Blac Market MKE showcases growing, new entrepreneurs

A one-of-a-kind shopping event Saturday, Feb. 25 highlighted growing Black business owners in Milwaukee while also shining a light on those just getting started.

"It really helps when we all come together, said Meaghan Bertram, co-founder of Blac Market MKE.

A mix of vendors gathered inside Nō Studios in the city's Historic Brewery District to take part in the shopping event.

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"We thought it was a great idea to host a market during Black History Month that was primarily focused on Black local creatives and bringing us together to celebrate each other," said Bertram, who also owns Refresh Curated Goods.

Blac Market MKE co-founders Betram and Simuel Wilburn said they wanted to provide a platform for established Black business owners and newer entrepreneurs to showcase their products.

Blac Market MKE

"With social media, the pandemic, PayPal, Cash App, there are so many ways to be your own boss now," said Wilburn, owner of Jungle Gems.

Betram and Wilburn said you can't always count on social media to advertise your products. It's why they said it's important to bring events like this to the community.

"You know everything is algorithm based now, so if it’s not in your algorithm you may never know certain things exist," said Wilburn.

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"I personally have a hard time finding not only markets to do this type of work, but also the right mix of crowd," said Annia Leonard, who owns Enchanted Werk.

The market has it all. Items on sale range from books to food to art.

"There's some fantastic oil and acrylic paintings in there as well," Bertram said.

"Anything I can do to reduce waste, I am all for it," Leonard said. "I’m wearing one right now, a soda tap necklace."

The market not only showcases a growing business community, but also the importance of shopping local. 

"It really helps us to fuel our own economies around our local neighborhoods," said Bertram.

Blac Market MKE is not a one-time event. The co-founders want do it again in a few months. You can keep track of their work and planning on social media.