Barnes navigates the business world


Courtesy of Contemporary Fantasy Designs

Dejunae Dandridge, News Editor

Michael Barnes is a black man who has 3 companies, which makes him a small minority business owner. Barnes has sole proprietorship, an enterprise that is ran only by one individual and there is no distinction when it comes to the owner and business entity.

Barnes owns a “design and marketing strategy company Contemporary Fantasy Designs, comic book/kids book company Legendary Arts, and a real estate investment company Key Lock REI. He founded Contemporary Fantasy Designs in 2011, Legendary Arts in 2011, and Key Lock REI in 2018. Which makes him a small minority business owner.

Barnes has experienced being not taken seriously when it comes to him doing his work because of him being black.

“People started out taking me for a joke, as if what I am doing is just playing around. And even after that phase passes, they still think I’m ripping them off, or doing something shady…or they think I must have ‘tricked’ 10-15 years worth of clients (thousands of clients by now) into buying from me. — All because I’m black,” said Barnes.

Having a small business can be difficult. The most difficult part can vary from one business to another. Barnes mentions that the most difficult thing is the learning curve for each part of business ownership especially without a mentor.

“Each part of business ownership is of vital importance to have an understanding about it. Business structure, financial structure & financial strategy, business relationships & customer service and more. All important,” said Barnes.

Barnes created his first business because “couldn’t find a job right after college.” Going beyond that, he saw problems that he had solutions for. Once he saw that his solutions were working and people were willing to buy from him, he invested in it himself, created a brand for it and went ahead into creating the LLC for it.

Small business need support just like bigger businesses. Sometimes smaller businesses are not known about because they may not have as much support. The businesses may also not have the ability to advertise their business as much. Without support, businesses can’t thrive. Barnes supports small businesses because he wants to help.

“Go through their processes to get the product they are trying to sell to you! It took them forever to figure out how to create, package & deliver their product to you. Don’t think that just because you are used to the way “Walmart” does it, that there is not another, just-as-good way to do it!” said Barnes.

Smaller businesses may not have the connections to sell stuff as cheap as bigger businesses.

“Walmart can buy out a whole city in-bulk order if they want because they have the cash & influence to get things cheap. Small businesses have-yet-to develop those relationships, get their money up, and offer their cheapest prices on things. Pay their price. Don’t haggle them,” said Barnes.

Small minority businesses are here and are here to stay as long as they get the support that they need. Everyone should be able to have the right fair opportunities to create a business even if they are a minority.

Barnes even helps others create and structure their business. Barnes can be contacted at (402)452-0471. He can also be reached through email by going through these websites: and Barnes also has Instagram @cfdesignsonline and @legendaryartsonline. His personal page is @mrbarnes003.

“I own my time. I do what I want to do…when I want to do it. I also like it very much that my income potential is limitless without the burden of a “regular” 9am-5pm job. I like to create opportunities for myself and others, and I like to help see other people’s businesses grow around me. That’s awesome!” said Barnes.