Local teens launch online store, The Black Union Shop
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all things Black-owned, the e-commerce store The Black Union a Shop will soon be it.
The website was founded by a small group of friends, who are students at George Mason University and members of the Black student union. The group decided to start what they call “an ecosystem for the Black community.”
The Black Union Shop (TBUShop.com) is where entrepreneurs can showcase and sell products in a digital marketplace that its founders hope will be known as an Amazon for Black-owned businesses.
The Black Union Shop creators, who are all teenagers from the Washington D.C area and want to stay anonymous, will be officially launching their website August 1.
“It’s very important to have a place to promote Black businesses because we face so many barriers as it is,” says one of the owners.
He continues: “We’re still in the beginning phases but we want consumers to be able to buy everything in one place and show their support for Black entrepreneurs worldwide.”
The company’s Instagram account @theblackunion began last year and focused strictly on comedy. It has grown to 552,000 followers and over 120 million impressions.
Seeing the page’s growth, online reach and demographic, small brands regulary contacted the founders for promotions and advertising. The friends decided to concentrate on supporting those brands, and that’s how The Black Union Shop was born.
Although they still post comedy on their Instagram account they will soon fully transition to the digital marketplace. In the meantime, consumers are encouraged to visit TBUShop.com for purchases.
As of now, there are no specific guidelines for vendors besides being Black-owned. But the site plans a section for vendors that support Black and brown businesses. For instance, Cantù makes products specifically for African-American hair and their business team is majority Black men and women, but they do not have Black owners.
While expanding with the online store, TBU Shop owners have also created The Black Union Tea (TBUtea.com,) a blog site for Black celebrity news and culture.
“We are college kids, and our brand is growing so fast,” says the owners. “We went from having college partys to having to pay lawyers and set up shareholder agreements seemingly overnight.”
He continues, “We even got a valuation of our overall company being a little over $1 million. And we’re just regular guys that played pop warner football together, learned computer science, used our network, started a business, and are building a brand.”
The team is actively working to connect with brands and add more products everyday.
Business owners interested in selling merchandise or products on the site can send an inquiry email to email@example.com.