Featuring BIPOC Businesses
The inclusive term BIPOC stands for black, Indigenous and people of color. The term traces back several years and has risen steadily in popularity since Spring 2020.
This gift guide was created by Stephanie Sharron  and reprinted with her permission.
First Coffee (and Tea)
Red Bay Coffee is an institution in Oakland. Founded by photographer and coffee roaster Keba Konte, this Black-owned specialty coffee roastery is focused on serving this Oakland community but since the pandemic hit, has been spurred on by a growing e-commerce business. Importantly, Red Bay employs in Keba’s words, an “anti-hipster cast of characters,” from people of color to people with disabilities and the formerly incarcerated. And you’ll be shopping a Norcal local business.
Calabash Tea & Tonic is a multi-award winning wellness brand founded by Dr. Sunyataa Amen, a 5th generation master herbalist and naturopathic physician hailing from a Jamaican/Cuban/Native American family. Dr. Sunyatta grew up steeped in ethno-botany behind the counter of the “black pyramid” herb shops and vegan juice bars founded in Harlem by her father. Read more about Dr. Sunyatta and Calabash Tea & Tonic here.
- Shop local: Marcus Bookstore, the oldest Black-owned bookstore in America -- and it is located right here on the East Bay so if you’re here in NorCal, you’ll be shopping a Norcal local business at the same time.
- Special shout out for Harriet’s Bookshop in Georgia, which is named after the abolitionist, Harriet Tubman and specializes in women authors, artists and activists.
- Mahogony Books in Washington, D.C. focuses on meeting the literary needs of readers nationwide in search of books about the African Diaspora. You just have to check them out! Don’t miss this amazing events, videos and curated book lists Black Books Matter page. I particularly liked the list “Get Rooted Culture.” With over 20 years of combined retail book industry experience, the owner-couple witnessed a variety of market highs and lows which armed them with insight needed to develop a bookstore model capitalizing on technology while staying true to independent community bookstore roots that define core values of the owners. They have become the go-to bookseller to feature A-List luminaries, new voices and local authors. MahoganyBooks proudly boasts one of the deepest inventory of Black books online. In 2019, the company was named one of the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises in the DC Capital Region. Their commitment to community is amplified by their donation of over 1000 books to youth, numerous story times, financial workshops, author talks, seminars and a host of other events created to enrich the lives of residents and beyond. MahoganyBooks has been featured nationally on the Steve Harvey Television Show, Black Enterprise, Vanity Fair Magazine, Essence Magazine Forbes, Oprah Magazine, TIME Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NBC, ABC and other outlets featuring their commitment to Black books.
Some Select Black-owned Businesses
Featured in Oprah’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide (if you go to the guide, discounts may still be available)
- In business for over 150 years, Uncle Nearest offers Kentucky premium whiskey.
- Harlem Chocolate Factory is Harlem’s first and only chocolate shop.
- Here’s another amazing chocolatier. Philip Ashley Chocolates creates the most beautiful truffle creations in wonderful flavors, but I couldn’t resist the “Perfect Turtle.” Wow!
- Lush Yummie Pie Co. Read their story here! Check out peach butta cobbler, apple butta pie and lemon butta pie. They ship nationwide using gel packs and dry ice.
- Cookie Society was founded by Marissa and Jeff Allen and is located in Frisco, Texas. Choose from chocolate chip, peppermint hot chocolate, sweet potato pie and banana pudding to salted caramel, cookies and cream and snicker doodle. Yum!
- House Dogge, founded by apparel designer Angela Medlin, is an artisanal dog brand with fun sweatshirts and toys. I think our dogs deserve a thank you for helping us survive 2020, don’t you? And even better, a percentage of sales are donated to nonprofit organizations that are rescuing and healing health challenged, homeless, unwanted, neglected, and/or abused dogs so that they may find their caring forever home.
- Founded by Feven and Helena, twins who grew up in a family of political refugees from Eritrea, 2-4-1 Cosmetics made Oprah’s Holiday Gift list this year and their lip glosses and lipsticks have been selling out fast. Here’s their story.
- Bychari, the source of Michelle Obama’s “VOTE” necklace. And a nice option is that you can customize these jewelry offerings.
- Paskho is a casual apparel brand started by designer Patrick Robinson who got his start with famous brands like Armani and the Gap. Even better is this recent announcement from the founder: “All our lives have been upended in 2020. Our neighbors, co-workers, and communities have struggled to survive economically and health-wise. In response, Paskho is moving our clothing manufacturing from Asia to underserved USA communities and neighborhoods near you.” His story is worth a read/listen!
I‘m addicted to some of these sweatshirts (especially the embroidered ones) by Phenomenal Woman. Oversized and comfortable, some have just a tad of cheek. Here’s the sweatshirt I haven’t stopped wearing around the house. For the phenomenal mom, check out this hat. Oh, and did I mention that this company was founded by Kamala Harris’s niece?
Looking for an uplifting set of cards? Check out Cards by De.
For inspirational notes, drawings, stickers, apparel and more, check out Garden24.
Sweet Lobby is not just another boutique bakery. This bakery specializes in French macarons, madeleines, éclairs, shortbread, canelés and more with flavors from around the world. They ship nationally. Sweet Lobby was founded by owner Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, an engineer who balances her work in the area of vision research with owning and operating The Sweet Lobby. Winnette won Food Network’s vastly popular show, Cupcake Wars. A self-taught pastry chef who combines her love of science, travel and baking to create delectable desserts, Winnette holds undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and French from MIT and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Crediting both her technical background and her global exposure, Winnette is passionate about incorporating phenomenal flavor into everything that emerges from The Sweet Lobby’s kitchens.
I couldn’t resist this one: Corvida not only runs one of the most successful social media companies, SheGeeks, but also is a Black birder -- a hobby as we learned this year can be dangerous when living in a white community I guess. Corvida has an IG account, Birding while Black that I follow and she has put up a bunch of fabulous photographs taken while birding. Check it out. 25% off on Black Friday.
Black Fashion & Jewelry
Designer Latisha Baker of Latisha Baker Artworks describes herself as a handmade creative based in Oakland, CA., who is a self-taught artist. Her work consists of a wearable art line, stationery and visual art. The primary medium is a primitive technique called pyrography (firewriter), also known as wood burning or pyroetching. She uses a variety of recycled and purchased wood, including birch, cherry and walnut to create her pyrographic designs and artwork. The art is eclectic and unique. Norcal local business.
For fine jewelry, check out Omi Woods. Omi Woods jewelry are self-described as contemporary heirlooms that celebrate all of our connections to Africa and the jeweler’s diaspora. The jewelry is individually and ethically handmade with fair trade African gold and globally sourced conflict-free fine metals.
Galerie.LA was founded by Dechel Mckillian is a celebrity stylist originally from Los Angeles whose clients include Drake, Fergie, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Lionel Richie, and The Black Eyed Peas. Dechel founded GALERIE.LA in 2015 with the mission to bring socially conscious fashion to the masses.
Brother Vellies was founded in 2013 with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices, and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. Now handmade artisanally across the globe, Brother Vellies creates luxury accessories that celebrate cultural histories and timeless design. Toronto-native and New York City-transplant, Creative Director and Founder Aurora James amassed an impressive resume of fashion industry experience prior to starting Brother Vellies. Her background in fashion, journalism, art, music, photography, and horticulture joins a forever-passion for artisanship, design, and humanitarianism to create truly one-of-a-kind pieces that will remain in your wardrobe forever.
When you shop Sami Miro Vintage you are supporting a woman owned, POC owned, small business with a heavy focus on sustainability. SMV specializes in limited run collections made from only up-cycled and vintage fabrics, minimizing waste. Their supply chain starts and ends in Los Angeles, giving them an extremely low carbon footprint. Founded in 2016 by influencer and designer, Sami Miró, the brand has been featured in VOGUE, CFDA, Forbes, WWD, L’Officiel, Harpers Bazaar, PAPER, NYLON, ELLE, and more as the “it” sustainable label.
Studio One Eighty Nine co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, is an artisan produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise that has recently won the prestigious CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability. The brand is made in Africa and produces African and African-inspired content and clothing. The brand currently operates a store in Accra (Ghana), an ecommerce site, a manufacturing facility in Accra, and supports various community led projects in Africa and in the USA. Studio 189 works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques including natural plant based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving and more. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs and supporting education and skills training and partners with organizations such as the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, NYU Stern School of Business and has collaborated with brands including Lexus. EDUN (LVMH), Fendi, Nike, Opening Ceremony, The Surf Lodge, Okay Africa and Yoox Net a Porter.
Founded in 2016, ALIYA WANEK is an eponymous womenswear label that focuses on exploring the connection between one’s identity and style. Their mission is to create comfortable, stylish clothing ethically and sustainably as an extension of the wearer’s individuality. If not sewing the garments herself, Aliya works with a production sewer and other local contractors in the Bay Area to produce and dye her garments, always taking into consideration ways to reduce the brand’s environmental impact. Norcal local business.
- Fresh Dolls offers a fun assortment of multicultural fashion dolls. The company was founded by a former professor (and mom). Read her story here.
- Health Roots Dolls go beyond (in their words) “painting a doll brown”-- they seek to represent the voices of young girls in the toy industry with products that empower, educate and inspire self love and teach children curl care. Unfortunately it looks like orders placed now may not ship until after Christmas.
- The Black Toystore offers toys of all varieties with Black themes. These are from Black-owned businesses.
Knitting and Yarn
For the knitters and crafty types, there are many, many BIPOC-owned knitting and yarn businesses that you can explore on Instagram, or check out this amazing online site, BIPOC in Fiber, that allows you to search by type of fiber artist! Here are a few that I follow and have enjoyed ordering from.
- LeFrances Handmade was founded by Frances, a knitter, crocheter and indie yarn dyer. Her yarns come in a lovely assortment of colors and yarn bases. One fun bonus – Frances’s young son is her helper and she often will do fun shout outs with his help on Instagram stories.
- If you’re looking for a fun gift with a little humor for a knitting friend, GGMadeIt has some great stuff. GG is all about orange and her blog is quite a hit as well.
- Good things come to those who wait. What first drew me to Birch Hollow Fibers was the founder’s unique take on yarn color combinations. Robin draws inspiration from nature, what she’s reading and those around her. I noticed her on IG when I saw she was featuring color combinations inspired by the illustrations in children’s books. I have a pair of socks on needles now with her yarn and am loving the colors.
Fun with color!
One of my favorite gifts for women friends and associates, especially for those who are going through something (and who isn’t right now?), is Jade Purple Brown’s “Words to Live By.” The inspirational quotes are uplifting, but what puts this over the top are Jade Purple Brown’s joyful illustrations. You just can’t stay low when you open this little book.
I came across Love is Wise first when I saw her mural illustrations she created for Google and then saw her cover for the New Yorker. I was so excited to see I could purchase a signed print of her work. This young woman is going places! Check out her Instagram at @loveiswise and her Etsy shop here.
Aurelia Durand is an incredibly talented young illustrator and artist. Her work for major brands is lighting up the streets around the world. I LOVE following her on IG (@4ur3lia). Check out her animated clips set to music – they’re so much fun. Aurelia sells her prints online. For the teens in your life, “This Book is Anti-Racist,” by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurelia is terrific.
Beauty and Wellness
How about a new yoga mat from Toned by Baggedem? This “Unity” mat is back by popular demand, but make sure to check out the other inspirational mats as well. You can read about the founders and their story here.
Pear Nova, founded by Rachel James, was created to offer a new line of nail products for all skin tones. Featured in Oprah’s Favorite Things 2020 and the LA Times Holiday Guide, this line has taken off.
Redoux bottles memories through scent and crafts products craft for and around experiences that we all share in common--excitement, stillness, love, growth. Redoux’s products have been featured in the NYT 2020 Holiday Gift Guide and Vogue among others.
Perry Boyce offers home gifts at an affordable price. Founder Tracey Boyce explains, “I’ve always had a strong desire to make luxury home items more affordable... I’ve combined my passion for affordable street style and my understanding of business to bring you a unique line that I know you’ll love.” Check out her WKNDER kit.
For something fun and interactive, take a soap making or candle making class with LoveandMake -- or if you prefer to go solo, order one of their kits! Recommended by a friend who did the soap making class with her whole family -- across three generations! The pics looked fab. I might have to try the candle making class myself.
Smakkfit is a go-to resource for high quality and affordable fitness equipment. Buy your family some home gym tune up with some reasonably priced additions like the 11-piece resistance bands I just splurged on after having my single resistance band snap in three directions this week! 😆
Bossy Cosmetics, a local NorCal business, was founded by Aishetu Fatima Dozie, who has always described herself as a "lipstick junkie" and never imagined that she'd start a global beauty brand when she started her career years ago. Her background is absolutely amazing (I encourage you to hear her story here). Bossy Cosmetics makes and sells gorgeous and ethically-made color cosmetics for people of all hues and genders and seeks to share stories of courageous and amazing women by amplifying their voices.
There are many, many terrific children’s and young adult books written by BIPOC authors and featuring themes of diversity and inclusion.
A few personal favorites for younger children: Last Stop on Market Street (Author Matt de la Pena and Illustrator Christian Robinson), Saturday (Author and Illustrator Oge Mora) and Hair Love (Author Matthew Cherry and Illustrator Vashti Harrison). I also loved Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. For children, check out this list of children’s literature from First Nations Oceti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota and Nakota).
My children’s book agent friend also provided these wonderful recommendations:
- Her author’s Caldecott Honor book GOING DOWN HOME WITH DADDY, written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Daniel Minter. Kelly also wrote an early reader series called TY'S TRAVELS and a chapter book series called JADA JONES.
- She also highly recommends a picture book by another Black author, Tami Charles, called ALL BECAUSE YOU MATTER, and a YA novel by a trans Hispanic author, Aiden Thomas called CEMETERY BOYS.
Here’s another list featuring Coretta Scott King winners. This year’s Newbery and Coretta Scott King award winner: New Kid. This year’s Caldecott Medal and Newbery honor award: The Undefeated. Here’s some Kirkus reviews for indigenous authors and stories as well.
Pura Belpré Award (for "a LatinX writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the LatinX cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth"):
- Illustration: Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln, illustrated by Rafael López and written by Margarita Engle.
- Text: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, written by Carlos Hernandez.
Having honest conversations about hard topics is at the core of Meet a Kids Book. Featured in Oprah’s Favorite Things 2020, this company took on the difficult task of publishing books to facilitate these conversations between grownups and kids. From their website: “It all started with one book written by co-founder and CEO, Jelani Memory. As a black father with a blended family, racism was an inevitable topic of conversation. He wanted to find a way to talk to his kids about racism in an honest way that would connect with them. That’s how A Kids Book About Racism came to be. He thought he’d only print one copy, but it turns out, this was a conversation many parents were struggling to have with their kids. That one book turned into several thousand, and soon he realized that there were so many more conversations to be had that parents could use a little help with.”
For something truly unique, peruse BLK MKT Vintage, a site that describes itself as a curated love story. Their motivation to build a collection that mirrors multifarious Black cultural expression is rooted in their love for Black people, Black culture and their own lived experiences. Their offerings are curated by founders Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart. Shop BLK MKT Vintage here.
First books! I’m reading Braiding Sweetgrass and loving it. Written by Robin Wall Kimmerer, “As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on "a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise" (Elizabeth Gilbert).” Two of my closest friends recommended There, There by Tommy Orange, a Native American author, and I’ve had it sitting on the bookshelf, so that is up next for me. For children, check out this list of children’s literature from First Nations Oceti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota and Nakota).
Here are some wonderful gifts shared by Orenda Tribe, some of which also give back to other organizations and all by Indigenous makers:
- Navajo Made, these exquisite Handbeaded hat bands, are done in a classic Peyote bead pattern of vibrant colors, are fully adjustable and have horsehair end tips.
- MY HOME sweatshirt: all proceeds support ADABI HEALING SHELTER in Chinle NM.
- From Rag + Bone, all proceeds from sales of this cashmere pink desert scarf go to delivering critical aid to our community on the Navajo Reservation. Lovingly donated by Rag + Bone (Note: not Indigenous made).
- Navajo made clay painted ornaments
Check out Urban Native Era for some fun indigenous-themed apparel. Read more about this brand that was founded by a group of young Native Americans who wanted to improve Native American communities. I couldn’t resist these socks.
If you’re looking for something special but casual, check out Ginew, the only Native American-owned denim company. These coats lined with Native American wool patterns are amazing. Read their story here.
For the basketball player, check out Trickster.
For adult moccasins and lots of other unique Native American apparel and gifts, check out B.Yellowtail, a fashion retailer that specializes in storytelling through wearable art.
If fine art and museum-quality pieces are more your thing, check out Chholing Taha’s website, The Shawl Lady, featuring her handcrafted art pieces. These shawls and blankets are to die for and her work has been featured on PBS and in various museums around the country.
The Native Seed Company has an important mission: conserving the rich agro-biodiversity of the arid Southwest. Preserved in their seed bank today are nearly 2,000 varieties of crops adapted to arid landscapes extending from southern Colorado to central Mexico, many of them rare or endangered. The collection represents the cultural heritage and farming knowledge of over 50 indigenous communities, as well as recent immigrants like Spanish missionaries and Mormon homesteaders. Their shop includes not only seeds (of which there are many) but also interesting products from indigenous communities across the southwest. Note that there is a three week delivery window so this is not a place to source last minute gifts.
Here’s the world’s only Native American comic bookstore (based on their story).
NTVS is an apparel brand started by two guys who are trying to fill a hole in the market that is missing the voice of the people. From the founders: “Our mission is to teach the youth the importance of embracing culture and history while building a Native American clothing company. We do that by crafting Native apparel designs that you can be proud to wear. Modern Native American clothing and Native prints that have a deeper meaning. Maybe it's a light hearted or funny design. Maybe it's a serious issue that needs to be addressed. We use art and streetwear mixed with our culture to create one-of-a-kind designs that embrace our Native American culture and heritage.”
This entrepreneurial 12-year old started Nhizoni Soaps with her parents. Pretty amazing.
Check out these lovely jewelry pieces by Brilliant Beads by Blanche. Many embody beautiful Alaskan Athabascan/Inupiaq designs. The pieces are made by Blanche Sam of Hughes, Alaska. Blanche grew up in a small rural village on the Koyukuk River in Alaska. She learned to bead from her grandmothers and picked it back up later in life. Some of her designs are inspired by the Alaskan Nature! Read more about the Athabascan tribe here.
Canadian company SheNative employs indigenous women to produce leather goods and apparel.
8th Generation is a group of artisans out of Seattle offering a variety of Native products, including some pretty awesome blankets.
For fine Native jewelry, Notabove offers some lovely pieces by Nanibaa Beck, a 2nd generation Dine' (Navajo) metalsmith. At 13, she became an assistant to her father, Victor Beck, Sr., and learned fundamental silversmithing skills, from him, alongside her mother Eleanor Beck. Read more about Nanibaa’s story here. The hand-sawn minimal jewelry collection's focus on Native indigenous languages fulfilled a unique niche of native art. They were the beginning of the thoughtful and intentional handmade creations that connect to her Dine’ culture. Today, NotAbove/Nanibaa Beck Designs is a reflection of vibrant Native creative expressions and the growth of an 'Asdzaa Dine’ (Dine’ woman) as a metalsmith. Handmade on Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui lands / Tucson, Arizona.
We Live on Native Land (search this map to learn what native land you live on)
Indigenous in Plain Sight (TED Talk)
Let’s reinvent Thanksgiving. Listen to these voices to understand why.
Check out these great aprons from hedley&bennett, a Los Angeles – based company – I particularly like this tie dye version that was featured in the LA Times holiday gift guide. Founded by Ellen Marie Bennett, here’s her story: “I’m half Mexican, half English, born and raised in LA by a fiery mom who calls me “mami” (it’s a Mexican thing), never met a color I didn’t like. A passion for cooking led me to Mexico City when I was 18. After culinary school (and countless other crazy jobs), I came back to LA to cook professionally in some of the city’s best kitchens. That’s where Hedley & Bennett was born. The aprons I wore in restaurant kitchens couldn’t stand up to the pressure (literally, they fell apart), so I set out to make a better (no, the best) one: super functional, durable, pockets for days, in awesome colors and fabrics; something as beautiful and thoughtful as the food I loved to make. To me an apron is a game-day jersey. When the loop goes over my head and I cinch the waist straps, I’m suited up and ready for action. My team is all the other amazing cooks out there—from the pros to those just starting at home—hustling on their own cooking adventures.”
How about a game of Loteria? “Lotería is a beloved Mexican card game that encourages lots of laughter with friends and family — all memory-making magic right there. Play is pretty simple: There’s a dealer who calls out cards, and the first to fill out a row wins. Well now, the game has gotten a Millennial update: “I created this series to combat outdated Hispanic stereotypes and bring a more modern and relevant representation of Hispanic-American and their daily life,” says creator Mike Alfaro, who describes the game to newcomers as “Mexican bingo.” Instead of numbers, Lotería squares highlight archetypes. “This set of cards reimagines La Dama as La Feminist, El Catrín as El Hipster, and Las Jaras as La Hashtag,” Alfaro says. A new “La Shiny AF Edition” is on the way, and can be purchased through Instagram.” -- LA Times Holiday Guide.
“Oakland’s Wooden Table Baking Co. is the East Bay expert on alfajores, the decadent Argentine shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche. If your giftee has a sweet tooth, one of the LatinX-and-LGBTQ-owned company’s 16-cookie samplers will certainly make them swoon. The Basic Sampler includes traditional alfajores, along with Chocolate, Meringue and Snickerdoodle, while the Flavor Fusion is a medley of Argentine-American flavors, like Lemon Ginger, Snickerdoodle, Espresso Chocolate and Mint Chocolate. There’s also a Chocolicious Sampler. $26” Mercury News, 11/23/20. Local NorCal business.
These stunning capes and throws are made from baby alpaca yarn by Llamita, a small local NorCal business (yay!) founded by Sandy Guja. Sandy Guja was born in Peru but grew up in New York, which naturally gave her an appreciation for fashion. After working with various designers during New York Fashion Week, she felt inspired and decided to create her own label. Her international travels to more than 20 countries — Peru in particular — provided further inspiration. She was drawn to the mountains of the Andes, and the people—and animals—who live there. In creating a sustainable clothing line, she hopes to educate the world about alpaca fiber and to give back to the communities that produce it.
I love it when I find businesses that multiply their benefits, radiating goodness, and Ardent is a great example of that. This home goods company focused on encouraging use of sustainable products is also a local businesses here in the SF Bay Area and owned by a Latino family. These curated gift boxes are beautifully and sustainably packaged. Local NorCal business.
Nuggie PAW Shop was born from their founder, Silvia’s, “pawssion” (in her words) for animals and creating curated pieces that would make people and animals happy. These “Pawndanas” in red and green velvet make the perfect stocking stuffer for the pet member of the family. I might need to get the “Dog Mom” shirt, as our whippet Finial is definitely my third child. Nuggie Paw’s promise and mission is to donate part of our profit to selected animal shelters and to grow hand in hand with all of their collaborators to achieve the bigger dream of having a successful ecofriendly company that will give back.
Hija de tu Madre (translated “Made by your Mother”) offers a fun assortment of Latina-inspired products.
I initially hesitated to put a piñata shop on the list, thinking this might strike some as a bit of a stereotype, but this Etsy shop, La Piñata Design Studios, offers some wonderful and unique designs that are irresistible. Celebrate a special event with a one-of-a-kind or custom version.
Gabriela Martinez Benecke and Emma Larson-White shared a passion for healthy eating which led to a new business idea, the creation of Gem Bakery: a bakery where one can indulge in delicious treats without any guilt. Gaby and Emma launched Gem Bakery in 2018 with a variety of unique American vegan and gluten-free cookie flavors that are made with natural and sustainably-sourced ingredients. Gaby and Emma each have over a decade of experience in the restaurant industry. Gaby has worked for vegan celebrity chef Matthew Kenney, consulting for several of his restaurants in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. Emma spent a year at the well-known NYC bakery Levain Bakery, training under the owners and learning how to bake breads and pastries. Their time in the industry has been a key factor in their desire to continually protect the environment and conduct their business in a socially responsible manner.
This Afro-LatinX-owned shop, Babe Comets, offers fun and colorful pom pom earrings. Babe Comets earrings embody “confidence, boldness, and unadulterated fun as they strut into their goals.” Founder, Joan, is a self-taught jewelry designer and fiber artist who, when she isn’t working on her jewelry business, manages branded content for other major brands.
Paraiso Prints features lovely nature prints created by artist and founder Belén Adamo Callone. Originally from Argentina she now lives in California where she designs and makes each of her works. She explores nature and its possibilities to transform materials and find new ways of beauty. And you’ll be shopping a Norcal local business!
Find an array of other LatinX products here!
Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern
Devon Tsuno and Alexandra Grant’s “Love” towel does double-duty. In addition to being a work of art itself, a percentage of each purchase is donated to underserved youth through Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA).
She had me at “It all began with strawberry syrup….” Wabry is a small business featuring delicious syrups that can be poured over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or incorporated into any of the array of recipes available on Wabry’s site. Founder Nadia says it all began when she used to make the strawberry syrup at home so that my kids could enjoy the sweetness of strawberry milk without consuming artificial additives and high fructose corn syrup. And to make this truly irresistible, Wabry is a California Social Purpose Corporation and every bottle purchased feeds a meal to a hungry orphan through their partnership with the GiveLight Foundation.
Kat·tu·ma·rum teaches children about the environment and avoiding ocean plastics and they are a NorCal local business! Kat·tu·ma·rum is an environmentally and socially-conscious brand of kids tees designed to tell stories about climate change. Founder, Anu, believes in creating with purpose and instilling empathy for our planet. Products are made in communities impacted by climate change. (in the interest of full disclosure: my daughter works with Anu, the founder, as an intern on social media!).
Heliades is a Norcal local business featuring sun protection apparel and products. Founder and designer Sharone Chin was determined to close the gap between self-care, self-expression, and everyday ease, so she started HELIADES with the launch of the Sol Escape collection. She hasn’t stopped designing since.
Some additional ideas
While not a BIPOC-owned business, I am including Elle-Cree as one more gift idea here, because this unique company has also committed to donating a percentage of proceeds to important funds supporting black and brown communities: “Given recent events, we’ve decided to commit our full 5% to the Black Resilience Fund (an emergency fund dedicated to healing and resilience by providing immediate resources to Black Portlanders) in partnership with the Portland-based 501c3 Brown Hope.” Elle Cree offers artist-quality paint-by-number sets – what a great meditative activity and no art experience is required! Elle-Cree also has some neat Shero coloring pages that are free downloads.
The Detox Market has made some interesting commitments in the diversity and inclusion space. Their Detox Mode hand soap (who can’t use hand soap in a pandemic?) was featured by the LA Times holiday gift guide.
Here’s a round-up of 180 Black-owned businesses to support from the editors of New York Magazine.
Download the BLM Digest app from the Apple App Store and find a wealth of Black-owned businesses. This app also provides tools to learn and take action to fight racism.
Black Wall Street is a terrific online destination site for searching and finding Black-owned businesses of all types. This is not just a gift guide, it is a destination site to identify any sort of business online.
Make the Switch at We Buy Black for everyday products like dish soap, light bulbs, and garbage bags.
Etsy has a collection of Black-owned shops.
Pacific Community Ventures also has a nice searchable roundup of BIPOC businesses that you can search by location to shop local.
Ally Nudge by Dr. Akilah Cadet ($5 proceeds benefit NAACP) -- 10 minute terrific videos twice a week for a month at your own pace. And support Dr. Cadet’s ongoing work by buying one of these fab shirts (“Do the Work”).
Readings on Black conservationists and Black birders (Corina Newsome)
This gift guide was created by Stephanie Sharron  and reprinted with her permission.
 © 2020 Stephanie Sharron. All Rights Reserved. If you have a suggestion for this list, please PM me on FB (Stephanie Sharron) or DM me on IG (@slspix) with your idea. While I can’t vouch for all of these with personal experience, I did begin the list with items I’d personally purchased and then supplemented with others I read about that had received great reviews — I’ve identified those items I’ve purchased in the descriptions. I’ve been adding to the guide based on personal experiences of friends and family and received some wonderful suggestions.
Heliades is seriously stylish, high function UPF 50+ sun protection apparel made for year-round comfort and sun safety. Sustainably made in San Francisco/Bay Area.
Our founder, Sharone is from Panamá and grew up in San José, CA.
Join our community and receive advance notice of sales + sun protection skin tips to keep your skin glowing and healthy.
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