Demarketplace Utilizes Media and Technology to Inject Local Businesses With Economic Stimulus

When I asked Bonnie Sandy’s permission to do a profile on her business – DeMarketplace, she raged about community apathy, mistrust and fear of failure.  Her concern was that readers would not “get” what makes a business successful.

“Seriously,” she continued, “profiles tend to treat the business owner as a celebrity.  Often you do not even see the product.  It really bothers me since our community is seriously behind in the current trends and growth!”  She is concerned about value – building it, transferring it and creating strong products!  “My specialty is leveraging technology to cut cost and maximize results! What sets me apart is my focus on culture,” she explained.  Culture+ creativity+ community+ collaboration+ Corporations= COMMERCE.  “Partnerships are important, do not leave out the corporations,” she warned.

“Personally, I define success as living to my fullest potential and positively affecting my fellowman,” Sandy acknowledged.  “I do not run this as a business.  If I did, I would not have discovered many of the techniques I now use.”  Many people seek her assistance armed with masters degrees in business, or with business plans that have been approved for bank loans but are flawed.  “Individuals come to me when they are ready to put aside hype and get serious results! When someone has an idea and very little resources and needs to figure out how to bring that concept to the public in the most efficient, cost-effective way I am the person they are sent to!” she exclaimed.

Sandy is an artist, fashion designer and product developer who has been following and exploring new technology trends for the past six years.  In that time, she has established herself as someone who cares passionately and promotes media and technology as a means to economic opportunity and community upliftment.  This is evident in the various media and technology related projects in which she is currently involved.  For example, DeMarketPlace  ( provides virtual support for individuals utilizing new and emerging media and technology tools to establish their businesses. Sandy also created Brooklyn Fashion Gallery, Behind the Bridge, Artist Mosaic (published first blog 2004) and 28squared as some of its components.

Recently she included Sew Social 2010 with its first project being SS2010Haiti to address the immediate needs of the earthquake’s survivors; making clothing that is relevant to the climate and lifestyle instead of donating used North American clothing.  Here she focuses on the art of making and how emerging technology affects making!
Her creative interest emerged at age thirteen when she began sewing. She later attended New York Fashion Institute of Technology and went on to apprentice with master craftsmen and women.  Coming from a family of techies; her father is a programmer and her brother codes, it is no wonder her teenage son, Yohane, describes her as a geek.

Even while facing rapid economic decline and financial stress she created Artists Mosaic when her landlord, a community activist, challenged her to use her skill in technology to help out a local church.  In 2007, when 4W Circle’s closing became imminent she explored technology as a virtual space to provide solutions for businesses to continue to operate.  Sandy does not consider herself an entrepreneur who runs a business and assumes the inherent risk of operation.  Instead, she said, “In the African-American community, entrepreneurship is simply what you do when no one hires you.”

A typical work day for this single mom is sixteen to eighteen hours  – mostly online. That time is divided between website development for clients, and exploring innovative ways for her clients to access and use social networking tools to create and develop business opportunties.  She also conducts one-on-one seminars and webinars with clients to help them to define and shape their product, clarify and identify potential constituents and strategize to maximize profit.  She veers them from the “hobby” mentality to a business model, constantly redirecting their focus on “where’s your money at!”

Her strategy is based on the Product Line Management (PLM).  At each stage, she takes on a new challenge and works with those individuals in the community with the specific expertise for what the community needs! Each individual business brings something to the table and learns something in the process! There is usually a lot of resistance as most “know” what they are doing but eventually she gets to say ‘I told you so’ as she is very patient. “Frankly speaking, the community cannot afford those individuals afraid of change and comfortable with those four-letter words… can’t, won’t, don’t and fear,” she reiterated, “the fruits of your labor is what qualifies you in life!”

She works tirelessly to get blacks interested in technology.  In February, she created 28squared; 28 designers of African descent from around the world, online, in a virtual African heritage celebration!  She also launched a fashion and technology “unconference” – a reality FashionCamp in NYC, recently adopted in Los Angeles, Seattle and soon to launch in Chicago.

“I presented a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session at Web 2.0  and had to answer to the question of my ethnicity as well as the use of “blacks’ on my fashion site in an “open” arena.  At last year’s FashionCamp even black men were questioning her interest in technology. Unlike other un-conferences, FashionCamp had a lot of women in attendance and at the core, but she was the only black woman speaking on technology!  “I grew up seeing women in my father’s office who were into technology,” she proclaimed.

Her answer to building a successful customer base is, “be authentic to your brand, understand what you stand for and more importantly accept that not everyone is your customer!” or go to for more information.

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