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“Buy Black; Sell to Anyone” & Other Lessons from The Necessities Companyby Liz Logan on October 28, 2020
For years before starting her company in 2019, Aurora Nkrumah Dixon made it a point to support Black businesses – with her wallet. Now, through The Necessities Company, she invites others to do the same.
But she still gets questions about why there’s a push to buy Black.
“Most people don’t understand why there needs to be a push,” she said. “It’s not racist. It’s to build an economic base for Black people because there isn’t one. Everyone supports Caucasian businesses because we have no choice. Most major companies are white-owned. We keep leaving Black people out.”
Nkrumah Dixon wants buying Black to become second nature. Helping make Black-owned businesses more visible and accessible is one way to reach that goal. She said, “Every major city has a Chinatown or another space set up to celebrate different ethnicities and cultures. It’s community; when the Black community does it, it’s perceived as racist. We need to know where these Black businesses are.”
Creating a New Company
A friend of Nkrumah Dixon’s, Shareef Abdul Malik, owns the We Buy Black website, the largest online marketplace for Black-owned businesses. After a handful of life changes (a 2017 car accident, leaving her job) and needing a change herself, Nkrumah Dixon signed on with Malik to distribute toothbrushes. This small step evolved into the entrepreneur sourcing and selling her own nontoxic household items to promote a healthier lifestyle.
The business became The Necessities Company. The name is apt since Nkrumah Dixon offers everything people need — and then some. Her website lists products ranging from sage bundles to condoms.
Sourcing only Black-made products from Black-owned businesses, Nkrumah Dixon’s philosophy is: “Buy Black; sell to anyone.”
“Shopping Black can resolve some of the biggest issues in the Black community, like housing and employment, forever,” Nkrumah Dixon said. “We want to do our part to help build a base, eventually hire Black people and be in a top spot to help our community. It’s like grandma says, ‘You have to take care of home first.’” Nkrumah Dixon carries products from 35 Black merchants and regularly adds new products to her growing online marketplace.
“White people are born into a system where they have an advantage even if they don’t want it,” she continued. “Black people don’t have this. It’s true we have to work twice as hard to get half as much. I can’t help anyone if I can’t help myself. I’ve got to help my people get good first.”
Asise from a passion for her community, Nkrumah Dixon has a passion for her products, which makes them an easy sell. Buying one product helps support at least two Black-owned businesses: The Necessities Company and the product manufacturer – and often, more hands in between. Here are a few of her favorites:
True Laundry Detergent
“This is our best-seller,” Nkrumah Dixon said. “It’s four-times concentrated, so you’re getting more than your money’s worth.” It’s environmentally friendly, and you need just one ounce per load. Nkrumah Dixon loves it because it keeps toxins out of her clothing.
Reel Bamboo Toilet Paper
Bamboo is renewable and makes a thicker toilet paper. There are more sheets on a roll, so it lasts longer than traditional toilet paper. How long? Don’t ask; it’s subjective. “There is no way to measure that,” Nkrumah Dixon said.
Live Alkaline Water
($3/20 oz., $5/gallon, $30/6-gallon case)
Produced in a century-old aquifer on a family farm in Winston-Salem, the water is refreshing, all-natural and helps the body keep its pH balance.
($15 charger with 4 AA batteries)
This company sells rechargeable AA batteries with a charging dock that fits AA, AAA and 9V rechargeable batteries. The energy capacity is higher (2,600 mAh) and lasts longer once charged.
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