As protests rage across the United States, calling for an end to police brutality and justice for the murder of George Floyd, there are many ways you can take action in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community. Apart from donating to organizations combatting racial injustice (find a list of resources here), you can also support and shop black-owned businesses.
Brands and buyers have the power to better distribute wealth in America and effect long-term change, whether its companies like Glossier pledging $500,000 in grants to black-owned beauty businesses, Aurora James of Brother Vellies calling on larger corporations to stock 15% of their inventory from black-owned businesses, and you—yes, you—with your individual buying power.
Not only have white business owners long had easier access to capital, but many black businesses are more vulnerable now than ever given the impact of the coronavirus. Black communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and last week, The Washington Post reported “the number of working African American business owners in the United States plummeted more than 40%…a far steeper drop that other racial groups experienced.”
Becoming a better ally begins with educating yourself, showing up, and paying up—on a local and national level. Seek out and support black-owned businesses in your community, and look to our list below for a small sample of brands you can start supporting now. PS: following up on your action is important, so we’ll continue to update this post with more brands to support.
*There are no affiliate links in this post.
Mahogany Books is a DC-based bookstore specializing in books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora. Check out its blog, Black Books Matter, for staff recommendations, curated booklists, and information on (now virtual) events and conversations with authors.
Founded in 2013 by Kerby Jean-Raymond, Pyer Moss is committed to making fashion a more inclusive and diverse space. According to its website, the label produces collections that combine storytelling, activism, debate, theatre and social commentary to challenge existing social narratives. In 2018, Pyder Moss was announced the winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
Aurora James launched accessories brand Brother Vellies in 2013 as a way to keep traditional African craftsmanship alive. Using sustainable materials like vegetable-tanned leathers, recycled tires, and hand-carved wood, each shoe or bag is handmade using techniques passed down from generation to generation.
Kristen Noel Crawley founded KNC Beauty after falling in love with lip masks on a trip to Tokyo but realizing that there were no natural lip masks to be found. KNC Beauty is the first brand to launch an all-natural collagen-infused lip mask—that everyone from influencers, supermodels, and celebrities now swear by.
Since launching his label, Victor Glemaud has infused his collections with an inclusive, cross-generational spirit that can be seen in the inspiration for his designs (from Grace Jones and Diana Ross to Stephen Burrows) to the diversity of the models he casts, to the styling and art direction of his clothes.
Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair-care brand, Pattern Beauty, celebrates and addresses the needs of the curly, coily, and tight-textured hair community. The brand also gives back a portion of proceeds to organizations and programs that empower women and people of color.
Oh Happy Dani
Atlanta-based illustrator and social media strategist, Danielle Coke, uses art and colorful doodles to address social inequities and start difficult conversations about faith and racial injustice. You can further these conversations by sharing her work—and crediting it—on social media, as well as ordering one of her prints, totes, or cards on her website.
House of Aama
House of Aama is the brainchild of mother-daughter duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka who use fashion as a lens to celebrate and tell stories that explore the traditions and customs of African Americans. Each item is sustainably manufactured in Los Angeles, California.
Calling all Philly residents—Yowie is a home and lifestyle boutique founded by Shannon Maldonado. In it you’ll find all kinds of housewares, kitchen goods, and trinkets made by friends of the brand, independent artists, and designers.
Rayo & Honey
Rayo & Honey hand cuts, presses, and sews “goods with positive intent” like pennants, totes, and pins in Brooklyn, New York that make for great gifts or decor. Phrases like I am rooted but I flow or You are magic are inspired by iconic hip hop lyrics, Black & Latino pop-culture references, and literature—and go back to the idea of surrounding yourself with “things that speak to our collective past & socially conscious future.”
The Honey Pot Co.
The Honey Pot Co. is the first plant-based feminine care system, selling all kinds of menstrual care products like tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges that are made with ingredients that are kinder on Mother Earth—and your body (meaning everything is free from chemicals, toxins, artificial fragrance or anything synthetic). The products are all developed and tested by women, and gynecologist-approved. You can find The Honey Pot Co. at local grocery stores and Target stores nationwide (check out its store finder here). According to its website, the brand also partners with Happy Period—an organization that provides menstrual hygiene kits to those who are homeless, low income, or living in poverty.
Carly Cushnie is a fashion industry veteran, and her eponymous label Cushnie has been around since 2008. The brand is a mainstay for sleek and minimalist ready-to-wear that counts everyone from Michelle Obama to Gal Gadot, Lupita Nyong’o, Ava Duvernay, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Ashley Graham, and Padma Lakshmi as fans. Cushnie was a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2011 and a nominee for the CFDA Swarovski Award in 2012.
As a business founded by black women for other women of color, Amanda E. Johnson and K.J. Miller launched Mented Cosmetics in 2017 with the goal of making the beauty landscape more inclusive. From foundation sticks to nail products and matte lipsticks, the cosmetics company works to provide women of color with more everyday makeup options to choose from.
Bole Road Textiles
Interior designer Hana Getachew is the founder of Bolé Road Textiles, a home goods store that sells one-of-a-kind textiles and fabrics (think soft towels, patterned pillow covers, and stitched throws) that are designed in Brooklyn and handwoven in Ethiopia.
Passionate about holistic health, Brooklyn-based Trinity Mouzon Wofford launched Golde in 2017 with the intention of making the wellness space more inclusive and accessible—and, in the last three years, her turmeric-based lattes have gained national appeal. You can find her powdered tonics at major retailers like Sephora, Free People, Madewell, and Urban Outfitters. Bonus: Wofford runs an amazing blog named “The Golden Hour” where you can keep up with Golde’s latest or just check out cool recipes.
The Folklore is a New York City-based multi-brand concept store that makes it easier shop emerging designers from Africa and the African diaspora. The company, founded by Amira Rasool, sells exclusive luxury clothing, accessories, and home products from labels like Elle Est… and Third Crown.