Black and brown entrepreneurs regularly deal with inequities that make access to capital and other business resources harder.
As the pandemic forced even more businesses online, small business owners of color without tech skills themselves or access to them couldn’t as easily overhaul their website or pivot to online offerings. But two local founders are aiming to change that.
Everyday Web founders Dan Jacob and Mario Saint-Fleur launched the digital agency earlier this year after noticing how many businesses of color were impacted by this rapid online shift. Many small businesses did not have a digital infrastructure to support e-commerce, which put their sustainability at risk, they said.
“Simply put, if you don’t have an online presence, your business probably won’t last too long,” Jacob told Technical.ly. “The problem is digital marketing agencies typically charge north of $10,000 for websites, ecommerce stores and more. With new technologies like Webflow and improved processes, we’re creating websites, ecommerce stores, and more at a fraction of the cost. This helps small business owners get access to high-quality services that grow their business online.”
Everyday Web’s tech stack is comprised of tools that other digital agencies use like WordPress, Webflow and Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, Wix “and good old fashioned custom code.” They also give clients the ability to connect multiple platforms — ecommerce sites, Instagram pages and Shopify storefronts — for more seamless ways to grow their business and make sales. Services start around $300 for basic social media marketing, and run a few thousand dollars for custom sites and ecommerce platforms.
Jacob and Saint-Fleur worked as freelance web designers before meeting at a University City Science Center’s Venture Cafe event. The pair became fast friends over common interests, and realized as freelancers, they both experienced difficulties explaining the costs of their services to clients and managing those relationships. Building an agency together felt like a natural decision that would allow them to provide services at more flexible rates, they said.
And as founders of color, the pair felt a unique connection to its user base. They didnt see anyone in the digital marketing space that looked like them, and figured no one was building for them.
“We knew that most people in our communities are unable to access high-quality digital services or don’t see the value in investing in their digital presence,” Jacob said. “We believe there’s a major disconnect between digital marketing agencies and small businesses.”
Eventually, Jacob said he plans for Everyday Web to be the primary digital marketing service for entrepreneurs of color in Philadelphia and around the world. As the platform develops further, users will be able to order a website or an ecommerce store and add specific digital resources, like booking or reservation tools. There’s flexibility to add new integrations and tools as they further build their online presence, the founders said.
“We’re not just building websites, we’re helping our clients realize that the web is a powerful place to grow your business,” Jacob said.
Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-