It just became much easier for the fellas to support black businesses and look damn good while doing it.
That’s thanks to Aaron Barnes, founder of the Dapper Black Box. Each month, the Illinois-based entrepreneur curates four to five men’s accessories and grooming products from black-owned businesses to deliver to subscribers’ doors. Each box costs $28.
Barnes told The Huffington Post he was inspired to create Dapper Black Box when he noticed a lack of black-owned subscription boxes catered to men.
The monthly box, which launched in August 2015, includes items like suspenders and cufflinks from Tie Fetish, dress socks from Kimchi Socks, pocket squares from Ellis Tie Company and beard balm from Camyri’s Creationz. According to Barnes, Dapper Black Box is the first black-owned men’s subscription company that exclusively curates products from black businesses.
“It’s important to me to showcase to my subscribers and followers that there are quality black businesses that we can all support,” he said. “At the broader level, it was important to me to create a business that supports other black businesses because we desperately need to empower each other economically.”
Barnes incorporates a history lesson into his service, too, by naming each box after a black innovator. Each month, he posts a YouTube video for his series “The Bigger Picture” to celebrate the impact that person had. So far, Barnes has highlighted George T. Sampson, Wally Amos, Daymond John and Louis T. Wright.
“Black people create some amazing things,” he told HuffPost. “We aren’t new to this. I think it’s important to regularly celebrate the things that black people have added to the world.”
The black community has a spending power of $1.2 trillion per year, but a huge majority of that spending goes to nonblack businesses. Barnes hopes his business can help reverse that.
“We’ve been thinking about how we expand what it means to be ‘dapper’ beyond fashion so that we make it easier for us to talk about investing into black businesses in other industries,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to persuade every black household to allocate at least 10 percent of its discretionary funds to black-owned businesses.”