By Jeremy Binning
Her Campus, an online publication, hosted Black Business Summit Feb. 23 in the Cardinal Lounge. The purpose of the event was to shed light on the small Black businesses that are on campus. Businesses from clothing to tote bags were showcased along with the creators involved with these products.
Michael Johnson, the creator of Malosi Apparel, was one of the six Black business owners that used the event to highlight their brand. Johnson released the first line from the brand in the summer of 2021.
“The feeling I want people to have when they wear Malosi is to feel strong, stylish and encouraged,” he explains.
The brand recently hit the runway as a part of the Mystic Night Fashion Show. Models from the House of Divinity club modeled his new line of shirts as well as other apparel.
Other clothing brands included Zuwa Boutique, created by Abieyuwa Uzamere, and Sante by Jessica Asantentewaa-Mensah. Uzamere created Zuwa Boutique, a women’s luxury brand, during the pandemic with the help of her sister. The goal was to “create a luxury brand for all shapes and sizes.” She incorporates her Nigerian roots into the brand by using Nigerian names to name her products. For example, the “ADA” bag got its name from the Igbo language which means “first” and it was named that because it was the brand’s first bag released.
Sante has been in business for the last two years, starting in January 2021. The word “Sante” comes from the French and means “health” and is part of the reason Asantentewaa-Mensah created the brand.
“I created the brand around my mental health due to a lot of things that happened to me in the past,” Asantentewaa-Mensah said.
Asantentewaa-Mensah said she wants to use her brand to “uplift people in regards to their mental health through words or slang that people can relate to.”
Sante is one of the many brands in the summit that created their line for more than just fashion. Each creator has a message behind their work and is using their brand to promote awareness of their cause.
Fashion isn’t the only thing young Black business owners on campus can create. Content creator Jesujuwon Odeyemi, DatGuyJ, attended the summit to promote his YouTube channel. His YouTube channel focuses on street interviews where he goes around Plattsburgh and New York City asking random people questions on whatever topic he has for that video. His humorous approach makes it hard not to be entertained by some of his outrageous questions.
Also included in the summit was hairstylist Jakira Barrett. Barrett runs a hair braiding business called Jenuine Beauti for Black men and women by providing services of braids, locs and cornrows. The goal of her business is to help support the BIPOC community in Plattsburgh, being one of the few hair braiders on campus.
The event had a successful turnout, to say the least. Each small Black business owner involved came together to put on an amazing summit and all brands should definitely see numbers in their next drops. The biggest takeaway could be not that there are so many businesses around campus, but the fact that there are these creative people that are sitting right next to you in class. More should definitely be in store following the success of the summit and keep an eye out for these creative brands for the future.