February was Black History Month, and here at Stage TEN, we marked the occasion by featuring some of our favorite Black-owned Shopify businesses. Once a week in February, we went live with three Black-owned businesses to talk about their unique brands and to dig deep into the owners' advice for other business owners who are just starting.
Across the four-episode series, the view-through rate exceeded the industry average of 15%. The Empowered by You series achieved a 34% average view-through rate. Three of the four episodes also featured ecommerce, which had an average 7% commerce conversion rate—more than double the industry benchmark of 2-3%.
You can catch up on the entire series here. And read on below to hear more about each episode!
We kicked off our series by speaking with Kiyosha and Jeannette about what it means to be a content creator. Self-proclaimed day maker, storyteller, and colorful maximalist, Jeannette, explains that the importance of showing up authentically as a creator and business owner is at the heart of what it means to her to be a content creator.
"I feel like it's important to show up authentically as myself because I know somebody sees themself in what I am creating and what I am trying to represent."
Jeannette is also the co-founder of @fatbabesclubofcolumbus, a group that builds visibility, community, and resources for folx with marginalized bodies in Columbus, Ohio. So it should come as no surprise that the two women discussed creating community and the importance of representation.
"For me," Jeanette explains, "I see that other person and I'm going to shine a little bit more in their area so that they feel they can do whatever they want to put their mind to. The possibilities are endless for us right now."
For all aspiring creators and business owners, Jeannette's #1 advice is to take care of yourself. While it's easy to get bogged down in the work hustle, you need to take some time when you can focus on yourself.
Luxury, organic bamboo bedding brand Bamblu's founder Angela Hawkins went live to share all things sleep. Their linen and sleepwear are made from organic bamboo fibers, creating an irresistible sleep environment while elevating comfort and quality.
"Our products are designed to give you the rest you need so you can live the life you want," Angela explains.
When Bamblu was just starting out, Angela felt the pressure of finding an audience and nurturing those all-important customer relationships. Here, she shares her secret for building an authentic relationship with your audience.
“It was really difficult for us in the beginning to try to figure out who that audience was and speak directly to them.” And that is when Angela and the Bamblu team tapped into the niche that would set them apart from other luxury bedding brands.
“We decided that we wanted to talk about the whole sleep industry. We wanted to talk about sleep as a pillar of health.” Not only did this give the Bamblu team a fully realized business strategy, it also presented them with an organic way to group their business.
“We wanted to come into the market with a whole sleep solution. And that’s when we started selling our pajama products,” explains Angela. “Looking at it as a sleep company gave us the ability to talk to people where they were on their sleep journey.”
Creative artist Terrance Esprit takes joy in his artwork's twisting of words and visuals. He creates a unique look by integrating penciled illustrations, photography, and vivid graphic designs. Recently, his canvas became shoes, designing custom Chuck Taylor's, using acrylic paint markers or direct, print-on methods.
"As a creator, finding your voice is the biggest struggle I've ever had. Figuring out who I am and what I want to say is the most important part. What you say and the message behind whatever work you do is most important."
As an advocate for mental health and black men, Terrance reflected on the personal work he has done to move from a darker place and into his new era of zen: "You find your voice, and you carve out your space."
For Terrance, getting your mind in the right space is when the magic happens for your brand. He recommends taking the time to do the hard work on yourself, so you can properly focus on the hard work needed to make your business shine.
Jewelry designer Asa created Lace & Pearls Jewelry as an extension of her personal style blog, Lace & Pearls. Her unique style is a mix of classic and girly, and it is that style that inspires her delicate, handmade jewelry designs.
Asa and Kiyosha dove into the tricky question of how you managed your time as a small business owner who potentially works two or more jobs at once.
"Being a business owner, there are a lot of hats. And there are a lot of people that you want to make sure you still take care of and make time for. And that is the juggle of it all," shares Asa.
While "work-life balance" may not exist as expected, being intentional with your time is essential, and making time for all the parts of your life that matter outside your business is necessary.
We were so grateful to be able to spend the month of February celebrating and amplifying these amazing Black-owned businesses. From the products to the advice, many exciting things were happening here at Stage TEN.
If you're a Shopify business owner, Stage TEN recently became the live video commerce partner for Shopify's new 'Shop Minis' program. The integration is currently the only way for merchants to set up a live video commerce channel in Shop, allowing them to reach shoppers directly.
Download our Shopify app to get started!