Supporting Black-Owned Business – ep.139

Amplifying Communities – ep.138
June 6, 2024
Commemorating Juneteenth – ep.140
June 20, 2024

As Co-Owner of Team Wellness Foundation and author of Black Pages Edition II, Raynisha McDonald seeks to invoke change in the world by helping clients navigate self-help and healing and promote Black-owned businesses and communities.

Raynisha McDonald grew up in Stockton and was the product of a single parent. As a small child, she experienced poverty and abuse. Through her own self-healing she discovered a passion for mental health, and she set forth on a path to help others achieve healing and emotional intelligence. She began her journey of healing, which included counseling, to heal her own personal trauma. Completing her education, she embarked into a new path of counseling and healing for others and is currently pursuing her master’s in counseling psychology, In addition, she is creating a book to bring consumers to Black owned businesses across the continental United States. She wants to build stronger black communities by investing in its businesses.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/nisha_ray_mac/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raynisha.braggmcdonald

Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melissa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started.

Raynisha McDonald. She grew up in Stockton, the product of a single parent. As a small child, she experienced poverty and abuse through her own self-healing, she discovered a passion for mental health and has set forth on a path to help others achieve healing and emotional intelligence. She began her journey of healing, which included counseling to heal her own personal trauma. Completing her education, she embarked into a new path of counseling and healing for others. Currently, she’s pursuing her master’s in counseling psychology. In addition, she’s creating a book to bring consumers to black owned businesses across the continental United States, building stronger black communities by investing in its businesses.

Welcome to the Jali Podcast, where we bring you inspiring stories from community leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, those who are out there making a difference. And I’m your host, Melissa Barrett. And this week we have a very special guest, Ranisha McDonald. She is the owner of the Black Pages directory in Stockton, California. And y’all know how I love to highlight wonderful things that are happening in the community. She is a passionate advocate for black owned businesses, and she’s created this tremendous resource to help businesses thrive. And I just want to thank you for coming on and hanging out with me on the Jolly Podcast.

Raynisha McDonald:  Thank you for having me.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes, I’m excited. So it only takes a person who knows, a person who knows a person, and all of a sudden we have access to all of these wonderful resources we didn’t know that existed. But first I do want to just ask you a little bit about, maybe you could talk a little bit about yourself and your background, how you got started.

Raynisha McDonald:  Okay, so Ranisha, I’m from Stockton, my whole family, born and raised in Stockton, mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles. I went to a school at Fresno State, started there and then I had some mental health struggles right away. And so I made it through my freshman year and my sophomore year I was like, can’t do it. I need to take some time to get my mental health together. And so I stopped going to school and I got married and had some kids. And I think after my second son, I really started on my journey to mental health, to processing through all of my trauma, the things that happened in our families. And so that’s when I really started to fall in love with mental health. And after I had my third child, my daughter who is significantly younger than my sons, I really started to open my eyes to a lot of the things in the world and our communities that I wanted somebody else to change.

And so I kind of had an aha moment and I was like, why wait for somebody else to make these changes when I’m quite capable of doing them myself? And so that led me to my first book that I wrote, which was a book about my family. I didn’t like that the Disney and Pixar and all of the cartoons only projected black girls as princesses because they married men. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it for my daughter, I didn’t like it for myself. Although I love my husband, he’s great. I don’t like the idea that we have to be attached to somebody else in order to tap into our greatness and who we are. I feel like we are great on our own and we don’t have to be in a relationship with anybody to be that. And so it kind of led me on this rollercoaster of a ride.

I ended up taking over my family’s business, which was a group home. I had kind of really put my creative passions to the side to pursue the group home, which I absolutely loved. I got to work with some great people. I got to change some kids’ lives. I wish that I would still be doing that, but sometimes life pivots you and have you do different things. And so I am here where I am now, where I am back to working from my creative side. The book I created, the first version last year, 2023, it was a lot bigger and it focused more so on Sacramento and Stockton because those were places that I frequented. And then just having a moment to think and being able to reach out to other people, asking them for opinions and for help as far as finding these businesses, because it’s really hard to find black businesses.

I feel like exposure is lacking. You have the ones that are really big and there’s a few of them that are really, but there’s a lot of really great impactful businesses that just don’t get to shine. I don’t have those answers yet, but asking people, Hey, do you know of any good black businesses? Where do you shop? And then there are so many people that are like, man, I want to shop black, but I don’t know where to go. I don’t know where to start. And so it really helped me to open my eyes more and to be able to expand. And so now here I am in 2024, a year later with the third edition and the third edition is including Texas and Georgia and New York. I believe I have Florida, I believe I have Michigan. So I’m really excited.

Melyssa Barrett:  That is exciting. Many listeners of the Jolly Podcast know that I am a big Kwanza celebrator, so u jama. To me, cooperative economics is always awesome. So whenever I can highlight businesses, I think people do struggle sometimes to find where black businesses are and in some cases whether they’re really black businesses or not. So maybe you can tell us a little bit about what are the main goals for your Black Pages directory?

Raynisha McDonald:  Okay, so I love the Kwanza reference. That’s been something that we try to celebrate every year. Some years I fall short. Some years I’m right on target, but it’s the changing of the habits and also my shirt. We above me together, we can make better moves than we ever could individually. And when we spoke before, I’d mentioned other communities they spend within their communities and as much as they can before their money ever leaves out into another community. And I felt like historically civilization and the society that we live in has done an excellent job at kind of breaking up our chains and our togetherness and our wanting to support each other. I mean, you go back to what happened in Tulsa, thriving community. Everybody is making money, everybody is doing great, and it gets burned down to the ground. So now you have this generational trauma and fear that is instilled in these people and they’re like, if we work and build together, they’re joy is going to come and demolish it again.

And so we’re in a new day, this is 2024, and we have to stop allowing those old messages, old traumas, old fears. To dictate what we do today, we have to move forward. The time is now we have social media, so we’re able to look at these businesses and checks. Most businesses have some kind of social media representation in print. And so in my book I have all of these different categories, burial, catering, coffee houses, cleaning services, and a lot of the businesses I have by immediate referral, someone reached out to me and said, Hey, this is the business. Or I made a post and said, Hey, I’m looking for black businesses to list inside of my book. And so these people are reaching out to me and all it takes is two to three clicks. I’m clicking on their page, I’m going inside their profile, I’m looking at their pictures.

If people don’t have pictures of themselves working in the business or accepting customers or clients, I will not list them because I take that as a red flag. Most people, when you have a business, you either have the first day that you open the business because that’s a very proud day. You are opening your business, you’re starting something that used to be a dream and now it’s actually manifested. And so you want to document that. And so if I can’t find that, that’s an issue for me. So I’m like, well, maybe this is not a black business. And then I also look at the verbiage that’s used. Black people, we have a very specific culture. It doesn’t matter where you were raised, we have a very specific culture. Even if you code switch, that’s fine. We all code switch, but we speak a very specific way and I can look and see how someone is typing out their postings because you know who your target audience is, and so you write to specifically reach your target audience.

And I can tell in the verbiage and usage, if you misuse certain words, then it kind of has a foreign presence to it. And so different foreigners speak different ways. A lot of people who are not from the continental United States, they don’t use adjectives and verbs. And so I can look at what they’re saying and be like, okay, this is not black owned. This is maybe Asian based, or maybe Indian is still Asian based, so maybe it’s out there. And the last way is I physically go to these businesses. I try to visit as many businesses as I can. I try to use 90% black owned businesses for everything. If I need a plumber, I’m going to the book and I’m looking for a plumber. If I need a landscaper, I’m going to the book. I’m looking for a landscaper. If I need something for my home, if I need something to eat, my first stop is going to be to choose a black owned business for my own book.

It can be a hard transition because you have to reprogram your mind. Instead of going to McDonald’s, let me go support such and such. They do burgers as well, and their are good. Their burgers might be a little bit more expensive because they don’t have a 20,000 person factory out in the middle of such and such, and they’re not mass producing these burgers from these bio-engineered meat, like they’re actually getting real ground beef from the cow up the street and they have to pay for the slaughter and they have to pay to get the meat processed properly. And so we absorb that cost as customers, and I want people to really understand that when you shop with a black owned business, it’s a smaller business. So that’s why the costs are more because they have more costs than a major corporation. Walmart is able to go to their factory and pay people outside the United States 30 cents a day to mass produce these clothes, and then they send it to us and we’re paying $15 for it, and we think we’re getting a deal.

Well, they paid 8 cents for it, so it wasn’t a good deal. When you consider it like that versus you might have someone that has a boutique and they’re selling a hundred percent cotton. That’s a price difference. And you have to look at the quantity and the quality of what you’re getting, the time that this person put in to creating these designs, to getting it handmade, stitched, however they got it made and then getting it put in their store. They have their overhead and all that stuff. So when you are switching over to black owned businesses, you’re not supporting major corporations, you’re supporting individual people who are then in turn going to go back and support people in our communities that look like us. And it’s all going to be a cycle to help us as a group of people to advance

Melyssa Barrett:  You. Taking this on as an entrepreneur yourself, did you have any specific challenges or maybe memorable moments that you want to highlight in your own creation of the Black Pages directory?

Raynisha McDonald:  I’m going to address challenges and then I’m going to end with highlights challenges. For some reason, we don’t always want to do something that doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg. I get a lot of people that are interested with being put in the book and they’re like, how much does it cost? And I’m like, well, I list you for free. And I’m like,

Melyssa Barrett:  Right,

Raynisha McDonald:  What’s the problem? I’m doing a service for our people, creating a book, listing us all in the book so that all of our business will get exposure. How can you lose? All you’re doing is submitting the information to your business. You’re just giving me your name, your business name, your business contact, and that’s it, a contact email or street address, and I put you in the book and people are leery of that. I think that social media and media has done a really good job at making us distrustful of one another and feeling like we cannot trust each other if there’s not a really large price tag attached to it. We place value on how much the person charges for it. And I do not charge a lot because I do not think that most of us can afford this big price, especially if you’re just starting out with your business, you might not have a lot of additional revenue to put into your marketing, or you might not know just quite yet that marketing is super duper important and that’s something that you need to invest in.

So I’m trying to make it so that I’m able to meet the needs of the whole rather than the few. A high note is that I went from having probably about a hundred businesses to now I probably have about 500. My goal is a thousand and then 2000, and then I want to have every black business everywhere listed. But I have been able to double more than double the amount of businesses that are in my book. And I’ve also been able to use a lot of businesses of which I probably would not have utilized had I not gone on this journey to list the black businesses. So I directly have been positively impacted and I think that’s really cool, very cool. I attribute it to other people as well. Other people saw what I was doing, heard what I was doing. I was like, this is amazing. I want to help. How can I help you? And it’s like, I need the businesses. I need you to tag your favorite black business. And a lot of my friends who are on Facebook or Instagram, I will make a post, Hey, tag your favorite black business. And they’re tagging businesses all over the place. It’s not just California. They’re tagging Texas businesses. They’re tagging Georgia businesses. They’re tagging Florida businesses. And so a lot of my friends who follow me on social media are great supporters.

Can other people tag as well? Absolutely. My Facebook page is, I think my Facebook and my Instagram are both public, and so you can find me on social media and you can just follow me and I randomly will put a post, Hey, tag those black businesses, but if I don’t put the post and you want to tell me the black business, feel free to inbox me, Hey, I got a black business for you. Just drop that in my inbox, put it on my page, whatever it is, just tag it. And that way I could get it included as soon as possible because the third edition will not be released until July. So there’s still time to get those businesses in.

Melyssa Barrett:  Oh, fantastic. So this is an actual paper directory that people can receive. So how are people able to get access to the black business directory

Raynisha McDonald:  Pages? Two ways. The black pages, two ways. You can go directly through me. You can send me a Facebook or an Instagram message, Hey, I want to purchase the book. Then you can purchase it through me, and I can accept a direct deposit, a cash app, a Zelle, a whatever. And then the second way is if you’re like, I don’t know her, I don’t know, then you are more than welcome to go through Amazon. It’s listed on Amazon and Amazon, I believe their turnaround is only about two to three days, so you get it pretty quickly.

Melyssa Barrett:  Awesome. Well, that’s pretty fun. So are there any particular, I mean, I hate to put you on the spot because I know you’re including all these businesses in here. Maybe you can give us a little flavor for what’s in there. I know you said you have coffee houses and all sorts of categories. Are there categories that maybe people may not be aware of or that you particularly enjoy?

Raynisha McDonald:  Yes. So unfortunately right now I’m spending a lot of time in the automotive category. We always got some car problems here and there, and I have a 22 Yukon and I’m still having to hit the book. Cleaning services is one of my favorite categories. I frequent all muscle carpet cleaning. Johnny is amazing. He comes in, he gets my carpets cleaned. I have two dogs and three kids, and so my carpet is always got something going on with it. So that’s somewhere that I spend a lot of time. And these are Sacramento based businesses. For my actual house cleaning, I do get my house cleaned from time to time. I get my bathrooms, my kitchen and my floors mopped. I go to a and r. Housekeeping. Rashan is fantastic. She does a very good job. She’s thorough. We have education and sports training. If you’re looking for some kind of a personal trainer or you want to get your kid trained in sports, I have a farm.

Good food is a black based food distributor. They do vegetables and beans, and so they’re kind of branching out all over the place. And then up here in Sacramento, we actually have a farm, a black owned farm, and they do a lot of vegetables and whatnot. I am still looking for butchers, but I think it’ll come maybe after the podcast, somebody will have a good referral. Food and drink is always a hotspot. I love the Slim and Huskies pizza. They just recently closed, but the Gumbo King is one of my favorites. Q1 22 7 restaurant out in Roseville is one of my favorites.

Melyssa Barrett:  Love them, love them, love

Raynisha McDonald:  Them. We have some vegan spots. Vegan is, a lot of people are going vegan, so we have some vegan spots, mental health, we have a lot of mental health people who are in here. We have entry for medical professionals. So you’re looking for, we have the Capital Black Nurses Association, we have dentists. Leo Townsend is my dentist and I go to him. He is located out here in Elk Grove. We have eyeglasses, we have a plethora of business, almost anything that you could need for your daily life. We have pet services and photography and real estate and specialized trade and tattoos. I love tattoos. So you looking for a good tattoo? We got a few people who can help you. I would love to be able to create a new category, so if anybody has anything that they want to send to me, please send it so I can get this new category. Good referrals.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes, absolutely. That’s fantastic. You mentioned that you’re doing a third edition if people want to get referrals in, I’m assuming they have to get them in by a certain date in order for you to incorporate it into your next edition.

Raynisha McDonald:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  What’s the timeline

Raynisha McDonald:  The submissions would need to be in by the 30th of June? The last day of

Melyssa Barrett:  June 30th. Okay, fantastic. Well, that gives us a few weeks, and I know there are lots of folks out there that know and are probably already going to all of these businesses, so I encourage everybody to highlight a black business. I’m all about the u jama moment, and so I love tagging black businesses as well, just because they do need exposure. A lot of people may not know where to go find them, but we definitely want to make sure people are aware and have access to them. So I love that you are taking on this role and kind of making sure that people have access to it. That’s so awesome. What are next steps for Black Pages and for Ranisha herself?

Raynisha McDonald:  The Black Pages, we are also going to phase into allowing businesses to purchase advertising. Right now we list businesses for free and it basically just looks like words on a page. But if businesses choose and they want more additional exposure, they can purchase a page for advertising. And we would list the name of the business, whatever pictures they want incorporated and whatever writeup they want regarding their business. And we would get that right in. And there would be two different ways you can do this. You could do this as an addition, like, okay, I only want to be listening to the third edition. So anybody who has a third edition, they will always have it, but we grow and we do more additions. If you want a forever post, then there would be a different cost for a forever post. So you would have those two different options, and the Forever Posts would basically just mean we would carry your advertisement from addition to addition, and as long as we’re in business, you would have your post in the book.

Melyssa Barrett:  Nice. Okay. And then so tell everybody, I know you spell your name with a Y, so do I, but talk to us about how they find you.

Raynisha McDonald:  So you can find me on social media. I am Nisha, N-I-S-H-A, Ray, RAY, Mac, MAC, and then you’ll see my picture and it’s me. And then it probably might say Team Wellness on it, and that is the business that we operate under. We myself and my husband, mental health is always our underlying primary objective for our people. Just improving how we feel about each other, how we feel about ourselves. And this definitely falls under that, being able to support one another and being able to build strong communities so that we can invest in each other and that has major implications. Just the investment in one another, being able to invest in political figures that represent us and then we can make policy changes that directly impact us. And so it really all matters and it all fits together on Facebook. I am Ranisha, Bragg McDonald Bragg is my maiden name, and so I always love to give homage to my father who has passed away and his father who’s passed away. So Ranisha Bragg McDonald on Facebook and Nisha Ray Mack on Instagram.

Melyssa Barrett:  Instagram. That’s awesome. Okay. So then when should folks look for the third edition to be out and available

Raynisha McDonald:  Around the 8th of July.

Melyssa Barrett:  Fantastic. And then on Amazon, you said it’s under Black Pages directory?

Raynisha McDonald:  It’s under the Black pages. So if you go to Amazon and you know what the easiest way to find it, because if you don’t pay for the sponsorship with Amazon, sometimes they don’t be trying to boost your product. So with Amazon, if you go to Amazon and you type my name under the search bar, R-A-Y-N-I-S-H-A-M-C-D-O-N-A-L-D, then everything that I’ve done will pop up and you’ll be able to get the black pages from there.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes, I understand some of those challenges, especially when, although I will say now that our names are spelled a little different sometimes that can be helpful. Well, thank you so much for being here and for all you’re doing in the community. Any final thoughts you want to leave us with? We above me? Because I love the fact that one of my favorite African Proverbs is, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I love the fact that you are bringing a whole community with you to make sure that people are aware of what businesses are out there. So thank you for all you’re doing in the community.

Raynisha McDonald:  Our business name is Team Wellness and Team, the acronym Together. Everyone accomplishes more and we, above Me, we really have to focus on, yes, we want to have individual accomplishments and we want to do things individually, but also we need each other to be able to go far and to be great. Even Jesus had disciples and they helped. So there is no person who gets anywhere alone. If you talk to any successful person, they had a team and they have people that they rely on and that help with their successes. Like I said earlier, I’m definitely in my creative space right now. I have the Black Pages, but I also have decided to stick my pinky toe and to film. And so I will be working on my first film project. We actually have a meeting today to work on my first film project, which I’m very excited for.

And I get to work with a bunch of black actors and they’re definitely holding my hand because I don’t know what I’m doing, so they’re holding my hand and they’re helping me through. And so it’s just a really amazing experience and I just encourage everybody to know that you can do and be anything. If you have a goal inside of yourself and you are like, I think I want to try this out, I want to figure it out, go for it. Because we only have this one life and we get to wake up every day and live a new life. And if it makes you happy, pursue it. Because there is no point in living a life with any kind of regrets. It really is hankering on your mental health. And regret is the number one thing that people suffer from the most, that stress, it lives in your body and it changes you, and it makes you become a person who you don’t want to be. So pursue those dreams and those goals. Get out there, put yourself out there, do something new, and allow it to be positive for your mental health and positive for your community, because who knows who’s going to be positively impacted by that dream that you have just sitting inside of you. So let’s all win together.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. I love it. What a great way to end the podcast. I’m excited. Y’all heard, hear y’all. She’s going into film, so we’re going to wait to see what the film is about so we can bring it back. So Ranisha, you got to come back and tell us all about it.

Raynisha McDonald:  I would love to, and hopefully I can bring the cast with me and we can all talk about it.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely. Oh, that’s so exciting. So wonderful things. Blessings to you and all you’re doing and all of team wellness. Thank you. And thank you so much for joining me on the Jolly podcast.

Raynisha McDonald:  Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I look forward to coming back.

Melyssa Barrett:  Awesome. So what’s the website, ranisha?

Raynisha McDonald:  The website is the team wellness.com, www T-H-E-T-E-A-M-W-E-L-L-N-E-S-S dot COM. Awesome.

Melyssa Barrett:  Awesome. Thank you. Thanks for joining me on the Jolly Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.

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