Originally sparked by a conversation between a pair of Chicago based sisters about how best to support the growing number of Black owned businesses in the city, SIB’s Breakfast Club (SBC) has since grown to become a reliable hub that business owners can depend on to get the word out about the services they offer.
A native Chicagoan, Holloway comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. Her father owned several businesses, which she worked in starting from age 12. She observed how each business near her father’s store and restaurant helped each other, and understood early that Black-owned businesses were often each other’s only support system.
Educated at the HBCU Texas Southern University, Holloway supported herself through college by teaching tap, an unexpected benefit from years of dance and piano lessons she took growing up. Comfortable in academic environments, some 15 years of her career have been spent in the education field, 10 with the Career Education Corporation.
N’DIGO recently spoke with SBC’s head woman in charge, Sibyl Holloway, to find out how the group got off the ground and everything she has in store for 2018 and beyond.
N’DIGO: For those not familiar, what is SIB’s Breakfast Club?
Sibyl Holloway: SIB’s Breakfast Club was founded in 2008 by myself and my sister, Sylvia Holloway. It was named as such because originally it was just a monthly Saturday morning breakfast meeting that featured different Black-owned businesses. But we began to get a strong showing of support as we went along and our objective changed from the monthly breakfast meeting to a being a conduit and connector of Black businesses here in the city.
So the idea began as simple breakfast meeting and began to take on a life of its own?
Exactly! Now we meet a handful of times a month, always giving a monetary boost to the hosting business, and we encourage the mingling business owners to network and share information so that we all can win. We’ve morphed into a group with a common understanding and the common understanding is that patronizing Black owned business is absolutely essential.
To what do you attribute your longevity in keeping SBC going for so long?
For one, I love, love, love what I do! This is my business and no matter what happens I am committed to this forever. I absolutely love the lifestyle of patronizing my own. I have an amazing support system of family, friends and SBC Supporters.
Tell us about your annual list of game changers and the 2018 class?
SIB’s Breakfast Club’s Game Changers started five years ago. I was five years into SBC and found myself surrounded by so many hard working, talented and simply beautiful entrepreneurs that I wanted a platform to showcase these individuals. That is where the Game Changers group started.
Now here we are 10 years into SIB’s Breakfast Club and this is my fifth year with the SBC Game Changers. This 2018 group is artsy, sexy, bold and intellectual, all in one group. I get so excited about each group. This group gives you a lot of energy. Just look at the picture.
Do you think Chicago’s Black business community can do better in regards to being unified and helping each other?
Yes I do. Over the past nine-plus years of my sister Sylvia and I running SIB’s Breakfast Club, I have noticed a positive movement. I feel that if our community tried just a little harder and focused on spending with Black-owned businesses, we would see a world of change.
My 2018 campaign is called #20SLASH18. This campaign is simple. I am asking that we all spend 20 percent of our dollars with a Black-owned business in 2018. I know that if we did this, EVERYTHING would change for our community as a whole.
Your annual SBC Spring Day Party is March 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. What can attendees expect when the arrive at the Spring Day Party?
The Spring Day Party is called “SIB’s Breakfast Club presents FLASH.” We are taking the SIB’S Breakfast Club party to Forty Photography Studio, which is located in the Bronzeville area of Chicago at 710 East 47th Street. The owner of Forty Photography, Laurencio Nalls, is also the photographer that took my 2016 and 2018 Game Changers pictures.
You should expect to walk in to the sounds of a hot Chicago DJ and see people patronizing this respective business. What we will give you is what SBC always delivers – which is a SUPER fun way of patronizing a Black-owned business. It’s a party in the morning at Forty Photography. Come out, patronize this business, and party with us.
Name three principles or ideals you try to abide by in your business dealings?
1. Be fair.
2. Follow your heart and your gut.
3. Don’t discount your dream.
Can you name a book that changed or really impacted your life?
Healing Secrets of the Ages by Catherine Ponder. This book opened my mind and heart to not only physical healing, but spiritual healing as well. The book opened my inner ear and my inner eyes to see beyond the physical.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
They would probably be surprised to know that I am so extremely shy.
Best advice or words of wisdom for aspiring business professionals?
If you love your business, stick with it. I have found that many Black businesses fail because they are giving their friends and family either huge discounts or simply giving their services away for free. We cannot sustain like this. Believe in what you do and whatever your price is, someone else will pay it.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite quote is actually SIB’s Breakfast Club signature quote from my sister Sylvia Holloway and I: “I support Black-owned business. Do you? Join me. What will you bring to the table?”
What’s next for Sibyl Holloway and SIB’s Breakfast Club?
I am now the owner of a private shared office space in the South Loop area of Chicago with over 100 professionals as members. This 14,000-square foot space opened in February of 2017. I am growing a space for professionals to work, network, have meetings, share dreams, connect, showcase art and grow in a cool, laidback setting with all nationalities. This year I will host SBC events with at least seven new businesses. Be on the look out for these grand opening celebrations.
Also, with the help of my sister Sylvia of Love to Organize, and my baby sister Sylvetta Christmas, who has a production company, on September 8, 2018, we will have the SBC 10 Year Anniversary Gala that promises to be nothing short of amazing!
In general, 2018 will be a huge year for SIB’s Breakfast Club. I have a tremendous love for art, music and fashion. I have partnered with artist Bryant Lamont of ARTepidemic, DJ Nick Nicholson of We Jam DJ Academy, and many others to showcase the importance of patronizing Black art and adding exposure to artists and Black people in the fashion world.
The #20SLASH18 campaign is my baby this year. I am asking that everyone, no matter where they are, reach out to find a Black-owned business and support it. I want us to use the hashtag #20SLASH18 and check in when patronizing a Black business.
We are taking this campaign everywhere and making it as far reaching as possible. My partners and I will be in Houston, Columbus, Nashville and even London in hopes that we can get people all over the world to take part in this with us.
(For more information on SIB’s Breakfast Club, please visit www.sibsbreakfastclub.com.)