Members of the Columbus community looking to spice up their wardrobe, touch up their nails or window shop from local businesses can find it all at the Black Market Tour.
The free pop-up event aims to showcase examples of Black excellence. It will consist of nine local Black-owned businesses, taking place July 17 from 1-4 p.m. in the Great Hall at the Ohio Union.
Nkem Osudoh, the pop-up’s coordinator and a fifth-year in economics, said she wanted to host the event to provide a platform for Black creatives and business owners, paying back the support she received when she opened her business, Nail Empire. She said she also has a passion for event planning.
“I wanted to showcase not only my own entrepreneurship but others as well,” Osudoh said. “A lot of other people that I met here have their own businesses and their own brands that they wanted to showcase, so I wanted to create an event to showcase Black excellence in the community.”
Attending businesses include Fountanke, Unbreak My Art LLC, Geeaarred Up, KraftedbyKie, Legacy Growth, Shadows With Haja, Cremé Designer, Nail Empire and Heuristic Decor.
Kieran Duhl, a 2020 Ohio State alumnus and owner of KraftedbyKie, will sell their whimsical handmade clay jewelry at the event. Duhl said they were drawn to attend by the event’s premise: a Black-centered pop-up in the heart of the Ohio State community.
“[Osudoh] came to shoot some promo at one of my markets, which was really cool,” Duhl said. “I’m excited for this event, particularly because it’s at the Ohio Union, so it’s going to be full of peers of mine, college age kids and Black people.”
Duhl said they have seen consistent growth of their small business. They said one of the driving factors is the support they receive from Columbus community staples, such as the Columbus Museum of Art, which displayed their earrings in its gift shop.
“The way that things have been growing, I’ve been totally overwhelmed with the support that people have given me just because I’m a Black creative,” Duhl said. “I feel like the people that I align myself with and the people that really support me, they’re willing to support the Black community, which is really great.”
One of the most important aspects of the event is to show support for Black entrepreneurs, Osudoh said. She said she felt supported by those in her community when she decided to go to cosmetology school and start Nail Empire, and she aims to show that same support to the businesses showcased.
“The most important thing with planning events, especially within the Black community, is leaning on each other and words of encouragement,” Osudoh said. “The biggest thing is the voices that are speaking life into you.”