Buffalo has an abundance of Black-owned businesses.
A simple Google search of “Black-owned businesses near me” will yield a 10-page list of options ranging from Black-owned restaurants to Black-owned boutiques. It has never been easier to support these small business owners.
Black History Month presents broke and busy college students — many of whom don’t have a reliable method of transportation — with extra incentive to support Black on-campus entrepreneurs.
The Spectrum compiled a list of Black-owned on-campus businesses to honor Black History Month. These business owners are students, and can be found on Instagram, at the Student Union or across the hall in the dorms:
Tangeniqua Washington, a junior psychology major, says she drew inspiration from her 10th grade English teacher, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou for her poetry.
Washington took her inspiration to the page in early February, when she self-published a 72-page collection of her poetry under the title, “Mood Swing.” Washington’s book takes on topics ranging from self-love and identity, to heartbreak and family.
Washington says she questioned her decision to release this book, but “realized that I have a voice and I should share my experiences with others.”
The writing process wasn’t the difficult part for Washington; after all, being in quarantine during the pandemic gave her time to perfect her craft. After assembling this collection of her life’s work, Washington says everything “just made sense.” However, Washington struggled to find an editor, and sat on the idea of publishing for over a year and a half.
After putting considerable work into publishing her first book, Washington is far from finished. She hopes to become a well-known author, as well as an advocate for her community in Brooklyn.
Washington’s book can be purchased on her website.
Deandra Clarke spent her childhood baking in her Easy-Bake Oven, and pretending to be a professional baker. Now, a senior psychology and occupational therapy major, she no longer has to pretend. Her passion for making desserts has turned into a small business.
Clarke’s bakery, Dee’s Delights, has seemed like an inevitability since she first started selling cupcakes at 16, out of her home kitchen. Now, Clarke sells more than just cupcakes. Dee’s Delights offers chocolate-covered strawberries, cupcakes, pull-apart cupcake cakes, cake pops, breakable chocolate hearts and hot cocoa bombs.
Of these items, Clarke says she particularly enjoys making chocolate-covered strawberries. This treat can be ordered by the dozen, and comes in a variety of designs and colors (they can also be coated in glitter). Clarke enjoys making chocolate-covered strawberries the most because she says she is “able to show my creativity the most with them.”
Clarke hopes to extend this creativity by eventually running a dessert shop that mainly focuses on selling different fruit-based desserts, which would mark a serious upgrade from making cupcakes in her Easy-Bake Oven.
Clarke’s desserts can be purchased on her Instagram @dees_delights_.
The Juju Effect
Juliana Asante, a freshman biology major, became a self-taught lash technician during the 2020 lockdown to keep her lashes done and save money during the height of the pandemic. Her quarantine hobby has since turned into a small business.
As a lash technician, Asante takes lash extensions and applies them to people’s natural eyelashes. She offers different styles, including hybrid, light volume, volume and mega volume sets. She also does colored lash extensions that can be decorated with gems.
Despite her busy college schedule, Asante accepts clients on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Although her business keeps her busy, being a lash technician does not cause her additional stress. So far, Asante says her clients have been “chill,” making her job easier.
Asante says doing people’s lashes has been more like “therapy” than a job. Being a lash technician helps her destress and calm down.
Lash extension appointments can be booked on Asante’s instagram @_thejujueffect
Ibrahim Doukoure, a sophomore business administration major, has always wanted to inspire people. Today he is doing so, with clothes as his medium. In August, Doukoure launched his business, AVANTNYC, a clothing brand that prints inspirational quotes on their merchandise.
Doukoure says he wanted to do something inspirational, in addition to something that “no one had ever done before.” Raised in the Bronx by a pair of “hard-working” immigrant parents, Doukoure says he drew inspiration from the community around him. He hopes to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life.
Doukoure’s business reflects his background.
“I’m from the Ivory Coast back in West Africa, so French is a second language to me. I wanted to add some spice to the name of my brand, and ‘avant’ means ‘before’ or ‘the past,’ because while the past is important, it seems like that’s all people judge you on,” Doukoure said.
The “NYC” portion of the name reflects him being raised in the Bronx.
Doukoure hopes to keep inspiring people for the rest of his life as a motivational speaker. He says he plans to venture out of his comfort zone and try touching people from other communities.
Doukoure’s clothing can be purchased on his website.
Kayla Estrada is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is an English major who enjoys rainy weather, “Bob’s Burgers” and asking people who they voted for. When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting for odd-looking knick-knacks at the nearest thrift store.