Running a Black-owned business during a pandemic

black owned business

Lauren Simone Publishing House is a black-owned, mother and daughter, publishing service. Our goals are: 1. To connect diverse authors and illustrators to create black, brown, and multicultural, diverse, and inclusive children's books for all to enjoy.  2. To provide awareness and access to black, brown, and diverse books, toys, games, and accessories. 3. To collaborate with book clubs, schools, libraries, art galleries, museums, and science centers to host fun and educational activities, events, and programs. 

The pandemic has made it difficult for many small businesses to build brand awareness, network, attend events, etc. Many of us had to get innovative and host our own programs virtually! Look out for news about our 2nd annual summer virtual camp.

"The pandemic closed hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country. But now applications for new U.S. businesses are rising at the fastest rate since 2007. Why? A mix of necessity and opportunity."- Wall Street Journal

Today I'm grateful for the experts, the encouragers, and the entertainers in my life. When I don't know what to do, doubt, fear, or just in need of joy, I always have someone I can call on. I'm applauding those who helped me get through this health and racial pandemic, namely:

Dr. Jada John, the mathematician who helps my daughter with homeschool. She is also a co-founder of Big Apple Arts Leadership AcademyBALAA, Inc. is a youth centered, nonprofit organization located in New York City that provides youth with positive artistic experiences.

Nyandah Robinson, the owner of The Harvesters, created this business to provide a vehicle through which individuals, families and small businesses can improve and achieve financial success. Nyandah Robinson has a wealth of knowledge you can trust. It is with this abundance of experience that The Harvesters will “cultivate your finance”.

Shaneika Kerr, owner of Breakthrough to Entrepreneur, is a business expert who answers my e-commerce questions and encourages me to build and expand Lauren Simone Publishing House. 

Raymone Williams, owner of Tastee Spoon, is my favorite Jamaican caterer based in Atlanta, GA. She catered for my vow renewal. It has been 5 years since and people are still talking about the food!

James Black, poet, author, musician, painter, soccer coach, and owner of retail store 3rd Eye F.C. For my daughter's 13th birthday party, we had a paint party in the backyard with social distance instruction. I will never forget how he made her party special during a pandemic. 

Panamanian born, Taide Argelia Broadbelt developed her sense of style at an early age. Her mother always made sure she had a custom-made dress for church. The excitement and anticipation of getting to wear a beautiful dress, made just for her, was all the motivation needed to get her through a list of chores in exchange for the privilege of being mommy’s muse. She began to understand that quality clothing can transform and transcend your physical and mental state of being.

Tia Woods, owner of It's the Room Fashion, an online fashion brand. 

Yvette Phillips, author of The Tale of Princess Alicia and owner of fashion boutique, PadyMart, which now carries Princess Alicia doll!

My parents, my neighbors, my friends, Matthew (my husband), my children: Alyssa Simone and Olivia Lauren, and sisters: Melanie, Alicia, Alethea, and Rose-Anne whom I correspond with daily. 🥰

During these times, economic support is entirely necessary as people's lives have been affected by loss of jobs, having to work or go to school remotely, and a host of other related issues. I hereby acknowledge other Black-owned businesses that I have personally used, recommend, and currently support.

Book Stores

- Brown Boy Brown Girl (BBBG) notebooks. BBBG is a family-owned multimedia publishing company. We empower and inspire brown boys and brown girls through reading and other empowering products. We bought her notebooks for friends and they all loved them!

- Khamani Harrison is the owner of Hartford-based Key Book StoreThe Key Bookstore is a fully interactive bookstore experience with a main storefront at 1429 Park Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The Key engages readers through curation, activities, subscriptions, events, events, and community engagement. The Key Book Store currently carries Lauren Simone Pubs books!

- The Literacy Shop, owned by Leslie Crawford, seeks to create and promote products that will lead children and youth back to the love of reading. We will strive to offer various products and services to help fight the reading literacy problems many kids are facing. The Literacy Shop is based off the love of reading and writing and will always remain honest and geared towards helping children and youth of all ages.

- The Writery Ink, owned by Vangella Hazle, is a quaint bookstore features local Connecticut authors and national bestsellers.

Cleaning Products

- True Laundry Detergent, a plant-based, safe & effective personal care products.

Food and Beverage

- Perfect Poundcakes is owned by Tamika Mitchell and located in East Hartford, CT. Using her grandmother's secret recipe, she creates pound cakes in the size of a cupcake, known as the Poundcup!

- Sugarspoon Desserts is owned by a Jamaican Minnesota Baker.

Financial Education

- The Budgenista, Tiffany Aliche is a woman dedicated to making life- changing financial education accessible to women worldwide. 

It's my money, Patrina Dixon's mission is to provide financial information to individuals by facilitating workshops, speaking engagements and one on one sessions so our communities can achieve financial freedom.

Hair and Skin Care

- Akoyn Beauty offers a line of organic & vegan-friendly bath & body products for today's busy women. Made for all skin types, get healthy glowing skin today.

- K Cotton Swabs, a Black owned cotton swab

- Koils by Nature Shampoo

black owned skin care products

- Man Up  

man up botanical essentials

Rootuals, owned and operated by Shamecca Davis, is focused on the love for natural hair and scalp care for the entire family.  With safe, high quality ingredients being its foundation, Rootuals is an essential benefit to the community it serves!


- Chair and table rentals: Chris Mason Party Rental

black owned military owned chair and table rentals

- Editing: Likely Write EditingDr. Tamira Butler-Likely is the owner and operator of Likely Write Editing. She has over 15 years of experience editing and proofreading written content including  blogs, essays, urban novels, children's books, and academic and scientific papers. 

- Productivity Coaching: Rose-Anne Uwague dispels myths, disrupts inefficient systems and dismisses old thoughts that no longer serve us. She helps women make impact while maintaining harmony.  

- Massage therapists:

--- Escape Massage and Esthetics Studio

---Hartford Therapeutic Massage and Wellness Center

- Music and DJ

--- Red Square DJ located in Philadelphia, PA serves the tristate area with reggae, soca, and old and new R&B for birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, and other events.

- Real Estate Agent: Orlena Cowan-Bailey

Black Business Directories

- CT Black Business Alliance seeks to act as a primary collaborative entity for local and statewide black and minority businesses to create a culture of mini ecosystems to build self- worth, capacity building and community inclusion.

- Buy from a Black Woman ensures that Black Women have the tools and resources that will allow them to be successful. Through educational programs, an online directory, and funding, Buy from a Black Woman continues to grow as a trusted resource that helps Black Women in business.

- Official Black Wall StreetMandy Bowman is the Founder and CEO of Official Black Wall Street, the largest app and digital platform helping consumers find, review, and support Black-owned businesses.

- Rank Tribe is a new directory service which is now available online to visitors and new suppliers. It boasts endless amounts of new features for customers and suppliers. Your directory items are also controlled entirely by you. We have a members interface where you can log in and change any details, add special promotions, events, articles, deals and much more!

- Shop Black CTa volunteer initiative and not-for-profit website featuring 1,500+ Black-owned businesses ​in Connecticut.

- Shoppe Black is a Philadelphia, PA based company founded by husband and wife team, Tony O. Lawson and Shantrelle P. Lewis.

- We Buy Black has already done the hard work of targeting your customer market. Millions of our supporters are interested in Black owned businesses who make exceptional products.

Thank you for supporting us!


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  • Yvette Phillips on

    This was such an encouraging and well written post. Thank you Dr. Melissa-Sue John. This has really being a trying year indeed. Your blog shows that all we need to do is keep our focus and continue to persevere.

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