Two executives are amplifying Black-owned brands through their own retail space called the Gift Shop.
The 1700-foot hub of Black culture is the first retailer in Washington, D.C., with the mission to discover, appreciate and promote Black brands.
Tamon George and Gary Williams Jr., the cofounders and award-winning team behind marketing agency Creative Theory Agency, created the store in an effort to empower Black creatives and give them a place to showcase their work.
“We want to make sure we're always creating space and opportunity for people that look like us and for our community,” Williams said.
The brick-and-mortar retailer located in Union Market will sell vintage glassware, charcuterie boards, candles, pillows, and more. Designer and founder of Small Wooden Box Jamon Johnson is one of many local artisans who sell their pieces at the Gift Shop. He said his goals are to inspire, motivate and connect the people to the products — especially people of color.
“This space being focused intentionally on Black businesses and small Black brands, I think it's important,” Johnson said.
CNBC reported that Black-owned businesses declined by 41% between February and April 2020, compared with a 17% decline among white-owned businesses. The killing of George Floyd renewed interest in supporting Black businesses which saw huge spikes.
Around 75% of Black-owned small businesses saw upticks in customers in the two months following Floyd’s death, according to a survey by the Black Chamber of Commerce.
The Gift Shop specializes in lifestyle and home good items where each product aims to create an emotional connection with the consumer. George said it's about helping others in the community.
"I think the thing that's most encouraging to us is finding ways to go and help other people grow their businesses,” George said.