MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Starting a business during a pandemic isn’t on a checklist for a majority of people in African American communities.
Two young black women in Memphis are defying the odds and making way for small business owners to make money during the pandemic.
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This store is the result of a bold move by two women who wanted to not only start a business during a world pandemic but inspire other women to do the same.
Meghan Paige and Kenisha Malone are the owners of Terra Cotta.
Paige a licensed psychologist and Malone is a teacher during the day decided to open a store during a pandemic to satisfy what they call an entrepreneurial itch.
“It just seemed like a good time for us,” Malone said.
According to Forbes Magazine, nearly half of Black small businesses had been wiped out by the end of April as the pandemic ravaged minority communities disproportionately.
Forbes also explains how Black women before the pandemic represented 42% of new women-owned businesses.
That’s since changed due to many of the businesses not surviving.
The two explained to me their first business failed and they went back to the drawing board.
“Just do it nobody knows because if it’s a business that fails it probably failed because no one knew about it and no one ever talked about it anymore,” Malone said.
While knowing the current state of the world is making it truly difficult for entrepreneurs to be successful Terra Cota allows products made by locals business owners to be sold on their shelves.
“We give people shelf space and they can grow their business and everybody wins,” Paige said.
The store has been open less than three months and is already seeing the type of volume that will hopefully defeat all odds.
“People flock in and before you got here people were in here picking up plants. We had a plant sale so social media has been one of our biggest ways to reach people,” Malone said.