A conversation with Jessica Winnie of MNBlackBox

Jessica Winnie, founder of MN Black Box, with some of the products she distributes.
Photo provided by Glen Stubbe of the StarTribune.

Staff members of our JA team got a special surprise on their doorstep in honor of Black History Month. Each member of our team received a custom curated box from MNBlackBox – a local company dedicated to amplifying Black businesses through a monthly subscription service. We were so inspired by the work that Jessica Winnie, the owner behind MNBlackBox, is doing to support other Black businesses right in the Twin Cities, and we were able to sit and have a conversation with her about what inspired this project.

Jessica is a born and raised Minnesotan from North Minneapolis, and a self-published poetry author of Everything I Am. Her dream for MNBlackBox was inspired by observing vendors at an event called Tangible Thoughts and wanting to figure out a way to showcase those businesses. She dreams of having a community space for creators, innovators, and like-minded people, and eventually working to build a Black boutique with healthy food and lifestyle options. Jessica’s work at MNBlackBox is rooted in community building. By purchasing a BlackBox, customers are supporting these local companies through cooperative economics, and supporting this community of entrepreneurs collectively. Each monthly box brings brings awareness, shifts spending patterns and provides opportunities for guests to experience new products the might not have otherwise known of. At JA, we were excited by not only the products we received in our boxes, but inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit and incredible work that Jessica is doing right here in the Twin Cities.   

When asked what is one bit of advice you would provide a young entrepreneur about the entrepreneurial journey, she said, “I would tell young entrepreneurs to find someone in their community that is already
doing what they want to do. Reach out to that elder and ask for an interview.”

We are continuing to look for opportunities to partner with Jessica and MNBlackBox in the future, and we encourage everyone to learn more about and purchase a Black Box of your own.

Learn more: www.mnblackbox.com

Written by

Back to Blog