For the longest time, black women have been feeling under-represented, and desperately longing for community and support by other women who understand them. Being Black, being an immigrant, and being a woman is a combination of multiplicative oppression.
As of recent times, black women are stepping more and more into their power and serving at their highest level to rebuild Black economic power. These women make up one of the fastest rising groups of leaders in building lifelong legacies where they are redefining power in their own lives as well in those who share the same background.
Charlene Izere is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and founder of 3 businesses: Soulful Systems, an Online Business Management Agency; Wellness Delivered, a self-care and community care organization; and Melanin & Money, a resource hub for Black entrepreneurially minded women.
“The purpose of my business ventures is to build Black economic power. I want to center women’s economic advancement through our content, business practices, and storytelling.”
Charlene wants to leave the world Blacker than when she entered and she wants each of her 3 businesses to reflect that. She is now building a legacy where she can redefine power in her life and in the lives of folks that look like her.
Black women can have it all
Black women who enter the entrepreneurship ecosystem experience little frame of reference. They enter with no financial support system or network behind them. Many are forced to build their own legacy from the ground up, enduring a very lonely and disheartening journey.
“You can have it all” is a common phrase Charlene shares with her clients and community at Soulful Systems. She decided to enter this chaotic industry because she knew that she had so much more potential than an office job could offer; that there was no better boss for her than her.
Charlene started Soulful Systems with the ultimate goal of providing freedom in both money and time for her clients. She wanted to show clients what their lives could look like when they’re not handcuffed to their Slack app or inbox.
While some are under the impression that to enjoy success, we can’t enjoy life – this simply isn’t true. We can have it all and without apology. A year into her business, with a small but mighty team behind her, Charlene was able to scale Soulful Systems to multiple 6 figures in less than 6 months.
Business as a Black woman is a disheartening journey for many
As a Black woman, carving an empire in the entrepreneurial streets can be deeply disheartening. Many have shared personal experiences of how they feel underrepresented, and long for community and support by women who get it.
Charlene experienced first-hand the crippling doubt that plagued her self-worth as a business owner, while ultimately creped into her business decisions. When she first started fitness coaching, instead of her pricing reflecting the years of experience she accrued hustling and scaling others dreams, her pricing reflected the inadequacy and imposter syndrome that is ingrained in BIPOC women when they enter the ecosystem.
This is the reason why Charlene founded Melanin & Money. To provide Black Women with the tools and resources they need to grow their network and net-worth with community and support. “It is a defiant expression of self love for Black women. I want us to start thinking critically about generational wealth and funneling money and resources back into our own community.”
Money and power are now being brought back into the hands of black business women
According to a Nielsen report, Black purchasing power is estimated to reach 1.5 trillion by 2021.
In line with this estimation, Black people will become the largest racial minority consumers in the United States. This group continues to define mainstream culture and consumer trends.
However many goods purchased by Black folks are not produced by Black folks. And too often Black ingenuity is extracted from Black communities. A reality all too familiar for Black women, as they see their businesses devastated by astronomical economic obstacles.
This is why consumer movements like Blackout Tuesday (this summer) and Black August were critical. As we are reimagining a better America, so too are we reimagining a better Black economy. One that cripples the racial wealth gap and channels resources back into our Black neighborhoods.
One of Charlene’s thriving ventures Soulful Systems, an Online Business Management agency aims to cripple this racial wealth gap. Their mission is to deliver an excellent client experience.
As Charlene scaled the business to multiple 6 figures in less than 6 months, she shares “the momentum allowed me to re-invest in my specific initiatives and programming for Black women, beta launching a digital marketplace for black goods & services; an impact fund for BIWOC entrepreneurs; and virtual forums for our Melanin and Money community.”
Charlene is one of the fasting rising leaders who are committed to building empires led by Black women. She considers herself a Black Luxe Creator and she carries this ethos into all of her business ventures.
“That looks like normalizing luxury and power in our lives. That looks like reframing conversations around money to conversations about wealth. That looks like designing power systems that center Black folks.”