Here’s another instalment of the “Building Our Own Table” series, where I interview Black founders. As a writer, I’ve often struggled to find images to illustrate my work that allow me to see myself reflected. And I know I’m not the only one. That’s why I was thrilled to hear about pocstock, a company that aims to redress that balance. Meet the founder of pocstock, Steve Jones.
Steve, tell me briefly about your background prior to founding pocstock.
I was born in Barbados, raised in Brooklyn. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a teenager, starting with graphic design for tourists, moving into the music business recording and producing music, then starting and running an independent record label. Then spending 15 years running an award winning digital agency designing interactive sites for fortune 500 companies, and developing web and mobile platforms and branding for companies of all sizes.
Give me the elevator pitch for pocstock.
pocstock is a global Black-owned stock media platform focused on providing companies with an abundant source of high quality royalty-free photos, videos and illustrations featuring people of color to use in their advertising and marketing.
And in more detail?
pocstock was founded in 2019 by Steve Jones, DeSean Brown, and Tamara Fleming. It’s currently 2 years old. The library currently has over 100,000 assets from 700+ contributors across 60 countries. We are working with major brands like Comcast, Dell, NBCUniversal, Nestle, Sony Music, and agencies like Omnicom, Publicis, and Interpublic Group. And we’re working on solving the problem of diversity in stock media. For our clients, we’re a one-stop shop for all things diversity. We provide access to our stock library, produce custom photos and videos to meet specific creative needs, and create conversations and content around various diversity topics via our IncludeUs Campaign.
What inequity were you trying to redress/address, and why is this important?
There was no abundant source of high-quality images featuring people of color covering a wide range of situations. So many gaps.
How’s it going? What has the response been?
People have been genuinely excited to know that pocstock exists; the lack of diversity in stock photography has been a problem for decades. Our first 2 years were spent building the platform, library from 1500 assets to 100k, building the team and infrastructure, and client base. We just launched new low cost subscription plans to make sure pocstock is accessible to companies of all sizes.
What’s next for pocstock?
Expanding our network of contributors into 195 countries, building our library to over 1m assets including photos, videos, and illustrations. Building a global ecosystem.
Any other interesting ventures coming up for you?
Nothing I can disclose at this time.
In relation to racism, what’s your vision for the future?
People who see differences are entitled to their opinions about each other; you can’t use legislation or protests to change what’s in people’s hearts. The racism that needs to be eradicated is systemic racism which is interwoven into the fabric of most American legacy systems that affect people of color including media, politics, voting, law enforcement, criminal justice, education, financial, healthcare, etc. In all of these systems, we can identify specific areas we can change to have more fair and balanced outcomes for people of color.
By 2060, people of color are projected to be the majority population of the United States. By then I’m hoping that we can be in positions of power across the majority of these systems to be able to dismantle and create new systems where everyone in the country is treated fairly.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Background image courtesy of Getty Images - Colors Hunter - Chasseur de Couleurs