What is the “Black-Owned Spotlight Series”? The Women’s Business Development Center is proud to celebrate the great business owners we work closely with. As part of our commitment to advocating for and amplifying diverse voices, we launched the WBDC Black-Owned Spotlight Series, where we periodically will highlight the experiences of our Black business owner community.
Meet Pamela Jones: International House of Sauces & Seasonings, Inc., DBA Charboy’s President and CEO, Pamela A. Jones. Charboy’s is a supplier of gourmet condiment sauces and low sodium, low sugar seasonings and you can find their products at all major retail grocery stores, food service facilities, casinos, specialty stores, and online at Amazon. Pamela shared with us why she started her business: “My family suffers from high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. I found that some of these health issues were not only in my community, but global. Many families were battling with these same issues and it’s a national health crisis. I started my business because I was determined to fix this historical pattern among families suffering from these health issues and change American’s health. I wanted to bring healthier food condiments into the world to advert health crisis and also help those threaten by onset diabetes.” Find more on Charboy’s, see their website here: www.charboys.com or follow them on Instagram @Charboyssauces.
We asked: What do you think is the best way that others can support Black-owned businesses?
Pamela shared: I think the best way others can support Black-owned businesses is by purchasing products from Black-owned businesses. Also, it is important to have support through a strong network of Supplier Diversity groups working together to connect Black-owned businesses to real opportunities.
We asked: What has your experience been like when trying to access capital (loans, investments, etc.)? Did you face any systematic barriers?
Pamela shared: When we started our company, it was very difficult to obtain a traditional business loan through any bank. Even with a solid business plan, banks were not willing to take the risk of supporting a start-up company. Our company had a really good experience accessing a small SBA loan through Accion. Our company received previous micro loans through Accion that were paid in full, and it positioned us to apply and receive the small SBA loan.
We asked: What advice would you share with new business owners? What lessons have you learned since growing your business?
Pamela shared: It is important for new business owners to know that it takes hard work, perseverance, and a strong commitment to succeed in your business. There are so many lessons that I have learned since growing my business. It is important to have a solid business infrastructure. This means taking the necessary steps in getting incorporated; identifying your business trademark; building your brand with uniqueness; know what your business represents and commit to it; know your profit and loss (P/L) numbers; know your target audience; and most of all by obtaining your WBE/ and or MBE certifications will ensure you are positioned to do business with major corporations. The process it will take to achieve these certifications is rigorous work that demonstrates a commitment to superior professionalism, upholder of industry standards, and represents a higher credibility status of your company.
Thank you, Pamela, for participating in the “Black-Owned Spotlight Series.” We are proud to have you in our WBE network.