Introducing Conscious Customers™
Long before the pandemic, it was clear that Black and Latin-owned businesses face an uphill battle to grow beyond a narrow customer base and deliver their compelling products and services to the masses. American purchasing patterns have long followed our history of structural racism and social separation.
Then along came coronavirus. As Black and Latin communities absorb the disproportionate devastation of the health crisis, businesses in these communities are being crushed more than others as well.
Recommendations Lead to New Revenue
“It’s been very hard,” says Boston restaurant owner Nivia Piña. “Our staff got reduced to 25% but since then we were able to re-open and we were able to bring everyone back. We believe that we should empower the people around us to be promoted, so all our managers have started with us from the bottom. But we are scared about the winter because we are not going to be able to seat people outside and our catering business is almost none.”
It helps when new customers find Piña’s restaurants like the renowned Vejigantes in Boston’s South End and turn into loyal fans. JD Chesloff, whose employer, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable contributed to the early development of the Conscious Customers™ platform and is recommending Conscious Customers™ to its members as a featured resource for anti-racist action:
“When my family got the recommendation to try Vejigantes we were excited, knowing it would be something different. We loved it. They are now regulars in our Saturday night take-out rotation. We would never have made that choice on our own. Great business, great food and it makes our family’s world bigger too.”
Inclusion is About Excellence
Keith Chaney is CEO of City Sealcoating, an asphalt paving, sealing and line-striping company based in Lawrence, Massachusetts. “When we have someone inside a company willing to build a relationship with us, understand the commitment we have to saving them money over time with a better quality solution, it makes all the difference.”
“Business has run on the power of personal referrals forever. That can be a good thing but the truth is most of our target customers are companies run by people whose personal networks look like them and not like me,” said Chaney.
“We were thrilled to learn about City Sealcoating, says shopping center owner and commercial real estate developer Todd Finard. “The warm introduction made a difference. Keith’s team is already on their second or third big job with us in less than a couple of months. It’s a new relationship that is making us better at what we do.”
Conscious Customers™ is a new platform and service to help companies build great relationships with Black and Latin-owned businesses like City Sealcoating and many others that can deliver the services and products that they spend money on every day.
“It takes a catalyst like Conscious Customers™ to help decision-makers move from the best of intentions to action,” said Chaney, “and their work is making a difference for us so that we can make a difference in the lives of our employees and our new customers.”
"Get Conscious" Means Forming Habits that Reflect Your Values
“The vision is to help decision-makers cultivate a sustained habit of spending money more consciously, whether you are ordering food, transportation and swag for a company meeting or planning the renovation of an entire office building,” says Conscious Customers™ co-founder Izzy Jacques, who led the charge in Boston to transform WeWork’s spending in 2019.
This is not about giving back or lending a hand. It’s about helping to rewire the patterns of commerce to create a more just and dynamic economy. “I think Conscious Customers™ adds much-needed structure that makes it easier for communities of color to empower themselves,” says Randy Williams, CEO of Talley and Twine which makes watches, luggage and accessories.
The chief executive of one of Wall Street’s largest banks called coronavirus a “wake-up call” on the urgent need to create a “more inclusive economy.” Reaction to the toll of the virus and the murder of George Floyd has led to broad public discussion of systemic racism. Many would parse that bank executive’s statement by saying not everyone has been sleeping. Regardless, we know we all have big changes to make and new habits to form. It’s not just time to wake up. It’s time to get active. It’s time to get conscious.
Conscious Customers™ helps companies and organizations be more inclusive by putting Black and Latin-owned businesses at the center of their spending and engaging their employees in doing the same at home. Reach out for more information at [email protected].