Last year seemed like a nightmare that we couldn’t wake up from. With protests, political unrest and injustice that seemed to stalk every corner, it felt as though America had ripped a bandage off of a wound that never healed. The untimely murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, and many others sparked a civil outcry ending in riots and disruption across many cities in the U.S.
For far too long, Black Americans have felt and shown that their lives hold little value by the criminal justice system and by the people who are supposed to protect them, and 2020 was a year of breaking points. Reform is needed, and we can champion this reform, but only if we achieve it together. If you’re still looking to contribute to the cause, we have a few resources for you.
We still encourage peaceful protests and donating to foundations and charities that promote the idea of betterment and protection of Black lives and human rights. Some of these organizations include, but are not limited to: Black Lives Matter, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, George Floyd Memorial Foundation, the Movement for Black Lives, Trayvon Martin Foundation, and many many more. The need for parity within the United States is necessary, and although there is less talk about protests on your timelines and on the evening news, Black lives still matter.
Showing solidarity should be year-round and not just something to do when there’s unrest in the streets. We’ve included a list of Black businesses that you can support to use your buying power for good.
LFLS is a Black-owned designer dress shoe company that’s based in Los Angeles and sports the motto “Put Yourself in My Shoes.” Their founder, Eric Jones, grew up in a harsh environment in a small town in Arkansas and watched his mother work tirelessly for years while barely making it. He was inspired and motivated to venture off and make a name for himself, dedicating all of his efforts and success to his mother, his number one support system.
Dress for success certainly seems to be one of their values, as the polished footwear they offer all have a classic design with a little flair added to it in a shiny toe or extra tassel. They ship their products both domestically and internationally and have shoes for men/kings and women/queens. They’re all about creating the highest quality shoes with unique, eye-catching designs at affordable prices.
krio Skin Care
Tony, the founder of krio Skin Care, struggled with dry skin for years before discovering the power of plant-based oils in moisturizing and keeping you “anti-ashy.” Everyone can get “ashy” from time to time according to the krio brand, no matter the color of your skin, and they want to help you hydrate your skin while knowing exactly what you’re putting on your skin.
Rooted in the skincare routines of his Sierra Leonean ancestors, Tony designed a line of moisturizing body oils packed with antioxidants, fatty oils and the vitamins your skin craves that are natural, lightweight and feel great. With their products, you never have to question the ingredients or worry that you don’t understand why a certain ingredient is included — all of it is clear and from the heart. They’ve got three body oils, each named after a beautiful natural site in Sierra Leone.
Looking for literature to read to inform yourself right now? Try supporting a Black-owned bookstore like Mahogany Books in Washington, DC. Founded by a husband and wife duo, Derrick and Ramunda Young, Mahogany Books is eager to inspire reading, writing and cultural awareness about the African Diaspora within the African American community. Their hope is to give people educational tools to educate, inspire self-esteem and ultimately improve the community.
They offer a wide range of books and materials written by African American authors including works of fiction, cultural literature, non-fiction and books for children and young adults. They ship nationwide and are a great resource if you’re looking to support the Black community while educating yourself on history, as well as the present.
The Brooklyn Circus
The Brooklyn Circus is a menswear brand stationed in Brooklyn that has become a community staple and was featured in Black-Owned Brooklyn. The founder, Ouigi Theodore, reopened the store formerly focused on a Harlem Renaissance aesthetic in 2018, paying homage to Spike Lee, Jay-Z, sports and Cooley High.
The store focuses on “tailored casual” streetwear that you can don just as easily out as you can during a business meeting. They’ve got branded varsity jackets, graphic t-shirts, vintage Levi’s and sneakers. They’re on a 100-Year Plan to change the way Americans dress and consistently emphasize the importance of presentation.
Moshood Afariogun, a Nigerian-born black designer out of New York, has been around for over 25 years creating signature pieces including dashikis, Buba tops and drop-crotch drawstring pants. His storefront, Moshood Creations has served as a neighborhood staple for black creators including Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder.
They were also featured in Black-Owned Brooklyn and regularly host cultural events in New York that celebrate Black culture in the design and wardrobe world. Their motto, “Wear Moshood, Wear Yourself” reflects their emphasis on owning Blackness through the clothes you wear. Their colorful graphic tees and distinguished logo solidify their status as a pillar of Black culture, alongside Afariogun himself.
Post-Imperial is a menswear brand made unique by their fabric-treatment process done in Nigeria called Adire. This hand-dyeing process was developed by Yorubas in Southwest Nigeria and involves an artist painting a pattern with a dye-resistant wax base and then treating the fabric. Their goal is to give these traditional practices a modern perspective and new life through using the fabric to make elevated, modern-day designs.
The fabric is then brought to New York and sewn into t-shirts, button-up short sleeve shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and button-up long sleeve shirts. The unique streetwear designs range from perfect for a casual day in the sun to a stand-out jacket for a cocktail party.
Bolé Road Textiles
With a passion for interior design and a deep connection to Ethiopian textiles, Hana Getachew decided to marry the two passions and create Bolé Road Textiles. Bolé Road is all about the power of interiors and how textiles can transform spaces and the people within them. She was an architect for 11 years in New York before realizing that vibrant colors and patterns were always what she leaned towards, a connection to the home she grew up in and the global aesthetic she’s accustomed to.
Now, Bolé Road is designed in Brooklyn, New York and constructed in Ethiopia, making the products authentic, high-quality and completely handmade from start to finish. Their products are made with hand-spun cotton and yarn, mostly by women artisans that are directly supported by the business. They offer a variety of goods for your home including pillows, rugs, linens and beautiful wall hangings. Liven up your space while supporting female, Ethiopian artisans on the Bolé Road website here.
Founded by award-winning musician Rihanna, Fenty Beauty is the result of her experimenting and trying various makeup products and routines over years of work in the entertainment industry only to find that there was a void in product availability for all skin types and tones. They’ve created a whole line of foundations, bronzers, primers, concealers, highlighters and other makeup products in universal tones and formulas that work for a variety of skin types. They’re lightweight and made to be layered, and they’ve even got a shade finder quiz on the site if you’re unsure of which tone will work best for your individual skin tone.
Hot sauce, anyone? Basbaas is a Somali foods store that focuses on high-quality condiments that include ingredients central to Somalian cuisine including turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and pepper. They’ve got the recognizable bold flavors of the traditional cuisine, with some American influences mixed in including herbs, fruits and other twists.
Their founder, Hawa Hassan’s story encapsulates the cultural diaspora her food reflects. After getting separated by a brutal civil war in their home country of Somalia, Hassan moved to the U.S. without her mother and built a career in fashion. After moving to Norway and opening a Somali good store, she and her mother reunited and rediscovered a love for cooking.
Their whole line of authentic hot sauces and chutneys is available in the US and perfectly complements Middle Eastern, African and Indian cuisines. Some of their flavors include Tamarind Date Sauce and Coconut Cilantro Chutney. All of their sauces are hand-crafted and bottled in Hudson Valley and are all-natural, gluten-free, vegan and locally-sourced.
Founded by Nancy Twine, an NYC transplant and beauty haircare expert, Briogeo is her answer to the lack of natural haircare available on the market. After moving away from home in her early twenties, where she and her grandmother specialized in creating natural haircare formulas from all-natural ingredients, Twine realized there was a lack of high-quality natural haircare with ingredients you could trust, and decided to take matters into her own hands.
The result is Briogeo, Brio in Italian means “vibrant and full of like” while Geo means “of Earth and nature” in Latin. They’ve created a whole line of haircare products that are six-free, meaning totally free of harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens, DEA, synthetic color and phthalates. Every one of their products is between 90-100% naturally derived, and all of them are cruelty-free. They’ve got something for everyone — whether you’re looking to take care of natural hair, gain more volume, boost natural curls or reclaim some moisture.
Maison Noir Wines
Maison Noir Wines is named using the French words for “black house,” a name evocative of their “black sheep” mentality when approaching wine-making and the rules surrounding this traditional art. André Hueston Mack, the sommelier and winemaker behind the business is all about rule-breaking and doing things differently for the purpose of pushing the creative envelope.
Their website touts that Maison Noir is not afraid to make wines that “have a good time” and disrupt the industry in the process, freeing the makers and drinkers to do what they please. We love this, and fully support this approach to making a drink that should be enjoyed and savored. Luckily they’ve got plenty of options for you to choose from — including everything from their “Other People’s Pinot Noir” to the “Knock on Wood” Chardonnay.
Founded by Diishan Imira with a mission to serve hairstylists and the important work that they do, Mayvenn offers high-quality virgin hair wigs and beauty products aimed at giving the Black community ownership over the beauty industry they pump billions into every year.
Imira went from a box of wigs in the trunk of his Toyota Corolla to a nationwide network of over 50,000 stylists and customers with millions of dollars invested back into their community. Their wigs are virgin hair, meaning human hair completely untreated by chemicals or harsh dyes, and they offer salon products as well aimed at arming stylists with the best tools possible and helping customers feel good about their new look.
This next business is Kansas City barbecue at its finest. Two sisters Deborah “Little” and Mary “Shorty” Jones carry on their father’s legacy by smoking meats and creating their family’s signature barbecue sauce daily at the famous Jones Bar-B-Q. You may have seen them featured on the last season of Queer Eye. Needless to say, they’re barbecue masters and masters of the art that is sauce from scratch.
You might not be able to visit their flagship location down south anytime soon but you can order their barbecue sauce online as well as other merch. Enjoy their signature sauce on ribs, pork, chicken — you really can’t go wrong. The ingredients are all-natural and while the recipe is top secret, you can rest assured knowing there’s a ton of heart and decades of family mixed inside.
BLK + GRN
BLK + GRN is a marketplace of Black artisans of all-natural beauty products aimed at connecting Black communities with non-toxic, high-quality brands. The marketplace has a wide variety of green brands from beauty to skincare to haircare and home goods, all created and run by Black makers. They’ve compiled a list of 20 harmful ingredients that they don’t allow in any of their products nor let “clog their self-care” — only some of which have been banned by the FDA.
Anita Grant is a haircare and beauty line with a whole host of products derived from high-quality, natural ingredients designed to make you look good, feel good and know that what you’re putting onto and into your body is good for you. They’re focused on raw ingredients that work when it comes to beauty and serving a variety of hair types from afro natural to coily to loose curls. Their products range from oils, butters and sprays to clay and floral waters. All of the used ingredients are fair trade, purchased directly from organic farmers and suppliers.
Sol Cacao is a chocolate company founded by three brothers, Dominic, Nicholas and Daniel, who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago surrounded by cacao trees. They loved eating chocolate from the cacao they had grown themselves, and now they want to share that art with you.
Their chocolate bars are made with two simple ingredients: cacao and raw cane sugar. The three brothers have grown to understand and own every part of the chocolate-making process — from the growing of the cacao to the production of the actual chocolate bars. They’re focused on the quality of the product as well as the environmental and social impact of their business, so you know you’re purchasing something delicious and responsible at the same time. You can find their chocolate bars here on the Sol Cacao website.
The Mane Choice
Courtney Adeleye was on a healthy hair journey and took to YouTube to share her personal haircare tips with others and soon found herself with a band of loyal followers seeking her help with their own manes. With her Bachelor’s in nursing and unique, medically-oriented perspective on haircare she realized there were gaps she could fill for people seeking better, healthier haircare and The Mane Choice Hair Solution was born. Each product she creates fulfills a dual purpose — beautifying and improving health at the same time.
Now, they’ve grown to become a multi-cultural hair growth company with a line of products infused with essential nutrients backed by scientific data. Some of these products include scalp oil, hair masks, moisturizing sprays, leave-in conditioner and more. You can find all of their products online with Ulta beauty and more information on the company on The Mane Choice website.
The Reparations Club
GIFTS + HOME GOODS
Founded by Jazzi Gilbert, a black consumer looking to buy things she needed from Black-owned businesses, The Reparations Club is all about pooling Black-owned enterprises together and making it easier for people to support them. It makes it simple to support Black entrepreneurs and rids someone of the excuses “I don’t know where to look” or “I can’t find them.”
The marketplace opened in Los Angeles in June of 2019 and is completely curated by Black creatives and people of color. You can order items to be shipped nationwide on their online store where they’ve got a wide selection of books and apparel. The selection of books is curated to highlight the voices of authors of color and the experiences of Black individuals.
Christopher John Rogers
Christopher John Rogers is an up-and-coming designer who you’re going to want to keep your eye on in 2021. His clothes are bursting with color, vibrancy, energy and daring silhouettes that have everyone in the fashion world excited to see what he does.
His sharp tailoring makes his clothes artistically worthwhile and has earned him a CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. He’s also garnered himself a growing celebrity fan club that includes Ashley Graham, Rihanna and Michelle Obama. Swoon. You can check out his collection on Net-A-Porter here.
Founded in 2013, Pyer Moss, designed by its founder Kerby-Jean Raymond, is known for its uncanny ability to merge the worlds of Black history and fashion and producing clothing that provokes emotion and thought. The unisex brand mostly features ready-to-wear and athletic wear — specifically sneakers.
One of the brand’s most controversial and thought-provoking shows was its spring 2019 collection, which featured t-shirts that stated, “stop calling 911 on the culture” and a dress that featured a Black father cradling his child. Raymond is all about making sure that Black people are visible in the fashion industry and given the same opportunities their white counterparts benefit from. You can check out the brand’s collections on the Pyer Moss website.
You’ve most likely seen the shopper bag from this brand everywhere over the last two years or so, and that’s what Telfar wanted. Telfar Clemens, the brand’s founder and designer, started the unisex brand back in 2005 with the focus being, “It’s not for you – it’s for everyone.”
As a means to stamp out the elitist culture of fashion, Clemens seeks to bring luxury to everyone with their shopper bag consciously priced between $150-257. Also selling ready-to-wear, belts and hats, the brand wants advocates for universal luxury in all sectors of fashion. You can sign up for product restocks on the coveted shopper bag and buy other items on the Telfar website.
Grace Wales Bonner
The eponymous label Grace Wales Bonner approaches luxury through an angle of European and Afro-Atlantic cultures. Started in 2014, the brand has become a fashion industry favorite for its methods of providing tailored and intricate looks that are sophisticated and suave.
Although the brand is mainly known for catering to menswear, it has recently ventured into womenswear. One of the most important “celebrity style” moments for the brand is when Meghan Markle wore Bonner’s trench dress. Known for its bold outwear and knits, the brand harps on the idea of reestablishing what “Black masculinity” means in a real-life context. You can learn more about the brand and purchase items from the Wales Bonner site.
The motto of Fe Noel is simple: “Eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire!” Brooklyn-based Fe Noel is a womenswear brand for women who love luxury and like looking put together, which I mean truly, who doesn’t want to look like both of those things?
The label founder Felisha, who goes by Fe Noel, is heavily influenced by her Caribbean heritage and her interdependent family. When she’s not coming up with a new silhouette to sell on her site, she helps other young Black girls achieve their goals of entrepreneurship through her Fe Noel Foundation program. To shop pieces, visit the Fe Noel site.
Slutty Vegan has become a staple in the culture of vegan food in Atlanta, GA, not only because of its vegan cuisine but because of its rather controversial name. Pinky Cole, the founder and CEO, started the company with a small food truck. After having a food truck tour that stopped across multiple predominately Black cities in the United States, Cole opened her first brick and mortar location in 2018 in the predominately Black area of the West End in Atlanta.
Offering everything from vegan burgers to bacon to even shrimp, Slutty Vegan’s culture is saturated with customers and celebrities alike. Some of the celebrities who have dined at Slutty Vegan include Tyler Perry, Snoop Dogg, Waka Flocka, and even Big Boi. Although this restaurant is Atlanta-centric, you can book the truck to come visit you! All of the details are on the Slutty Vegan site.
When it came to hair care, skincare and grooming for Black people, it used to be hard to find products that catered to Black people. Starting in 2013, the Bevel decided to change that for Black men by addressing their needs for adequate skin and hair care.
Featuring electric trimmers, shaving products and a multitude of brushes, Bevel is a line that helps to fight ingrown hairs that are extremely prominent with kinky, coily hair textures. Also, Bevel ventured into skincare because finding products that help to keep Black skin hydrated and moisturized is a challenge as well. These cruelty-free products don’t feature any ingredients that’ll dry out your skin or hair, like alcohol, and will help you feel moisturized and happy. You can buy Bevel’s latest product offerings at the Bevel website.
Started by two MIT grad students, Season 3 seeks to entice your curiosity and wants you to learn more about people from around the world. Season 3 makes shoes, clothing and housewares that are tools of exploration, by their definition.
The Ansel, the brand’s staple boot, is an updated version of a classic European hiking boot. Also, the brand stands on the right side of time, stating that it believes that climate change is real, that racial and gender equity is needed, that LGBTQ+ rights matter and that fair labor and pay are non-negotiable. You can shop this ethical brand on its website, seasonthree.com.
Baxter Wood Company
Offering basics in fashion has become popular since the pandemic. But this brand, Baxter Wood, has created ethical fashion since 2018. Focusing mainly on raincoats and rain boots, the Baxter Wood brand is known for being an eco-conscious brand that cares about the Earth.
For example, they use 100% natural vegan rubber to create rain boots, and they seek to lower the impact of their rainboots by buying them from you with a $30 store credit as a part of its recycling program. Also, the brand seeks to educate as it is involved with the Green Board Organization, which is a non-profit that provides sustainability-focused education programs to children denied an education. Support the brand by buying a raincoat or a pair of rainboots on the Baxter Wood Company site.
Koils began back in 2009 after Pamela J. Booker, the CEO and founder of Koils, started her journey by going natural and realizing that it could be quite pricey to purchase natural hair care products. The products that Koils offers are vegan, cruelty-free, infused with organic oils, and handmade with the finest ingredients to provide maximum hydration and moisturization to your curls.
The company’s products are popular and got featured in The Oprah Magazine, Black Enterprise and even Good Morning America. From beard growth products to products that seek to alleviate dry skin, Koils seeks to be the only brand you’ll use to tame your tight coils and moisturize your dry skin. You can check out the Koils site for their shoppable products.