Check On It
Walmart Supports “She Did That.” & Ramps Up Supplier Inclusion Initiatives
You’ve given birth to your brand, implemented a PR and marketing plan, launched an online store, and hit all of your sales projections. You could stop here, but as a certified goal digger, you know it’s time to take your company to the next level. For you, the next level is all about retail partnerships. But where do you start? How do you prevent your products from getting lost in the mass retail shuffle? Do big box stores even care about independent brands like yours? When it comes to Walmart, the answer is yes, they absolutely do care. So much that they’ve implemented an inclusion initiative to bridge the gap between the big box retailer and small, women-owned businesses like yours.
If you follow me on Instagram (@inhershoesblog), you know that I hosted a sneak peek of my new documentary, “She Did That.” during ESSENCE Festival. What an amazing time! Sponsored by Walmart, the viewing was immediately followed by a talk back featuring yours truly + “She Did That.” subjects Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter and Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar.
We talked candidly about our entrepreneurial journeys, the power of positive retail partnerships, and Lisa shared some insight on her experience as a Walmart vendor. Brand representative Michael Byron was on hand to discuss the work he’s doing in the community to identify small businesses that belong on walmart.com or placed on the retailer’s highly coveted shelves.
(L-R) Renae Bluitt of “She Did That.” and In Her Shoes & Michael Byron of Walmart
“Supplier Inclusion is important to Walmart because it promotes innovation through the entrance of new products, services, and solutions. It allows our company to take advantage of new opportunities for business expansion with the development of new customer needs, and because of the diverse customers that shop our stores, clubs and online,” said Michael Byron, Walmart’s Senior Director, Supplier Diversity.
(L-R) Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter, Renae Bluitt of “She Did That.” & In Her Shoes, Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar, and Michael Byron of Walmart
“She Did That.” screening guests
Flat Out of Heels at Walmart’s ESSENCE Festival Marketplace
Michael’s commitment to diversifying Walmart’s vendor portfolio is unmatched. While doing some extensive research in 2016, he learned about my blog through a Google search for “Black women entrepreneurs.” He was “hitting the pavement” via the world wide web to identify Black women-owned businesses to consider for potential Walmart partnerships. After scouring the site, discovering a plethora of brands launched by Black women, and checking out my “75 Black Women Owned Brands” shopping guide, Michael reached out to introduce himself, tell me about his role at Walmart, and learn more about my work. Over the past eight months we have been in communication regularly to chat about what we’re working on and identify opportunities to collaborate. During this time, Michael has also connected with some of the women featured on my blog to determine their interest in learning about Walmart’s distribution opportunities for women-owned businesses.
My business connection with Michael has been an organic one. He is a Black man from Brooklyn who is genuinely committed to creating mutually beneficial retail opportunities for women-owned businesses. I am a Black woman in Brooklyn who is on a mission to create and increase awareness of women who are building legacies. We have a lot in common when it comes to what we want for our community and continue to search for opportunities for our brands to align and empower women. Stay tuned for future In Her Shoes and Walmart collaborations as the year unfolds. If you’re interested in learning more about Walmart Supplier Diversity initiatives, by all means, click here now!