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Inspiring Conversations with Tinicia Smith and Sheri Jones

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tinicia Smith and Sheri Jones.

Hi Tinicia and Sheri, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Why must we wait until Police senselessly murder US to want to protest? Protest police brutality and how we are continuously treated unfairly but still spend money with the very communities who do not have our best interest in mind. When do we start looking out for ourselves? When do we UNIFY as ONE FAMILY unit? I got tired of wondering about these questions and started to think of solutions. Oddly enough, the answers came from one Facebook post. I stated, “I want a list of Black-owned businesses and professionals in San Diego.” The responses gathered from this post, this one simple yet complex post, led to the creation of Black San Diego: Empowering Our Community.

I never realized how many of my Facebook friends, correction, how many of my Black Facebook friends, owned their own companies. And, the companies were diverse as hell. I mean Insurance Companies, Beauty Salons, Real Estate Agents, Contractors, Cleaning Companies, Event Planners, Domestic Care Providers, and many more. The list was impressive to say the least.

With this post, I opened up a plethora of doors that frankly, I didn’t even know that I wanted to open, let alone walkthrough. A childhood friend, Sheri, commented on the post that she had a business project that she had been working on and that the Facebook post and answers that I was receiving could possibly aide in a collaboration.

Sheri, a real estate agent, would often attend networking events where she was the only Black Woman in the room and wanted to create a space where more folks looked like her.

Myself, and Sheri, later met at my kitchen table and discussed the concept of creating a networking event where Black business owners could mingle with customers in an effort to bring awareness to the Black-owned businesses that were in San Diego. We called this venture Black San Diego: Empowering Our CommUNITY.

We successfully threw our first networking event, where at least 100 business owners and customers mixed and mingled while exchanging services, stories, laughs, food, and drinks. We had made an impact on our community, we brought a service to Black people that had been void, it was positive, cultured, sexy, and creative. When folks exited the building, The Alpha Center, to be exact, they told us over and over again…Keep on doing this, DO NOT STOP! You know what we did? We listened, we heard our community member’s voices and we kept going, kept building, we created an actual business. With no marketing, no funding, no damn direction, we created a business. From that one networking event, we started a business, which formed as a Facebook group page. The Facebook page serves as the everyday meeting spot, the online HUB so to speak. Business owners began advertising about their businesses and customers began seeking out services, community members were anxious to share their events and the rest is BSD history.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road. In the beginning stages, we had struggles finding businesses to take a “chance” on giving us simple services such as; creating banners, and business cards, because our name “Black” San Diego seemed controversial. This struggle however, led to the idea to do business with primary Black-owned businesses. We also began to realize that Black business owners were lacking in basic business education. There was lack of resources and access to resources were not targeted to our community effectively.

Also, customers held Black business owners to a higher standard of excellence without much room for mistakes or forgiveness.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Black San Diego is a Multimedia Company that provides a platform for Black-owned businesses, Black entrepreneurs, and Black business professionals to empower and strengthen our community. Black San Diego reaches thousands of clients, customers, and consumers whose primary goal is to purchase products and services from and provide support to Black owned businesses. The community is empowered through networking and specialized niche events that promote positive business to customer relationships while educating businesses to start, develop, and sustain.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I am my brand ~ Kubi Springer

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