Speaking exclusively with Kinyatta E. Gray, travel and fashion influencer and founder of the Noire Business Directory. Her mission was to support, provide access to, and more shopping opportunities for businesses worldwide. The directory is comprised of diverse businesses and organizations that are owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and also supporters. The Directory is for Women-Owned Businesses and for those to be able to shop locally and support those businesses.
What was the spark that led you to launch The Noire LGBTQ Business Directory?
As an entrepreneur, you know I know how tough it can be to run a small business, and attracting customers and making sales is a constant struggle. But it’s even more challenging for small businesses because the odds are stacked against them as they struggle to compete with more prominent brands and businesses and stay afloat. Therefore, I launched the Noire LGBTQ Business Directory to help small businesses connect with people who want to support them.
How did your life experiences play a part in the creation of the directory?
I created this space for other small business owners who are members of the LGBTQ community or are LGBTQ-friendly businesses and organizations. I am a business owner who’s also an LGBTQ member. As of 2021, there were 3.12 million black-owned businesses. Many of those businesses are owned by women who are also part of the LGBTQ community; that’s who we’d like to attract to our directory.
How is this directory different from others that have been released?
Our focus has been on adding value to our directory for our members. Currently, we offer three different packages to suit any budget. Our most popular package aims to increase the visibility of our business owners by inviting our members to live Instagram interviews for product demonstrations and to talk about their business. Further, we submit business owners’ information (with their permission) to national press outlets for an opportunity to be featured in a national publication.
What were your biggest challenges along the way?
The biggest challenge was deciding the best way to market our directory to gain members/users and gain credibility and authority as a premier business directory.
What can we expect from you in the future?
To continue to add value to the Noire LGBTQ Business Directory for our members with professional development opportunities for small business owners in marketing, branding, pitching, public relations, time management, business finance and self-care.