by Maria Lloyd
Unfortunately, it’s not often that you meet Black men and women who have positive things to say about their fathers. This is why I was thrilled to interview Andre C. Hatchett, a vibrant entrepreneur in NYC, whose father’s words of wisdom drove him to the path of entrepreneurship.
During our interview, Andre shares jewels of information with me about why it’s important to be a Black entrepreneur and why it’s even more important for African-Americans to support Black-owned businesses. His passion promoting the growth and support of Black-owned businesses led him to create BuyBlackNYC.com, a website that focuses on promoting Black-owned businesses in NYC. The next time you’re visiting the “Big Apple,” you may want to check out Andre’s website and support the businesses listed.
Find out more about BuyBlackNYC.com, Andre C. Hatchett, and the life-changing words his father shared with him below:
Who and/or what inspired you t
It’s my earthly mission! How do I know? At 5 years-old I sold lemonade. At seven years-old my brother DeVaughn and I started to shovel driveways when it snowed. At 10 years-old, I sold candy at school. I even found a way to reduce the cost while doing so. I would buy several packs for 50 cents and sell them for $1 at school. I then recruited a childhood friend Matt and grew the empire. We started to buy boxes of candy. By buying boxes, we received extra packs for free which made our profits even higher! Basic economic principles and the willingness to create opportunities for myself seemed to come innately.
What urged me to continue my entrepreneur endeavors was a conversation I had with my father. He said “If you go to school with someone, you should never have to work for them.” These words always stuck with me. If you’re in the same classroom with someone then they are your equal. They should never be your boss. You should either partner with them, or have them work for you. But you shouldn’t have to work for them, and I haven’t.
What’s the significance of being a Black-business owner?
Freedom. Freedom. Freedom!!! I hate taking orders from people. Guidance… great, Advice… I’m all ears, Constructive criticism… I’m all in. But when you’re not your own boss people feel they can talk down to you, and I hate it! Given this country’s history of slavery and taking orders from white people, I decided that I don’t want to make myself subject to that. Some would call me a runaway slave, or a field negro… Or you can call me the most determined Business owner you know. I feel that I am a trend setter for my friends. I’m showing them that you can and should own where you live and where you work! And you can do so in your 20’s, with or without having advanced degrees.
Another important aspect of being a black business owner for me is providing an outlet to buy black. It is impossible to support black businesses if they do not exist. I don’t only encourage people to buy black owned, I challenge them to be black owned. There is a sense of pride and an invaluable benefit afforded not only to you, but to the black community as a whole. By being a living example of what some call “the American dream”, it reminds us that we are eligible and that it is attainable.
What do you say to Black people who are not interested in patronizing Black-owned businesses due to bad customer service, inflated pricing for goods/services, and/or limited product/service selections?
I say to them (often) “So you would rather give your money to people who hate you and laugh at you?” This statement really p*sses me off. It’s a myth that isn’t true! To a certain degree, we are expecting bad service from our own people. There are some places that offer a subpar experience to patrons of the same race. My brother calls it, Black comfort, they feel you’re Black so they don’t have try as hard to make the customer happy. Here’s what I do, if I’m not happy, I tell the owner or manger why. It usually works. You can receive poor service anywhere, and chances are you have. I think that at times we can be more critical of each other than other groups. I also think that we are quicker to withhold our buying power from ourselves than other groups. I urge people to be patient and offer criticism when due, but don’t give up on supporting black businesses. As far as pricing and selection is concerned people should understand that it is less about the color of the business and more about the size. Smaller businesses often have higher costs. Yes, you can find the same product at a big name store for less, but I would rather pay a slightly higher price to support my Brothers and sisters.
What advice can you offer Black men and women who aspire to be business owners?
It’s worth it!! I could talk about this one for hours! But the first step is believe in yourself!! If you don’t, that’s fine. Find other Blacks who believe in themselves and understand that it will rub off on you! Read Dr. Dennis Kimbro’s books, The Wealth Choice and his adaptation of Think & Grow Rich. Another must read is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. You have to work harder than you‘ve ever done before, not less. 24/7 isn’t enough, if you aren’t willing to work 25/8 it may not be for you. If you love the business you’re in or about to get into, great! A strong like will work as well. If you hate working for other people, that should be enough to get you through it. You are an average of your five closest friends. This is huge! You need to get close to some crazy business owners who have already made it or are working on it night and day. Most 9-5ers won’t get it, and that is fine. Be around motivated people and learn. If you need a pep talk, call me!! Don’t give up…Up your give!!
What kinds of businesses are advertised on your website?
Every kind you can and can’t think of, we welcome all types of businesses. As a directory, our goal is to cover the entire spectrum of black businesses. At BuyBlackNYC.com we want it to be easy for businesses to advertise their services. On average our dollar leaves the community immediately, meaning we get paid and give our money to a person of another race. In the Jewish community the dollar circulates an average of 14 times before leaving that community. We are here to assist in getting us to that point and beyond. BuyBlackNYC.com also has a section called Growth. Here is where we only write positive stories about our people. We show you how to own where you live, and how to own where you work, and how to own where others live and work. We also show you how to invest in the Stock market and how to save for retirement. Overall, it is comprised of motivating stories on what we are doing right!
How can people stay abreast of what you’re doing?
Things are really taking off! I hope all of you will help us grow BuyBlackNYC.com (hats and tee—shirts are for sale). This April I am also launching BlackMenDoingIT.com. This website is designed to highlight Black men who are doing well, not just through sports or rapping. While, I enjoy both sports and rap music, I feel that we need to balance the images of successful black men. I want to present attainable and sustainable examples of success. We need to highlight the leaders. The everyday Black Men who have made it.
Also, if you’re in need of a Business consultant and an inspirational speaker please contact me at Info@UpYourGive.com or Info@AndreCHatchett.com. If I can help anyone in the community who is serious about advancement in any way I would love to, I can be reached at 914-325-4039.