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Our Origin Story

Five years ago, we gave our community the gift of an online directory to find and support Black-Owned businesses across Long Island, NY. This all started because our founder, Alicia Ray, could not find an aggregate list of black hairstylists on Long Island, she knew they existed, but their information was not easily accessible. The product marketer in her just had to package it and bring it to life. ​ Five years later, we had a thriving online community comprised of nearly 500 Black business owners, thousands of consumers, and community partners, creating all sorts of dope synergies. ​ As the platform grew, so did the business owners, which is what we wanted #winning. In the summer of 2021, a restaurant owner asked us to remove her business from the site because she couldn't keep up with the demand. We should have recognized the real power of this thing we created. However, through our platform, many of the owners recognized the power of online marketing. They relied on us to help them manage and market their business which was a very humbling experience for us. Let's face it. We are rather good at it. ​ Today we are faced with two choices: Pivot or persevere in the content and media world. The Pivot is where we challenge and change our old hypothesis to create a new one, and the Persevere approach is where we keep trying to prove our previous hypothesis. ​

Welp, here we are again, challenging our thoughts in service of helping our community. We're pivoting from the idea that Black-Owned Long Island is the ideal solution to connect businesses and consumers and drive economic success. Business owners need plenty of help to get an edge over their competition. Instead, we are leaning into our superpower. We are excited to share that we are rebranding Black-Owned Long Island to Side Hustle & Flow to evolve our focus and inspire people with side hustles and SMBs harnesses the power of creativity, media and tech to transform the world. ​ This is the logical next step for us. It's not the end of an era but the beginning of something special for you and our community. Thank you in advance for taking the journey with us!

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