In addition to donating to social justice organizations and educating yourself through anti-racism resources, shopping Black-owned businesses is one of the most powerful actions you can take to support the Black community. Not only can your money help small businesses grow, but it puts the power directly into the hands of Black creators, employees, and consumers. This can go a long way to redistributing resources and promoting generational wealth—especially since white business owners have always had easier access to capital and more opportunities for growth.
Elevating Black-owned businesses and giving them the funding, recognition, and shelf space they deserve has been an uphill climb—and one that’s increasingly convoluted, with big and small companies latching onto solidarity as a marketing tactic rather than a catalyst for measurable impact. But despite countless brands taking to vague social media activism last year, powerful moves in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests have been made. Aurora James of Brother Vellies was one of the first to call on larger corporations to stock 15% of their inventory from Black-owned businesses, and many big-box retailers including Nordstrom and Sephora have joined the 15 Percent Pledge since.
Dismantling systemic racism requires real action, and you can help make a tangible difference with your own buying power today. Seek out and support Black-owned businesses in your area, and look to our list below for brands you can start supporting now and always.
Black-Owned Fashion Brands
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, theater, and social commentary to challenge existing social narratives. In 2018, Pyer Moss was named the winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
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.
Tier NYC is an art-first creative label based out of Brooklyn. The CFDA/Vogue-funded brand is founded by Nigeria Ealey, Esaïe Jean-Simon, and Victor James—none of whom were technically trained in fashion, but in art and graphic design instead. The result? Streetwear-inspired clothes that tell stories about the Black community and its power on culture.
From Thank Black Women to Phenomenally Trans and Electable, Phenomenal Woman makes socially-conscious shirts, sweaters, and hoodies that give back and make a statement. The lifestyle brand, which takes its name from a Maya Angelou poem, was founded as a way to bring awareness to various social causes by Meena Harris, author of Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea (a great book to talk to your kids about racism).
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.
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.
A few years ago, fashion stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste wanted to create a luxury handbag line full of personality. After a trip to Haiti in 2018, Petit Kouraj (Haitian Creole for “little courage”) was birthed—and now it’s available on her site and at Shopbop. Her bags are ethically produced by female artisans (more on that here), using organic cotton net bags, leather handles, and rayon fringe. Each piece is also a true labor of love: it takes 8-12 hours of manual work to complete a single bag.
Sami Miró Vintage
Vintage lovers, this one’s for you. Sami Miró Vintage is an LA-based brand that’s “pushing eco-conscious boundaries” with limited-edition clothing made entirely from vintage and recycled fabrics. The label was founded by multi-hyphenate creative and entrepreneur, Sami Miró, and counts numerous celebs as fans (Normani, Selena Gomez, Drake, Gigi & Bella Hadid, and Jasmine Sanders to name a few).
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. The brand recently won a $5,000 grant in a design competition hosted by Fred Segal and the Black in Fashion Council.
African culture and art deco isn’t a combo you always see, but that’s exactly where Theresa Ebagua draws inspiration from for her shoe brand, Chelsea Paris. The Nigerian-born designer mixes unique materials in a subtle way to honor both her heritage and design influences. The Tux Loafer Boot (pictured) is a good example of that, featuring a metal buckle and patent and nappa leather.
Model-turned-designer Liya Kebede founded the resort wear label Lem Lem in 2007 as a way to preserve ancient cotton weaving techniques of her native Ethiopia while simultaneously creating jobs for local artisans.
T.A. New York
When Telsha Anderson’s design concept store launched last year, it gained a major following almost overnight. (Neither a pandemic nor national protests could get her to back down from her dream.) Check out T.A. New York’s online store if you’re in the market for under-the-radar but super cool brands like Maryam Nassir Zadeh, William Okpo, Ottolinger, and Barragán.
If you’re in the market for sustainably-made wardrobe essentials, look no further than Galerie.LA. Celebrity stylist, Dechel Mckillian, founded the marketplace as a way “to bring socially conscious fashion to the masses” from emerging brands around the world.
Jade Swim designs high-quality swimwear through a modern, minimalist lens. The label was created by former editor, Brittany Kozerski Freeney, and her ribbed swimsuits and asymmetrical styles make regular appearances on influencer Instagram feeds and editorial shoots alike.
Nude Barre is a Black-owned, female-founded label flipping the script on “nude lingerie” by offering top drawer essentials in a range of shades that actually match your skin tone.
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.
4th Ave Market
4th Ave Market is the largest Black-owned beauty store in the US for people of color, carrying thousands of Black-owned hair, skin, and personal care products. The company also invests in BIPOC businesses and employees to give back to the community it’s built on.
Gilded is a self-care company that believes “body care is a ritual that can be rejuvenating, re-centering, and restorative.” It sells candles and skin-care products that are “as beautiful to the touch as to the eye.”
Thirteen Lune is a newly launched online platform putting Black- and brown-owned beauty brands front and center. The company came onto the scene in December and has already drawn major support from seasoned investors and entrepreneurs like Sean Combs, Naomi Watts, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Thirteen Lune is cofounded by Nyakio Grieco (founder of Nyakio Beauty) and Patrick Herning (cofounder of size-inclusive retailer 11 Honoré).
Get ready to clear some real estate on your top shelf because Klur is quickly entering cult status—and it’s not just because its products are effective (which they are) or have an appealing minimal aesthetic (which they do). What really makes this brand worthy of your dollars is that it’s all about giving back to the Black community and making sure it has access to quality skincare. Long-term sustainability is also top of mind for Klur’s founder Lesley Thorton, so she makes sure to work with local farmers and only source natural ingredients that are readily available (think dandelion, aloe vera, and sea kelp).
After years of making products for her own family, Janell Stephens launched Camille Rose—a line of clean skin and hair care products that you can find at Target, Walmart, CVS, Sally, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
You won’t come across any synthetic fragrances, talc, sulfates, or parabens in Range Beauty’s products. Instead, you’ll find only better-for-your-skin ingredients like calendula, vitamin E, and argan oil. Alicia Scott made this a priority for her brand after noticing the lack of non-toxic makeup options available to people of color. That, and of course, providing a wide range of shade for different skin tones at an available price point.
Melanin Haircare was founded in 2015 by two sisters, Whitney and Taffeta White. The brand sources natural, safe ingredients to ensure each formula is not only shelf-stable but also kinder on Mother Earth.
Tracee Ellis Ross’s 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.
Adwoa Beauty bills itself as a “highly effective, clean, gender-neutral beauty for kinky, curly and wavy textures.” It’s baomint collection, which is stocked at Sephora, is meant to make your scalp happy so your hair can be happy too.
Creating 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. With offerings 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.
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—which everyone from influencers, supermodels, and celebrities now swears by.
Coloured Raine Cosmetics
Loraine R. Dowdy left a career in finance to pursue her dream of creating a cosmetics line that “encouraged self-expression and diversity, and included shades for people of color.” Seven years later, Coloured Raine Cosmetics has a dedicated following, thanks to its high-quality, pigmented products that b l e n d.
Nancy Twine is the founder and CEO of Briogeo, a best-selling plant-based hair care brand, available at major retailers like Sephora, Nordstrom, and more. Twine founded the company after becoming fed up with the big-name natural hair-care brands on the market—so she quit her job in finance and started Briogeo in her kitchen.
Black Opal Beauty
Black Opal Beauty was created “to celebrate the nuances of Black skin” and has been pushing for diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry since the ‘90s. It focuses on solutions for hyperpigmentation, oil control, and shade matching, and is available at Walmart, CVS, RiteAid, and more.
Black-Owned Home Decor Brands
Ever shop West Elm’s local artist section? Then you may have seen Candice Lutner and her eponymous label among the ranks. She creates custom furniture and unique home accents “using remnant scraps of wood and fabric from her home studio.”
Goodee World is a global marketplace that sells items from minority artisans and “fosters transparent sourcing, upcycling, [and] ethical treatment of its employees.” It was founded in 2017 by twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart, the designers and creative directors behind accessories brand WANT les Essentiels.
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.
Designer Nicole Gibbons set out to simplify the process of shopping for paint with her direct-to-consumer brand, Clare. Don’t know what colors to choose? Use the interactive Clare Color Genius guide. Feeling noncommittal? Clare’s paint swatches are mess-free. Can’t get to the store? Clare delivers straight to your doorstep.
Lolly Lolly Ceramics
Prepare to fall in love with Savoy’s Objects and its founder Reegan Savoy Houston who expertly curates vintage decor and shares them in drops on the brand’s website and Instagram. Houston says she the pieces she sources “resemble womanhood in its most glorious state—at the helm of luxury and sex appeal.” One look at those undulating candle holders and we couldn’t agree more.
With Soukie Modern, co-founders Kenya Knight and Taib Lotfi merge their two worlds—Palm Springs and Marrakech—to bring to you rug textiles, designs, and other vintage treasures. The company’s “Palm2Palm” vision signifies “a pair of trees, two hands pressed together in prayer, or a hand reached out to offer assistance or friendship.”
Nesters in quarantine are leaning hard into small decor trends with big impact, and dried flowers reign supreme. Ryan Norville of Oat Cinnamon is one of the floral designers responsible for the striking bouquets’ resurgence. She’s known for her pops of pastels and holographic accents, and her ethereal pieces are handmade, meaning no two arrangements are the same.
Bloom & Plume
Bloom & Plume is a celebrated Los Angeles floral design studio that makes museum-worthy installations and arrangements. It’s the brainchild of Maurice Harris, host of Quibi show Centerpiece (and upcoming Full Bloom for HBOMax). Harris opened Blume & Plume Coffee, an extension of his celebrated floral studio, in 2019. The shop is community-oriented and designed to “uplift people through aesthetics”—and really good coffee.
Marché Rue Dix
Marché Rue Dix is a “cultural concept store” that houses vintage clothing, jewelry, home goods, coffees, teas, and spices. PS: You can get a manicure there (with amazing nail art) when social distancing restrictions lift.
What started as a design blog by Justina Blakeney in 2009 has since grown into a burgeoning lifestyle brand and store, known as The Jungalow. Whether you’re looking for designs by Blakeney or unique pieces from artisans around the world, it’s a one-stop-shop for feel-good art and eclectic home decor. (PS: For each order, The Jungalow will plant at least two trees.)
Rayo & Honey
Rayo & Honey hand-cuts, -presses, and -sews “goods with positive intent” like pennants, totes, and pins in Brooklyn 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 and 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.”
Black-Owned Lifestyle Brands
Ethel’s Club is a Black-woman founded “social and wellness club designed to celebrate people of color both online and IRL.” It’s a social-meets-wellness-meets-creative hub for people of color—and until its Brooklyn venue reopens, you sign up for a digital membership to access to all kinds of wellness sessions, live-streamed healing classes, and other events. (PS: Shannon Maldonado, from Yowie, which makes an appearance below, co-designed the space.)
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, and sponges that are made with ingredients that are kinder on Mother Earth—and kinder on your body (meaning everything is free from chemicals, toxins, artificial fragrance, or anything synthetic). The products are all developed and tested by women, and are gynecologist-approved. You can find The Honey Pot Co. at local grocery stores and at Targets 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.
Passionate about holistic health, Brooklyn’s Trinity Mouzon Wofford launched Golde in 2017 with the intention of making the wellness space more inclusive and accessible—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 Lit. Bar
Aka “the official bookstore of Wakanda and the Bronx.” The Lit. Bar was founded by Noëlle Santos and is currently the only indie bookstore to serve the approximately 1.4 million people of the Bronx borough after a local Barnes & Noble closed in 2016.
Caffeine lovers, come get your fix. Dope Coffee sells whole bean and ground coffee, as well as coffee-based skin care products and hip-hop inspired coffee merch.
Harlem Candle Company
The Harlem Candle Company is a luxury home and fragrance company inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. Founded by travel and lifestyle expert Teri Johnson in 2014, the brand celebrates the legacy of Black icons like Billie Holliday and Langston Hughes with aromatic soy candles that can “transport you through time and place.”
Mahogany Books is a Washington, D.C., bookstore specializing in books written “for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.” Place an online order or check out its blog, Black Books Matter, for staff recommendations, curated book lists, and information on (now virtual) events and conversations with authors.
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.
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 by ordering one of her prints, totes, or cards on her website.
Frolic and Sage
Found: Your excuse to buy yet another candle (but this time make it one with a cheeky phrase). Frolic & Sage’s founder Erin James says “we’re all about creating ‘feel good’ candles that radiate good vibes to our ‘friendstomers.’”