As an entrepreneur and a woman of color, this past year and a half has been a wild ride. While COVID-19 and the growing awareness of systemic racism cast a dark cloud over our lives, I was simultaneously supported by my community like never before. I must admit, it was hard for me to reach out for help at first. But when I did, the floodgates burst open and I was met with more compassion, understanding and enthusiasm than I ever imagined. It was this support - from my customers, our local and federal governments, and community organizations like Cambridge Local First - that enabled me to keep Nüssli118° open. They helped me to continue following my passion, even in the midst of these incredibly challenging times.
All that's to say, celebrating Black Business Month feels different this year. It means more to me than just a tick on the calendar or a few token Instagram posts. For so long, I believed I was at a disadvantage being an entrepreneur and a woman of color. I took for granted that it would be just a little bit harder for me to make my dreams a reality, because "that's just how the world is." How wrong I was! I know the playing field isn't quite level yet. But a curtain has been drawn and the world is beginning to see everything - the bad and the good. Change happens through awareness, and I have been given so much hope. I feel so fortunate and proud to be doing what I do now. This community that I've embraced over the last year, strong and resilient women of color in business, has shown me that together we can do anything.
Joining local groups like Women of Color Entrepreneurs and Cultivate Small Business has given me the tools necessary to pivot and hone my business skills. Through hard work and joyful networking, I've made important connections and discovered all kinds of exciting new opportunities. Not to mention the wonderful media coverage Nüssli118° has received from The Boston Globe, Black Owned Bos., and NESN's Dining Playbook! This exciting recognition has been so rewarding, and has brought in new customers from far and wide.
Celebrating National Black Business Month is as much about looking forward as it is about seeing how far we've come. I'm very excited to do just that, as I plan future collaborations with other entrepreneurs of color, experiment with new products to delight my growing customer base, and continue to network in this beautiful community I've found. This month I'll be participating in the Cambridge Community Development sponsored Second Thursday in Inman Square. I'll also be featured in the Cambridge Local First and Cambridge Somerville Black Business Network event Passport to Cambridge Black Owned Businesses. Each are examples of how cities like Cambridge, Somerville and Boston are rallying around their people and encouraging us all to support each other. And that's exactly what National Black Business Month means to me.