Young Philly Entrepreneur Creates “BLACK MALL”
“Black-owned businesses don’t make it because they lack the tools to thrive”
“Black-owned businesses aren’t impacting our communities”
“Black-owned businesses feud more than grind together”
“Black Mall” is an event that puts all of these comments to rest and wakes up the world by striving for community, capital, and color.
Allow me to introduce the creator of “Black Mall”, Desmond Nolan, @dezthedesigner on Instagram.
Desmond is from Southwest Philadelphia, born and raised. If you thought to sing that like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air intro, you aren’t the only one.
Desmond is a fresh prince. However, by no means was it easy for this young designer to reach his Bel-Air.
It all started at the tender age of 15, a time in his life where while other kids were into gaming, 2004’s greatest music or any TV influence, Desmond was drawing for fun. Airbrushed T-shirts were just his “thing” until a lady crossed his path wanting to buy one, and he had never sold one or thought about it on that level.
Life sometimes doesn’t even give you lemons, water or sugar. Sometimes we get a pitcher, and no directions on how to make the lemonade.
@dezthedesigner openly shared with me his shortcomings, wake-up calls and stresses on his rise to being a designer, painter, fashion eye and artist. At 19-years-old, his beautiful daughter was born, giving him more of an insight of what he had to do to keep pushing for her, for his family, mother, aunt and grandfather. He had both, a legacy to live out and to start.
By 21-years-old, this world of “eat or be eaten” all made sense to Desmond and he took his gift more seriously. He kept faith enough to quit a job and jump fully into his dreams and passions in art. He hosted countless art shows and events to get his work out there and now, at 28-years-old, he’s really done it.
He’s created “Black Mall”, which is now on its second edition event this week. It is the spot for 30 selected black-owned businesses to show their stuff, network and build! It’s simple. You come, enjoy live performers, shop, talk and support black businesses all in one venue.
Just scrolling through the EventBrite app for Philadelphia, PA events, “Black Mall” struck me. What is this? What does that mean? After a while of trying to answer that on my own, contacting the creator sounded better.
So, I got the chance to sit down and chat with the 28-year-old black artist about it all. He gave the full scoop on what is “Black Mall” and its effect on he and his community.
@mishioncomplete: So, “Black Mall” is on its second edition, meaning event. How was the first one and what prompted you to say, “I want to do it again”?
@dezthedesigner: The first Black Mall was very successful. Over 200 people came out to attend. I had to have another Black Mall because everyone networked, enjoyed themselves, and the vendors made money plus more.
@mishioncomplete: What are you expecting to be different in the second event than the first?
@dezthedesigner: I’m bringing my community great service and positivity. I’m bringing people together. The county needs this. Matter of fact, this is worldwide. I want to reach everyone.
@mishioncomplete: You told me that at the age of 15, you started drawing, 19, had a daughter, countless jobs, and had the passion of designing all along. But, at 21…it REALLY hit you and you acted on it. You wanted to take it seriously. You’re 28-years-old now. Give that 21-year-old version of you advice by also giving advice to someone just starting out on their black business?
@dezthedesigner: Advice I would give that 21-year-old is, make sure that you believe in yourself 110% and networking is most important. Also, make sure you stay focused especially being young. It’s ok to be normal and have fun (party and be social) but always remember work comes FIRST! Make sure you secure the bag and hustle before you turn up!
This was a moving interview more than what typed words may reveal. Allow me to throw this in for free to those out there seeking their own.
GO FOR IT. Degree or no degree. Time or no time. Job or no job. Have faith and go for your dreams. It will take patience. It won’t be overnight, but, in the end…it is worth it.
As said before, we don’t always get the lemons, sugar or water to make lemonade. Sometimes we are just given the pitcher. The pitcher is foundation. It is what all the other ingredients go into. Without it, the ingredients would spill over or leak through, leaving you to start right back at square one.
Create the foundation and the pouring of mentors, opportunity, stability and success will meet you at the pitcher’s handle.
Desmond Nolan is a young man with the plan and he’s not done yet!
The second edition “Black Mall” event is going down Thursday, August 17th. For your convenience, the flyer is posted below. Hope to see you there!