Mark Edmond recalls his wife sending him to the grocery shop to buy some goods. On reaching the bread shelves, he spent close to 30 minutes Googling to know the owners of each bread on the shelves. To his utmost shock, none of the bread brands was Black-owned.
“I left the store frustrated, and immediately hit up my boys to let them know we needed to change this,” he told Travel Noire. Edmond teamed up with Charles Alexander and Jamel Lewis to launch the first Black-Owned sliced bread company called Black Bread Co.
The trio first met in high school. Years down the line, Alexander became a communications professional and professor while Lewis and Edmond are both successful serial entrepreneurs.
More about this
The idea to found Black Bread Co was not driven by profit but the need to diversify the bread industry and have something on the menu that is Black-led. “We face a double stigma. We are not only Black, but we are Black men,” Alexander shared.
“We have had to go into these predominately white rooms, to debunk the myths around Black men and entrepreneurship. We are serious about what we are doing.”
Also, the founders believe that creating this brand is about deepening the consciousness of the Black consumer. They want to allow the Black community to spend in a way that benefits their community and also be intentional about it.
“There is this ‘positive pressure’ on us to operate in excellence,” Lewis said. “Our motto is “come correct” and you will see that in every facet of the business. From marketing, branding, as well as the taste of our breads. We ultimately want Black people to start looking into where they spend their money, and see how it will benefit our communities. Too often we just spend money without being intentional.”
Support for Black Bread Co. has been overwhelming since it was launched, the founders say. Some of the bread lines include high-quality honey wheat and premium white bread. Purchases can be made on their online shop.
They are also looking forward to adding more products such as hot dog and hamburger buns, multi-grain bread and brioche.
“We want people to know that we are regular people who simply worked our normal jobs until we felt like we saved enough to begin this business,” Edmond said. “We aren’t rich, and we don’t come from money. We’re just very dedicated and very disciplined.”
The trio doesn’t want to be the only Black-owned business in the bread industry. They are encouraging others not to hide their ideas but also compete. “Don’t be afraid to compete,” Edmond explained. “We’re capable of building up any product that is on the market, and making it our own.”
“Be patient and don’t rush your ideas,” Alexander said. “We took our time over this last year almost, to really make sure we had this together, before we went public with it. Also, be careful who you share your ideas with, and make sure you truly trust the people you go into business with because it is a risk.”