Start:ME Spotlight:

Black & Bilingual

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Entrepreneur

Erica Baker

Community

Southside

What the business does

Apparel for men, women, and children that showcases the multilingual diversity of the Black Diaspora

What does being Black and Bilingual mean to you?

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"Being Black & Bilingual is truly a lifestyle and a statement"

To me, being Black & Bilingual is truly a lifestyle. Spanish is not my native language, so I have to constantly practice and speak it on a daily basis. I have been studying Spanish for 15 years, and I still listen to videos, do workbooks, and so on. Black & Bilingual is also a statement. Language is a hidden aspect of someone's personality, and only comes out when necessary. I am a Black girl from Georgia that can and will Spanish at any given moment. When I speak Spanish in public, I often get crazy looks like "what's going on?" or "wow, that was surprising". I wanted to create something that gave language a face, especially in the Black community, so I founded Black & Billingual.

You're also a teacher at Purpose Built Schools Atlanta - Carver STEAM Academy. How does your experience as a teacher influence your business?

"I want to use my platform to educate the masses on language and the cultural ties of the African Diaspora worldwide"

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As a teacher in this business, I want to use my platform to educate the masses on language and the cultural ties of the African Diaspora worldwide. The African Diaspora refers to the population of Black people living outside of the continent of Africa. There are so many similarities and differences between us and the Motherland, so being a teacher, I use my business to reveal ties between the two. Additionally, I encourage others to share their culture(s) and/or expand themselves by learning a new language.

At a recent session, you mentioned how your product landed someone a job, can you explain that whole story?

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"He was wearing a Black & Bilingual Hoodie and was offered a job on the spot"

One of my beloved customers, Larry from Virginia, recently ordered four of my products for Christmas. One of those products was our Classic Black & Bilingual Hoodie. Larry speaks Portuguese. He was in a store in Virginia, and a man approached him about his hoodie and what language he speaks. The man told Larry he was a CEO and he needed a Portuguese speaker in his company. He called the hiring manager, and Larry was interviewed and offered a job on the spot. Larry declined the offer for personal reasons, but he was thrilled by the entire experience. He has been speaking about Black & Bilingual to his networks, and he is one of our favorite customers!

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