An annual celebration of the acclaimed magazine since its inception in 1994, the Essence Festival is known to spotlight black excellence in music, artistry, entrepreneurship and so forth.
Not to replicate the cultural commemoration per se, but Greenville residents Nikki Landrum and Alicia Washington are bringing to the community their inaugural Blacker Than The Essence Fest, A Showcase of Black Businesses event.
Set to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 5 on Stein Mart Square, Washington and Landrum said they hope this event will mark the first of many events to come.
“We hope that it will spark the interest of enough people to do it annually, bi-annually or on some type of repetitive basis to continue to give people the opportunity to get their businesses out there,” Landrum said.
She shared the overall idea was conceived between her and Washington after seeing such a wave of budding black entrepreneurs emerge during the pandemic and the current social climate.
“We think it’s the perfect time to expose these businesses and give them a larger platform than just online and to get them outside of just selling to friends and family. We want to give them an opportunity to allow strangers and other people to see what they have to offer,” Landrum said. “We just want to encourage people and get the word out that they can sign up to be vendors. And, those that don’t desire to do that, like spectators and prospective shoppers, we want to invite them to come out and look around and patronize these businesses.”
Landrum noted how sometimes seeing the ideas and visions of other entrepreneurs come to fruition inspires other people to see their own potential and execute.
“It’s just about getting the word out and when the day actually comes, we’d just like for the community to come out to support these businesses and give other entrepreneurs ideas and the opportunity to see that the realm of possibility is wide,” she said.
The vendor sign-up fee is $50 and with 100 vendor spots available, those interested in participating as a vendor can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.