Shareef Abdul-Malik, founder of Coral Oral and WeBuyBlack.com says the inspiration for the products came to him while volunteer teaching Black youth about entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. After explaining the importance of recirculating dollars within the Black community by supporting Black-owned enterprises, Abdul-Malik asked the class what essential item they would produce first. Their answer? Toothbrushes.
Since the product’s launch in early February 2017, the response has been explosive, with viral shares on social media and initial sales way beyond projections.
“I was shocked,” Abdul-Malik said. “We created a product, agreed that we would sell the product solely on WeBuyBlack.com, and after one advertisement post, we went viral. Over 1 million people viewed our video within the first week.”
Abdul-Malik says that Coral Oral’s business success has also spilled over to benefit other Black-owned companies, noting the bump in sales of another toothbrush seller on WeBuyBlack.com since the launch of Coral Oral.
“I think we are beginning to see the power of cooperative economics,” he said.
Next, the company has its sights set on creating a network of distributors in an effort to give the community an opportunity to sell the product locally and benefit directly from its expansion.
“We are ready to empower our community and spread the message that buying from our own community, and selling to the world is basic common sense that has been stripped from us,” he said. “This is just a start, but hopefully the WeBuyBlack movement can help reawaken us to our collective potential.”