We had the good fortune of connecting with Mel Branker and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mel, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
“There’s no reward without work, no victory without effort, no battle won without risk.” Our lives are the accumulation of a series of choices that we make; no choice, no decision is ever “easy.” It’s impossible to grow in a space that is comfortable; for someone like myself, stagnancy kills my creative growth process. I pray before every decision I make, and have full confidence that what is for me will be for me, as cliche as it sounds.

Taking risks in this life has led me down a path that has ultimately given me peace. I took a risk when I strayed from my college degrees in the sciences to work in the social service field. I recently took a risk in quitting corporate America to focus on my business full time and although the journey is in no way easy, taking risks has led to me tapping into skills and traits that would have otherwise laid dormant. Takings risks has changed my life for the better!

What should our readers know about your business?
The Black Collective Brand is a connective resource for all things BLACK! Our brand promotes unity within our community and our main focus is retaining our dollar by circulating it throughout the community. We do several events throughout the year including, a back to school drive, a turkey giveaway, and a toy/ coat giveaway. I am most proud of my brands mission, and how we strive everyday to be better than we were yesterday; a little stronger, a little wiser, a little happier, bit by bit, day by day; that’s how progress is made.

It has not been easy thus far, however faith and works create wonders, my business is not yet where it will be but in the last year of business we have grown exponentially. We have helped hundreds of families throughout 2020 with the collaboration of several other businesses, we continued to build our network, and we made sales with our merchandise. I’ve learned in this short time that consistency is important. I’ve also learned that some people may not see the vision, however that should not deter you from the vision that God has given you to see, The same God that gave you the vision will give you the clients, and if you do the work He will reward you for your efforts (like being featured twice in two years!)

I want the world to know that it’s only up from here for The Black Collective Brand, when you win, I win, we all win. Although I run this business on my own (at the moment) I know that this is bigger than me, and that gives me the motivation I need to continue this work.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
NYC by itself is a ZOOVIE! Simply riding the train back and forth will lead to a day of thrills and chills.

As a major foodie on a week long trip my itinerary would include eating and partying.

My favorite and most frequented spaces include: Bklyn Prime (brunch), Bklyn Gems (late night bar), Island Burger (Trinidadian Fast food), Four Seasons (Vegan Guyanese food), Atlantic Boat Club (seafood, hookah and vybz), The Crabby Shack, 333 Lounge and Vegan 360

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, there is no me without Father God. I want to dedicate my shoutout to my Mama, the Ripkys that are hustling everyday to keep their heads above the water and keep a smile on their faces while doing it, and all the people who have supported me in this journey thus far.

Website: TheBlackCollectiveBrand.com

Instagram: Instagram.com/theblackcollectivebrand

Other: We are on Google @theblackcollectivebrand

Image Credits
Seth London

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