This weekend: a pop-up shop for Black-owned businesses

In 2015, Alisia Hutchinson was working for a call center in South Carolina when she decided to leave her job to become a full-time entrepreneur. 

“At that time I decided that I wanted to be in full control of my own destiny and not have to wait on approval from someone for what I deserve,” 32-year old Charleston, SC native told QCity Metro.

Now, she is the owner of five small businesses and wants to provide a space for other Black entreprenuers to grow financially.

On Sunday, Hutchinson will host the Buy Black Pop Up Shop, an event to get small Black-owned businesses more exposure in the community.

Located at Queen City Social Space, the event will feature at least 30 Black-owned vendors selling products from jewelry, clothes, skin care pruducts, and more.

There will also be a live DJ, food and beverages, free giveaways, and free swag bags.

Her love for heels pushed her to started her first business, Shoe Heaven and More, a women’s shoe store.

She found success after renting a kiosk at the local mall but making consistent sales and affording the cost of rent forced her leave. 

Hutchinson began operated her shoe business online and created more venture as time went on. These new businesses include Lisi Virgin Hair & Lash Co., Love Decadent Eats, and Lisi Health & Wellness

Despite the added source of income, Hutchinson said she still struggled to maintain sales and lack of exposure due to not having a permanent location.

Alisia Hutchinson wants to provide a space for other entrepreneurs to gain exposure. (Photo courtesy of Alisia Hutchinson)

She realized that other small business owners were facing the same challenges and decided to come up with a solution.

“I decided to be able to get my business out, as well as others in the same situation as me, we can come together and basically form our own shop.” 

Hutchinson said because most of her own businesses were target female customers, she reached out to other female entrepreneurs to host a pop up shop in February.

While she had 33 vendors to participate, she wasn’t satisfied with the number of shoppers to come through. She remain unsuccessful after other attempts later on.

Hutchinson create “Nxt Big Thing Charlotte”, event planning organization to host pop up shop that features a variety of other Black businesses.

In a new approach, she plans each event two months in advance so that she can advertise each participating vendor through social media.

The organization hosted its first pop up shop in July. At least 30 Black-owned vendors were featured and over 100 guest attended.

The organization has since hosted at least one event each month at different venues. Hutchinson said many of the vendors reached out saying that had sold out of goods while participating.

She hopes guest will “find everything they want and need” this weekend and have an experience that’ll lead them to the next event.

Hutchinson said one of her goals is that every participating business sees an increased revenue ahead of the holidays.

“I know Black Friday is when the big retailers take over, so I wanted to do something for the small black businesses before then,” she said.

The event will be from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Guest can register for free via EventBrite .

In keeping with pandemic protocols, visitors are asked to practice social distancing and wear face coverings, as required under Charlotte’s masking mandate.

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