(Photo courtesy of PurchaseBlack)
The website is a verified marketplace that aims to support black-owned businesses while allowing black consumers to shop more easily for specialized products.
“There are lots of wonderful black-owned businesses across the country and a large African[-American] buying power,” said Williams. “But those two things weren’t really connected to one another.”
PurchaseBlack, which he describes as the Etsy or Amazon Marketplace for African Americans, aims to be “the bridge.” To sell on the platform, businesses have to be vetted first. Once they’re approved, they get their own web address on the site.
After earning his MBA at the University of Texas, Williams moved to D.C. in 2013 with PurchaseBlack in mind. “D.C. is a hub of successful African-Americans in the DMV area,” he said. He worked for a while at Accenture, then left in late January to work full time on the site.
Anticipating that it might need several turnarounds, he built the website flexibly.
“I’m an industrial engineer by trade, so I understand the concept of continuous improvement,” he said. “We’ve revamped the site several times. As long as there’s more efficiency to squeeze out of the platform, well continue to do it.”
Williams said the website is already revenue positive. He means business, but in a broader sense. “The business has to be about sort of the long term health of the black community,” he said.
PurchaseBlack’s flagship feature is the badges that identify black-owned businesses. “I want to make it extremely easy, if people come to the site and they want to support a black-owned business, they don’t have to guess,” Williams explained.
“African Americans have unique tastes and preferences and, by and large, they are under-served by the market as a whole,” he added. “It shouldn’t be that hard for an African-American person, male or female, to find products that work.”-30-
Please Assist Me wins again with $20K grand prize at 2019 Vinetta Project final
How DC can help Caribbean entrepreneurs
Alexandria-based Amify secures $5.8M in Series A funding
Verizon is looking for the brightest ideas on how to use its 5G technology
This DC tech company is working to improve the online resale marketplace
1863 Ventures’ Emerging Entrepreneurs program graduates its fifth cohort, unveils new name
Mayor Bowser taps Marathon Foundation to manage DC Inclusive Innovation Fund
Escape the August heat with cool AI tech
Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Dc