A new program to build up businesses and their communities

February 26, 2021 — Michael Payne

A trio of images featuring a red outfit from Style Shift House, a Black female model in a red Draped head wrap, and a Black male model applying face cream.

When Holly Draper lost her job in 2016, she turned to sewing as an outlet. First she started making her own clothes—and then people started asking where she shops.

Draper knew she was onto something. So she made a website and launched Draped, a clothing business focused on African print garments and accessories.

Meeting the moment

Years later, Draped is going strong. Business started climbing in 2020, and Draper wanted new ways to reach her audience online. So when Pinterest asked to partner up, it felt like the perfect opportunity to build her brand.

A Pin featuring a Black female model in an African dress from Draped.
A Pin featuring a closeup of a cowrie cluster ear cuff from Draped, on a Black female model.

Draper was one of the first participants in our new Community Rebuild program, designed to support business owners from underrepresented groups. The program came from a brainstorm hosted by Blackboard, Pinterest’s Black employee community group. As 2020 presented its numerous challenges, we realized that many businesses were turning to digital marketing to keep their doors open—but needed help getting started.

That’s where Community Rebuild comes in. The program offers tailored training and ads credit to help uplift business owners who are people of color, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The program also supports our goal to make Pinterest more diverse and inclusive, by enabling the growth of underrepresented businesses on the platform.

Community Rebuild participants attend virtual workshops on topics like branding, creative strategy and campaign management. They’re also assigned a personal coach to talk about their specific business goals and how to reach them. Participants finish the program with new strategies to build their brand and drive revenue.

“We got to show our business to more eyes,” said Draper. “More people are buying from us, and it’s been an awesome experience.”

Build, lift, amplify

Ryan Wilson founded The Gathering Spot to give Atlanta a place to come together, discuss community issues and collaborate. His original vision centered on shared physical space. But when COVID hit, Wilson had to bring more programming online.

The Gathering Spot team joined the Community Rebuild program to sharpen their digital skills and learn new marketing strategies. “Having access to an amazing platform was totally valuable,” Wilson said. “Especially at this critical juncture.”

A Pin from The Gathering Spot highlighting their signature Lifestyle Box

Now, they use Pinterest to attract new members and support other Black-owned businesses. Graphic designer Olivia Burns credits the Community Rebuild program with increased engagement and performance. “I didn't know what to expect,” said Burns. “I didn't really see anything like us on Pinterest. So, I was pleasantly surprised with how well our ads did.”

Pinterest represents

In addition to Draped and The Gathering Spot, our first cohort included five other URG businesses: 54Kibo, Bevel, Style Shift House, The Town Experience and Village Market. We’ll invite 15 additional businesses each quarter, with a goal of 60 participants by the end of 2021.

We’re also continuing to develop other resources to support underrepresented groups on Pinterest. If you are a business owner or creator who is a person of color, person with a disability or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, please make sure to update your Pinterest profile and let us know.