Sean Combs Launches E-Commerce ‘Empower Global’ For Black-Owned Businesses

As the holidays are approaching, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs recently launched Empower Global, a one-stop shop marketplace for Black-owned businesses in fashion, art, and beauty. Combs remains committed to amplifying Black entrepreneurship because he is a stellar example of “what’s possible,” according to Deon Graham, chief brand officer at Combs Enterprise. The idea for Empower Global took root after Combs viewed a documentary about Black Wall Street, a 1921 thriving Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District.

“He called me up and was like, ‘We got to do something about this; we 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,” Graham said.

The establishment of an e-commerce marketplace was essential to the Combs Enterprise to create an example of how to harness the power of the Black dollar, provide effective solutions for business owners and the community, make it accessible for consumers to support their favorite brands, and discover one with a simple click of a mouse. The platform affords entrepreneurs many benefits, for example, with Combs as the official spokesperson, the ultimate hype man who has a relationship with the media and conducts numerous interviews, which drives traffic to the site.

The new platform was designed and built by Black owned TechSparq, an ecommerce design and development company, and supported by Black-owned tech company ChatDesk. Empower Global has a global strategic partnership with Salesforce and is powered by Marketplacer’s best-in-class online marketplace technology.

“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, but it’s also helpful to have kind of like the megaphone that is Puff Daddy funneling people into the marketplace,” he says.

The curation of the platforms allows the placement of emerging brands next to other companies with more vital brand awareness. In addition to all the logistics that come with operating a business and fulfilling orders, Graham imparts Empower Global will offer business owners tips on scaling their operations, accessing capital through investors, and receiving data and analytics concerning their e-commerce storefront.

“It’s very easy for us to connect people looking to invest; having that data is very important. A lot of the things we do now is we surrender our data to other platforms, and then they go and do those things on their own,” he explains. “Whether it’s Facebook marketplace, through Instagram, or Amazon, these different platforms that I deem as competitors, they’re selling off the data and applying this to other businesses; we want to offer those same kinds of services to our people.” Graham feels confident Black consumers will adapt to Empower Global despite being loyal customers of eBay and Amazon due to the ease and accessibility of the technology utilized.

Before a startup company is selected to sell in the marketplace, a team examines its positioning, product packaging, social media presence, website, and whether the product is viable. Team members discuss with the founders about their story, mission, and their level of ambition.

The fee structure for sellers is comparable to Amazon and eBay in theory, but with a smaller percentage.

“We’re at a 10% marketplace fee for the brands onboarded in this period. The platform wasn’t created for us to make a whole bunch of money; we want to grow and scale the platform. That fee is relatively low compared to all the other platforms. Any of these brands who have researched what it costs to be elsewhere would understand that we have the most competitive fee. Frankly, that’s just to keep the lights on and the operation going,” he reveals, adding how a small finder’s fee is implemented to sustain the marketplace’s operation.

Graham’s feedback from the sellers is significant because they are excited they are connected to Sean Combs and the social capital he brings.

“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. 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,” he says. One brand named Actively Black marked its debut on the catwalks of the New York Fashion Week and gained copious sales the day Empower Global was announced.

“There’s so many people who don’t know about their brand, and Puff bringing that attention to them has helped them greatly,” Graham adds, noting the seismic influence of Combs. For the future, Empower Global has several partners and intends to join other directories and databases geared toward Black-owned businesses.

Graham admits he is also discovering new items from the marketplace that are now staples in his household; he bought sunglasses from the line Coco & Breezy, handbags from Silver and Riley, and a Buttah Skin pack for his daughter.

The initial offerings within the marketplace included 70 brands: 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, Rebecca Allen. Currently, over 1500 products are now available on the platform with plans to introduce new Black businesses monthly. The goal is to grow the site to showcase over 200 brands by the end of the year.

“It’s been good training my mind like when I need a new black T-shirt, I’m heading to Empower Global,” he says.

As the name implies, Graham intends for the platform to extend globally throughout the African diaspora to remove any excuses for members of his community not to empower their own economically. He and his team are working on different processes to onboard other brands worldwide.

The ongoing movement to build a well-fortified economic base within the African-American population is rooted in how the dollar circulates within the community. Graham encourages Black consumers to become intentional in how they spend their money.

“It’s not like we don’t have the money; we just choose to use our money and, within seconds and minutes, take it outside of our community. So it would be a different argument if we weren’t showing the spending power, but we spend the most. So spend a little bit of that with your people, watch how the energy comes back to you and uplifts, and watch how it changes the community around you, your friends, your family, and it’s a quick thing like moving capital at the rate that we do will change things almost immediately. So it’s in our hands,” Graham advises. “If I’m trying to leave something for this conversation, this interview, in particular, is taking control; this is what you can do. Yes, people are lobbying, protesting ][and] doing various things that are great for the community. But this thing right here we all do every day. We can control this and take the step and see the results immediately.”

For more information about Empower Global, visit

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