The mother-daughter duo behind Downtown Disney’s first Black-owned business have started their iconic store specializing in people of color as a tribute to historic struggles. History and Perseverance of Black Businesses in America.
Mother Juana Williams and daughter Blair Paysinger created Post Office 21 as a place they wanted to shop.
The Post 21 premise: A comprehensive marketplace focused on designer apparel, decor, art, jewelry, and beauty products made by Black creators and businesses. Williams and Paysinger’s goal: Turn their favorite products made by Black craftsmen from delightful discoveries into household names – all while filling an untapped consumption gap exploit and support the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.
“Our whole purpose is to promote Black businesses,” said Williams, 59, the store’s head of sales. “We are bringing together all the Black businesses that we do business with us so they have a chance with Disney too.”
“It’s just a unique story,” said Robert Clune, Downtown Disney property manager. “Their story is one of the things that drew us to them.”
Post 21 takes its name from the tragic history of Black Wall Street in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The massacre of the Tulsa race on May 31, 1921 by an angry white mob destroyed a thriving business district known as Black Wall Street. According to the AP news agency.
Williams and Paysinger view June 1, 1921 and every day since the Tulsa Racing Massacre as Post-1921. The Post 21 Store stands on the shoulders of the creative entrepreneurs of Black Wall Street and seeks to continue their legacy. and build on it, according to the store’s co-founders.
It’s no coincidence that Post 21 opened its online store on June 1, 2020 – 99 years on from the day Black Wall was ravaged and the struggles and victories that followed.
It’s also no coincidence that Post 21 opened a kiosk in Downtown Disney across from the 40,000-square-foot World of Disney store just over a year later on Black Friday.
“We thought we would just do a website, start slowly, learn the business and then grow,” Williams said. “But instead, it exploded and here we are today.”
Paysinger hopes to introduce another meaning to the traditional first day of the Christmas shopping season.
“We wanted to capitalize on holiday shopping and try to change the concept of Black Friday,” said Paysinger, 32, the business’s head of creative. “Most people think of Black Friday as shopping for discounts. We thought it was intentional shopping with Black businesses.”
And the iconography continues as Post 21 returns to Downtown Disney on Tuesday, February 1 – the start of Black History Month – after taking a break in January to re-establish retail after peak season. Christmas.
Williams and Paysinger have long been surrounded by Black entrepreneurs and innovators who place a premium on fostering community.
Williams grew up in the Jefferson Park area of Los Angeles, working in her father’s stores surrounded by key departments of pediatricians, dentists, accountants, attorneys, and bankers. of the community. Her family patronizes the Negro-owned dry cleaners, bakeries, and tacos in the neighborhood.
“My father owned three businesses on a block in Los Angeles – a corner market, a laundromat and a gas station,” says Williams. “He started his own business and then he helped all of his brothers do the same so they could all be financially stable.”
Born in 1924, Williams’ father grew up in Louisiana as one of 12 children. After dropping out of elementary school, he started working at the age of 10 to help support a family selling oysters in New Orleans.
“The fact that he became an entrepreneur and succeeded is amazing to me,” Williams said.
According to Clune, Downtown Disney has been trying to showcase businesses with diverse ownership, management, products, and vendors.
“We are emphasizing the importance of diversity in services in many ways,” said Clune. “What we are trying to do is make sure that the products and services that we present are as diverse as possible.”
In April, Disney added to the previous Four Keys — safety, courtesy, visibility, and efficiency — that were taught to Disneyland actors during Disney Way orientation training.
“The Key to Immersion isn’t just about Disney’s insides and what the cast goes through within the company,” said Clunie. “It also points outward. So it’s about our guests, who we work with and how we want to present ourselves in public. ”
Clunie wants shoppers to see themselves represented in the products and services offered at Downtown Disney and to feel like they belong in the outdoor mall next to Disneyland.
“We definitely see a need for black-owned businesses,” said Clune, who started at Disney more than two decades ago. “We’ve intentionally worked to ensure that our group of businesses and tenants reflect as much as possible the communities we serve and which we are a part of.”
Why has Downtown Disney never had a black-owned business until now?
“What I do is expect,” Clune said. “You have to start and move forward, or you will freeze and take no steps.”
Williams is happy that Downtown Disney finally has its first black-owned business.
“It’s hard to say it’s an honor. I’m so grateful that it happened,” Williams said. “Every time I hear the first Black do something, I think ‘This is crazy.’ How can we still talk about that today? “
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/31/mother-daughter-duo-launch-downtown-disneys-first-black-owned-business/ Mother and daughter duo launch Downtown Disney’s first black business – San Bernardino Sun