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Black-Owned Businesses to Support in the Hudson Valley

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

February marks the start of Black History Month and to honor it, I wanted to dig deeper into the Black Owned businesses that are located right here in the Upstate New York Hudson Valley community. In this article, I’ve featured two female black owned businesses who are thriving locally. You’ll get the inside scoop as to what motivated them to start their businesses and some of the challenges they face navigating through the Upstate NY region as black owned businesses.

Andrea, is the owner of Andrea M Events based in Newburgh NY. Andrea started her business back in 2015, relaunched 2019 and rebranded in 2020. Her event planning and designing company is a boutique event planning and design agency serving the Hudson Valley and the surrounding areas. Her services include event planning and/or design services for social events, micro-weddings and small businesses. Andrea has also recently launched Not Your Ordinary - Party In A Box. Offering everything you need for a small gathering in one box delivered to your door. The box contains disposable and non-disposable items and customized items such as banners and/or glassware.

It was great learning about Andrea, her business and hearing about the challenges she faces being a black owned business in the Hudson Valley. Here is an excerpt of our conversation:

What motivated you to start your business?

While studying Public Relations at Howard University, I fell in love with the event side of PR. I completed different internships for entertainment companies and non-profit organizations. I helped with a variety of events from major concerts to Breast Cancer Walks, so I already had an idea of what I enjoyed doing. It wasn't until a few years later when I helped throw a baby shower for one of my long time friends that I became fascinated with planning and decorating social events. Transforming the blank space and seeing the idea come to be, excited me. I knew then I wanted to start doing events. At the time, there were not any event internships/assistant positions living in Newburgh, so I decided to start a business instead.

What challenges have you faced if any, being a black owned business in the Hudson Valley?

The biggest challenge I have faced is the inability to align myself with other black owned businesses that provide event services. I would love to be able to hire all black businesses in the Hudson Valley to help bring the vision I have for an event to life. I particularly find it difficult to find black owned event spaces and rental companies. I also struggle with finding the best ways to reach potential clients that desire the type of events I want to produce.

In what ways have you overcome these challenges?

I have worked on overcoming these challenges by reaching out to the businesses I do come across to let them know about the services I offer and try to form partnerships with the owners. I also make sure to include friends that have event related businesses and special talents on my projects. For example I have friends that do balloon decorations and another friend that does videography.

What would you like to see change in the area for black owned businesses?

I would like to see more black owned event based businesses such as party rental companies, venues and photographers. I would also like to see black owned businesses in the area willing to form partnerships and working together to create programs and special events for the community.

To connect with Andrea and learn more about Andrea M Events:

IG: @andreamevents

I also had the pleasure of speaking with Dina Caldwell, owner of Herb Juice Life. Herb Juice Life is an online Herbal Store for all your Herbal Home & Health Needs including your fur babies. These Herbal Products will serve to better your internal and external health. Lending items toward Body care, cooking & health n wellness. All items are either made with herbs or herb infused. Dina started her business during the pandemic and stated that she has always wanted to do this and being home during the pandemic really helped open the doors for her and allowed her the time to invest in it.

Here is an excerpt of our conversation:

What challenges have you faced if any, being a black owned business in the Hudson Valley?

For me it's been exposure and not being able to connect to the black community. Also, not knowing the area and a lack of finances and marketing knowledge.

In what ways have you overcome these challenges?

I've always relied on myself and I can always hear something that Steve Harvey said: “Inch by inch everything's a cinch.” I may not make big strides in a short amount of time; but small steps are better than no steps at all! So I take one challenge at a time and no matter how long it takes for me to reach it; I just keep reaching til I have it in my grasp.

What would you like to see change in the area for black owned businesses?

I'd like to see a platform developed where we could feature black business for the week and even a venue set up where we could gather monthly to not just sell our items but to help each other solve problems and connect. Perhaps even a magazine that is devoted solely to black owned businesses in the Hudson Valley. Each month a new business could be featured! This has always been a dream of mine as well - to start up a small magazine in which black owned businesses can take out ads and the magazines can be distributed throughout major locations like supermarkets etc.

To connect with Dina and learn more about Herb Juice Life:

IG: @herbjuicelife

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