She’s Pretty and Black Owned: Meet Cara Lawton

She’s Pretty and Black Owned: Meet Cara Lawton

Cara Lawton business head shots

Since 2014, Cara Lawton has utilized her nearly 10 years of experience in the advertising industry to create non-branded campaigns to support Black Businesses. Each year, she circulated a vast directory of Black-Owned businesses and promoted toys, candles, hair care, and essential products. The directory also served as a platform that she used to host free workshops in financial literacy, social equity, and professional development.

These initiatives continued during the COVID-19 pandemic as virtual workshops to help other aspiring entrepreneurs launch their businesses.

Following her journey to transition the directory into an eCommerce marketplace, humble beginnings for the 33-Year-old New York native included pop-up shops and online promotions.

Today conscious consumers, activists, and allies alike can all feel good about doing their part to create equal opportunities while shopping for household items. blackowned365.com sells brands from 100% Black Owned businesses (many of them are women, veterans, & family-run). Shipping is free & direct, package protection is available, and customer service is just one quick text message away.

We had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Founder Cara Lawton to discuss all things Black Owned 365. In this article, we are getting all the information needed to list your Black Owned Brand inside the marketplace successfully.

What inspired the start of Black Owned 365?

I would like to credit my earliest of influencers. My Mom who made me memorize MLK’s “I have a dream” speech word for word (even when I didn’t want to). My Dad who would not allow me to go out and play before reading three current events articles from the Daily News and writing a 1-page summary to prove my comprehension. My now 90-year-old grandfather who was raised by his family of sharecroppers and grew up on a farm in Virginia. He has taught me the importance of “Black Agriculture” and how to grow my own produce. My late grandmother (his wife) who made it her personal mission to instill within me self pride as a Black woman, desire to connect within the African Diaspora, compassion for others.

Previously, I have participated in public demonstrations and facilitated several events for financial literacy and professional development. I followed the teachings of Dr.Claud Anderson and Sistah Soulja. But at some point, I realized it simply wasn’t enough. I have come to the realization that the U.S. will never atone or resolve the fallout of the exploitation and systemic oppression of Black people in the U.S. In my lifetime there will never be a formal apology, a day of memorial, distribution of fiscal reparations, housing, or business grants. The primary reason for this is because Black people collectively are severely fragmented in our movements for social equity. In many cases, we have succumbed to cultural and economic divisions.

We are hyper-protective of our platforms and in some extreme cases topically individualistic in our strive for economic success. Contrary to other races that do not share our historic hardships, as a result of behind deprived of the basic resources necessary to thrive we now are in constant survival mode and will choose competition over collaboration. We choose a seat at the table instead of creating tables for each other. 

www.blackowned365.com is not only an online marketplace but a space where Black-owned businesses and collaborate and thrive. We know that there are over 40 million Black people living in the U.S. and the average annual consumer spending power is $1.4 Trillion. So within our marketplace, 4 businesses of the same category can still thrive and sell products on our site. Additionally, why pay multiple shipping fees across the different brand sites when you can order what you need from one central location and pay one combined price?

 For those wondering what is Black Owned 365 is and what is the mission of your brand?

  www.blackowned365.com is an online marketplace with affordable premium products. No dro shipping. No directories. Just quality brands that are 100% Black Owned shipped directly to your door with free shipping for $45 and over. 

    Package protection is also available. We are the one-stop-shop for Black-owned essential brands. Feel free to call or text 646-504-9993 with questions (response times is 24 hours max).

    To get started you can take the pledge to shop Black 365 days of the year by buying the pledge pack which comes with free express shipping. 

ShopNow: https://blackowned365.com/55996383394/checkouts/60a01e1d1804ef63f2058752cc255584?skip_shopify_pay=true&locale=en

Black Owned 365 launched in 2014, can you share your greatest victory thus far and your most challenging moment?

Here we count every sale as a victory! The average sale per customer is $55 and are excited when consumers are able to see that Black-Owned products can produce at equal quality to their mainstream competitors.

 Where do you hope to see your brand in the next 3-5 years?

    Looking ahead we are in talks with Black Owned farms to provide fresh produce door to door. But first, we need to see that our consumer audience will support this initiative. If you would like to receive jam, sea moss, canned foods, fresh produce, chicken, turkey, and cut beef from Black-Owned farms in 2023 please express your interest to info@blackowned365.com

 How do you hope to make an impact in 2022?

  • Recirculating/Recycling Black Dollars is not just a rallying cry for us. 
  • We take this very seriously and see it as an effective form of activism. 
  • Black wealth grows from keeping dollars within Black businesses and donating net revenue to Black-Owned/Founded Non-Profits. 
  • We will be committing a portion of our net revenue to Black NonProfits in LGBT, Food Justice, and Education. 
  • By 2023 based on consumer support we aim to include Black Founded and Operated Financial Literacy and Health Non-Profit partnerships.

How can black-owned businesses get involved? 

     There are currently 4 ways to get involved.

    1. Become an affiliate: We will train you to promote the brand. 

  • We provide trackable links, and a user-friendly platform to track all of your sale contributions. 
  • Our average sale is $50. But $45 is the minimum to approve free shipping. 
  • Affiliates get 10% of every total sale and then cash out via PayPal at $100 on Fridays! 
    • PayPal to debit card takes 1 hour to disburse into your bank account. 
    • We will send you your tax forms at the end of the year for you to take to your tax preparer. 
    • If we see that you have exceeded your $100 cash out several times within a month, your commission will be automatically increased to 15% per total sale while still cashing out at $100. 
  • Our company is fully insured and we work with a data partner to protect us from any potential cyber scams. 
  • email info@blackowned365.com if you are ready to become an affiliate and we will send you an invite to the platform and a webinar.

     2. Become a partner: From now through the beginning of Q4’2022 we will be offering free showcasing placement to Black-Owned businesses in skincare, footwear, hair care, bath & body, and personal care. Please email    

      partnerships@blackowned365.com

     3. Advertise with us: If you are looking to get exposure we have an average of 50,000 Unique Page visitors Per month. 

     4. Write For Us: We love to extend our platform to rising Black content creators! Articles posts start at $10 per post (200-word max) and will receive full recognition. Submissions will require one revision session via email and are paid on the day of      

     completion via PayPal. Writers get full recognition. Content is shared with our email subscriber list, on Facebook, & Twitter. Please email media@blackowned365.com if interested.

  • Please email info@blackowned365.com to run premium ads on our website. 
    • We will only sell the above-the-fold placements which are the highest performing (728×90 and 300×250 ad size images). 
    • Please forward your image and click-through link with the dates that you want for the image to run (30 days only) and we will send an invoice. 
  • Reporting: We will also send a report at the end of the 30 day run period. 

What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs?

  My advice is always to never give up.

  There may be days when you feel like quitting!

  Distance yourself from nonsupportive friends and family (they can be unknowingly toxic). Find a circle of people that are invested in seeing you win!

   At times people will give you recycled advice while never even successfully running a legally approved business.

  Often Black business owners are dealt a crappy hand. All of the criticism with limited fiscal support/working capital/access to grants, toxically positive “boss up” rhetoric, and others simply looking to benefit from your creativity.

  Regardless of how excited/inspired you are or feel, never vocally express an idea that isn’t patented or trademarked/wordmark.

  Be wary of people who say they want to help mentor you but ask you tons of questions about how you operate your business without directing you to tangible resources.

  Check YouTube (I know shocking) for upcoming grants. I found 10 grants ranging from $10K – $50K this way.

  Never take out more loans than you are able to pay back with ease because it will burn through your income/savings.

  Ironically, total strangers are often very supportive and will be among the first to support your business financially.

  By leaning into government resources I have received free training, coaching, grants, and free pro-level QuickBooks subscriptions. 

  Never forget that your tax dollars are paying into these local government small business resources. Join your local chamber of commerce. Contact your state/city business solutions center and tap into every resource! 

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CEO/Founder of Pretty Women Hustle Magazine
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