All About the Business


We exist to support black businesses and their customers, who agree that keeping our dollars circulating within our community is tense about the black empowerment in the bay area and beyond. When you do business in the Black community, you are letting your actions speak as loud as your Black Lives Matter words. You are investing in a world that is not corporate, racist or gentrifying. When BAOBOB members thrive, so do their families, their neighborhoods and by extension so does the greater Bay Area.

THE NEW VIBE

Hard work. Passion and excellence built us up. Working smarter moves us forward. None of us are above rolling up our sleeves to get things done. Pride in our work shows in the smallest details. We build relationships. We care about the people we collaborate with and it shows in her actions. We keep our promises. Protecting each other through best practices is integrated into everything we do.

OUR MISSION

BAOBOB is a membership organization committed to connecting, promoting, informing and representing black-owned and lead businesses and non-profits throughout The Bay. BAOBOB is a program of Cowrie Village, an organization committed to working for the economic empowerment of black people, our offspring and our allies in the inner-city. Cowrie Village is a fiscally sponsored project of Empowerment Works.

TEAM BAOBOB

Yavette Holts

Founder

YaVette is the mother of two teenage sons and the founder of  the Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses, aka BAOBOB.  She started BAOBOB in direct response to the 2015 verdict in Michael Brown’s murder trail.   Everywhere there was a real need to create change that would be felt longer and deeper than a few nights of protests.  That need is what prompted the birth of BAOBOB.  

YaVette received her degree in creative writing from UC Santa Cruz and quickly put it to work connecting music  artists with audiences via her talent agency, Presence Productions.  After a decade representing  new and established musicians  in cross country tours, she deepened her community development work as Outreach Coordinator for the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative.  She is a graduate of the highly lauded Women’s Initiative for Self Employment (WISE)  and Uptima Business Bootcamp.  She was named a fellow of the People’s Grocery Growing Justice Institute, currently serves on the board of Oakland’s Black Arts Movement and Business District and one of the country’s first platform cooperatives, Loconomics.  She has been selected to serve on the Carmel + Partners/BAMBD CDC Retail Advisory Board and she is a member of the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s solar initiatiative People’s Power Cooperative, which seeks to create community ownership opportunities in the solar industry.  Additionally, she owns and operates  One Presence Massage, providing workplace and in-studio wellness services.

Zoe Moore

Event Resources Manager

Zoe Moore has a built a reputation creating affordable events as well as providing photography and idea consulting services for minority business owners.

Duane Lawrence

Branding & Design

Duane Lawrence is a Sr. Footwear Designer with 15 years experience at companies like Nike, Converse, adidas, Li Ning and Anta. He’s worked with world class athletes like Dwyane Wade, Baron Davis, Dwight Howard and Klay Thompson to name a few. A product of CCS in Detroit, he offers graphic design, web design and screen printing services to local businesses all while running his own apparel line called KINFOAK.

“Redesigning the BAOBOB logo was an honor and opportunity I couldn’t pass up. My goal in re-branding the organization’s website and producing their marketing materials is to give BAOBOB the confidence to promote their services and grow their mission with a clean and functional presentation.”

Davis O'Shea

Designer

I am currently working at Oakstop and supporting Black business!

Juanita Brown

Consultant/Contributor

I provided consultation on the logo design, website interface and membership benefits and engagement. And, I got a chance to help plan and assist at some of the BAOBOB mixers. I love BAOBOB. I help organizations shift into greater alignment between their values as stated on the website and how they actually serve and work with our communities.

Enam Gbewonyo

Consultant/Contributor - Social Media

Alongside my marketing work, I’m also a multimedia textile artist, curator and the founder of the Black British Female Artist (BBFA) Collective. It’s a hectic balancing act but is extremely fulfilling. As an artist, I’m currently collaborating on two projects with PhD students related to black women’s health and race/cultural difference in art institutions –  using art as a vehicle to explore these difficult issues. In addition I continue to develop my project Nude Me: Under the Skin which looks at how hosiery has the ability to marginalise and ostracise black women. This is building towards an exhibition next year and I’ll be undertaking a residency in India next February to further develop the work. With the Collective we are currently developing partnerships with two key arts institutions, more to be revealed very soon.