Best Buy x PopSockets Partnership For Black History Month – PopSockets & Best Buy
Tech retailer Best Buy has been increasing its efforts in DEI, realizing that the number of companies led or run by individuals from diverse backgrounds in the tech industry is disproportionately low compared to other industries. One tech-adjacent area that is particularly challenged in this way is graphic design. Making use of its Best Buy Teen Tech Center®, Best Buy created a program that would encourage teens to create products that could actually be sold in Best Buy stores and return the profits to the Teen Tech Center.
In partnership with PopSockets, four Black artists from the Teen Tech Center network were identified, and each was matched with a graphic designer from PopSockets who served as a mentor through the design process. Teens and their mentors met weekly over the course of 4-6 weeks to talk about ideation, concepting and prototype design, and each teen ultimately developed a PopGrip that could be sold in Best Buy stores and online (PopGrips are small, round attachments that connect to the backs of phones and tablets to help users hold and prop up their devices). Teens were given little design parameters beyond letting them know that their design would be featured as part of Black History Month campaigns.
The teens were paid market rate for their designs, and learned how to invoice a client for freelance work. Fifty percent of the sale price of the items was also donated back to the Best Buy Foundation in support of the tech centers.
The PopSockets were featured prominently in Black History Month marketing campaigns, on social media, on each company’s website, and in direct-to-consumer marketing. Both Best Buy and PopSockets considered the program a success and worked together to replicate it twice more in 2021. The companies hired eight additional designers from underrepresented communities in the graphic design industry to create PopGrips that were featured during Pride Month (June) and LatinX Heritage Month (September/October.) Over the three activations, the program generated $62,500 for the Foundation in support of the Teen Tech Centers. PopSockets plans to run the program again in 2022, expanding the number of teen participants and mentors.
Teens themselves were grateful for the experience. Said one: “This project helped me learn about my identity and the struggles I face as a black woman,” she said. “It helped me understand my worth as a black creator.”