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9 Black women-owned businesses open in Rochester’s South Wedge

RODNAE productions

  According to Harvard Business Review, Black women are launching businesses at higher rates than white men. However, a very low percentage of those businesses mature. That’s why nine women entrepreneurs in Rochester are collaborating — to increase their individual success. 

They’re opening a business called Women of Color New York, offering products and services that focus on beauty, fashion and wellness on South Avenue.

The concept was the brainchild of co-owner Connie Marple who wanted to bring women business owners together. Marple put the plan to action during the pandemic lockdown. Through networking, she found eight local Black women business owners to be her partners. 

“We knew that we wanted to have a beauty component to it. So we got our makeup artist, we get our lash tech, we got our wig designer,” Marple said.

Marple connected with Shayla Johnson, owner of Shayla J’s Dessert Bar and Bistro and Silvia Johnson who brought in a wellness component with Ivolve Me Wellness.

Marple said they’re excited for the chance to bring more minority owned-businesses to the South Wedge.

“Some of these businesses actually were doing businesses inside of their homes,” said Marple. “I feel like we don't have opportunities that other people have. So this was a way to present an opportunity to women of color.”

Lack of access to capital and other resources are common barriers for Black women-owned businesses. Marple said the collaborative allows everyone to share resources and knowledge to help their small businesses grow.

“You have another business owner who’s talking about building credit and having your account separate from your personal account and having a business account,” said Marple, giving an example of the knowledge that gets shared. “So, there are a lot of jewels definitely at Women of Color New York and we are sharing those things with each other.”

The grand opening for Women of Color New York, 539 South Ave., is Saturday, Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.