Success Story June 08, 2022 at 11:30 am

How this entrepreneur turned $1500 Black history flashcards into a $2M business

Abu Mubarik June 08, 2022 at 11:30 am

June 08, 2022 at 11:30 am | Success Story

Freddie Taylor. Photo: Linkedin

Freddie Taylor is a Black history educator and the founder of Urban Intellectuals, an education and learning company. He started his company as a result of misinformation about Black history.

His father raised him with a strong interest in history and culture. However, when he got to college in 1994, he was astonished at how many studies didn’t include the history and culture of Black people. He desperately wanted to do something about it and he saw his days in college as the best time to do so. Taylor went to his college’s library and printed out profiles of prominent figures in Black history.

“I sold Black history profiles on campus for a quarter to recoup my printing costs,” he told Time. “I just wanted to get more information about Black history out there.” 

Following that, Taylor tried various innovative ideas to educate people about black history including building groups on Yahoo. And to teach his children about black history, he created Black history flashcards for them and turned that into a business idea.

In 2017, he found a manufacturer in China and invested $1,500 for an initial order of 500 decks.

“In our [Black] community, we tend to want to do everything on our own,” he said. “I needed to humble myself and reach out for help to create and launch the flashcards. I modelled the flashcards after a standard deck of cards—52 cards in each series. Then I hired a graphic designer on Fiverr and an illustrator on Upwork. The flashcards featured a picture on the front and bullet points of Black history information on the back.”

His Black history flashcards idea became an instant hit. The flashcards he ordered were sold out in a few days. “I was shocked,” he recalled. He then ordered 2,000 more decks, which also soon sold out.

Taylor didn’t stop there. He went on to order 10,000 more which also sold out. So far, he has sold more than 300,000 cards. Urban Intellectuals fueled by the Black history flashcards now has grown into a fully online education platform with over one million Facebook followers, a mobile app, and its own social media network. It also does over two million dollars a year in sales, as stated by Time.

Taylor has also launched an online platform for children to learn about black history called the Sankofa Club, which has also offered black history trips to Ghana, Morrocco, Granada, and others.

In 2019, he had a partnership deal with the airline JetBlue, which featured his flashcards in the John F. Kennedy and Newark airports.

Conversations

Must Read