as posted on The Nile List
Black Girl Buying with the Nile List
Growing up, the only time I really saw Black people running things was at church, the barbershop, and the beauty salon. Despite this, I regularly heard people talk about why they did not want to support Black owned businesses: it’s too expensive, you get poor quality products, the customer service is terrible, I can’t find a good one, etc. As a child, I could not decide on my own where money was going, so convenience always won (until it was time for this hair to get pressed and curled – Black salon all day long).
Moving to Atlanta for undergrad was the first time that I saw different types of Black people leading in different ways. My classmates were ready to take over the world, but I still heard the same comments disparaging buying Black. Then I went to graduate school in St. Louis and Mike Brown was killed and my university with all its resources did nothing. For months, I struggled to find something that I felt I could do to make a difference until I saw a social media call to #BlackoutBlackFriday, which encouraged consumers to either boycott shopping altogether or only buy from Black-owned businesses on Black Friday. That is when I decided to ignore the whispers I had heard my entire life and started consciously buying Black.
I have not looked back since. I found Black businesses that had great quality and incredible customer service. I learned more about business and understood that smaller businesses do not have the luxury of mass producing their goods, which is what brings down their costs and prices, so I was okay with spending a little bit more in some cases. It was not long before my friends started coming to me asking me for recommendations. And that’s how Black Girl Buying started.
Black Girl Buying connects Black businesses and consumers. I have a blog that shares my experiences and journey to find and support Black owned businesses on a daily basis. I also provide services to Black businesses that helps them to connect to their desired audiences so they can focus on the part of their business they love. I am constantly looking for Black businesses that can replace the products and services that I am currently using. That is why I am so excited about The Nile List.
The Nile List is a digital community that connects you to Black-owned brands online. Their goal is to fill in the gaps and streamline the process of buying Black. For anyone who has said “I can’t find a Black business that sells X”, The Nile List takes care of that. For anyone who has said “There aren’t any Black businesses near me”, The Nile List takes care of that. I’m super excited about their search feature. You will be able to navigate the site a couple different ways. If you are just looking for a Black business that makes a particular product, you can type that product in and The Nile List will help you find what you are looking for. Or you can take advantage of the more than 15 tags and 50 categories. Tags will allow you to select businesses that operate in line with your values – made in America, vegan, veteran owned, youth involved, etc. Tags acknowledge that Blackness is not the only thing that we care about when we are shopping and help us to address the other parts of life that we value as well. Categories, on the other hand, can help you to browse if you are not exactly sure what you are looking for. Planning a wedding? Want to add something to your closet? Need some sporting goods? Choosing The Nile List categories pull up businesses that sell things within those arenas.
Outside of the categories, I appreciate the philosophy behind The Nile List. None of the businesses listed on the site (called Nilists) are charged to be listed on the website. When Nilists are featured in The Nile List blog, it is not because they paid, but because they are doing Dope Black Things (which is also the name of the blog) that everyone needs to know about. In a world where so many people are concerned about making a profit at every possible point, I love that The Nile List is putting our people on, no charge.
If that’s not enough of a reason to make The Nile List your go-to online shopping spot, let me tell you about the founder. Khadijah Robinson is, quite simply, a boss. She’s my Spelman sister (so you know I stan) and Harvard-educated lawyer. Before she started The Nile List, she also blogged about books. Khadijah really loves everything about Black people and Black-owned businesses. She started The Nile List because it was difficult for her to support Black businesses while she was shopping online. So she built something to change that. That’s the kind of person I will always stand behind.
I personally stopped frequenting Amazon a couple years, so I am so excited to start shopping on The Nile List for a streamlined process. Given what I know about Khadijah, I am sure that The Nile List will do exactly what we hope it will: make it easier for us to buy Black online. The Holiday Guide and Dope Black Things ebooklet The Nile List produced gave a good preview of what the full site will be (and they had discount codes!). I cannot wait for all the Dope Black Things to come!