We had the good fortune of connecting with Carmen Dianne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carmen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process was more along the lines of “how can I make a change,” which resulted in the creation of Prosperity Market. When we spoke last year, I was working as a makeup artist for TV & film, which is a far cry from my new line of work. 2020 really sat me down, as I’m sure it did for all of us. In this time of global pandemic and social unrest I was searching for a way to create impact, and it was really dropped into my spirit to create economic impact for my community. I didn’t know what that would look like back in June 2020, but what I did know was that in order to create any systemic change it would have to start with economic change. I heard a stat saying that a dollar stays in the black community for just 6 hours. We spend over a trillion dollars collectively, and only retain 2% of that. Now, due to COVID 41% of black-owned businesses have closed. These numbers are alarming, and my thought process was really just, “how can we change it?” How can we circulate money longer throughout our community? How can we support black business? How can we make a difference? I saw an opportunity with food. I realized that we lacked black-owned grocery stores, which took me down an entirely new rabbit hole of food insecurity. I researched what the USDA termed “food deserts” which is an area without access to grocery stores or alternatives for healthy, affordable food. The lack of access to nutritious food is linked to diet-related illnesses, which become pre-existing conditions making our communities more susceptible to COVID. It’s really a viscous cycle. All of this led me to start this new business with my friend and co-founder Kara Still. Prosperity Market is a farmers market on wheels and a food truck in one featuring black farmers, food producers, and chefs. We travel throughout Los Angeles, conveniently bringing a curated farmers market experience to you. We make it easy to support local, black businesses while creating food access in our communities. We are currently fundraising $50,000 for the downpayment on our trailer. If you would like to learn more about prosperity market, our mission, and our amazing perks that we are offering our supporters please visit our website: www.prosperitymarketla.com www.prosperitymarketla.com/
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Prosperity Market is 1/2 food truck and 1/2 farmers market, featuring black farmers, food producers, and chefs! As a mobile market we travel all around LA, expanding the reach of our vendors and making sure to touch our communities. We really haven’t seen anything like Prosperity Market before, so we are so excited to be able to bring this to life. I’m most excited about the economic and social impact we will have. We are a platform creating opportunities for black-owned businesses to really thrive. As a mobile market we make it easy to support black businesses. Whether you live in the valley or on the west side, you will have your day of the week to shop Prosperity Market. You can support our vendors no matter what side of the 405 you live on. In addition to creating economic opportunities, we are able to go directly into neighborhoods that don’t have access to healthy affordable food. We will host free produce giveaways, nutrition education, cooking demos, and more!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting LA and I was playing tour guide I would make sure they came in town right in time for a Prosperity Market pop-up event! At our pop-up they will have the opportunity to shop from local black vendors, eat some good food, grab a tasty juice, and soak up the good vibes. I would also make sure to take them to one of my favorite places, Compton Community Garden. We can literally pick our own food to cook for dinner. If I’m hosting though, there is a good chance I’m not going to want to cook dinner, so I would take them to Simply Wholesome because any best friend of mine would share my cravings for delicious patties. We would brunch at Bloom & Plume or Hilltop, and the trip would definitely not be complete without a stop at Leimert Park. We would have to do at least one obligatory tourist activity, which could be a hike or a day at the beach. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to shout out my business partner, Kara Still. We have grown Prosperity Market in such a short time, and it would truly not be possible without her partnership. She is calm, clear, intentional, practical, and all of the things that make any business thrive. She is there to take my calls any and all times of the day, and her brilliant contributions are guiding Prosperity Market to it’s full potential. I believe that our partnership is truly divine.
Jerome Shaw Alex Solomon