George Floyd’s murder was the breaking point for Chicago-based digital strategist Sequena Luckett.
“My business partner and I were already discussing another app, and we immediately shelved it,” she says. They had an idea for an app of some sorts that could bring Black people and communities together – give them a place to center their stories and economic power. Luckett didn’t know what it would look like but knew she had to make it a priority.
“We were trapped in COVID, dealing with that, and then the explosion surrounding the inequality of Black people in America – I cried for a week trying to figure this app out.”
She knew she wouldn’t feel comfortable going to protests amid the pandemic. She also knew that staying in her lane – technology and digital strategy – could be the most powerful way to drive change for the Black community.
Boom Is Born
“Driving through Chicago, I saw so many board-ups of Black-owned businesses,” she says. She knew that she could create something that shone a light on the outsized impact the pandemic and generations of racial inequality had had on the Black community. “I thought, ‘Our power is our buying power.’”
And from there, The BOOM App was born. Why BOOM? It stands for Black Owned and Operated Marketplace – a gathering point for Black business owners and consumers who were ready to vote for change with their wallets.
Luckett knew that if Black people could buy together, they could make an impact. They could keep wealth within their community instead of continually sending dollars out to non-Black-owned businesses.
Operating on a membership model, The Boom App launched on October 31, 2020. Luckett and her co-founders James Hampton, Tonya L. Johnson, and Arron Pighee all breathed a sigh of relief, knowing the app was finally out in the world but knew they had miles of work still to do ahead.
“This inequality has always been here for us, and now, I’m glad that people have taken off their blinders and can see what’s in front of them,” Luckett says. “We’re all looking to try to help in some way, and some people just don’t know how. BOOM is a way to help. It’s about taking a stand on something and learning and growing from it.”
Powered by Community
The BOOM App is powered by a membership-based model. Black-owned and operated businesses can currently join as early adopters with a lifetime membership for only $499 or via an annual membership for $249. With their membership, Luckett and her team use the app and its supporting Facebook community to promote businesses to their audience. Luckett has audacious plans to drive up group membership in the years ahead and give app members what so many Black-owned businesses lack: the digital savvy to connect with customers who are ready and waiting to buy.
One of those initiatives is The BOOM App’s exclusive Pop-Up Shops for business members. Starting February 12, Luckett’s team will feature product-based businesses within the Facebook group, giving consumers a direct link to buy directly from members. They’re doing profile-type interviews for service-based businesses that help shine a light on the business owner’s expertise.
For now, building their brand community on Facebook is the easiest way to quickly build community and easily connect business members and buyers looking to make an impact with their dollars.
“Many of the businesses impacted [by COVID] were local,” says Luckett. “Businesses that have something digital to stand on weren’t impacted as significantly.” The BOOM App instantly offers business members that missing or weaker digital component of their marketing strategy and uses social media – something people already use and trust – to quickly build meaningful connections.
Looking to the Future
As The BOOM App team looks ahead, they’re excited about the app becoming a nationwide or perhaps even global way for Black-owned businesses and consumers to connect.
“One thing I’ve learned over time is that when you take a stand on something, it grows on its own and develops its own personality,” Luckett says.
The BOOM App isn’t concerned with finding its audience. The audience already exists. And while 2020’s long-overdue rising tide of racial awareness isn’t an instant fix and comes at the cost of countless lives, Luckett and her team are ready to use The BOOM App to charge ahead as a point that connects people when so many forces are ready to divide.