Mpls. entrepreneur to launch Black online marketplace in conjunction with Blackout Day

Submitted photo Tephanie Delaney is opening its online marketplace right on time for Blackout Tuesday. The launch of the shopping site will feature hundreds of Black businesses, many of which are new entrepreneurial ventures.

Tephanie Delaney conceptualized the site and is leading the charge. A business development advisor, Delaney said now is an important time to illuminate Black businesses. “Recent riots and looting across the country have negatively impacted Black business owners,” she said, “although we understand the premise that’s fueled the anger, we also have to understand that jobs and communities have been hurt along with that.” is a vehicle to assist in refueling the Black economy. “First there was COVID-19. There’s still COVID-19. Then on top of that were the riots, so these factors one on top of the other really put a damper on how small minority businesses were able to even operate,” said Delaney.

“I live in Minneapolis, MN and I’m originally from Jennings, MO, a city adjacent to Ferguson. This devastation was something very personal for me. Many businesses, after being restricted under social distancing guidelines for months, ended up ultimately being burned to the ground,” continued Delaney. “Many of them still have product in storage, but no bricks and mortar retail store to conduct business. I needed to find a solution.”

The site is launching right after Blackout Day, July 7, 2020. The Blackout Day movement aims to bring the national Black community together in economic solidarity, and encourages supporters to use their economic power to fight racial injustice by committing to only spending money at Black-owned businesses.

Vendors can sign up now. “We want Black entrepreneurs to know this is an online marketplace geared just for them,” Delaney said. “Plus, we’ve made it as easy as possible to join. It takes less than five minutes to set up an online store with us.”

Delaney also stressed the monetary structure is rather favorable for the vendors. There is no fee to become a vendor, nor is there a monthly subscription. Vendors will pay a 99-cents per item commission plus 5% payment processing fee to the site. is not only a marketplace, it is also an educational platform.

Delaney noted that vendors will be granted access to online learning modules, business development tips, and operational best practices. Online business coaches will teach subjects including professional product photography, keywords for search optimization, strategic pricing, and online customer service.

Consumers will have a wide selection of merchandise, much of which is unique, hand-made, and geared towards African American buyers. “There will be a combination of products. Some will be normal consumer goods available for mass market, and our hope is that buyers will be intentional about buying Black,” she said, “And other products will represent minority cultures and customs, and likely only be available on BlackBuyBlack.”

Delaney is leveraging her professional background in business development advisory to lead “As a consultant, I work nationwide with businesses from start-ups to corporations, and I interface directly with executives,” she said. “I take this very personally because some of the businesses I helped to launch have been destroyed. I want the mission of Black empowerment to still continue.”

—Information provided by