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African-American Santas in demand for the holidays

Marketplace Contributor Dec 21, 2015
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The holidays can be lucrative for the many who dress up as Santa Claus each year. But there’s a budding industry in the Santa business for African-American Santas like Dee Sinclair, who is gearing up for his 14th season as Santa Claus. Sinclair said he’s been booked solid for Christmas events so far.

“We’re in high demand,” said Sinclair, who is based in Georgia. “It’s high demand to the point where folks just don’t know how to find us.”

Dee Sinclair said he has trained other black Santas. 

Sinclair used to work as a mall Santa, but several years ago decided to create his own company “The Real Black Santa.” Now, he said he makes up to $60,000 in a holiday season. “Because it’s my company, it can be very lucrative,” said Sinclair. 

His business has even vaulted him into another industry: reality television.

For Santas who don’t have reality television deals, there’s still a lot of money to be made. 

“You have some Santas that are going from dusk to dawn that can make an annual salary just in the month of December,” said Steph Seibert, owner of Atlanta’s Santas, a company that books Santas for all kinds of gigs — everything from corporate events to intimate holiday parties.

She said being Santa can be especially lucrative for African-Americans. “The black community, I mean, a lot of them want somebody that looks like them — looks like their kids,” said Seibert.

And there simply aren’t enough African-American Santas, she said.

“A lot of times it kind of boils down to supply and demand — definitely a high demand and a low supply,” said Seibert. There’s so much demand that her company usually can’t find an African-American Santa to fulfill requests from her clients.

That’s something Sinclair is hoping to change.

“In the Atlanta area, I’ve hired and trained three other Santas,” said Sinclair. He said one African-American Santa he’s currently mentoring hopes to book a few gigs this season.

Sinclair also plans to start his own national casting call for Santas of all ethnicities, he said.

 

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