UPS is celebrating Black History Month with a special design on Express delivery packages, part of a campaign to support Black-owned small businesses.
It’s the first time UPS has commissioned art for any of its delivery boxes, and the design was created by 25-year-old Sophia Yeshi, a graphic illustrator who is Black and southeast Asian and owns Yeshi Designs, a Brooklyn-based small business.
The temporary redesign is part of UPS’ new “Proudly Unstoppable” campaign, which is designed to amplify minority voices while providing aid to Black-owned businesses through the end of the year.
Yeshi’s “Let’s Rise Together” design will appear on Express boxes throughout February, featuring Black men, women and children holding hands.
“I wanted something that felt inspiring and was about unity and people coming together to help one another,” Yeshi told CNN Business. “It was really important that it have that unstoppable energy, something that felt like we’re powering through and persevering.”
As part of the campaign UPS is also working with a non-profit group, 30-Day Fund, to provide forgivable $5,000 loans to pre-selected Black-owned small businesses in need each day in February. UPS says recipients can repay the loans if they want to “pay it forward” to another small business, but repayment is not required.
UPS will also spotlight Black-owned small businesses on collection boxes, as well as on internal and external UPS platforms.
Black entrepreneurs have struggled more than most to keep their small businesses running throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of limited access to government aid and less access to capital than most White small business owners.
A stunning 41% of the nation’s Black-owned small businesses permanently closed between last February and April, according to a July New York Fed report. Only 32% of Latinx business owners, 26% of Asian business owners and 17% of White business owners said the same at the time, researchers found.
Yeshi, the box designer, also stars in a new UPS ad for the “Proudly Unstoppable” campaign.
“I own my business. I own my successes and the lessons I’ve learned in the process,” she says during the commercial. “I own the future I’m building for myself and for my community. I own my purpose and my pride.”