Sweethearts Turned Founders Launch Online Platform To Diversify The Event Planning Industry
If you’re on the hunt for a minority-owned business in the events space, the vetting process just got easier, thanks to ourBLOC.com.
Sweethearts Lola McClaney and Richard McClaney recognized an apparent disparity when they hunted for Black vendors for their wedding. The couple searched through countless Instagram hashtags and filtered through various profiles of businesses to ensure it was minority-owned.
The process sparked the question between the couple, “Why isn’t there a platform that caters to this audience?” At this moment, the soon-to-be bride and groom knew it was time to create a solution that would diversify the event planning space.
“Coming from the industry and going from being a vendor to a client, I have seen many disparities. It was important to create a platform for Black and minority-owned businesses for folks who look like us. We think it is important because that’s how you build community,” Lola McClaney told AfroTech exclusively.
The move proved to be timely, as many minority businesses were experiencing the hardships of navigating the pandemic. Now, more than ever, the outpouring of resources and opportunity would be a crucial asset to keep businesses afloat.
As restrictions started to lift in 2021, businesses saw an uptick in their demand. A research study shows wedding and spending habits will continue to rise, and by 2023, the market may return to normalcy. Lola and Richard want to make sure the increase in demand will land revenue directly into the pockets of Black and minority vendors who are often overlooked.
“We started this business in the middle of the pandemic, which has affected Black and brown businesses at a higher rate than our white counterparts. The event industry was hit hard and created even more disparity for Black and minority visibility within the event space as it relates to opportunities,” Richard McClaney told AfroTech.
There Is Space For Every Business
Honoring ourBLOC’s mission, the McClaney’s wanted to ensure businesses with a lower financial commitment, or those just getting started, could still have an opportunity to build without the burden of cost. The new online platform will offer two subscription models catering to businesses in all stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
The free basic subscription will allow vendors to create a profile, upload two videos and five photos. In addition, vendors will have the ability to message clients. The premium subscription will hold the same offerings from its introductory package but start at $60 per month.
The robust model will allow vendors to have greater freedom to upload up to five videos, upload unlimited photos, direct clients to various social outlets through internal links, and have priority listing for clients’ searches. In addition, the subscription model will provide website analytics weekly to vendors so they can account for traffic and track performance.
Vendors Can Apply Now & Enjoy Premium Plan For FreeourBLOC.com currently houses 60 vendors located in the Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta markets, and the company hopes to reach the additional market in the future.
Vendors can now apply to join ourBloc’s community and enjoy a complimentary one-month free trial of the premium subscription.
ourBLOC.com will officially launch on Feb. 1, 2022.