Note from BW of Brazil: The rise of Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs is a phenomenon that has been growing for some time. And with this growth, even mainstream magazines and TV programs must take notice. For decades, Brazil’s consumer market has ignored the very existence of a specific market that considers the tastes and styles of black Brazilians, preferring a sort of “one size fits all model”. Make no mistake, for the most part that model still exists. In large chain stores, black women still have trouble finding makeup products for their skin tones, black hair care products are still rare, black authors continue to have trouble getting their literature in bookstores and African-oriented clothing can still mostly be found among streets vendors.
This scarcity has opened up some opportunities for those with good ideas (see here, here and here), but, Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs continue to rely heavily on the month of November, Black Consciousness Month, to be able to participate in events specifically catering to the Afro-Brazilian community. The lack of permanent stores in which to distribute their products remains a major obstacle for black businessmen and women to reach their market. Events such as Feira Preta in São Paulo, Encrespa Geral in Belo Horizonte, Feira Black in Rio de Janeiro, Afro Fashion Day in Salvador and several other black expo events around the country show that there is an enormous market for products that consider black culture and black aesthetics.
With this in mind, a number of creative entrepreneurs have come up with inventive ways to reach this market so that consumers don’t have to wait for the next black expo event to set up shop for just one weekend out of the year. Clube da Preta is yet another great initiative that has stepped up to meet the demands of Afro-Brazilian consumers starving for representation.
Clube da Preta brings together Afro-fashion and beauty entrepreneurs in monthly boxes
Created by the couple Debora Luz and Bruno Brígida, the subscription club is the first to gather only products created by afrodescendentes (people of African descent)
By Thalita Peres
The museologist Débora Luz has 168 thousand followers in Instagram, in a profile in which she acts mainly as a fashion and beauty digital influencer, but it’s as a businesswoman that the brasiliense (native of the capital city of Brasília) based in São Paulo leverages the work of 150 more Afro-entrepreneurs who are part of the startup Clube da Preta (black club), a subscription club that gathers only products of fashion, beauty and accessories created by afrodescendentes from all over Brazil.
“The idea came from the need for many around me,” says Débora, who created the project with her boyfriend, business administrator Bruno Brígida. “Within my social networks, I always made a point of valuing conscious consumption. It is I who chooses who I share my power with, my money… I have always talked about empowerment, empathy with women, proposing jobs and partnerships… “. The idea, she says, came from conversations with Afro-entrepreneurs, who saw a rise in sales of their products in the months of November and December “or on a date with a racial slant”. “In the other months, they had no income or full time work to support themselves,” she explains.
In 2017, Débora and Bruno studied the market and visited fairs focused on Afro-entrepreneurship and mapped the production. “We realize that subscription clubs are a tradition in Brazil,” says Débora. “People were really consuming, so we started designing the Clube da Preta,” she explains, who worked months on the idea until reaching the final format.
Inside a box, the duo brings together fashion, beauty and accessories products, ranging from T-shirts, turbans, dresses, bracelets, necklaces, creams and shampoos for cabelo crespo e cacheado (curly and kinky/curly hair), to books by black authors such as Marcelo D’Salete, currently one of the most important comic authors in the world, awarded the Eisner, the Oscar of comic books.
The quality control of the products and the history of the entrepreneurs are important factors for the entrepreneurs to be accepted on the platform, which gives the option of three boxes with different products to sell on the clubedapreta.com site, with prices that go from BRL 99.99 to BRL 199.99. “Last year, we sold more than 10,000 boxes and we have 400 recurring customers,” says Débora.
“We only have positive feedback. A fashion designer created 370, for example, which works only with biodegradable fabric leftovers from the São Paulo bank and the city of São Vicente [São Paulo coast]. She, her mother and aunt work together. The youngest generating income for the older generation. It’s gratifying to see the work opportunities that people have achieved with Clube da Preta. Every day, we get messages of overcoming, knowing that they can support the family from the club.”
“Another good story is thar of Mapa Lingerie. The entrepreneur realized that she had no lingerie of her skin color, so she started to develop the piece. Now, the brand has a larger scale as it’s grown a lot. The Cervejaria do Complexo do Alemão (Brewery) is inside the neighborhood and has an incredible job: every year, the children of the community paint the bottles. The money from the sale is reverted to local activities such as education, sports, home construction, etc.”
And with 150 Afro-entrepreneurs in Clube da Preta, Debora wants more: “For this year, I would like to have a more intuitive platform, have more clients and get to know more people through the Club, thus generating more income for entrepreneurs. I also want to launch new products, expand our business and grow our partners with us.”
Source: Marie Claire