Black businesses often face barriers in the world of business that many of us never even consider. Without even delving into the generations of explicit racism and discrimination that have taken place in America and around the world, there are so many reasons why it’s important to support black-owned businesses. This is especially true in 2020, as we collectively attempt to increase our awareness and reversal of racial inequality in all aspects of life.
From racist lending policies to unequal educational opportunities, black business owners often face more barriers to entry than their competition, making it even more important to support them. Another important reason to support black businesses is that building wealth in black communities and keeping it there is of critical importance if we’re ever going to overcome generations of inequality. While these barely scratch the surface of why it’s so important to build black wealth, the businesses listed below are also just flat-out awesome. Their products are all high-quality, sustainable, and available for purchase online, which is more important this year than perhaps ever before.
As we should all be painfully aware, the other thing that 2020 brought with it was a global pandemic, making it more difficult to support businesses in-person. That’s why we’ve put together a list of black-owned businesses you can support safely from home. Because sustainability is a part of everything we do, we’ve tried to highlight some of the most eco-friendly businesses out there. Our list is nowhere near complete, but our hope is that it serves as a launching point for an ethical, sustainable online shopping adventure.
Note: Due to increased demand and nationwide shipping delays, exercise patience with online orders- the wait is worth it! Instant gratification is so 2019, anyway.
Sustainable, Black-Owned Clothing Brands and Accessories
Brother Vellies is a purveyor of the highest quality, sustainably sourced, designer footwear and accessories on the market. Founded with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices alive, Brother Vellies sources all of its products from artisans around the world. At Brother Vellies, sustainability and luxury intersect with no compromise.
Each piece from carbon-neutral Two Days Off is made to order or in small quantities in Los Angeles. Founded by Gina Stoval after she learned about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, she brought her knowledge as a geologist and earth scientist into the world of sustainable clothing. In the beginning, Gina sewed her own wardrobe after not finding clothing options sustainable enough for her liking. If that’s not commitment I don’t know what is. Each piece is designed with comfort, sustainability, durability and a minimalist aesthetic in mind- ensuring that it will stand the test of time and not have to be replaced as the trends change.
Every piece from Jade Swim is luxe, minimalist swimwear designed with versatility and sustainability in mind. Every product is made in the USA by workers who are paid a living wage, after a full life cycle assessment is conducted to ensure sustainability from production to use. While the swim styles seem to change faster than the seasons themselves, Jade Swim’s minimalist design and durability means you’ll be able to wear their suits for years to come.
Sarah Nakintu created the brand as an “African-inspired luxury handbag brand” rooted in her family namesake. She creates fashionable, quality bags using a completely natural leather that is tanned by vegetables. She works with various artisans from around the world in conjunction with the values of “generational conservatism of artistry and craftsmanship”. The collections include everything from crossbody bags to totes to satchels and range in price, style, and color.
The brand, named after founder Taylor Jay, makes basics with an emphasis on comfort and inclusion for all kinds of women. She combines design with “environmental consciousness” to create a quality product for women to enjoy. The Oakland based factory stresses ethical sourcing and fair labor practices to ensure sustainability. Multiple collections are featured and include clothing along with hats and swimwear for a well rounded shopping experience.
If you’re looking for the ultra high quality jewelry and accessories made from the most renewable materials across the globe, look no further than Enbois Originals. Each of their products is hand crafted and one-of-a-kind, and every purchase contributes to reforestation efforts across the Caribbean- a tree is planted with every single purchase.
Black-owned Beauty, Health and Hair Care Companies
Briogeo takes haircare back to its roots, if you’ll pardon the pun. Brio is Italian for “vibrant and full of life” and Geo is Latin for “of Earth and nature,” and each of their products encapsulates these ideals. Their products come in texture-specific variations, meaning they’re formulated to nourish any hair type- without any extra chemicals or additives like parabens, silicones, or synthetic coloring. It’s not all about what isn’t in their products though- they’re also based on years of research from chemists and scientists to ensure that they deliver the best possible results.
Designed to help both hair and scalp with natural ingredients, Love and Snow hair serum is specially formulated for all different types of hair. Depending on your hair type, Love and Snow serum is used differently- so you can be sure it’s moisturizing and repairing, without the grease. Time to throw out the big name scalp care shampoo for something that works better and is better for the planet. Seems like an easy choice.
Based on traditional remedies and developed with the expertise of elders from the African community worldwide, A Complexion Company specializes in clean beauty solutions designed with darker skin in mind. Their Moringa Oleifera powder is raw, certified Organic, vegan, gluten free, pesticide-free, sustainably harvested, and contains zero toxicity. Hard to get more sustainable than that.
Honey’s Handmade natural hair and skincare products are made from plants, nontoxic, and almost sound good enough to eat. Honey’s Handmade has multiculturalism and diversity baked into its very core, and all of their products are designed for anyone who wants all-natural, wholesome and cruelty-free hair and skincare.
Dreamed up by founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson as they wondered why it was so difficult to find the right shade of nude lipstick, Mented Cosmetics believes everyone should be able to find beauty cosmetics that match their complexion- no matter their skin tone. Mented wants people of all skin tones to be able to find makeup that works for them- and to see themselves represented in the world of beauty. Did we mention that all of their products are vegan, and paraben and cruelty-free? “Nude” lipstick should be available in “nude” for everyone, not just some.
Perhaps the most socially responsible and inclusive shave and skincare company to have ever existed, Oui the People balks at the notion of selling products to women under the guise of making them “flawless” or “perfect,” believing instead that beauty is self-defined. Oui the People doesn’t just buck the toxicity so prevalent in beauty marketing, they’re also against anything toxic throughout their supply chain. Their razors are long lasting to help combat the roughly 2 billion plastic razors that end up in landfills every year, their shaving gel comes in plastic-free, reusable and refillable packaging, and their bikini masks are made of natural bio-cellulose materials that are produced in factories powered by 100% renewable energy. They might even have us beat when it comes to sustainability.
Owned by Desiree Verdejo, Hyper Skin was created after a bout with breakouts from her pregnancy left her with dark marks and scarring. After searching for a product that would help her newfound skin problems, she decided to instead create one that would do the job. Her first product set out to fight against hyperpigmentation and the company has grown with it. Her business is affordable and natural, perfect for any conscious consumer!
Founded by Jacqueline Carrington who set out to solve the problem of nail polish colors that were not representative of all skin colors. Her slogan “Nail polish for people of color and those who live in color” is reflective of her mission to create nail polish that compliments “various shades of brown skin”. The products are all non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free.
The Baton Rouge based company offers natural body and hair products with the goal of creating a “minimalistic approach to beauty” and incorporates handmade, organic products without forfeiting luxury. The company offers everything from natural oils, body, mens, face, and hair products at competitive prices.
Eco-friendly Food and Drink
Who doesn’t love jam? Trade Street takes jam to the next level with small-batch flavors like Strawberry Chipotle & Fig, Smoked Peach, or Blueberry Lemon Basil. Full disclosure- I got so hungry writing that last sentence I had to order some. Founded by jam wizard Ashley Rouse in 2008, Trade Street Jam Co. makes fruit forward, vegan, and clean tasting jams that are low in sugar and super high on flavor. If you weren’t already sold like I was, she also teaches jam-making classes to kids in underprivileged areas, and sources all of their ingredients from local farmers and vendors.
You don’t have to take our word on this one, you can take Oprah’s. She picked Pipcorn as her Favorite Thing four times. That’s right, four times. Pipcorn snacks are made with heirloom seeds that are passed down from generation to generation, making them tastier and more nutritious than their single generation counterparts. They’re open-pollinated, which is better for the environment by promoting agricultural biodiversity. Pretty much the perfect snack.
From make-your-own matcha lattes to face masks made from the same tasty ingredients, Golde is your go-to for superfood goodness. Golde products ditch the artificial in lieu of real ingredients that are organic, effective, and tasty. A wellness smoothie face mask combo might not be what you expected, but their smoothie mixes are good enough that you’ll want to smear them all over your face anyway. Just make sure you don’t get your containers mixed up and eat your masks (though they would probably taste pretty good too).
If you live in the Bay Area, Zero Grocery will bring high quality, every day groceries to you- without any plastic. You heard that right Zero Grocery is plastic-free. Zero got tired of hearing that convenience and environmentalism don’t go together, and decided to change that with a plastic-free grocery delivery service. Around 90% of global plastic waste comes from food consumption. Not if you order your groceries from Zero.
Sustainable Home Goods
BLK and GRN is a marketplace for non-toxic health, beauty and home products from all Black artisans. All of their products and artisans are carefully approved by Black health experts, ensuring that everything they offer is all-natural and high quality. BLK and GRN is a great place to go for gifts- they stock earth and body-friendly products for everyone on your list.
The cleaning scientists at Laura Kay innovations have been developing green, effective home cleaning products since 1989. With cleaning products, it’s often a case of eco-friendly OR effective. Not so with Laura Kay products, which are both better for the environment AND effective at taking care of even the toughest messes.
PUR Home sells a range of natural cleaning products for the entire house- from your hands to your clothes. All of their laundry detergent and household cleaners are non-toxic and eco-friendly, and made with plant-based, organic and biodegradable ingredients. Even the container their laundry detergent comes in is recyclable and compostable. Hard to get more eco-friendly than that.
Hana Getachew began her textiles company from her love of “Ethiopian handwoven fabrics” and her work as an interior designer. She works with bold colors and patterns stemming from her childhood home filled with “amazing traditional Ethiopian textiles”. Every piece is handwoven in Ethiopia. The company offers products for every room of your house with many collections to choose from.