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Hidden Gems: Meet Lauren Fontaine of Blackscriptions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Fontaine.

Hi Lauren, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Blackscriptions is a quarterly curated subscription box that helps consumers discover and support Black-owned businesses one box at a time. Each Blackscription has a singular focus, providing consumers with targeted predictable items. The Black Wax Blackscription, for example, features artisan candles, wax melts and more all produced by Black chandlers, i.e., candle makers.

Although we are eight (8) generations removed, from slavery, Black wealth is only 1/10th of that of the typical white family. As Martin Luther King so poignantly put it, “the problem of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”

In 2018, the spending power of Black Americans was well in excess of $1.2 trillion annually, which was larger than the purchasing power of 166 countries – including Australia, Taiwan and the Netherlands. Despite this significant spending power, it took just six (6) hours for Black dollars to leave the Black community. Today, despite the spending power of Black Americans continuing to increase, the exit rate of Black dollars from the Black community has virtually remained unchanged.

In the wake of the national reckoning witnessed in 2020 as a result of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Blackscriptions was born out of a necessity to economically empower the Black community and introduce socially conscious consumers to Black-owned businesses one box at a time.

In the early 1900s, the Black dollar circulated on Black Wall Street in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma between 36 to 100 times before exiting the Black community. Together, we can rebuild this economic legacy one box at a time!

As the great-great-granddaughter of a former slave who became a farmer and was one of the first Blacks to serve in the Texas State Legislature, the importance of economically empowering the Black community has always been a requirement.

As a small child, my parents always made a deliberate point to support Black-owned businesses, even if that meant bypassing more convenient options. Thus, circulating my dollars in the Black community has always been a requirement, not a suggestion. So to me, economic empowerment means creating, sustaining and elevating Black businesses.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has absolutely not been a smooth road. In addition to founding and managing Blackscriptions, I have a full-time job and two small children. Strategically scheduling and using my time wisely and effectively has at times been extremely challenging.

From a Blackscriptions perspective, marketing is by far the most challenging aspect of the business from social media marketing to sales funnels to conversions. We have been fortunate to have a local e-commerce community that periodically presents challenges within the industry. I have also been guided by a couple of every successful e-commerce professionals. Additionally, I am taking a course at Cornell geared toward small businesses owners with an emphasis on marketing. However, I do recognize that marketing and brand recognition are still very critical elements in the continued success of the organization. I still have so much to learn and hope at some point to be able to get robust external assistance.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Blackscriptions?
Blackscriptions is a quarterly curated subscription box that helps consumers discover and support Black-owned businesses one box at a time. Each Blackscription has a singular focus, providing consumers with targeted predictable items. The Black Wax Blackscription, for example, features artisan candles, wax melts and more all produced by Black chandlers, i.e., candle makers. Additional Blackscription editions will launch later this year/early next year.

In our first two (2) months, we sold over 50 Blackscription boxes!

Since each Blackscription edition will have a singular focus, consumers will know what to expect when they receive their Blackscription. There are a couple of subscriptions boxes on the market featuring Black-owned businesses; however, there are an array of items in these boxes. Additionally, there are some Black-owned brands that offer subscription boxes, but those boxes feature only that brand’s items. With Blackscriptions, consumers will get the predictability regarding the types of items contained in the box, while also being able to explore multiple brands.

The Spring Black Wax Blackscription featured 3 Black-woman-owned businesses!

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
The subscription box model continues to grow steadily. According to research, in 2011 the industry revenue was $57 million, by 2016 the revenue was $2.6 million.

There are a lot of factors that will see this industry continue to grow, including the results of the pandemic.

Pricing:

  • Prepay for 12 months @ $55.99/quarter
  • Pay quarterly @ $60.99/quarter

Contact Info:

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