“Running a business is a rollercoaster. There are definitely ups and downs,“ says Khalia Ismain, founder of discount card Jamii, which aims to support black British businesses. There are more than 100 Jamii partners, each providing discounts to cardholders. “Every brand is one we’d buy from ourselves,“ she says. “A lot of the products can be used by anyone, such as clothing, cards, jewellery or shea butter, but they’re made with black people in mind. I didn’t want it to be an exclusive platform.”
With the coronavirus, there have been disappointments, such as the cancellation of the market that would have showcased Jamii partners. But it’s also enabled her to focus on online content. “People will be a lot more present online... and so there’s an opportunity to capture attention and really show people what we’re all about as a brand. We’re also taking the opportunity to hold digital events and create more value for our partners and other small businesses,“ she says.
Her advice for small businesses? “Assess how you can make this quarantine a blessing in disguise, one way or another. Think about what your core customers are doing right now, what they need and what value you can offer them from where you are. And stay positive!“