Kenyatta Forbes didn’t plan to start a business, but while teaching middle school in Chicago, she realized that the traditional Black History curriculum was lacking in its coverage of important figures. It missed a lot of the discussion about the cultural and historical impact. To add insights to the lessons, she created a deck of index cards that mixed historical figures with people students might recognize, like modern-day rappers and reality TV stars. Each player is dealt five cards and the goal is to convince others that the person on their card is the “blackest.”
After testing her game and receiving positive feedback from friends, Forbes decided to turn her idea into a business. With the help of a crowd-funding campaign that raised $5,500, Forbes’s new venture, Trading Races, was born. Initially, she was able to sell the game at Black culture festivals and do well, but the pandemic put a stop to in-person events.
Forbes, who works on her business out of her home in Oakland, California, was faced with the challenge of how to continue getting the word out about her game. She didn’t have professional marketing experience and as a solopreneur, she didn’t have co-founders to lean on for help developing ideas. That’s when she heard about Verizon Small Business Digital Ready and signed up for live 1:1 reviews to discuss social media marketing and strategy.
The one-on-one sessions proved to be invaluable to Forbes. They allowed her to drill down on her business and focus on actionable goals. The expert advice she received helped her refine her promo ideas into a marketing calendar with a coherent social media strategy, tailored to her target audience. This has been super helpful to Forbes, who has seen her business grow as a result. Today, Trading Races has several thousand followers on social media, as well as partnerships with influencers, and sales have surged.