b&b204: DDJA Vitamin M Box and Supporting Entrepreneurs of Color
Welcome to the Dead Day Job Army, a monthly Brunch & Budget series where entrepreneurs and freelancers of Color share their stories and talk about the real.
It’s not easy to start your own business and it’s even harder when it feels like you have to explain to your family what you do every time you see them, when you walk into an event and can count on one hand the PoC in the room, when you try to ask for what you’re worth, but don’t want to get passed over for the next person.
This week’s guest is Kerry Croft, the creator of the Vitamin M Box, a monthly subscription box made up of items produced by minorities. Every three months, she donates 10% of proceeds to a charity that helps in building the Black community. As the website explains “The M is about all things Melanin; the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their color. This box is about bringing brands owned and produced by people of color to your doorstep in the form of beauty, fashion, books, home and lifestyle brands.”
Kerry Croft: It’s always been a passion of mine to support Black-owned businesses.
Kerry Croft: It’s all like a numbers game and that’s still what I’m trying to figure out, and also like what my max is of how much I can purchase per item wholesale so I don’t lose out on money, you know what I mean? That’s really the hardest part. It’s not getting brands because honestly brands are coming to me. So it’s the numbers game, and it’s also getting the information out there and gaining subscribers. People love the idea, but it’s just about purchasing and subscribing to the box.
Kerry Croft: I went to BCU for fashion merchandising. And, you know, that was my dream: to come to New York and work in the fashion industry, and I’m just so bored…I mean, the job is great now that I have a son because I’ve been there for so long, so they’re so lenient with him. It really is great now, because I can really focus. I can do my job blindfolded. So, it allows me to focus on the Vitamin M Box.
Kerry Croft: I’m the only Black person in my office, and I’m also the only one that’s literally worked from the front desk up…I’m probably the one that’s been there the longest, ‘cause you know people have come in, they’ve gotten laid off, they’ve promoted other people, so I’ve been there the longest, but, lets just say if I wasn’t a Black woman I definitely would have a different position, a higher position getting paid a lot more. So, perfect example. I’m the head merchandiser for Kenneth Cole Reaction. That brand has been the highest selling brand on the Macy’s floor. And I probably bring home just a little bit over what my receptionist brings home.
Kerry Croft: Unfortunately, it’s the norm for Black families to have lack of financial literacy, and lack of legacy, and we don’t teach our kids about legacy and financial literacy.
Kerry Croft: Write out a plan. Seek advice where you’re not knowledgeable about, that’s very important…don’t feel like you have to do everything on your own.
Kerry Croft: If this is your passion and you feel it burning inside of you, you have to keep going. So no matter how discouraging it is–it can be discouraging day by day–you have to keep going.
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