LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Downtown Louisville has come alive this summer as more people filed back into venues, businesses and restaurants.?
One Black-owned pop-up show, MELANnaire Marketplace, has acquired space along Fourth Street Live, and is highlighting Black fashion, culture and inclusion.
Lisa Bennett, owner of Gye Name Books & More, is a fashion industry veteran.
”I’ve been in business for about 30 years,” she said.
From public relations, event production to promoting up-and-coming Black designers, entrepreneurship is in her blood.
”I used to have a store on Bardstown Road called Kente international. It closed probably about 15 years ago,” Bennett said.?
In the world of commercial retail, Bennet knows first-hand that Black business owners, designers, executives, and decision-makers are underrepresented.
”So I decided to start doing pop-up shops,” she said.?
She hopes to meet that challenge at MELANnaire Marketplace at Fourth Street Live, where she not only showcases her products, but works to shift the culture and normalize shopping Black-owned brands.
People gathered at the?Black pop-up market along Fourth Street Live!?Saturday,?July 17, 2021.
Mary Brown, visiting from San Diego, is in town for a Kairos Prison Ministry International convention, a Christian faith-based ministry that addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, youth, their families.
”We come alongside them and love them,” she said during the pop-up event.
”Immediately I was drawn to this booth,” she said about Bennett’s booth. “We have done several mission trips to Uganda.”
Brown loves the East African Black-creations, and the fact that many of Bennett’s items are not specifically for Black people.
”Their t-shirts are the same color as the Ugandan flag, so I thought ah! Uganda’s here,” said Brown.
Through this experience, Bennett hopes to continue expanding her customer base and inspire others.
30+ Black-owned businesses?line the inside of?Fourth Street Live!
”You have to have a vision, work hard at it,” said Bennett who believes Black fashion and culture is a movement, not a moment.
She believes the pop-up shop will have a lasting impact on Louisville’s economic landscape.
This month’s pop-up marketplace featured over 30 Black-owned businesses and vendors.
MELANnaire Marketplace is held every third Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at Fourth Street Live.
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.