Sean “Diddy” Combs has joined the growing list of celebrities investing in Black brands.
Forbes reported the entertainment mogul recently unveiled Empower Global, a one-stop shop for Black-owned fashion, art, and beauty businesses. Deon Graham, chief brand officer of Combs Enterprises, said Combs got the idea after seeing a video on Black Wall Street, a booming Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, that was destroyed in 1921.
“He called me up and was like, ‘We got to do something about this,” Graham recalled, “[W]e have to try to recreate a modern version of Black Wall Street,’ and this thriving community, [how it] looked, felt, was prosperous, and try to put a new twist on it.”
Designed and constructed by Black-owned development company TechSparq and powered by Black-owned tech company ChatDesk, Empower Global is supported by Marketplacer’s industry-leading online technology and has a global strategic alliance with Salesforce.
The platform’s curation enables pairing between emerging brands and businesses with more brand recognition. Graham said the organization will advise company owners on growing their operations, gaining access to finance through investors, obtaining data and analytics regarding their e-commerce shop, and all the practicalities of running a business and delivering orders.
The platform offers business owners a variety of advantages, such as having Combs serve as the platform’s official spokesman and ultimate hype man. He often does media interviews promoting the platform, increasing website traffic.
“You can stand up [for] your own e-commerce store, do marketing to your social media following, and try to get the word out there,” Graham said, “but it’s also helpful to have kind of like the megaphone that is Puff Daddy funneling people into the marketplace.”
Graham is optimistic that Black consumers would use Empower Global despite being devoted to competitor platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, eBay, and Amazon, owing to the simplicity and accessibility of the technology used.
In principle, though with a lower proportion, the fee structure for sellers is similar to Amazon and eBay. Graham said the marketplace charge for the companies onboarded at this time is 10%, which is relatively low compared to the other platforms.
Scotch Porter, Coco & Breezy, Kultured Misfits, Gwen Beloti Jewelry, Marie Hunter Beauty, Pound Cake, B.M. Franklin & Co., Beauty Stat Cosmetics, Cecilia’s House, Cise, Cool Creative Clothing, June 79, and Rebecca Allen were among the 70 companies initially available in the market. By year’s end, Empower Global plans to expand the site to feature more than 200 businesses.
Graham also acknowledges he has found new products in the market that have since become essentials in his home. He purchased a Buttah Skin pack for his daughter, purses from Silver and Riley, and sunglasses from Coco & Breezy.
To eliminate any justifications from members of his community for failing to empower their own economically, Graham aims for the platform to be accessible to all members of the African diaspora. He is developing various methods to integrate other companies worldwide with his team.
“The fact that you can transact and put different things in your cart from various businesses at the same time and make one sale, kind of like an Amazon, has been what most of the sellers have been excited about,” he said. “The interest is just overwhelming at this point, and I hope that continues because I honestly didn’t realize there were so many Black-owned businesses out in the world, so that feels good.”
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