over an hour (after I was seated) for my food. Needless to say I won't be going back there. If that business fails, it won't be because they are black...it will be because they don't know how to run a business. I have also gone to African restaurants in Harlem, which serve good food quicker than McDonalds....then continually get my business. This is what it is all about.

    P.S. I don't know about other areas, but in NYC Africans run quite a bit of beauty supply stores. They can be an alternative to Asian run ones.
     
  10. Luver2B

    Luver2B Active Member MEMBER

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    I currently reside in southeast Maryland, and have no idea what businesses around me are African Americans own. I was thinking that it maybe a good idea for black businesses owners to create a website stating where they are located within different states.

    Regarding the high price issue, in addition to what lady Sistahisis said, I believe that black business owners have a lot more people pulling at them for favors and handouts than any other business owner. If a black business owner has a semi-successful business in any community that is largely black, people will expect him/her to “give something back”. The thing is, we don’t see that the owner is already giving something back by bringing the product to us. Giving something back doesn’t mean to put great amount in the collection plate, or feed every homeless person on the block; family members expect the same from you too. The worst part is, if the owner does not provide that kind of support to the ones who claim to need it, he/she is seen as an unsupportive brother/sister, and one who is taking advantage of his/her people. I believe the owner doesn’t owe us anything more than good service, and good products. Hence, it’s even harder for black business owners because the demographic group they are trying to serve demands so much of them. We weren’t brought up to say, “screw you uncle X”, I can’t help you; our community has always demanded that we help each other, so that’s why it’s hard for black business owners to make a profit without having higher prices.
     
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