There have been a number of events at the University this month to celebrate Black History Month. One of these events occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 17 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Usdan. “BHM: Black Business Day” was a joint effort to promote black businesses at the University and beyond.
Katherine Puntiel ’19 sold ThriftKit Clothing, while Malcolm Phillips ’19 sold comic books and t-shirts. Sadasia McCutchen ’17 sold Cocobee Body Natural Products.
Puntiel was inspired to hold the sale when a museum she worked at organized a similar event.
“So it’s Black History Month, [and] this is Black Business Day,” Puntiel said. “What we are doing is promoting black business and [showing] why it’s important to buy black and how representation matters. Basically, it’s celebrating our uniqueness.”
Puntiel initially reached out to McCutchen, who co-founded Cocobee with Camila Recalde ’16. The duo started the all-natural body care company in the summer of 2015.
“Our company, Cocobee, provides healthy alternatives to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics by emphasizing the value of ritualistic practices for skin care,” the Cocobee website reads. “We looked introspectively at our own lives and outwardly at the world and were not satisfied with what we saw, so we decided to take matters into our own hands, literally, to create what has now become Cocobee. We start with our hands and sell only the best products.”
McCutchen said everything at the sale was made by her or Recalde in the kitchen at their house on Home Avenue.
“We make all the products ourselves,” McCutchen said. “[It’s] basically trial and error until we’re comfortable with the products. We will try it, we will try each other’s products, and then our families will try it. Then we’re like okay, this is good to give out to people.”
McCutchen’s company wanted to be a part of Black Business Day for a number of reasons.
“I think it’s definitely a good way to give back to the community and people of color,” McCutchen said. “Also it’s cool to [be] sitting here and saying, ‘Hell yeah, there are black students on campus, people of color on campus who are having companies, killing it, and helping their community.’ Also it’s just a cool deal to be able to sit here and promote [Cocobee].”
According to Puntiel, the event hosted on Tuesday was more than a sale, it was also a celebration.
“This has been a very successful event, it’s been very successful today,” Puntiel said. “We’re very excited. Black Business Day is [about] supporting blackness, love, and celebration.”