Tag Archives: kwanzaa

Kwanzaa: Kuumba

Kuumba: To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. CREATIVITY!

You don’t have to be anyone else but yourself.

The way you and who you are is good enough.

Just promise the good earth you’ll keep growing

While you grow and learn and bear much fruit

Promise the good earth

Creativity you won’t lose.

My community is your community

All are welcome if we choose to continue to build

Keep it beautiful and the benefits we will never lose

What you inherit you should want to add to

What you inherit you should want to grow

What you inherit you should want to build

It’s Kuumba a time to celebrate our CREATIVITY!

Kwanzaa: Ujamaa

Ujamaa to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

List of Black Owned Busines to Support from the Strageist 2021:

Ace Beaute

Ace Beaute was founded by Niye Aniekan-Attang in 2015 to sell cruelty-free faux-mink lashes; now it also offers brightly colored eye-shadow palettes and a wide range of nail and beauty tools. —Aisha Rickford

Aini Organix

Aini Organix is an Africa-inspired natural skin-and-body-care company. They make shea- and coconut-oil products with botanical ingredients, including a wide range of serums with ingredients like jasmine and Moroccan rosewater. —A.R.


Alaffia focuses on fair-trade natural hair, face, and body care with products that center on a few key ingredients like shea butter, African black soap, and coconut oil, all of which are sourced from cooperatives in West Africa. You can buy its popular bubble baths, body lotions, and deodorants at Whole Foods or Amazon; profits support the Alaffia Foundation, an organization involved in empowerment initiatives in Africa. —A.R.

Black Girl Sunscreen

Shontay Lundy founded Black Girl Sunscreen, a moisturizing sunscreen for women of color in 2016, after growing frustrated with the unflattering white cast caused by most sunscreens. The line’s sunscreens — one for adults and one for kids — have nourishing ingredients like jojoba and avocado and range from SPF 30 to SPF 50. “I can confirm that it never leaves a white cast when I use it,” says Elisa Johnson, who recommended it to us, “and it blends seamlessly with makeup.” —A.R.

Buttah Skincare

Model, actor, and recording artist Dorion Renaud was inspired to create Buttah Skin after discovering the revitalizing effects that the simple combination of a gentle cleanser, vitamin-C serum, and shea butter had on his own skin. The vitamin-C serum is also a favorite of Elisa Johnson’s, who says it gives her “a smoother, more even complexion.” —A.R.

BeautyStat Cosmetics

Ron Robinson worked as a cosmetic chemist for big beauty brands like Lancôme, Clinique, and Estée Lauder for decades before launching BeautyStat. After just a few weeks of daily use, its vitamin-C serum helped me fade some dark marks caused by early quarantine stress picking, and it also have an eye cream I’m itching to try. —Dominique Pariso

Beneath Your Mask

In 2011, Dana Jackson was diagnosed with lupus and completely changed her life. Because of certain symptoms of the disease, she had to take an all-natural approach to beauty and wellness. Her products have completely natural ingredients, and they can be found at Credo Beauty as well as on her own site. Her skin soufflé is her hero product, and it’s magical. —Chloe Anello


Brought to our attention by Byrdie writer (and Strategist contributor) Sydney Gore, BLK + GRN is a beauty and wellness marketplace full of all-natural products — all of which are made by Black artisans. We especially love its gift sets, whether for gifting or keeping for yourself, which feature a myriad of the retailer’s best products. —Casey Lewis


Nancy Twine, who grew up making homemade hair products with her grandmother, is the founder of Briogeo, a clean, natural hair-care line that caters to all textures. Rio Viera-Newton is a fan of its Don’t Despair Repair Mask because it has “the ability to moisturize my sad hair without creating any heaviness,” and finds it to be a good dupe for the Christophe Robin masks. —Jenna Milliner-Waddell

Danessa Myricks Beauty

Self-taught makeup artist Danessa Myricks’s eponymous beauty company produces makeup that targets specific skin types and makeup goals — dividing products into those concerned with either complexioncolor, or glow. The brand is also known for its highly pigmented color palettes. —A.R.

Ellie Bianca

Environmental scientist Evelyn Nyairo founded Ellie Bianca, which makes vegan and cruelty-free skin-care products. The hero product is Rose Skin Oil, but the Breathe Bath Salt and Luxe Day/Night Serum are also standouts. The company also makes an exclusive line of spa-grade products. And perhaps best of all, Ellie Bianca supports the women who harvest the shea and other ingredients for its products, making them great for those with both sustainability and fair trade in mind. —A.R.

Epara Skincare

This skin-care line from Nigerian entrepreneur Ozohu Adoh includes a high-end face oilnight balm, and hydrating serum — all of which are made with Africa-sourced ingredients that are formulated to target “dryness and discoloration caused by the sun, free radicals, and air pollution.” —A.R.

Foxie Cosmetics

Kayla Phillips, a touring hardcore/punk/metal musician, founded Foxie Cosmetics in 2015. And because Phillips lives with chronic pain, she started out making soothing bath bombs and salts but has expanded since to create hairskinbody, and fragrance as well. Vegan since age 14, Phillips ensures that products are cruelty free and sustainably made. Most impressively, all of the products are handcrafted, packaged, and shipped by Phillips herself. —A.R.


Trinity Mouzon Wofford launched Golde with the intention of making the wellness space more accessible and is known for her chlorophyll face masks and turmeric-latte blends. —D.P.

Hanahana Beauty

Hanahana Beauty, founded by Abena Boamah-Acheampong, is a clean beauty brand that sustainably sources its shea butter and pays double the fair-trade price to its suppliers. Its shea butter comes in a variety of scents, including vanilla lavender, amber vanilla, and eucalyptus, but lemongrass is a favorite of Strategist beauty writer Tembe Denton-Hurst, because “it literally smells like summer.” It also makes a face scrublip treatment, and an exfoliating bar. —D.P.

Haus Urban

Created by a former performer Hassan Sayyed, Haus Urban takes into consideration what stage performers need for their skin to counteract stage makeup, sweating in said makeup, and more. His line is all-natural and includes everything from body butters and oils to face washes and toners.

Highbrow Hippie

Highbrow Hippie was started by beauty-industry veterans Myka Harris and Kadi Lee. They stock their shops — online and in Venice, California — with thoughtfully sourced wellness and beauty products, including their own line of small-batch honey-infused bath salts. —C.L.

The Honey Pot

Bea Dixon started making feminine-care products in her kitchen, and today they are sold at large retailers like Target, Urban Outfitters, and Walgreens. They are 100 percent natural but still clinically tested and gynecologist approved. The line encompasses everything from organic tampons to bath bombs to feminine washes for everyone from the most sensitive to expectant mothers. —J.M.W.

Hyper Skin

Desiree Verdejo created Hyper Skin after a bout of hormonal pregnancy acne left her with stubborn hyperpigmentation. Its first product, Hyper Clear, is an affordable vitamin-C serum formulated with 15 percent skin-brightening ascorbic acid as well as kojic acid and vitamin E. —D.P.

KNC Beauty

KNC Beauty, founded by Kristen Noel Crawley after she observed the popularity of lip masks on a trip to Tokyo, makes all-natural collagen and retinol lip and eye masks with aloe, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin A. They’re a favorite of Elisa Johnson’s, who calls KNC Beauty’s retinol-infused eye mask a “literal face-saver.” —A.R.

Krio Skincare

Tony Johnson, son of Sierra Leonean immigrants, created his company after asking his parents what natural ingredients from back home they used to treat skin issues. Krio Skincare’s face, hair, and body oils are formulated with African oils like marula and baobab oil and have names that celebrate Sierra Leonean heritage, including Tacugama body serum, after Freetown’s chimpanzee sanctuary, and Bintumani hair oil, for the country’s highest mountain. —A.R.

Lauren Napier Beauty

Lauren Napier, former celebrity makeup artist, created a line of face wipes that don’t strip the skin and instead hydrate it as it takes off makeup. She created a different texture for the wipes, and they’re individually packaged, so they don’t dry out. They’re the ones I always buy for myself. —C.A.

Lisa Logan Nail Suite

Before Harlem-based salon the Nail Suite closed for the pandemic, “you’d be lucky if you could get an appointment two, three weeks out,” says founder Lisa Logan, manicurist for the stars and famous for designing Beyoncé’s nails for her “Single Ladies” music video. Now that New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening, you can book your appointment at the Nail Suite online or, if you’re not in New York, shop its nail colors. —A.R.

Melanin Haircare

One of the original and best-known natural-hair vloggers of the past decade, Whitney White (a.k.a. Naptural85) co-founded her hair-care company, Melanin Haircare, with her sister Taffeta in 2015. A longtime proponent of clean, DIY natural-hair products, Melanin Haircare’s silicone-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, style cream, and oil use plant-based and safe-synthetic ingredients like camellia oil and mango butter, African black soap, and turmeric. The company also sells hair accessories like hats and headwraps. I absolutely love its products, which come in large sizes (16 ounces) at reasonable prices and have drastically improved the health of my hair since I started using them almost a year ago. My favorite is the Twist Elongating Style Cream, which is unscented and light enough to give my fine hair definition without weighing it down. —A.R


Gwen Jemmere started Naturalicious, a natural-hair-care company, with the mission to “eliminate the frustration, time, and expense” associated with black hair and to assure customers with curly and coily hair that “they are the standard of beauty.” The company has products specifically made for all types of curl textures, including multi-step systems and treatments. —A.R

Nekawa Beauty

Awa Diaw and Chelsea Trotter started Nekawa as second-year M.B.A. students with a desire to share the uses of shea butter for hair, body, and health and to bring “minimalism” to beauty. Senegalese-born Diaw sources the shea and oils for lavender and unscented butters and baobab face serum from Senegal; 10 percent of all proceeds go to Amref Health Africa, a health-development nonprofit. – A.R.

OUI the People

A body-care company, founded by Karen Young, that makes the nicest reusable, direct-to-consumer razors I’ve ever seen. They also sell a body gloss, a gel-to-milk in-shower moisturizer, and bikini-line masks. —D.P.

Pat McGrath Labs

Pat makes some of the most luxurious makeup products, and with her long list of celebrity supporters, she’s one of the most loved makeup artists.

People of Color Beauty

Jacqueline Carrington decided to create her line of nail lacquers — designed specifically to compliment women of color’s skin tones — after her daughter took an interest in nail polish. The brand’s vegan, cruelty-free polishes come in a range of nudes as well as bright shades like lime and orange. —D.P.

Rooted Woman

Rooted Woman offers ethically made, vegan-friendly nail polishes, along with online self-care courses. Its nail polish comes in a range of muted, flattering colors — like a glittery pink called “Joyful” or a gleaming red aptly named “Unwavering.” Plus it’s the longest-lasting one that I’ve ever used. —A.R.

Rosen Skincare

Jamika Martin started developing the idea for what would become Rosen Skincare, a brand with natural ingredients like fruit extracts, kojic acid, and clays, while an undergraduate at UCLA. Dissatisfied with what was available, Martin wanted to make “thoughtful products” for acne-prone skin — so Rosen was created for custom routines to target specific skin issues like scarring, texture, and hyperpigmentation. Its products are available on its site and at Urban Outfitters. —A.R.

Shea Radiance

Shea Radiance was created after Funlayo Alabi started mixing shea butter in her kitchen to treat her kids’ eczema and dry skin. Now, it’s a fair-trade hair-and-body-care company that utilizes sustainable supply chains to empower women and communities in West Africa. My favorite is the Antioxidant Body Cream, which has eucalyptus, ginger root, and baobab oils, giving it a rich and luxurious scent. You can buy its products from its website; they are also available at Whole Foods and Amazon. —A.R.

Undefined Beauty

Dorian Morris founded Undefined Beauty, a botanical-and-CBD-powered beauty brand, with the dual mission of introducing the benefits of cannabis in skin care (like its popular Glow Elixir), and “infusing social purpose” into the beauty industry. Her brand is committed to highlighting the social-justice crisis of cannabis-related incarceration of people of color. —A.R.


As pointed out in our list of sunscreens for darker skin tones, Unsun, founded by Katonya Breaux, is one of the few sun-protection brands founded by a Black woman. This came expert-recommended as one of the best tinted mineral formulas out there that works for a wide range of skin tones. —J.M.W.

Uoma Beauty

Sharon Chuter, a former beauty executive, started Uoma to bring more diversity to the world of beauty. I recommend its foundation, which has one of the largest shade ranges on the market. —C.A.

The Way

When Illeisha Lussiano’s Lower East Side hair salon the Way had to close due to COVID-19, she created a braiding kit so people could braid their hair at home. You can buy the kit at Lussiano’s online store, which also sells hair accessories, home incense, and, in a very 2020 move, face masks. —A.R.


One of the best ways to be anti-racist is to learn about anti-racism, and one of the best places to buy books is at a Black-owned bookstore. Some of these shops are ones our writers frequent in their own neighborhoods. We also found several recommendations in the comments section of this post on Cup of Jo and on Instagram from Iris de la Torre and Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Chelsea Kravitz has also compiled a list of Black-owned bookstores across the country that we referenced; you can find the full list here—Maxine Builder

Cafe con Libros

Cafe con Libros — which means “coffee with books” in Spanish — is an intersectional feminist community bookstore and coffee shop in Prospect Heights.

Frugal Bookstore

Located in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Frugal Bookstore is a community bookstore with the motto, “Changing Minds One Book at a Time.”

Harriett’s Bookshop

Named after Harriet Tubman, this bookstore in Philadelphia’s Fishtown specializes in books by women authors.

For Keeps Books

For Keeps Books is an Atlanta-based bookstore that carries rare and classic Black literature as well as records and T-shirts. —Hilary Reid

Fulton Street Books and Coffee

Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Fulton Street Books has curated an Ally Box, which is “is a three-month limited book subscription for allies (and those who seek to be allies).” The first one ships on July 1.

The Lit. Bar

The Lit. Bar, which opened in 2019, is the only bookstore in the Bronx, serving the borough’s 1.5 million residents.

Loving Me Books

Angela Nesbitt, a registered behavioral therapist, created Loving Me Books to bring parents and children books with more diverse characters and story lines. You can buy from her online stock, but she also provides services to schools, day-care centers, and book fairs.

Mahogany Books

Mahogany Books started as an online bookstore a decade ago, specializing in books “written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.” It opened a storefront in Washington, D.C., in 2017, and is still committed to making books accessible to all.

Malik Books

Malik Books is an independent bookstore in Los Angeles that specializes in works by African American authors and programming centered on African American culture, like a Nipsey Hussle reading list that celebrates the L.A. rapper’s legacy. –Aisha Rickford

Semicolon is Chicago’s only Black woman-owned bookstore.

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore

Sister’s Uptown has been serving Washington Heights for 20 years, opened and operated by Janifer Wilson and her daughter Kori. They sell their books online via oneKin and recently put together a “Consciousness Reading Book Guide” on Instagram.

Source of Knowledge

Newark’s only African American–owned bookstore Source of Knowledge had to close because of the coronavirus. It is running a GoFundMe to help keep the family business alive, continue to serve the community, and feed its employees. —Liza Corsillo

Clothing and Accessories

The stores and brands included here come from a variety of sources: Some were culled from Black-Owned Brooklyn, a website that profiles Black business owners in the borough, others are places where I personally love to shop, several have been mentioned in our “What I Can’t Live Without” series, and dozens were shared on Instagram, including by Teen Vogue fashion and beauty features director Tahirah Hairston; actor and writer Jordan Firstman; and Lawrence Schlossman and James Harris, hosts of the popular podcast Throwing Fits. —Hilary Reid

Anya Lust

Anya Lust is a luxury lingerie e-commerce business founded by Krystle Kotara. On the site, you’ll find pieces from a range of smaller high-end lingerie designers as well as links to sign up for Sensual Yoga and Tantric Date Night workshops.

Baby Phat

After a hugely successful run in the 2000s, designer Kimora Lee Simmons relaunched Baby Phat — one of the first streetwear lines for women — last year and is now running it alongside her daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee. —Karen Iorio Adelson


BedStuyFly offers graphic tees, hats, jackets, and sweats for men and women and has stores in Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg.

BLK MKT Vintage

Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst wrote about Bed–Stuy’s BLK MKT Vintage, which is owned by Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart. The couple combs flea markets and estate sales for Black ephemera (including 1970s Afro picks and 1970s anti-apartheid stickers), which you can find on their website alongside art and vintage pieces.

Brooklyn Circus

A menswear store located in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Circus was featured in Black-Owned Brooklyn, where owner Ouigi Theodore cited “Cooley High, sports, Jay-Z Brooklyn, Spike Lee Brooklyn” as the reference points for styles carried in the store.

Brother Vellies

Brother Vellies makes fine leather goods, including handbags and shoes that range from summer-y huarache sandals to thigh-high boots, and was founded by Aurora James, who established the 15 Percent Pledge (which asks major retailers to devote 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses). —Dominique Pariso

Cameron Tea

Los Angeles–based designer Cameron Tea uses wooden beads to make bucket hats, rectangular mini-purses, and bags that are shaped like hearts.


A swimsuit line founded by former model Chantel Davis, Castamira has bathing suits that are designed to support women with curves and come in sleek one-shouldered cuts as well as ruched designs with lace-up details.


Los Angeles–based CBAAF’s clothes are hand-dyed and made of 100 percent recycled cotton. Its current collection includes oatmeal and Black tie-dyed T-shirt, long-sleeve, and shorts sets.

Christopher John Rogers

Christopher John Rogers makes stunning womenswear pieces in voluminous silhouettes, including iridescent pink taffeta skirts and a red feather-trimmed bustier.

Coco and Breezy

Elisa Johnson’s favorite sunglasses are from Coco and Breezy, an eyewear line founded in 2009 by Corianna and Brianna Dotson. As Johnson puts it, “In my opinion, you can’t beat the detail and quality of their products, which include regular eyewear in addition to sunglasses. When it comes to the latter, my favorite style is the Avatar. I love a good aviator shape, and these manage to look absolutely original while still giving off that classic look.” —Aisha Rickford

Cool and Casual Studios

One of the shops I found through Firstman’s Instagram story, Cool and Casual Studios, is a Los Angeles–based shop that offers a mix of vintage and independent designers. You’ll find breezy striped linen shirts and ideal pairs of stonewashed vintage jeans.


Carly Cushnie started her eponymous brand in 2008 and offers clothes that are minimalist and elegant as well as a bridal line of sculptural gowns, jumpsuits, and suits for women.

Daily Paper

Elisa Johnson also told us that her favorite sweatsuit is from Daily Paper, an Amsterdam-based men’s and women’s clothing brand created by Hussein Suleiman, Jefferson Osei, and Abderrahmane Trabsini. “While a little on the pricey side for a sweatshirt and sweatpants, I think they’re worth the investment because together they make for an easy, wearable moment, and each is stylish enough to wear separately with other things from your closet.” —Leah Muncy


Detroit-based clothing label Diop makes diaspora-inspired streetwear, including fabric face masks inspired by mud cloth from Mali. For each mask sold, Diop is donating a portion of proceeds to coronavirus relief initiatives, including Feed the Frontlines, which supports Detroit restaurants and provides meals to emergency and health-care workers. —Liza Corsillo


New York City line Edas — which sells spiral earrings, hand-rolled jewelry dishes, and miniature leather bags — was started by Sade Mims, who is also the head designer for the brand.

Flat Fifteen

Flat Fifteen is London-based designer Francesca Kappo’s line of tiny handbags in iridescent silk and gingham that, as Kappo writes on the site, “your Aunty would probably wear to Church on a Sunday.”

FlameKeepers Hat Club

FlameKeepers Hat Club’s mission is, in its words, “to pass the torch of good taste from one generation to the next.” Founded by hat-industry veteran Marc Williamson, the Harlem-based hat boutique offers an array of luxury hats, from cashmere baseball caps to wool fedoras, in a variety of custom sizes and styles. —L.M.

Gizmo Vintage Honey

Bed-Stuy’s Gizmo Vintage Honey is where you’ll find retro patchwork tops, perfectly broken-in jeans, and utility jumpsuits.

Golden Girly

We could all use a few more lounge sets these days, and this brand, which offers custom-made matching shorts, sweats, and tops, was included in Hairston’s stories.

House of Aama

Mother-daughter duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka started House of Aama in 2015. According to their website, the brand — which sells silk halter tops, corduroy jackets, and off-the-shoulder tops — “explores the folkways of the Black experience by designing timeless garments with nostalgic references informed by historical research, archival analysis, and storytelling.”

Kaia Collective

Founded by fashion blogger Fisayo Longe in 2016, Kai Collective is a London-based luxury womenswear brand providing ethically sourced clothing — like velvet statement skirts and vegan-leather dresses — at non-luxury price points. —L.M.


Founded by fashion and travel blogger Fisayo Longe, KAI offers glamorous ruched burnt-orange and purple skirts and patterned mesh going-out turtlenecks.

Kenneth Ize

Kenneth Ize works with a small group of weavers and Nigerian artist-and-design groups to create its pieces. According to the brand’s site, its focus is on “reinterpreting examples of Nigerian craft to create an original perspective on luxury production within textile and fashion.”

Kutula by Africana

When we talked to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors about the things she can’t live without, dresses from Los Angeles clothing store Kutula by Africana were high on the list. “I grew up in Los Angeles and I used to go to this African store when I was maybe 18, 19, 20 years old, but they never had clothes for young people. I would go in because I liked the fabric, but I didn’t like the styles,” Cullors told us. “Then one day I was in the neighborhood, maybe a decade and a half later, and I walked into the store and was like, What the hell, this is not the same store. These two young women who are sisters, Bo and Kay, were like, We’re the daughters of the woman who used to own the store, our mom was going to get rid of the shop, and we were like, ‘No, this is a staple in the community, we’ll take it over.’” Now, Kutula offers ready-made and custom pieces, many of which you can find on its Instagram.

Label by Three

Label by Three’s clothes are designed and handmade in Phoenix, Arizona. The brand’s focus is on sustainability, and its designs are made in limited runs from dead-stock fabrics sourced from independent sellers in the United States.

LaQuan Smith

Designer LaQuan Smith started his namesake brand when he was 21 and, on his site, describes the aesthetic as “unapologetically glamorous.” Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga have all worn his designs.

Local European

Another highlight in Hairston’s Instagram story, Alexandra Bunch’s Los Angeles brand Local European offers the sleek bike shorts, satin corsets, and ruched turtleneck dresses you might hope to wear out dancing again someday.

Madame Matovu Vintage

Rosemary Matovu opened her closet-size store on West 10th Street in 2007 and stocks it with truly fabulous vintage pieces picked up on her world travels: from cancan skirts to antique Victorian slips. Rosemary also makes her own fabulous pieces out of vintage finds.

Maki Oh

Womenswear brand Maki Oh was founded in 2010 by Maki Osakwe, who, according to the site, “fuses traditional African techniques with detailed contemporary construction.” The line has been worn by Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles, and Lupita Nyong’o.

Moshood Creations

Designer Moshood Afariogun opened Moshood Creations in Fort Greene in 1994, and the store remained there for 25 years before it was forced out by high rents. The store has since reopened in Bed–Stuy, where you can find its signature wrap skirts, dashikis, dresses, jumpsuits, and patchwork pants. Moshood was also profiled on Black-Owned Brooklyn.

Nandi Naya

I came across this brand from Tahirah Hairston’s Instagram stories. Founded by Hleziphansi Zita, this line of architectural jewelry is elegant and sculptural — each piece reminds me of something you’d find in a museum, and the prices for the sterling silver and gold plating are reasonable.

Nia Thomas

After graduating with a B.F.A. from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Nia Thomas founded her eponymous NYC-based apparel and accessories brand with a focus on community and sustainability, offering responsibly sourced, recycled, reclaimed, and biodegradable goods like plant-dyed socks and recycled-silk scarves. —L.M.

Nude Barre

On Nude Barre’s site, you’ll find hosiery and underwear in 12 different shades of nude. According to a feature in Forbes, CEO Erin Carpenter, a former Knicks City Dancer, started the line after struggling to find undergarments and tights that were actually “nude” — and not just beige.

Octave Jewelry

Octave is a Brooklyn-based jewelry line of geometric pieces with hand-cut raw stones, including opal and mother of pearl.

Oma the Label

Oma the Label carries thick gold hoops and rope chains that are easy to imagine wearing every day, along with flattering basics and bodysuits, including a square-neck leotard with high-cut legs.

Onion Cut & Sewn

Founded by Whitney Mero, Harlem’s Onion Cut & Sewn has been in business for over 20 years and sells vibrant dresses in jewel-tone solids and bright stripes.

Orange Culture

The Nigeria-based brand Orange Culture was founded in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal, who works with ethically sourced fabrics from local Nigerian fabric-makers to create androgynous pieces, including iridescent button-down tops and beaded vests.

Peju Obasa

Peju Obasa is a London-based womenswear designer, who makes bright knitted and crocheted belt bags with raffia and jersey yarn.


Included in Throwing Fits’s post of businesses, menswear brand Post-Imperial was founded by designer Niyi Okuboyejo in 2012. According to Post-Imperial’s site, the fabrics used in its garments are treated in Nigeria using a hand-dyeing process called Adire, which involves first hand-painting the fabric with a dye-resistant wax and then dipping the fabric in dye — the process results in gorgeous naturally dyed textiles with patterning.

Rebecca Allen

Rebecca Allen’s shoes come in three simple silhouettes — minimalist two-strap high heels, a pump, and pointy-toe flats — and five different shades of “nude” that cover a wide range of skin tones.

Riot Swim

Riot Swim sells the bathing suits that are all over your Instagram feed. Designed by Monti Landers, one of its most recognizable styles is a cheeky, deep-V one-piece, but the entire range consists of minimalist swimsuits in a range of colors from neutral to neon. —Jenna Milliner-Waddell

Samaria Leah

L.A.-based Samaria Leah Denim, according to Samaria Leah, “marries the past and present” with its one-of-a-kind pieces made with upcycled vintage Levi’s. Each pair of denim is made to order (with a size range of 24 to 38) and styles range from lightly distressed cutoffs to lace-up mom jeans. —L.M.

Sincerely, Tommy

The Bed–Stuy coffee-slash-clothing shop founded by Kai Avent-deLeon focuses on jewelry, home goods, and womenswear by emerging designers (it is also where Strategist senior editor Katy Schneider buys, as she puts it, “more of less all of her clothing”).

The Sixes

Brooklyn-bred Franci Girard was five-foot-ten by the time she hit fourth grade. So this brand was born out of a very real and longtime struggle to create actually stylish clothing for tall women (five-nine and over) — and she really, actually has. (That is, after she played professional volleyball, got an M.B.A. from Harvard, and went to Parsons.) The line just launched in 2019 with all manner of pants — jeans, leggings, palazzos — that are extremely flattering, at least judging by the way they look on Franci. —Jessica Silvester

Slashed by Tia

I came across New York–based designer Tia Adeola’s brand on my Instagram discover page and immediately loved her Renaissance-inspired designs. Adeola launched the line from her dorm room at the New School (from which she graduated in 2019), and since then, her iridescent puff-sleeved ruffle crop tops have been worn by everyone from SZA to Dua Lipa, to Lizzo, to Gigi Hadid.

Small Needs

A vintage shop on Instagram and Etsy, Small Needs carries ’80s-glam lace corsets as well as timeless silk blouses and gold jewelry.

Stella & Haas

Based in Utah, Stella and Haas makes pieces that Elisa Johnson likes to call “layering jewelry” — minimal gold- and silver-tone pieces that are easy to mix and match. Johnson told us that she has an impressive collection of Stella and Haas hoops, bracelets, and necklaces and favors the brand’s Old English Zodiac necklace for its customizable, personal touch. —L.M.


Telsha Anderson’s online shop carries a sharply curated selection of popular independent designers, including Priscavera and Gauntlett Cheng, and magazines including Gentlewoman and Document.


Telfar Clemens’s eponymous brand Telfar was largely popularized thanks to its signature bags — which our colleagues at the Cut called the Bushwick Birkin. The brand also has a line of apparel and jewelry, but I am personally waiting for the small shopping bag in white to hopefully be restocked.
Jenna Milliner-Waddell


Founded by Shilla Kim-Parker, Thrilling curates vintage clothing from boutiques across the country and brings them together in one digital marketplace, where you’ll find one-of-a-kind vintage beaded gowns from the ’70s and lounging-around-the-house-worthy caftans. —Hilary Reid


TLZ L’FEMME’s tagline is “to live zealously femme” and sells everything from ruched leather pants to a silver bodysuit to parachute pants that were once worn by Cardi B. The brand also sells “Love Bags” — 100 percent of proceeds are put toward filling a second tote with items like water, baby wipes, and flashlights that the owners then distribute to those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.

Tree Fairfax

Minimalist leather-goods brand Tree Fairfax offers timeless cross-body bags, belts, totes, and waist bags in rich shades of mahogany, cognac, black, and russet.

Victor Glemaud

Victor Glemaud worked as studio director for Paco Rabanne and style director for Tommy Hilfiger before launching his own eponymous label in 2006. Glemaud’s focus is on knits for all genders: His fall 2020 collection was made entirely from merino wool, cotton cashmere, and a merino-cotton-ramie blend.

Wales Bonner

Wales Bonner, which includes elegantly tailored pants and graphic Havana shirts, started as a menswear line in 2014, and has since expanded to womenswear. Designer Grace Wales Bonner was awarded the LVMH Young Designer Prize after her first solo runway presentation in 2016.


Yam is a handcrafted, Astoria-based jewelry line founded by Morgan Thomas. The pieces are lovely and the kind of thing you’d want to wear every day. There are delicate gold and pearl necklaces, gold-chain bracelets, and a pair of thick triangular hoops that can be spotted on Lizzo in the “Good As Hell” music video.

Zou Xou Shoes

Zou Xou is a shoe line founded in New York City by Katherine Theobalds. Each pair of mules, loafers, and flats is handmade by an artisan in Buenos Aires, and the designs are practical and elegant.

Food and Drink

To come up with this list of Black-owned food businesses, we consulted Equity at the Table, a database of women and gender-nonconforming individuals in the food industry. We also referenced Grub Street and the Strategist’s existing reporting on everything from chocolate bars to restaurant openings and asked our colleagues to share their favorite neighborhood spots. —Maxine Builder and Leah Muncy

A Dozen Cousins

A Dozen Cousins, which was founded in 2018 by Ibraheem Basir, makes “soulfully seasoned” vegan beans — like gingery Trini chickpea curry and tangy Mexican cowboy beans — that you can buy at Walmart or on Amazon.

Basbaas Foods

Hawa Hassan’s Basbaas hot sauces, which are inspired by her mother and feature the flavors of her native Somalia, can be used as a marinade, a base for a salad dressing, even just spread on a piece of toast. Kerry Diamond, editorial director of Cherry Bombe, once told us that the green coconut cilantro chutney, in particular, “makes everything taste better and brighter.”

Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold was founded in 2018 by Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson and claims to be the first-ever Black-owned nationally distributed coffee brand. Its fair-trade specialty coffees and teas, which include single-origin roasts from El Salvador and low-acidity Ethiopian beans, can be purchased at TargetAmazonWhole Foods, or directly from its website.

Brooklyn Tea

This little tea shop in Bed–Stuy is run by a couple: Ali is a tea sommelier who can laugh at the fact that there’s such a thing as a tea sommelier, and Jamila has a background in teaching that’s apparent in her constant positivity and patience in explaining tea to clueless skeptics like me. You feel their warmth in every aspect of the store, including the other customers. I’ve definitely developed more of an appreciation for tea since shopping there, but that’s never the reason I go. —Peter Martin

Buy Better Foods

After a detox diet encouraged Myriam Simpierre to pursue a low-sodium, low-sugar diet, she opened Buy Better Foods, a market and learning center offering whole local and sustainable foods, health-and-wellness products, and instructional workshops, based in Brooklyn. —Leah Muncy

Casa Del Toro

Casa Del Toro is an Oaxacan taqueria located in Hell’s Kitchen owned by restaurateur Sanjay Laforest. It serves regional signatures, like tlayuda, and handcrafted cocktails, like avocado margaritas. After a brief closure due to COVID-19, they’ve since reopened with a streamlined menu of $4 tacos, batched cocktails, and wines to go.

Global Village Cuisine

Vermont-based Global Village Cuisine makes allergen-free, African-inspired frozen dishes — including chickpea vegetable tajine and Swahili curry chicken — that are available at select Whole Foods and on its website. It was started by Damaris Hall, who reworked many of her family’s Kenyan recipes to be free of dairy, gluten, and nuts.

Harlem Hops

Harlem Hops, which will be celebrating its second anniversary this year, is Manhattan’s first and only Black-owned craft-beer bar. Founded by three HBCU graduates, the bar offers a rotating selection of craft beer along with small plates. The community-focused bar also runs Harlem Hopes, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to offset the cost of college education to native Harlem residents.

Jones Bar-B-Q

If you’ve watched season three of Queer Eye on Netflix, you’re probably familiar with Kansas City barbecue pit-masters Deborah “Little” Jones and her sister, Mary “Shorty” Jones, who have been running Jones Bar-B-Q for decades. The Queer Eye cast, after giving both women and the restaurant a makeover, connected them with a manufacturer to help them distribute their secret-family-recipe barbecue sauce. Their tangy-sweet, made-from-scratch sauces are now available online, and if you happen to live in Kansas City, they’re still open for BBQ takeout.

Justice of the Pies

Justice of the Pies bakes sweet and savory pies, as well as quiches and tarts, which they usually sell throughout Chicago’s coffee shops and farmers markets. However, they’ve pivoted during this pandemic to delivering meals to hospitals and, most recently, launching an at-home cooking subscription service called Justice for All for which Justice of the Pies’ founder and chef, Maya-Camille Broussard, teaches three step-by-step tutorials a week.

Lillie’s of Charleston

Lillie’s of Charleston is a sauce and spice company that sells an array of barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and spice rubs under the slogan “May you never feel unwanted, unloved or hungry.” You can find its signature condiments, like its hot-mustard BBQ sauce and dry spice rubs, on Amazon or at select South Carolina locations.

Maison Noir Wines

André Hueston Mack, the former head sommelier at Per Se, founded Maison Noir Wines, which offers 11 different types of Oregon-grown wine and a line of apparel and ships bottles to 31 different states.

McBride Sisters

While sisters Robin and Andréa McBride grew up on opposite sides of the globe (New Zealand and California), they met for the first time in 1999 and discovered a mutual passion for wine. Together, they created McBride Sisters Wine Company with a line of wines inspired by their separate upbringings, offering bottles that hail from both New Zealand and California’s central coast. In 2019, they created the McBride Sisters SHE CAN Professional Development Fund to promote the professional advancement of women in the wine industry, and they will be awarding grants in 2020 to Black female–owned small businesses that are struggling to reopen due to the pandemic. —Leah Muncy

Red Bay Coffee

Red Bay Coffee is an ethically run, community-focused coffee company founded by artist and entrepreneur Keba Konte in Oakland, California. Chef Daniel Patterson, owner of Coi in San Francisco, described its beans to us as “well-rounded and delicious … with sweet, buttery chocolate notes.”


Pipcorn is a women-owned, minority-owned family business that started as a heritage popcorn side project and has since evolved into a whole sustainable snack brand. And it’s really not kidding about sustainability: The extremely delicious crackers are made from the extra-finely ground heirloom corn flour from the production of Pipcorn’s (also very tasty) cheese balls .


In 2013, Shaquanda Coco Mulatta, also known as downtown nightlife performer Andre Springer, created Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce — a “performance of flavor,” in her words — for her first appearance at Bushwick’s annual drag festival, Bushwig. Made with tomatoes, onions, and fresh chile peppers, Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce has an intense, well-rounded heat and can be used as a condiment, marinade, or cooking sauce. —L.M.

The Sip

Founders Catherine Carter and Erica Davis created The Sip, a membership-based Champagne company, to bring diversity into the world of Champagne. By subscribing, you’ll receive bimonthly boxes of mini-bottles of sparkling wines.

Sol Cacao

Sol Cacao was founded by three brothers in Harlem and makes its impeccably sourced, single-origin bars in the Port Morris neighborhood of the Bronx.

Sol Sips

Started as a pop-up vegan café, Sol Sips opened in a permanent location in Bushwick in 2018, when chef-owner Francesca Chaney was still a student at Brooklyn College. In addition to regular pickup and delivery, it’s offering vegan meal kits on a sliding scale in New York City. A two-day plan includes a total of six meals and starts at $60, with dishes like a blueberry, mango, and lavender smoothie bowl for breakfast and a white-bean burger for dinner.

Whetstone Magazine

Whetstone Magazine — along with its weekly podcast Point of Origin — was founded by food writer Stephen Satterfield with the mission of expanding empathy through food, covering everything from Canto-Western diners in Hong Kong to communal ovens in Morocco. It should be required reading for all chefs and foodies, according to cookbook author Priya Krishna, who says the magazine’s diverse and global vision “reminds us that we are all more alike than we are different as eaters.”

Zafa Wines

Krista Scruggs makes wild-fermented wine-slash-ciders in Vermont, and though all of her bottles are currently sold out online, you can do curbside pickup of Juice for Justice, a co-fermentation of wild apples and grapes, or Maps, which Zafa Wines describes as “straight-up strawberry juice in the form of grape wine” from Co Cellar in Burlington, which Scruggs co-owns.


The brands and organizations below are integral parts of the fitness community, both in New York City and beyond. At the Strategist, we’ve called gym owners, fitness trainers, and even dancers from all of these businesses in our research and reporting on everything from jogging strollers to workout leggings. —Karen Iorio Adelson

Ailey Extension

Part of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Extension offers dance and fitness classes for everyone — even if you’re an absolute beginner with two left feet. Right now, it’s offering Zoom classes for kids and adults in all different types of dance including ballet, hip-hop, and modern.

Align Brooklyn

Co-owned by scholar and activist Pamela Brown, Align Brooklyn is a boutique wellness studio that offers functional fitness-focused yoga, Pilates, barre, and HIIT classes, along with chiropractic and nutritional services. —Leah Muncy

Black Girls Run

Founded in 2009 to promote fitness and end the obesity epidemic among Black women, this running group now has chapters in dozens of cities and offers training and community to both beginner and experienced runners. If you’ve ran any major race in the past decade, you’ve likely seen runners sporting its black-and-pink gear. It also has a philanthropic arm supporting Black women’s health that you can donate to directly.

Body Space Fitness

Instead of fitness fads that promise fast results, the trainers at Body Space Fitness (whether in group classes, private, or semi-private training sessions) emphasize serious, functional fitness — think kettlebell and TRX exercises and pushing weighted sleds across a turf floor — that’ll actually make you stronger. (It’s offering virtual one-on-one training during the pandemic).

Grillz and Granola

Chavonne Hodges created her company Grillz and Granola, along with her signature workout TrapAerobics, to help diversify the group fitness space and make it more inclusive. Whether you are looking for a full-body workout or to tone a specific area, Grillz and Granola offers everything from TrapAerobics to Trap Arms, Trap Legs, and Trap Abs. —Jenna Milliner-Waddell


Located in Clinton Hill, Healhaus is a wellness space and café founded by Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle. HealHaus is dedicated to creating a more inclusive environment for healing and offers unlimited monthly subscriptions for yoga and meditations classes as well as affordable drop-in classes.

Iconoclast Fitness

At New York’s Iconoclast Fitness, personal trainer Ngo Okafor (who works with Brooke Shields) and a team of fitness pros help clients transform their bodies through a mix of cardio and strength exercises. Right now, Iconoclast is offering one-on-one and small-group virtual training sessions, and once it’s safe to get back in the gym, the company has an infrared sauna for relaxing post-workout.

The Underbelly

At-home yoga videos hosted by Jessamyn Stanley, who’s also an advocate for body positivity and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Home Décor

In researching Black-owned home-décor businesses, we consulted existing lists on websites and publications including Shoppe BlackEssence, the Maria Antoinette, and Byrdie (whose list was written by Strategist contributor Sydney Gore) and also talked to our writers, editors, and friends about the places they patronize when outfitting their homes. —Lauren Ro

228 Grant Street Candle Co.

These candles, made with all-natural soy wax, braided cotton wicks, and scented oils, are hand-poured and packaged in Baltimore.

Alexandra Winbush

In 2018, Alexandra Winbush founded an eponymous tea and candle company dedicated to wellness and self-care. Their soy-based candles and seasonal loose-leaf teas can be purchased individually or as a bundle package, which includes a candle, 25 tea bags, and a curated playlist to match the mood. —Leah Muncy


Interior designers and husband-and-wife team Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason began AphroChic as a blog and have since launched AphroChic Magazine, “a curated lifestyle publication of the African Diaspora showcasing creatives of color across a range of industries and fields.” In addition to their publication, the couple also design a collection of pillows and rugs and have collaborated with companies including Moroccan lighting brand Dounia Home and removable-wallpaper company Chasing Paper to create special collections that are available on their website.

The Black Home

Neffi Walker, interior designer to celebrities like Yvonne Orji and Porsha Williams, not only offers design services but sells her own line of hand-poured candles and flatware. —Jenna Milliner-Waddell

Black Pepper Paperie Co.

Washington, D.C.–based mixed-media art and design studio and lifestyle brand Black Pepper Paperie Co. was started by Hadiya Williams. It offers handcrafted wearable ceramic art, home décor, paper goods, and apparel “rooted in memory and cultural influences from across the African diaspora.”

Bolé Road Textiles

Bolé Road Textiles, started by Brooklyn-based interior designer Hana Getachew, offers handwoven goods, including pillowsrugs, and other linens, made by artisans in Ethiopia.


Clare is a home-paint company founded by Nicole Gibbons, an interior designer and television personality who has appeared on HGTV and OWN. Clare was started to make shopping for paint as straightforward as possible and offers designer-curated colors, mess-free paint swatches, and premium quality paint that’s free of VOC (volatile organic compounds), shipped right to your door.

Claude Home

Claude Home, started by 23-year-old Maggie Foster, sells a particularly well-curated mix of vintage furniture. —Casey Lewis

Effortless Composition

The L.A.-based home-décor store, founded by Brittiny Terry, offers a curated selection of artisan-made products and in-house designed goods for the eclectic home.


Goodee, a curated marketplace showcasing minority artisans from around the world, was founded in 2017 by designers, creative directors, and twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart, after they left WANT les Essentiels, which they co-founded. Everything on offer at Goodee, from furniture to throws to accessories, is ethically made and transparently sourced.

Ilé Ilà

Ilé Ilà, a Nigerian lifestyle and furniture design company, was founded by architect Tosin Oshinowo in 2017 to celebrate her native Yoruba culture. Every piece, which features gorgeous, vibrant upholstery, is handmade in Lagos, Nigeria.

Johanna Howard Home

Johanna Howard, who has Swedish roots, pulls inspiration from Scandinavian design and combines it with the creativity she’s discovered during her travels around the globe. Her alpaca dip-dyed throw is particularly striking — it’s hand-dyed in pots over an open fire, giving each throw its own character.


Interior designer Justina Blakeney’s home-décor line Jungalow started as a blog back in 2009 and has since grown into one of the best-known places to shop for bohemian décor. Her designs are colorful and global-inspired, and with each purchase, two trees are planted. —J.M.W.

The Lam Label

Lam’s love for vintage and treasure hunting started when she was a child and has since evolved into a full-grown business: The Lam Label. The Louisiana-based (online) shop sells a curated collection of vintage ceramics, with one-of-a-kind finds from Art Deco vases to novelty salt-and-pepper shakers. —Leah Muncy


Part home store and — during normal times — part coffee shop, Lichen sells artful home goods and furniture. Until you can visit the Williamsburg boutique, you can buy its stuff on Instagram (though be warned: Most of it sells out immediately). —C.L.


Linoto, which makes luxurious-feeling linen bedding right in New York State, was started when founder Jason Evege couldn’t find nice linen sheets that cost less than a grand. (In our deep dive on linen sheets, one Strategist editor said they have “the right ratio of soothing to crisp qualities.”) —C.L.

Lit Bklyn

Lit is a luxury soy-candle company started by Denequa Williams in 2015, and everything is hand-poured in Brooklyn.

Love Notes

Nya Kam founded Brooklyn-based aromatherapy company Love Notes, which makes “custom blended” all-natural soy wax candles. Their curated fragrance collections contain notes from jasmine and cocoa to black amber and gardenia. —Aisha Rickford

Malene B

Multidisciplinary artist, designer, and activist Malene Barnett creates ceramic tiles and sculptural vessels, mixed-media paintings, and handwoven rugs, combining her modern Black experience with the heritage of art in the African diaspora. She also founded Black Artists + Designers Guild, a collective of independent Black artists, makers, and designers.

Marie Burgos Collection

In addition to her interior-design work, Marie Burgos designs and curates a collection of modern lighting, furniture, and mirrors that are rich in texture and color.

Natty Garden

We’ve written about Natty Garden, a Brooklyn-based nursery owned by Joel Mahfood, a Jamaican native, which is operating throughout the pandemic. It also has an online shop that sells a selection of plants, pots and planters, soil, fertilizer, gardening tools, and more.

Peace & Riot

The Bed-Stuy boutique was founded by interior designer Achuziam Maha-Sanchez and her husband, Lionel Sanchez, combining their global sensibilities and style to their shop, which offers gifts, home décor, and design consultation.

Pottery by Osa

Osa Atoe started Pottery by Osa with a pottery wheel in her New Orleans kitchen after taking community pottery classes in 2013. Her one-woman operation is now based in a Baton Rouge studio, and she sells her earth-tone bowls, mugs, pitchers, and vases (which are beautifully and painstakingly detailed) via Etsy. Ten percent of her sales are donated to the Baton Rouge Food Bank and the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, and she takes custom orders too. Her work goes fast, but she restocks her Etsy shop regularly and posts pre-drop sneak peeks on her Instagram. —Leah Muncy

PUR Home Clean

Angela Richardson founded PUR Home, a company devoted to laundry detergents and household cleaning products, after becoming passionate about eco-friendly living and soapmaking. The ingredients are plant-based and nontoxic, and the products come in fun, biodegradable containers. —A.R.

Robin Wilson Home

As an experienced project manager, real-estate developer, and business owner, Robin Wilson started her own brand of textiles — which includes sheets, comforters, and towels — in 2009, and it is now stocked nationwide in Bed Bath & Beyond.

Rochelle Porter

Atlanta-based Rochelle Porter designs vibrant décor and fashion textiles based on her own artwork, like this pillow cover that’s printed with a watercolor design, or this bright-pink face mask featuring a limited-edition, hand-designed textile.

See Line Ceramics

Strategist writer Nikita Richardson moonlights as a ceramicist — and the founder of See Line Ceramics — making beautiful planters, vases, and marbled tumblers.

Sheila Bridges

Veteran interior designer Sheila Bridges created her own riff on traditional French toile first as a wall covering and has since expanded the collection to include fabrics, glassware, and more. You can purchase the Harlem Toile de Jouy wallpaper (which is in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s permanent wallpaper collection) and the rest of the line on her website.


Another favorite of Elisa JohnsonSilked was founded in Los Angeles by Phoenix Gonzalez and Sandra McCurdy and offers locally sourced, environmentally responsible cotton, satin, and silk eye masks and pillowcases (and now face masks) that reduce frizz and calm skin. —L.M.

SustainAble Home Goods

Inspired by a childhood surrounded by African art and music, LaToya Tucciarone founded SustainAble Home Goods with the intention of stocking handcrafted pieces from around the world as a way to promote financial stability to the artisans. That includes Oaxacan pottery crafted by some of the best potters in the region, hand-dyed baskets by Rwandan basket weavers, and bronze sculptures molded by a lost wax-casting method in Burkina Faso.

Tackussanu Senegal

Harlem-based shop Tackussanu Senegal specializes in handmade baskets and other home décor made by artisan women of Senegal.

Tactile Matter

Los Angeles native and multidisciplinary artist, designer, and creative director Kenesha Sneed makes art, ceramics, and textiles under the name Tactile Matter.

xN Studio

D.C.-area native Nasozi Kakembo founded xN Studio in Brooklyn in 2011 and carries furniture, mudcloth and indigo pillow covers, and other homewares as well as fair-trade goods from Uganda.


Founder Shannon Maldonado stocks Philadelphia shop Yowie (which has been featured everywhere from Bon Appétit to Architectural Digest to Domino magazine) with bright home goods (zebra-print towels, colorful glassware), banana jam, camo-print totes, and bread-based zines. —Hilary Reid

Gift Shops and Beyond

In our research over the last couple of days, we found a bunch of Black-owned businesses we that didn’t fit neatly into any of the categories above. There’s also a handful of business our writers and editors know, love, and patronize regularly that defy genres, so we’ve included those Black-owned businesses here.

Bold Xchange

Bold Xchange is an online marketplace started by Danielle Deavens and Doug Spencer with the goal of making it easier to find and shop Black-owned brands. They currently have a selection of beauty, skin-care, apparel, and household items on their site. When you shop on their platform, you’re also getting fast, three-day shipping and an opportunity to save money the more you buy. —Jenna Milliner-Waddell


This is the best laundromat in the neighborhood, but it’s so much more than a laundromat. Started by sisters Corinna and Theresa Williams, they sell really nice ecofriendly products (my favorite is the stain stick), and in normal times, they have delicious treats to enjoy while you’re doing your laundry. —Casey Lewis

Custom Collaborative

Custom Collaborative is a New York City–based entrepreneurship-development program that trains and supports women from low-income and immigrant communities to launch fashion careers and businesses. Custom Collaborative also makes clothing, accessories, and beautifully hand-sewn fabric face masks and donates a mask to Harlem Nursing Center for each one sold. —Liza Corsillo

HarperIman Dolls

Mother-daughter duo Cynthia and Kathryn created HarperIman Dolls with a commitment to increasing representation in the doll industry by making dolls of color with different skin tones and hair textures — the types of dolls, in their words, that they wished they’d had growing up. The dolls, which are made from linen, are available in a variety of different skin tones, hair textures, body types, and outfits and can also be made to order. —L.M.

Hopps Skateboards

Hopps Skateboards is a New York-based skate company started and run by professional skateboarder Jahmal Williams, selling boards, apparel, and accessories often designed by local artists. The full Hopps crew, as well as videos, can be found here. —L.M.

Lolly Lolly Ceramics

Lalese Stamps of Lolly Lolly Ceramics is a ceramicist and graphic designer based in Columbus, Ohio, best known for her 100 Days Project, for which she created 100 different versions of the humble mug handle. (Think matte-black spikes and lots of geometric shapes.) She sells her creations on her online shop and regularly showcases her work on Instagram. — L.M.


Founded by art director Malcolm Dia, Manual is a film-photo company that offers disposable cameras and film-development services. Dia is currently developing protest photos taken on Manual cameras for free and donating a portion of all sales to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

Marché Rue Dix

Located in Crown Heights, Marché Rue Dix carries vintage clothing, home goods, and jewelry as well as natural beauty products, teas, coffees, and spices. —Hilary Reid

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

A small Baltimore-based yarn company, Neighborhood Fiber Co. features hand-dyed yarns — many of them in soft and durable superwash merino — in a wide array of gorgeous colorways. I’m filling my cart with these generously sized 400-yard skeins of its Studio Worsted wool, which comes in colors named after D.C. neighborhoods (where founder Karida Collins started her shop). —Mia Leimkuhler

Paws and the City

Paws and the City (P.A.T.C.) is a Brooklyn-based pet emporium owned by Jae Samuel, offering services such as grooming, boarding, dog-walking, in-house pet-sitting, and food delivery to Crown Heights and nearby residents — though these services have been temporarily put on pause due to COVID-19. In an effort to offset the financial toll of the pandemic, Paws and the City has set up a GoFundMe to save its brick-and-mortar store and to establish a new online shop. —L.M.

Reparations Club

Reparations Club, in Los Angeles, was founded by Strategist contributor Jazzi McGilbert. We’ve described it as a “gift shop and community space featuring a mix of goods made by Black and brown creators”; it describes its offerings as “curated by Blackness & POC.” Those offerings, which can be shipped nationwide, include a mix of books, clothes, and home décor.
Anthony Rotunno

String Thing Studio

The world of knitting can be intimidating, but yarn store–slash–workshop String Thing Studio is anything but. Even though the store boasts a wide array of skeins — from $5 balls of cotton string to over $50 balls of cashmere and wool yarn — owner Felicia Eve gives expert advice for people of all knitting levels. String Thing Studio is in the process of selling more items online, including some cashmere yarn and a personally curated “quaranskein mystery package,” or you can invest in a gift card, all of which are 20 percent off. —Kayla Levy


From Readers Digest:

The Wrap Life

Founded in 2014 by Nnenna Stella, this Black-owned business is perfect for women who appreciate a vibrant head wrap. But the brand doesn’t just offer head wraps—you’ll also find incredibly wearable bandies and turbanettes for different looks. Bonus: The website includes incredibly helpful tutorials on different ways to wrap your hair and use these products.

Serena Williams Jewelry

Tennis phenom Serena Williams has always been a woman who lets her actions do the talking, and when it comes to her jewelry line, her character shines through. Williams has partnered with global diamond manufacturer K.P. Sanghvi to make sure that her products feature conflict-free diamonds. When you purchase a necklace from her Unstoppable collection and more, you can rest assured that you are promoting a truly ethical and responsible brand.

Pardon My Fro

Founded by Dana Bly in 2010, Pardon My Fro was inspired by Bly’s natural hair journey and her desire to find beautiful, bold, and expressive imagery featuring Black women. When she found the marketplace lacking, she decided to create her own brand. From cool throw pillows and brightly colored umbrellas to funky shower curtains to wall art, her designs that feature Black women can add a distinct flair to a home or wardrobe.

Mocha Mane

Mocha Mane creates hair clips specifically with Black culture in mind, and founder Helecia Williams had one overarching goal when designing them: She wanted Black women, and women in general, to embrace their textured hair. Her inspirational and bedazzled clips have words such as kinkscurls, and coils on them, and the brand deliberately showcases women of color of various complexions in its marketing materials.

Adore Adorn Jewelry

Get ready to fall in love with this legacy-inspired jewelry. Founder and designer Sasha V comes from a long line of self-taught designers and creatives, and on her website, she writes: “I design jewelry that pays homage to the creative forces that allow me to exist in this space. The stories of these jewels are a snapshot of my heart.” At the core of each piece? History, culture, and family. For example, her Missy Ring was designed to honor the legacy of her aunt. The brand also donates 15 percent of net sales to organizations that work directly for the betterment of the community.

Izzy & Liv

Izzy & Liv is all about culture, confidence, and soul. It includes accessories, clothing, stationery, umbrellas, planners, wall art, and more that highlight images with an important message: Be confident about being Black. Make a statement with this 18-karat-gold-plated “Unapologetic” necklace.

Melanie Marie

This jewelry line understands the importance of giving back. With its Gems & Jewels program, it gives girls ages 10 to 18 an opportunity to pursue their dreams through a mentorship and arts education program. And, of course, let’s not forget about the jewelry itself. With a modern and chic aesthetic, it’s perfect for millennials and beloved by celebs; in fact, Beyoncé collaborated with the brand to create pieces such as the “Black Parade” nameplate necklace. Choose from personalized necklacescity-inspired and Africa-inspired jewelry, and other beautiful baubles. Your Kwanzaa shopping is about to get a lot easier!

Lily Frilly

Looking to add a little sparkle and shine to the closet of a mini-fashionista? You can’t go wrong with this fun kids’ accessories line that’s owned by a six-year-old! Lily Frilly Adeleye (with a little help from her mom) crafts adorable hair bows, hair clips, backpacks, and more, which you can find on the brand’s website and on Amazon. Even better? A major part of this brand’s mission is to empower young girls, helping them embrace their confidence and become a force in the world of business.

Beauty and Cosmetics


Founded in 2003 by Olowo-n’djo Tchala, Alaffia offers a wide variety of personal-care products that are vegan and cruelty-free. You’ll find curl-enhancing shampoos, triple-milled soap, shea-infused bubble bath, and much more. A particular standout is the all-in-one unscented Authentic African Black Soap, which has more than 3,500 five-star reviews on Amazon. And you’ll feel extra good about buying Alaffia because the brand gives back to African Togolese communities with its Empowerment Projects that focus on education, maternal health, and environmental sustainability.

The London Grant Co.

Excellence through simplicity is at the heart of the London Grant Co., a body-care brand founded by Tiffany Staten. The products—which include rich creams, polishes, and scrubs—are handcrafted in Atlanta and are non-toxic, 100 percent natural or organic, cruelty-free, plant-based, and eco-conscious. You’ll definitely want to try the best-selling Cocoa & Jojoba Body Soufflé.

Beauty Bakerie

One of our favorite Black-owned makeup brands, Beauty Bakerie was founded by Cashmere Nicole in 2011. After overcoming a battle with cancer, Cashmere began to research more health-conscious beauty and makeup brands, and the Beauty Bakerie was born. You’ll fall in love with the variety of beauty and makeup products created with high-quality, well-researched ingredients, like this beloved Flour Setting Powder. You’ll also love that this brand is dedicated to giving back. Cashmere’s initiative Sugar Homes, which she founded in 2016, helps orphaned children all around the world.

54 Thrones

Inspired by Christina Tegbe’s Nigerian upbringing, this brand promotes natural beauty by focusing on nourishing the skin. The ingredients that go into these products are grown on African soil and ethically sourced from cooperatives and artisans across the continent. Some stand-outs included the shea butter (with ingredients from Ghana and Uganda), as well as various oils sourced from Morocco, South Africa, and Egypt. These beauty favorites also happen to be among Oprah’s favorite things.

Dr. Gio Cosmetics

The first Black-owned K-Beauty (Korean beauty) brand, Dr. Gio Cosmetics was made with people of color in mind. The brand is deliberate about creating foundation in rich warm and dark hues, as well as some lighter shades.

Mented Cosmetics

According to the Mented website, founders KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson “want all women, from light to tan to dark skin tones, to feel like they have makeup that actually works for their complexions, so we’ve created the shades to help accomplish that.” Like many other Black-owned businesses, this desire was born out of need—and in this case, after a conversation between the two women about why it was so hard for them to find the perfect nude lipstick. They created their own wide range of shades and then expanded into products for the eyes, skin, brows, and more. Browse their products on Mented’s website or on Amazon.

Lola Marie Polish

Another pint-size entrepreneur, 9-year-old Lola Marie Taylor, created this kid-friendly, vegan- and cruelty-free polish line in April 2020. You’ll find bold shades of pink, as well as flashy glitter polish—some of the biggest nail polish trends of the season. While Taylor has loved nail polish since she was just a wee toddler, the company was inspired by her personal experience of being born with spina bifida. Proceeds from your purchase will go toward buying a wheelchair-accessible van for her.

People of Color

This nail polish brand was created with brown skin tones in mind. Showcasing a line of beautiful nudes with rich brown and cream hues, People of Color also offers vibrant pastels that beautifully accentuate melanated complexions. Founder Jacqueline Carrington was inspired to create the line due to her own experience of never seeing nail polish advertisements featuring women of color.

Tailored Beauty

Finding the right products for curly, kinky, and coily hair is not always easy. That’s why YouTube content creator and entrepreneur Keya James launched this line beloved by Black influencers. You’ll want to try the highly praised Everything Butter, which moisturizes dry hair and skin (and reduces the appearance of scars) with its hydrating blend of shea butter, coconut oil, and grape seed oil.


Take your beauty and self-care routine to the next level with this crystal-infused, plant-based wellness brand. You’ll find luxurious, mineral-infused bath salts, candles, sea moss, and skin balms that replenish the body without toxic chemicals.

Brown Girl Jane

This Black-women-owned wellness brand, which incorporates CBD into its products, focuses on promoting and anti-stress lifestyle and beauty regimen. You’ll find everything from Instagram-worthy vegan gummies to luminous face serum that will transform you in myriad ways.

Ace Beautē

Founded in 2016 by Niye Aniekan-Attang, Ace Beautē offers a beautiful selection of bold, vibrant eye shadow, press-on nails, bronzers, and false lashes. Try these fan-favorite Lolo PM lashes and the Quintessential Palette to make a serious statement on a night out.


Wish you could get that perfect glow for a natural makeup look? With this beauty and wellness brand, you can! Nyakio is like that trusted friend in the beauty industry who always knows the best tricks to try, as well as the best products. Transform your skin with the Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm and Baobab Youth Infused Daily Defense Creme, which are both available at Target.

Olive Berry

What do plant-based wellness, luxury, and sustainability all have in common? They’re the benchmarks of Olive Berry. Founded by Tai Jenkins, this brand aims to provide simple, non-toxic skin care and wellness products for all skin types. Every item is handcrafted in small batches to ensure superior quality.

Urban Hydration

What sets Urban Hydration apart from its competitors, aside from its incredibly gentle clean-beauty products? The brand’s track record of giving back to charity, including its partnership with the Giving Well, which contributes water to families in Kibera, Nairobi, and Kenya with every purchase. Not sure what to try first? We suggest the Bright & Balanced Aloe Vera Leaf Spot Cream, winner of a 2020 Beauty Innovator Award. Packed with rosehip, hemp, and olive oils, it fights acne, lightens dark spots, and detoxes the skin.

House of B Fragranced

Scent leaves a lasting memory long after a physical presence has left. Inspired by the “lasting scent” of its founder’s mother, the mission of this Black-owned business is for wearers to make a memorable impression on whoever they encounter. Choose from richly scented fragrances, lotions, creams, and candles for both men and women.


This all-natural, plant-based, handcrafted skin-care line made from ethically sourced shea butter can help with rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. Beurre’s lavender-scented body cream is soothing, moisturizing, and great for all skin types, but if you have a mom-to-be in your life, treat her to the belly cream to help ward off stretch marks.


Brave + Kind Bookshop

Based in Decatur, Georgia, this neighborhood bookshop offers a carefully curated selection of children’s books online. Its picks focus on diversity and inclusion and encourage empathy—all things we want our little ones to learn.

Black Pearl Books

Black Pearl Books was created with equity and cultural awareness in mind. This Texas-based shop is a community space and bookstore that stands on the Biblical principle of John 13:34, which states, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Brown Sugar & Spice Books

Brown Sugar & Spice Books specializes in true stories about people of color. For this bookstore and community, Black History is not just celebrated in February—it’s celebrated all year long. Looking to expand your knowledge? Pick up these essential books for understanding race relations in America.

Sisters Uptown Bookstore

Sister Uptown Bookstore, located in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, is more than a bookstore. It’s a community that is committed to elevating the consciousness of the community. According to founder Janifer Wilson, the shop’s goal is to “nurture their minds, hearts, and souls with present and past works of gifted African American authors and other great authors and intellectuals including masters of spoken word.”

The Lit Bar

The Lit Bar is the only indie bookstore in the borough of the Bronx in New York. Owned by Noelle Santos, this shop offers hip, cultured, and artistic events throughout the year—and, of course, plenty of must-reads in-store and online.


Matter is an independently Black-owned bookstore in Denver that specializes in resistance, typography, design, and love-centered books. According to its website, this bookstore serves “the book needs of all revolutionaries, designers, and other thinking persons.” While we’re on the subject, check out these powerful quotes that speak volumes in the fight against racism.

Harriett’s Bookshop

Named after Harriett Tubman, this Philadelphia-based bookshop features books by women authors, women artists, and women activists. In addition to its diverse collection of books, it sells other merchandise and hosts cultural events. Don’t miss these other great Black-owned bookstores located throughout the country.


Neon Kisses

Neon Kisses offers modern, hip clothing for kids, tweens, and adults. It combines a vibrant, fun city vibe with that added hipster appeal, featuring—you guessed it—neon accents! You’ll find flouncy skirts with graphic prints for girls, bold leggings, sports-inspired gear, whimsical accessories, and more.

Ruby Love

Founded by Crystal Etienne in 2015, this underwear and swimwear line provides protection from leaking during that time of the month. It includes game-changing swimsuits, underwear, and exercise clothing that all women can feel secure and confident while wearing.

Fe Noel

Bring a little high fashion into your daily life with this women’s clothing brand inspired by founder Fe Noel’s Caribbean heritage. Featuring bold colors, vibrant prints, and flattering silhouettes, it was designed with the well-traveled, cultured, and glamorous shopper in mind, and its gorgeous pieces can help you upgrade your wardrobe in an instant.

Coco & Breezy

Founded in 2009 by twin sisters Corianna and Brianna Dotson, this Black-owned business features eyewear that is both practical and fashionable. Since its inception, it’s been wildly popular in the fashion world and with celebrities, and when you take a look at the site’s fun frames, you’ll see why. Here are more of the best places to buy glasses online.

Sammy B.

This women’s ready-to-wear clothing line does not shy away from red carpet-level looks. The pieces are feminine yet bold, and they definitely stand out. Pair this Jade Geo Dress with a pair of high black boots and you’ll be ready to take on the world.

Ade + Ayo

Got a little fashionista in your life? This adorable baby and children’s line, which offers both clothing, essentials like bibs, and nursery decor, merges a beautiful “African aesthetic” with a modern look. Created by Temidayo Adedokun, the brand was inspired by her desire to find African-inspired nursery decor and clothing after she had her first baby.

Stina & Mae

Inspired by a generational legacy of Black motherhood, Stine & Mae is the brainchild of a former fashion journalist. The company’s first product, the SAFI vegan leather baby changing mat, was created when founder Mishell wanted a better, cleaner, antimicrobial changing mat. On the site, you’ll also find fashion-forward bibs, blankets, and nursing pads that make the perfect gifts for a new mom. You can also feel good about your purchase: The brand donates 2 percent of its yearly revenue to fighting childhood hunger and organizations that help moms in need.

Rebecca Allen

Shoe lovers, this one’s for you! This brand’s flats and heels are a must-have in every wardrobe, but they were inspired by a very specific need: The Brooklyn-based founder could never find a nude shoe that matched her melanated skin tone. Realizing this was an issue so many other women of color faced, she decided to do something about it. Check out her three classic styles: The Skim, a pointed-toe flat; The New Pump, a classic and comfy heel; and The Two Strap, a sophisticated sandal. Which one is at the top of your wish list? Here’s what your favorite shoes say about your personality.


This modern, urban, unisex fashion brand is bold, distinct, and unapologetically hip. If you’re looking for the perfect classic vintage tee, fashionable sweats to rocks with a heel, or that chic sweatshirt that goes well with everything, you’re in the right place. On-trend and fashion-forward, these pieces are the perfect combination of luxe fashion and streetwear.

Mami Wata

Surf’s up! This African company, whose name means “Mother Water” or “Mother Ocean,” creates men’s and women’s fashion, accessories, surfboards, prints, and more, and its overarching mission is to strengthen Africa’s surf tourism and economy. This past year, Mami Wata published the book AfroSurf, and all of the proceeds go to two African surf organizations: Waves for Change and Surfers Not Street Children.

Moonlight Roller

Roller skating has its roots in Black culture, and it’s long been a form of creative expression in inner-city communities across the country. When mom and veteran Adrienne Cooper found herself battling depression, she turned to roller skating and eventually founded Moonlight Roller, a mobile skating community and skate rental service. She also designed the wildly popular Moon Boots, highly specialized skating shoes that comes in a variety of styles. According to Vogue, this company is playing a large role in the recent “skate revivals.”

Food and Beverages

BLK & Bold

BLK & Bold is a Black-owned specialty coffee and tea brand that is distributed nationally—and you’ll find the perfect gifts for coffee lovers here. It was founded by two childhood friends, Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson, who are committed to making a social impact; they donate 5 percent of the company’s profits to causes that help fight youth homelessness. You can also shop BLK & Bold on Amazon.


Founded by mother-daughter duo Sandra and Sanaa, this tea company partners with female farmers in Haiti to create economic opportunities and give back. The products are 100 percent natural, grown in Haiti, and come in a variety of flavors.

McBride Sisters Wine Collection

As one of the largest Black-owned wine businesses in the United States, the McBride Sisters brand prides itself on being “inclusive, accessible, socially aware, and sustainable.” Check out two of the collection’s newest offerings: Black Girl Magic 2018 Merlot and Black Girl Magic 2018 California Zinfandel. Aside from producing some serious magic, sisters Robin and Andréa are committed to making a larger impact with the She Can Professional Development Fund, which they established in 2019.

LaRue 1680

This lovely little tea company sells 100 percent organic loose-leaf tea that’s also ethically sourced, as well as pretty tea sets. Choose from flavors like New England Pumpkin Spice, Casablanca Street, and Ginger Tumeric Blend, or try LaRue’s best sellers in the Queen Charlotte’s Court collection, a smartly packaged set inspired by the addictive Netflix series Bridgerton. So, was Queen Charlotte really Britain’s first Black royal? We investigated.

Abby Creek Vineyard

This Oregon-based vineyard was established by Bertony Faustin, who, in 2008, became the first Black winemaker in Oregon. His goal was to make his vineyard feel like a home, which is the same feel you’ll get from the wines’ fun descriptions on the website.

Pretty Luxe Picnics

When is a picnic not just a picnic? When Pretty Luxe Picnics is in charge of it. This Atlanta-based events company specializes in intimate dinner parties, wedding proposals, beautiful brunches, and more—and trust us when we say that the results are uniquely picture-perfect, romantic, and gorgeous.

Luv Spun

This vegan and gluten-free cotton candy business came directly from a mother’s love. Founder Therese Dozier, mom to two children on the autism spectrum, wanted to show her kids that they could “create their own lane through entrepreneurship in a world where differences are often not celebrated.” Made in small batches by hand, these sumptuous sweets have no artificial flavors or colors and are made from raw organic sugar. Try the Thank You for Being a Friend four-tub bundle, which comes with Raspberry Cheesecake, Sour Apple, Peach Bellini, and Lemoncello flavors.

Paint ‘N Pour

This New York City-based company puts a fun, modern spin on the “paint and sip” concept. Cofounded by serial entrepreneur Tinesha Sharpe, Paint ‘N Pour is not just an art-making experience—it’s a cultural hub that allows art instructors and bartenders to infuse their own cultural style and expertise into the pop-culture-infused art sessions. Each session is two hours, and as you paint, classic hip-hop songs float through the colorful and vibrant atmosphere.

Cool Coffee Clique

If you’re a caffeine fiend, you’ll want this gourmet coffee that’s “strong AF”—their words, not ours! These flavorful (and, yes, strong) coffee blends created by company founder Courtney Adeleye are for those with “impeccable taste.” Try the brand’s popular premium coffee blend or this mango-flavored loose-leaf tea.

Andy’s Factory

In search of the world’s best, tangiest sauce for cooking? You just may have found it. Andy Burton and his brother Nyles have developed one of the most-sought after sauces in the D.C. region: Uncle Dell’s Mambo Sauce. And stayed tuned for Aunt Ree’s Cluck It, a tangy mayo-based sauce that gives chicken the perfect kick of flavor; you can pre-order it now.


Vegans, rejoice! This Los Angeles–based non-dairy cheese company cofounded by chef Ian Martin and Aaron Bullock offers organic vegan cheese that’s been labeled the “Best Dairy-Free Cheese in the Market.” It’s made from a cashew and almond milk base and blended with locally sourced fresh herbs, veggies, and spices.



“Braid better” in every way with the products from this eco-conscious hair-supply company founded by Ciara Imani May. The plant-based braiding hair that Rebundle sells is non-toxic and made with extracted banana fiber, something that’s extra important since plastic synthetic hair often irritates scalps. It’s a great way to make sure you’re not accidentally aging your hair.


Launching a line of products at the start of a worldwide pandemic wasn’t what Tonya Thompson and Sharie Wilson had in mind, but they ended up helping women everywhere who were suddenly homebound and away from their favorite salons. Their Healthy Hair System, which involves the protective style of a weave and is monitored by stylists, is all about growing beautiful, healthy hair, but you can get your own healthy, luxurious locks at home (for any type of hair) with this starter kit.

Bask & Bloom Essentials

After having her first child and experiencing postpartum hair loss, Candera Thompson decided to create a natural beauty brand after researching ways to get her hair to grow back healthy. Her hair-care products are natural, organic, and vegan-friendly, and they focus on providing intense moisture and protection from breakage for multi-textured curly hair, though they work for all hair types.

Bread Beauty Supply

Bread Beauty Supply aims to make caring for natural hair and curls less complicated. From their beloved wash kits that include all of the essentials to sensitive shampoos and moisturizing hair masks that you can buy separately, this Black-owned business is all about making hair-washing super easy.

Camille Rose

Whether you have wavy, curly, coily, kinky, or straight hair, you’ll fall in love with Camille Rose’s natural hair products that feature good-enough-to-eat products like the uber-popular Honey Hydrate leave-in conditioner. And founder Janell Stephens’ story is pretty great, too: The mom of five whipped up her original products in her own kitchen as she was looking for a way to deal with her children’s chronic eczema. Now the brand also offers face products and self-care items. Check out these other mom-invented products that are pure genius.

Bounce Curl

If you’re a curly girl seeking products that will refine and moisturize your curls, Bounce Curl is the answer. Rejecting the “one size fits all” method when it comes to great hair care, this company caters to different hair textures. Not sure if you’re a 2C, 3A, or 4C? Head on over to their website to take a hair quiz and see a few tutorials. Then try out the well-reviewed Light Hold Creme Gel and Defining Butta, which are designed with your hair texture in mind.

Taliah Waajid

Taliah Waajid has been a trailblazer in the natural hair care industry for more than two decades. And her brand has a long-standing track record in the natural hair community for helping women of color to grow out their naturally textured hair. Choose from the Protective StylesPure & Natural, and Green Apple & Aloe collections.

Frederick Benjamin

Men need a little TLC, too! That’s where Frederick Benjamin comes in. This shaving and grooming brand turns everyday tasks into an art form. The products also forgo irritants like petrolatum and instead include natural ingredients like: spearmint, hempseed, and clove. The brand’s founder, Michael James, was inspired to create his company after witnessing so many men of color struggle with razor bumps, in-grown hair, and hyperpigmentation, and it now includes a wide range of shaving, beard, and hair products. You can also find it on Amazon.

The Mane Choice

Founded by registered nurse Courtney Adeleye and her physician husband, The Mane Choice is a hair care company that takes a “beauty, health and science” approach. Its products—which range from hair-thickening shampoos to moisturizing sealing creams to straight-up vitamins for hair growth—are infused with ingredients like biotin, as well as vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

Hair + Space Blowdry and Beauty Bar

Founded by beauty connoisseur Regina Holbert, this Maryland-based company “offers a chic space that has the perfect chemistry of speed of service, luxury, and inclusion.” Need a blowout or some natural-curl care? This is where you’ll want to be.

Heat Free Hair

When it comes to extensions and hair pieces, you need seriously good products to make your mane look natural. The founder of Heat Free Hair, Ngozi Opara, didn’t want to leave that to chance, so she moved to China for a year to learn about the entire hair-manufacturing process. A year later, in 2013, she opened this company that focuses exclusively on natural textures. You’ll find wefted hair and closures, clip-ins, ponytails, and wigs that people won’t believe aren’t your own hair.

RevAir Reverse-Air Dryer

This hair dryer puts an innovative spin on the blow-drying process. Instead of using high heat and chemicals, it utilizes new technology that dries hair quicker, seals cuticles in their natural direction, and produces longer-lasting results. You can use it on everything from coarse hair and braids to locs and extensions. Here are more hair care products stylists can’t live without.

Contents Haircare

The founder of Contents Haircare, Cheryl Bergamy, has been a celebrity hairstylist for more than 20 years, and she’s worked with the likes of John Legend, 50 Cent, Demi Lovato, and more. Created with textured hair in mind, this brand uses plant-based ingredients and is 100 percent vegan. Right now, you’ll find three products on the site: the Skin & Scalp Conditioning CreamStyle & Go Leave-In Conditioner, and Earth Silk Glossifyer.

Mental Health and Wellness

Balanced Black Girl

Founded by Lestraundra Alfred, this Health podcast and digital platform is designed to empower Black women by connecting them with health experts and experts in the mental, social, and spiritual health space. The business showcases the positive benefits of embracing community and finding strength in numbers in the spirit of unity.

BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health)

BEAM stands for Black Emotional And Mental Health Collective. Through education, advocacy, training, and the creative arts, BEAM aims to provide Black people with more accessibility to emotional health care and the proper resources for healing, as well as create a community of like-minded individuals who are committed to the overall mental and emotional health of those in Black communities. This tool kit can get you started at home.

Ethel’s Club

Ethel’s Club is a social and wellness club based in Brooklyn, New York. It supports inclusion, offers safe spaces for healing, and embraces community mindsets. Its mission? To welcome those who “believe that centering community is power.” Speaking of which, these charities and organizations that directly help the Black Lives Matter movement need your support, too.

Inside Outer Beauty

Inner Outer Beauty Market, which features brands and products that are toxicant-free, was birthed as a result of self-care coach Dixie Lincoln Nicols’ popular blog. The company is committed to giving back and has partnered with the reforestation organization One Tree Planted to plant trees in Haiti, Rwanda, Florida, and even the Amazon Rainforest. If you love this idea, don’t miss these other great gifts that give back.

Freedom Apothecary

Freedom Apothecary is a Philadelphia-based sanctuary dedicated to holistic wellness and inclusion. Its goal is for all women, but especially women of color, to find community and genuine support and become immersed in an atmosphere that is conducive to self-discovery and growth. Cofounded by Morrisa Jenkins and Bonkosi Horn, the Freedom Apothecary supports and sells women-owned brands such as Honey Belle, Baby Mama, and Moon & Jai.


Founded by author and producer Tonya Lewis Lee, Movita Organics specializes in vitamins for women. Here, you’ll find beauty vitamins, prenatal vitamins, and multivitamins—and they’re all created using whole food, not synthetic ingredients. Shop on Movita’s website or on Amazon.

The SPAaaht

There’s nothing more relaxing than stepping into a boutique spa that feels like a warm, cozy home. The SPAaaht is located in a beautiful and historic Harlem neighborhood, and its owner, LaJuana Smith-Huebner, is a wellness advocate with more than 20 years of experience in the spa industry. The SPAaaht offers nail care, massages, skincare, waxing, and more—and once you step foot inside, you may never want to leave. If you need some extended relaxing and recharging, book a stay at one of these wellness retreats.

My Happy Flo

PMS, begone! This brand offers plant- and vitamin-based relief for premenstrual symptoms and has been dubbed “self-care in a bottle.” Cofounded by longtime friends Necole Kane and Fallon Mercedes Brock, My Happy Flo was created to empower other women who have struggles with their cycles, fibroids, and other reproductive issues.


Need a soothing bath after an intense workout? Or maybe a de-stressing cup of tea after a long day of work? LumiBloom’s wellness and hemp CBD products can help. Try the brand’s recovery bath saltsCBD-infused teas, gummy vitamins, and more. You’ll also find hair products on this site, from extensions to clip-ins.


Founder Marc Washington created this company in honor of his late sister, and it focuses on providing science-backed information and healthy resources to vulnerable communities. After researching the gut microbiome, Washington was inspired to create healthy shakes that fuel the body. Choose from prebiotic-resistant starch shakes in chocolate, vanilla, or mocha; vegan options are also available.

Black Travel Box

With the Black travel industry booming now more than ever, this brand is committed to making sure that jet-setters have the best TSA-friendly products for hair and skin. You’ll find skin-soothing body balm, moisturizing lip balm, and hair balm specially designed for perfect for natural hair that’s worn in a protective style like braids or buns when traveling.

Daybreak Yoga

Daybreak Yoga is the only Black-female-owned yoga studio in Ohio. It was founded by Dawn Rivers, a librarian turned yoga coach, as a safe haven for women of color who may not have felt comfortable in other spaces. Rivers also coaches other women of color to become certified and yoga practitioners, offers yoga and wellness retreats, and has a store on Amazon.

Body Complete Rx

Body Complete Rx believes that getting healthy should be as easy as having plant-based supplements delivered directly to your doorstep—which is exactly what they do. Samia Gore, a mom of four, created this brand with a nutritionist to ensure that other parents like herself would commit to living a healthy lifestyle.

Naturally London

This unique foot care line offers products that are non-toxic and made with organic ingredients. You’ll feel like you’re spending a day at the spa with detoxifying foot soaks, balms, polishes, serums, and more. Founded by Chrissy Cabrera, a mom of two and certified aromatherapist, the brand is now expanding to hand care and nail care. Start with the spa pedicure bundle to try some of the brand’s beloved bestsellers and give yourself a DIY pedicure.

Absolute JOI

Absolute joy comes when you find a skin-care brand that’s a great match for your skin. This clean beauty line, created by physician-researcher Dr. Anne Beal, addresses the needs of people of color who have sensitive skin, dark marks, and hyperpigmentation without using skin bleach, sulfates, parabens, or other harsh chemicals. Check out the mineral-based Daily Hydrating Moisturizing Cream with SPF 40 for a new everyday multitasker.

Reel Paper

Reel Paper is “100 percent tree-free paper” made from bamboo trees. You’ll find eco-friendly toilet paper and paper towels that don’t contain ink, dyes, or BPA, and better yet, each purchase helps in sustaining the environment. Don’t miss these other eco-friendly products that you can buy on Amazon.

New Nurse University

Genuine mentorship is just as important as getting a good education. With her tutoring company, registered nurse Renee Dyson has facilitated in helping more than 300 students pass nursing school.

Josephine & Billie’s

What do the “teapads” of the 1920s and ’30s, jazz, and cannabis have in common? They have all, at times, provided relief from the stress and anxiety that many marginalized communities disproportionately feel. Josephine & Billie’s is an L.A.-based cannabis dispensary backed by TPCO, an investment group whose creative director is none other than Jay-Z. This “safe haven” is a communal space where women, particularly women of color, can feel safe in an inclusive environment while discovering and enjoying the benefits of cannabis.

Kwanzaa: Ujima

Ujima: To build and maintain our community together and make our sister’s and brother’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

We have been given an order a demand by the creator of the universe to take care of one another. To make your issue my issue. To not close our eyes when another is wounded but to ask, how can I help? When there is trash on the street it doesn’t matter if you put it there or not it is our command from the first Adam to have dominion over the earth, sea, animals, and land and to pick up that trash.

I am a black trans man I am not a thief. I am not a nigger. I am not a low life. Just because I come from poverty I am not poverty. Just because I struggle with a mental illness I am not my mental illness and it is not all of me. Just because I am on disability that doesn’t mean I don’t work nor am I lazy. I am a student and scholar in the making studying and pursuing and double master’s degree. No ma’am, no sir just because I wear a dark hoodie you don’t need to follow me around the store. Just because I smile at you doesn’t mean I intend to cause you harm. Why are you so afraid of the color of my skin? Am I not more than my blackness? Can you not see that I belong to a family? Officer, please don’t search me, not all black people look alike. Officer, please don’t shoot at me use your words. I am educated and can speak eloquently. If you don’t stop to ask my name or ask my story, you’ll never know. Will you?

“The only thing about rivers is you can’t step into the same river twice. The waters are always changing always flowing… and we all must pay a price to miss a chance at never knowing” Pochantos (Disney 1995)

To everyone we only have one earth. Yes, it costs more to go green but it hurts a lot more to die. We are killing animals, homes, and the earth. We are responsible for the calamity and destruction we must change our ways and do it NOW! We must demand that the gov’t hear our voices and make our votes count or vote them out. We must stand up for what is noble, pure, good, wholesome, loving, kind, and decent; sacred. I want kids and grandkids and great-grandkids. I want to change this earth for foster youth behind me and foster young adults I can’t do that if we all keep our eyes closed hoping for the next person to fix it.

Ujima is a call to action. A call to authority. I am first a Child of the God, a Black, African American Queer Man! I will be treated with dignity and respect and value. I will treat this earth with respect and kindness and dignity. I will start this year, NOW demanding my rights from my gov’t to vote freely and fairly and lastly I will be my brother’s and sister’s keeper.

What is your Ujima?

Joyous Kwanzaa. In Memory of oh Rep. John Lewis

Kwanzaa Kujichagulia

Kujichagulia ~ Self Determination. “To Define Ourselves, Name Ourselves, Create For Ourselves And Speak For Ourselves

What are you determined to change about yourself to improve?

What are you determined about this world change?

What are you determined in this world to use your voice for to make ripples in the water to speak for future generations to come?

What gets you fired up? What makes you angry enough to say, enough is enough? What are you determined to be the change for this year and for eternity?

I take this Nguza Saba principle as a charge or order, and a question to answer.

One that will be answered when you have lived out your “dash.” What do I mean about living by saying “living out your dash” When you die there is the day you are born and a dash between the day you die. What is remembered and eulogized is the “dash”

One question:

What will your dash say?

I pray in hope mine will say, brave, courageous, noble warrior who lived for truth and self-actualization. Who saught out the light in everyone and every situation. Saw every obstacle as an opportunity for growth and self-awareness. Grounded in integrity bathed in righteousness that can only be crown from the King of the Heavens. Educated and educator. Father and philanthropist, prolific public speaker, and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Transgender yet transcendent. Lover and a fighter. The reader of words and life. Self-determined to make life better not only for himself but for those coming behind and beside him. A giant slayer and generational leader. This is my hope for the readers of my “dash”

What are yours?

Habari Gani!

Joyous Kwanzaa.

In remembrance of Archbishop Desmond Tutu