A Black woman’s efforts as an employee at Meta led to the company’s popular grassroots initiative, #BuyBlack Friday. Her name is Rachael Hawk, and thanks to her, the company is spearheading its second round of support for Black-owned businesses during the holiday season.
During last year’s #BuyBlack Friday launch, Meta rolled out a weekly #BuyBlack Friday Gift Guide to help buyers #BuyBlack for the holidays. The guides showcase U.S. Black businesses from beauty to home to fashion.
The campaign also includes weekly live #BuyBlack Friday shows featuring Black businesses, musical artists and entertainers. A whopping 15 million people nationwide tuned in last year, and as Hawk recalls, made an impact for black-owned companies like Redoux NYC, a vegan skincare line featured on the show and in the gift guide.
“After the show aired, we were thrilled to hear that they had a 1300% increase in sales,” the small business marketing manager said. “Overall, we heard from businesses about increases in visibility, awareness, mailing lists, in-store visits, and sales.”
Meta has carried on its tradition and is wrapping up its second year of #BuyBlack Friday. The #BuyBlack gift guides—recently curated by Grammy-award-winning artist Ciara—are available in the Facebook Shops tab. The live shows, which kicked off Nov. 5, feature Live Shopping segments from Black-owned businesses, including Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce, House of Takura and Obia Naturals, in addition to special guests and other surprises.
Hawk—the fire behind #BuyBlack Friday—was inspired to find a way to support the Black community following the shooting deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
“I felt like I couldn’t continue in my role business as usual. I was experiencing collective grief and sadness along with the rest of the Black community,” she recalled. “Our leaders encouraged us to come up with solutions to help, and I reached out to my teammate here at Meta, Remi Ray, to collaborate on solutions.”
The result of Hawk and Ray’s collaboration was hosting an “Empowerment Hackathon.” At Meta, a hackathon brings together people from different teams to brainstorm solutions for problems outside of their normal day-to-day scope.
“The hackathon team led by Remi and myself was specifically focused on Black small businesses because we knew from research that Black SMBs were closing at 2x the rate of other businesses during COVID,” Hawk said. “We thought of several ideas, including an in-person block party, but ultimately decided on #BuyBlack Friday as a way to support Black-owned businesses while celebrating Black culture.”
While the atmosphere in the country has changed this year, Hawk said, focusing on Black-owned businesses is essential now more than ever, as many are recovering financially from the pandemic.
“We also know that 34% of Black-owned businesses are expected to make more than half their annual revenue from Oct-Dec, which makes this holiday season critical to their overall success,” Hawk said.
The final Live Shopping show for 2021 will premiere this Black Friday, Nov. 26, with the campaign ending on the same day.