American Express reports that Black women are starting businesses at the fastest pace of any racial group, and local high school teacher Kirsten Geter is helping make that a reality for more women.
Geter is currently launching Fillenoir Life, a marketplace she said, “is for women of color to find quality products and services while simultaneously giving Black businesses a platform to market themselves to their primary audience.”
Geter has been teaching at East Coweta High School for 19 years.
“Fillenoir Life translates as black girl life,” Geter said. “Basically think of it as a digital mall where several businesses of all types offer their services and products in one location.”
According to the 2019 annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express, since 2007, the number of firms owned by African American women has grown by 164 percent. Geter is among that percentage. She said the idea first started as a blog, and she still continues the blog under her motivational speaking Facebook page.
“And it grew into an idea for me to sell items to my readers,” Geter said. “ However, my partner, Rommel Saint-Preux, had a bigger idea of instead creating a format where the readers could find all their lifestyle needs in one place.”
Geter said it is important for her to support Black-owned businesses.
“Often these are small local businesses who get lost in the masses,” Geter said. “Secondly, it focuses on items that are created for the skin, hair, bodies and interests of Black women.”
Geter said the online shopping mall also offers marketing for vendors but is making the cost more affordable for them. Geter said she wants to create more opportunities for Black businesses.
“This directly impacts our economic power,” she said. “It is estimated that by 2021, Black consumers’ buying power will be $1.5 trillion, yet currently we only spend about two percent with Black businesses. That is a lot of economic power and change we could impact. My goal is to move that percentage and in doing so, change our economic and political power.”
According to www.neilsen.com , a provider of market research and analyses of media and viewer interactions, the “for us by us” trend of Black-owned brands is profoundly impacting the African American path to purchase and consumer marketplace. Black consumers support brands that align with their lifestyles and values.
African Americans also dominate the ethnic hair and beauty aids category, accounting for almost 90 percent of the overall money spent. According to Nielsen, 42 percent of Black adults expect brands they purchase to support social causes, which is 16 percent higher than the total population.
Geter is also making her business endeavor a family business. Her daughter, Jasmine Geter, assists with the company’s advertising and social media management.
“She is utilizing her studies in mass communications and media,” Geter said. “I love working with her. She helps with candle making, and I help her with her beauty storefront on the site.”
Geter encourages all women of color and entrepreneurs to dream big.
“Dream so big it scares you, then get busy to make it happen,” she said.