2023 Daytime Emmy Nominee for Outstanding Talk Series
Sip & Sonder: How a Black Women-Owned Coffeehouse Is Empowering Communities of Color
August 07, 2023
Amanda-Jane Thomas and Shanita Nicholas are Black woman small business owners with two goals: empowering people of color and brewing a delicious cup of coffee.
Amanda-Jane and Shanita met while working at the same law firm. They became friends and then business partners when they combined their passion for coffee and community to eventually found Sip & Sonder.
This coffee roaster and coffeehouse provides customers with delicious brews, empowering business and wellness-focused programs, and communal spaces for customers to create and collaborate.
The flagship location launched in 2017 in Inglewood, California, and now Sip & Sonder boasts several locations throughout the Los Angeles area.
The coffeehouse roasts and curates whole beans and specialty coffee products — including coasters, apparel, candles, and more — from communities of color all around the world, intentionally chosen from producers who grow or make their goods in a sustainable manner.
Amanda-Jane and Shanita are also committed to empowering entrepreneurs in Black communities through their nonprofit Sonder Impact, offering programs such as their Black Business Pitch Competition and Fireside Chat Series. They also offer multiple wellness programs to promote individual self-care and collective well-being.
The founders recorded the start of their day at Sip & Sonder’s flagship store.
Amanda-Jane and Shanita start their morning by looking over the day’s schedule — and by having a few laughs — before checking their daily grinds in what they call “the lab.” Then, these hardworking women enjoy their first cup of coffee together.
Amanda-Jane and Shanita shared the top things they wish they knew when they were first starting out as business owners.
“If I could go back in time before starting Sip & Sonder, I would have yelled to myself, ‘You are not your business!’” said Amanda-Jane. “When we launched Sip & Sonder, I gave it my all financially, emotionally, and in many ways to the detriment of my personal wellness.
“So, I would have stressed to myself, though I can love my business with all I’ve got, that business will put demands on me,” she continued. “Those demands might be at odds with my personal well-being. So understanding this a bit earlier would have enabled me to reconcile the two, draw necessary boundaries, and really save a lot of sleepless nights.”
Check out the pair’s other tips in the video below!
This summer, “The Jennifer Hudson Show” is shining a light on inspiring Black woman business owners making an impact on their communities.