La importancia de diversidad en los negocios

20 de febrero de 2024

 “Access to adequate capital remains a significant challenge for black-owned businesses”

According to Forbes 8 out of every 10 black businesses fail within the first 18 months of starting. Diversity is important for fostering innovation, improving decision-making, enhancing competitiveness, and creating inclusive and equitable environments that benefit individuals, organizations, and societies. I spoke to two black owners Lakisha Bradley and Ashley Emig, of MY-T-BY-DESIGN Therapeutic Art Studios and DirtBag Vintage. MY-T-BY-DESIGN is a therapeutic art studio located in Fayetteville. DirtBag Vintage and Thrift is a Quality Vintage, Thrift, and Upcycled clothing and accessories based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We discussed the importance of diversity from their perspectives as black female business owners.


In August 2020, Ashley was scrolling through her TikTok and came across a video of a woman saying there were businesses for sale on Facebook Marketplace. She didn’t believe it, so she went to the marketplace and found that 5 or 6 businesses in her local area were up for sale. One business caught her eye, a woman was selling an old clothing business so of course Ashley reached out because her passion is apparel merchandising. The woman had a very high demand for her original storefront but just didn’t have time for it, so Ashley offered to take it over.

Her business is named “DirtBag Vintage”, reclaiming the word “DirtBag” and instead using the word as a way to describe someone willing to let off life’s trappings. Reclaiming a word usually meant to call people dirty and unkept, Ashley is using it to convey a message about passion and dressing unrestrained. She relates it back to how people judge her based on her skin tone, but by reclaiming hate and turning it into positivity real change can be achieved. When I spoke to Ashley she made it clear that diversity is the only way people’s voices can truly be heard. That’s why at DirtBag Vintage they feature models of all skin tones and body types and also prioritize diversity in their hiring process.


“Getting representation in the room allows for change to happen like with makeup brands. Getting all different shades in the room to discuss allowed for color ranges to be expanded”


DirtBag has expanded from its initial vintage boutique concept, diversifying into a multifaceted income stream. First beginning with the storefront located in Fayetteville, Dirtbag now has a fully functioning website and sells their clothes via livestream. Ashley has also helped establish other local vintage stores in the Fayetteville Town Center. These events are called the “Second Saturday Vintage Markets”, “FayettVINTAGE Market Block Party”, and “NWA Vintage Fest”, where 60 vendors can come together and sell to the public.

According to the D&I Global Market Report, Organizations in the top quartile for gender diversity have a 25% likelihood of financially outperforming their peers. Organizations in the top quartile for ethnic diversity have a 36% likelihood of financial outperformance. Diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time.


When it first began, DirtBag was just a vintage clothing store; now it is a curated vintage experience where vintage lovers can come and get a one-of-a-kind shopping trip. Ashley says Dirtbag’s secret sauce is allowing their competitors in the local community to be their collaborators.

Lakisha started her business with no external funding after being denied a loan and no longer working for a corporate company. Thanks to organizations, local community collaborative partners, and residents, MY-T-BY-DESIGN has been able to flourish over the years. Lakisha also expressed her belief that black women need to be in business, emphasizing the need for ethical opportunities and the potential to leave a legacy for future generations.

“This studio is the first and only art therapy studio in the state of Arkansas, strengthening communities one paint stroke at a time”


Lakisha explained the origin of her business, MY-T-BY-DESIGN, which is the first and only therapeutic art studio of this business model in Arkansas. She shared that it started as a divine calling after leaving corporate, combining her corporate experience with her love for art and passion for people. The business’s mission is to strengthen mental wellness in communities through therapeutic expressive art services. She also has a licensed professional counselor, Carsten Counseling, LLC available in their studio. Her business model is about creating access for all. The studio is accessible to all who need it. Artists also have access to the studio to host workshops or community events.

Lakisha, who is currently in graduate school, studying counseling with an emphasis on play therapy, is aiming to become the first black art therapist in Northwest Arkansas. She also expressed her desire to expand the business model by creating “studios of the community” in different locations to increase access to mental wellness. Especially in rural communities starting with southwest Arkansas, her childhood hometown of Lewisville, Arkansas Lakisha believes this service should be inclusive for everyone.

“I’m leaving a legacy for my daughter so if she chooses to be an entrepreneur, she knows that it’s possible for her as a black woman”


In essence, diversity is not just a moral imperative but also a practical necessity for building stronger, more inclusive communities and fostering a more equitable and prosperous society for all. Embracing and celebrating our differences not only enriches our lives but also strengthens the very fabric of our society. If you’d like to get involved with supporting or finding black-owned businesses, check out any of BlackOwnedNWA’s  Facebook y Instagram posts.