ECU student launches minority business website

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 5:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - On the heels of the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement, customers have been driven to support more minority-owned businesses.

To help consumers find businesses to support in the East, an ECU student launched a website with connections on a variety of merchandise—all owned by people of color.

Some minority businesses are seeing a rush of sales as more customers race to support black entrepreneurs—already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest.

Kenneth Roach got the idea on Blackout Day ( July 7 )—a day where African Americans were encouraged to not spend any money unless it was for a black business. Kenneth Roach noticed how hard it was to find them in Greenville. And that’s when it hit him.

“One girl was like, ‘You know, I’m really hungry,’ but she either had the choice to either break her fast or hold out for the bigger cause. When she did that, it made me realize that we need a platform for minority businesses,” Roach said.

On this platform, called Colorful Desires, you’ll see a plethora of businesses with products ranging from food, to clothing and accessories, and even beauty services.

Roach said, “I want our people to be able to depend on this for you to purchase anything from a minority.”

Triple-threat business-owner Magiotta St. Hubert says the proof is in the pudding, or the essential oils, in her case, because she says business has been booming.

St. Hubert said, “Definitely, since the coronavirus, my businesses have blown up.”

Her businesses include Maglashh, Purple Duffle, and Momma Maggie’s Creole Produx. She’s seen the benefits from the website.

St. Hubert said, “This is the perfect time to take chance of this opportunity that we have. And we’re making history.”

Roach said, “There are platforms for minority businesses, but for college communities; we don’t have that.”

There are nearly 40 businesses already on the website. It launched just in time for ECU’s fall semester.

“If they want to go get their lashes done or purchase a purse, they can just easily go on Colorful Desires and see all the different vendors on the website,” St. Hubert said.

However, Roach says it took a lot of work.

“I called one of my buddies. I said, ’how long did it take for you to make a website?’ He said, ’about a month.’ I said, ’I’m going to do this thing in a couple of hours. It’s going to be nothing,’” Roach said.

The website actually took him more than a month to build from scratch, but he says the work is worth it. He’s still learning, and this is just the beginning.

“These businesses end up potentially suffering due to everything that’s going on in the world. This platform is a way to combat everything that is going against their business,” said Roach.

Roach says ECU entrepreneurs have taken advantage of using the website already, but he hopes to branch out to other universities too such as N.C. A & T and N.C. State, just to name a few.

“This platform is a way for you to do your business and be able to leave college with another source of income on top of your degree,” Roach said.

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