Given the still-ongoing pandemic, most of our shopping for the foreseeable future is going to be done on the internet. A new app called Miiriya is here to ensure your shopping funds end up in the pockets of those who actually need them — rather than in Jeff Bezos’ bank account.
Miiriya (which means “thoughts” or “ideas” in the African language Bambara/Dioula), is an online marketplace in the style of Amazon, but all of its vendors are Black-owned small businesses. The website was founded this summer by Lonnaa, according to Miiriya’s “About Us” page. Now there’s an app to go along with it.
The site’s similarities to Amazon are limited to both being buy-anything-you-need marketplaces, though. Unlike Amazon, Miiriya doesn’t charge vendors any overhead for their listings or transaction fees. Every penny you spend on the site goes directly to the small business that created your product.
As a nascent marketplace, Miiriya isn’t perfect. But it’s providing much-needed space for Black-owned businesses to thrive in the face of Amazon’s ever-increasing empire.
Just as easy as Amazon — Amazon’s rise to power is directly related to its ease of use: just a few clicks and a few days (or hours) later everything you need is at your doorstep. Amazon’s buying process is convenience personified; that keeps people coming back.
Miiriya borrows from the online marketplace design popularized by Amazon, only without the big tech corporation watching what you buy. There’s a search bar that indexes products across every vendor, but you can also browse by category, if you’re not sure exactly what you want. You can also explore a particular vendor’s shop if you have a favorite.
Like Amazon, Miiriya also has a review system to help you decide whether or not a product is trustworthy. The reviews are a little thin right now, seeing as the site is brand new — but that’s sure to fill out as the site’s user base grows.
Amazon doesn’t need your money — The COVID-19 pandemic has turned online shopping into a necessity for many around the world. Amazon stepped up as the ruling supreme in that arena — and it’s made the company ridiculously rich. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has made more than $70 billion since the beginning of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans have filed for unemployment, and none are worse affected than people of color. The disparity between the ultra-wealthy like Bezos and everyone else has never been wider.
The choice is simple: continue helping Amazon with its monopolization of every conceivable industry or support Black business owners instead. Both will give you access to just about any product you need — but one supports a greedy billionaire who doesn’t care about his workers and the other goes directly into the pockets of business owners who actually need the financial help.