Even through adversity, Black people are savvy innovators who can create a good situation out of anything.
Memphis-based event planner Cynthia Daniels had no choice but to cancel ten large-scale events amid the coronavirus outbreak, Black Enterprise reports. However, she didn’t let that stop her from being the creative entrepreneur that she is.
Daniels — with all intentions of taking off the rest of the year to prepare for next year’s events — instead pivoted to create a Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience.
Her company, Cynthia Daniels & Co., hosted the experience which took place Friday, June 19, to Monday, June 22.
The Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience featured products from 100 businesses that represented 22 cities across the country, according to Black Enterprise, with a flock of over 16,000 shoppers due to national press.
“I wanted to create a virtual platform that would help black businesses that had experienced a loss in income and had to halt business operations, she told Black Enterprise. “When I put the information out there, I started receiving emails from all over the country from business owners who wanted to be a part of this, and that’s when I knew this would be something big.”
The experience garnered so much attention that the site crashed as soon as it launched.
“It was overwhelming in a beautiful way. I had to work on Plan B,” said Daniels. “We went through three servers, my web designer created a new domain, and it still crashed. I ended up sending out website information for the featured businesses so that people could keep shopping until they could get back into the main website. We were able to create another website within three hours.”
The virtual shopping experience proved to be incredibly helpful to communities across the U.S. and helped generate sales for 100 Black businesses that turned into a profit of over $1 million in just three days.
“This experience shows how we can pivot during a pandemic,” Daniels said. “One requirement for the featured businesses was to have a website, so 20 of the businesses stepped up and said they would get a website done because they had to be a part of this opportunity.”
Thanks to Daniels’ quick thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, Black businesses and consumers were able to make a meaningful impact for the community, attract new customers, and regain hope during COVID-19.