30+ POC-Owned Businesses to Shop This Holiday
There are a few silver linings to come out of 2020 and the heightened awareness of the inequities and lack of opportunities for people of color (in life and in business) is definitely one of them. As we close out the year and celebrate a smaller holiday this season, we're rounding up some of our favorite POC-owned businesses to support this year. From fashion to home to beauty and books, these brands are bringing about change with a unique and inclusive perspective on what is beautiful.
Jade Purple Brown Prints ($75+)
NYC artist Jade Purple Brown is known for her super vibrant colors and positive messaging (making her the perfect collaborator for Drew Barrymore's new beauty campaign). Check out her prints like this fun Just Do It print and her book Words to Live By, chock-full of her colorful illustrations.
Golde Pure Matcha Kits ($32)
Give the gift of matcha, made with 100% pure green tea leaves from Uji, Japan. CEO Trinity Mouzon Wofford, with her business and life partner Issey, launched Golde from her apartment at age 23 and a few years in Golde is a profitable brand with partnerships with Sephora, Urban Outfitters, Goop, and The Wing.
Senegalese-born, Missouri-based founder Sofi Seck created Expedition SubSahara, a shop of colorful hand-woven baskets and accessories, as a way to serve her larger mission to build a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) school for girls in Senegal, West Africa.
Designed by theFFS, the brainchild of design and sister duo Cheryl and Donna Freeman, this water bottle was inspired by the Ayurvedic practice of tamra jal - or, storing water in copper vessels. (Natural copper is believed to help neutralize toxins as it ionizes and balances the pH of water.) But also, those tassels!
These stunning headwraps are just some of the beautiful things you'll find at Fanm and Djanm, founded by designer Paola Mathe.
YOWIE Cobalt Color-blocked Bowl ($11 each)
This Philly-based home shop offers a curated collection of goods from founder Shannon Maldonado's friends, independent artists, and designers.
For stocking stuffers, check out Jane Dottie, founded by Tatyana Alanis, for handmade scrunchies in vintage satin and corduroy.
Find stunning (and rare) 22- and 24-karat gold jewelry designed by co-founder Gina Feldman Love.
Meena Harris, lawyer, activist, and niece of VP-elect Kamala Harris, founded the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign to bring awareness to interconnected social causes. Products like the Phenomenal Woman Tee ($35) support causes like Black Futures Lab, Families Belong Together, Native Voices Rising and more.
Toronto-based designer Warren Steven Scott, a member of the Nlaka'pamux Nation, designs statement chandelier earrings like these in acrylic and sterling silver.
Shop Bossy's holiday bestsellers for sales and cool stocking stuffer ideas. Bossy Founder Aisha's mission has been to empower women to look, feel, and do good while also using cruelty-free products, all Leaping Bunny certified. Bossy sales support charities like Girls Inc., Women at Risk International Foundation, and Female Founder Collective.
You might remember the breathtaking designs of EMME founder Korina Emmerich from Project Runway. Her colorful work reflects her Indigenous heritage stemming from The Coast Salish Territory, Puyallup tribe. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.
Oma Cuban Link Collection ($59+)
NY fashion stylist Neumi Anekhe saw a need for more brands to represent people of color. Enter Oma. These gorgeous gold jewelry designs are the result of a brand that challenges homogenous industry standards, while creating stunning and affordable pieces for all of us.
Little & Lit Subscription Box ($38/month)
Little & Lit, founded by Tulsa-based bookstore owner Onikah Asamoa-Caesar, delivers a curated selection of diverse children's books straight to your door. "When telling folks about the lack of diversity in children's books, I would often run into people who would agree, but relegate the need for diverse text to children of color," says Asamoa-Caesar. "So then it also became important for me to amplify the need for diverse children's books for all children, including white children."
These modern blankets designed by Northern Cheyenne artist, Jordan Ann Craig (see our Creative Crush) are washable, lightweight and cozy all at the same time -- perfect for fall camping or just boozy nights out in the backyard.
For when you're ready to really gift yourself, check out Brother Vellies for splurge-worthy bags and shoes, like the Wilson Loafer in Linen ($615).
This Brooklyn-based lifestyle store (with coffee bar) offers up emerging womenswear brands and its own label. Cheetah print bag, anyone?
Soil to Studio is a Brooklyn-based textile design studio from founder Swati Bansal, who was born and raised in the small town of Udaipur in Rajasthan, India. Find so-pretty handmade and block-printed linen goods.
Lesley Thornton, a licensed aesthetician, founded Klur as a way to bring clean, ethical, and inclusive beauty to the masses and we're all over it.
Nancy Twine,is the youngest African-American to launch a product line at Sephora. Her clean hair product line is cruelty-free and safe for color treated, keratin treated, chemically-treated, and relaxed hair.
This marketplace for Black artisans is a response to the damaging effects harmful ingredients and practices have had on the Black community. Find toxic-free brands like HunnyBunny Sweet & Salty Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub ($20) to add to your holiday list.
Mischo Nail Lacquer ($20)
While pregnant with her son, Mischo founder Kitiya Mischo King sought out polish that wouldn't harm her or her little one and *still* had great color. But to no avail. With a degree in chemistry and licenses in cosmetology, esthetics, and makeup artistry, Kitiya created Mischo, 10-free nail lacquer (code for no formaldehyde, parabens and all the harmful chems that come in standard polishes), designed in beautiful rich colors.
FOLKUS Wrapping Paper ($15)
Give your holiday gifts an artistic flair with these richly designed wrapping papers inspired by "the BLACK aesthetic and experience."
Dear Sunday Candles ($18)
The perfect holiday gift for besties and boyfriends, these soy-based candles (like Finer Things, an earthy mix of fresh lavender, geranium and warm mahogany) are just the thing to take them through the season.
This beautiful handmade purse was inspired by the classical French market basket bag and made by female artisans in Senegal. Tackusannu Senegal was founded by Bronx-based Jasz, who would receive gifts from relatives traveling to Senegal, and Cheikh Biaye, who was born and raised in Senegal.
Major's Project Pop Organic Kettle Corn ($32/2-pack)
Founder Chauniqua Major-Louis, AKA "Major," launched this organic, non-GMO vegan kettle corn in 2014 and it's become a sensation ever since.
ComfortLA is the brainchild of actor-turned-chef Jeremy McBryde and business strategist Mark E. Walker. What we love about the LA-based soul food restaurant is that it's all about building community. "It's the feeling of being at your favorite relative's house for dinner," they say. Here's some of their best hot sauce to give to someone or yourself!
Trade Street Jam Co. is a Brooklyn-based small batch jam company founded by Ashley Rouse, a former chef. Her clean-tasting vegan jams are low in sugar and great to toss in craft cocktails, BBQ sauces, glazes for meats or vegetables, baked goods, and more! Try this trio of their bestselling favorites, including Blueberry Basil Smash.
What are your favorite POC-owned businesses? Share with us @BritandCo!
Follow us on Pinterest for more holiday gift inspo.
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.
Artist Dev Heyrana On How Bravery, Resilience and Sunshine Influence Her Work
Ever meet someone who you feel immediate kinship with on a deep almost spiritual level? That is legit every person's experience upon meeting Dev Heyrana, the star of this edition of Creative Crushin'. A fine artist, hip hop dance teacher and constant collaborator, Dev's particular brand of creativity is one-of-a-kind. She manages to be warm, welcoming and woke, with a focus on inclusivity, social justice and motherhood that comes through in every piece of art she creates.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and one of many humans who has benefitted from Dev's boundless generosity and kindness. We first connected at a launch event, then I asked her if she and her family would like to model for a B+C shoot (they did!), then months later, I asked the IG universe if anyone would be down to co-parent with me for a day so I could speak at a conference. Dev said yes! And for those that know her, none of these serendipitous moments are surprising.
Now it's time to delve more into Dev's story, her creative inspiration, her thoughtful approach to parenting and what makes her more passionate than ever about bringing her point of view and artistic voice into the universe.
Anjelika Temple: First, foundations. Where did you grow up? What is your heritage? What did you study in school? Where do you live now?
Dev Heyrana: Born in The Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. when I was 9 years old. Me and my family are from the island of Cebu and I'm a proud Cebuana. My childhood in the Philippines felt like freedom. I had my swimsuit in my backpack for whenever we decided to swim and I biked everywhere.
Immigrating here at 9 yrs old was a transition, to say the least. My parents had big dreams but the move was heavy on them. It wasn't easy. I had to grow up fast. I took care of my sisters while my parents worked night shifts. By the age of 12 I would cook dinner and get my sisters ready for bed. Something I didn't realize was that kids my age didn't do those things until I got older. We would play these make-believe games to make, in hindsight, our hard situation brighter.
I think this is really when art played a big role in my life. It was something I could escape in and always felt healing.
I witnessed racism towards my family and didn't know how to make sense of it. These events left a mark. I was a quiet kid and observed everything and everyone around me. I think about my grandparents, Lolo Jose and Lola Rita, a lot as I walk through life. When I make decisions. As hard as it feels, you have two choices, do you let it take you down or take it one step at a time forward. I kept going and it really shaped me as to why I am the way I am today.
I studied Fine Arts at The Corcoran in DC. I owe that decision to my art teacher, Mr Giles, in High School. He was retiring and wore a Hawaiian shirt every day during my senior year. He was a curmudgeon and I felt incredibly special since out of everyone in the school he really believed in me. As grumpy as he seemed to the class, he would tell me things like "Go into the other studio and break some glass, then put it on a canvas." He's the reason why my abstract pieces have elements like clay and sand in them.
I've had incredible mentors and all were teachers. Mr. Giles in High School and Christine George in College. Christine was the one who told me to go either to New York or San Francisco because "D.C. is no place for an artist like you." She told me to not listen to anyone, how I can still paint, be a graphic designer, and, if I choose to, have a family. I've never had anyone tell me anything like that before.
I took a chance because of her. Moved and went to Design School in 2006 and I've stayed in the Bay Area ever since, raising two girls with the love of my life.
Anj: You are one of those magical human beings that has figured out how to be a full-time artist. What was your career path like before you were able to dive fully into your creative passions?
Dev: The most radical thing I could have done in my family, I did, I went to college for Fine Arts. A mix of being so young and having to do it on my own, I went with the school that gave me more scholarships. Even then I worked three jobs to be able to get through it. Hard work is ingrained in me.
With my sculpture background, I fell in love with Print and Packaging and why I came out here to San Francisco. I appreciated the security of having a career in Graphic Design. I also learned how to work with clients and the business side of things. Even then, I never stopped painting.
A few years ago I went through a pretty hard time with my health. I dealt with six surgeries in one year and I still have to do some follow-up ones. That experience almost broke me and what got me through was my family and painting in bed while I recovered.
When I finally got back on my feet, my heart just wasn't in Graphic Design anymore. So I made a two year plan. With a toddler and a mortgage, I wanted to make sure my steps were thought out. I put myself out there as an Artist while I still worked in Design. After a year I worked part time as a Graphic Designer and stepped down from my Creative Director position. I loved it, to be creative as an Artist and as a Designer. I looked at 2018 as my year to make the jump. If my work as an Artist balances out with my salary then I would quit in the Summer of 2019. And so here we are. I also am sharing a studio with my good friend, Naomi PQ, and I feel like my creative drive is just beginning.
Anj: What do you love about painting? How do you feel when you're in a creative flow state?
Dev: Like every part of me is free. Free to express myself through the stroke of my hand. How all of it leads back to my heart. These elements I use to paint have a mind of their own and how I need to respect the process.
It centers me and reminds me that the process is just like the life we lead. I know I still have so much more to learn but while I'm painting no matter how it's going, I'll embrace this moment.
Anj: You reference your roots quite a bit in your work. Talk to me more about how your roots inspire your work.
Dev: One of my earliest memories is of my Lolo Jose teaching me how to water mango saplings. He converted to Buddhism when my mother was young, so he viewed the world with love and kindness. I didn't realize it then but watering those mango trees were life lessons. We need to take the time to nurture, practice patience, and respect all living things. I still imagine him walking beside me often, carrying his teachings as I find my way in this world.
Nature and the Sun drive my pieces. My abstract works are fragments of moments. Like the sunset I grew up with when I was seven years old in the Philippines, like how I saw the water in Cebu when I dove in as a young adult, and like when I saw the redwoods with my children for the first time.
I see earth in our skin and especially when I paint people. How our mango trees grew and blossomed because the dark earth was rich with nutrients. I imagine the Sun piercing through these women I depict. I paint their love and bravery because their resilience cannot be contained. I want to celebrate all of it.
This is the beauty of Art, I am able to paint exactly how I see it.
Anj: Motherhood and your daughters are also central themes in your work. How has motherhood changed your approach to creating artwork?
Dev: Everything. I was still deep in my Design Career and I would paint at home. One day Quinn, who was 3 years old at the time introduced me at the park to a mom. "This is my mom, she's an Artist." It struck me that my toddler knew who I was more than I knew myself. That's really when I really owned it. I am more fearless because of my girls.
I own my body, I thank people when they compliment me, and I am selective but fearless when I use my voice. I am more in tune how I speak about myself because of them. When I paint these women I want to celebrate them. I notice how I embrace myself is translated in my paintings.
Anj: What advice can you give to parents who are trying to tap into their kiddos' innate creativity?
Dev: I don't have a lot of guidelines set up. I'll say "Let's draw the biggest fish we can draw" or "how many silly lines can we make" and I let them lead me. They ask me questions, show me things, and I sit there with my coffee watching their eyes wide with excitement. Watching them in their creative process is pure joy for me. Those silly lines can turn into a dragon or waves and next thing we know, we're drawing a big beach scene. My advice would be that you can suggest something to start it off but be open to how they take it. It is such a beautiful window into their minds.
Anj: Shifting gears to HIP HOP DANCE! Talk to us about his component of your creative expression.
Dev: I loved the Hip Hop scene in DC and discovered how much fun the clubs were in college. My friends told me about this Hip Hop Crew I should try out for, I was so scared because I've never taken a dance class in my life. I got in and it was like having another family. We competed all over the East Coast, it was a blast!
I found hipline when I started my first Design Job and needed an outlet. It was exactly what I needed and one of the owners asked if I was interested to teach. I've been teaching there since 2009 and am still going strong. It's a wonderful community of women. Now we're virtual and reaching clients all over.
Anj: What does a typical [pandemic] day look like for you? How does it differ from your rhythm before COVID?
Dev: I've been practicing being kinder to myself lately. Both me and my husband work full time and so having the girls at home is a challenge. Some days we are amazed by how smooth it went and then there are others where if the girls are clean and bellies are full, it's a total win.
Now that we're on month 8 our rhythm before covid felt more chaotic to be honest. I felt like we were always rushing out the door while carrying so many bags. Now my husband and I try to have coffee together, if he has a break from his meeting, and we sit with Quinn before school to see what she has to do for the day. Rowan's preschool closed down but we were able to find a wonderful speech therapist for her and she has an Adventure Pod we go to two times a week.
The one thing we really try to do is go outside once a day. Have some magic in their childhood no matter how small. It could be just going up for a hike by our home and picking up leaves, riding our bikes, or watching the sunset from our window. Seeing how the girls' react to these adventures we have is pure magic.
Anj: When you get creatively blocked or burnt out, how do you reset? Do you have tips you can share?
Dev: I go outside. I go out for a hike or go to the beach. Even if it's 15 minutes, something about grounding yourself in Nature is really healing. I also do exercise where I doodle for two minutes because it feels doable. Judgment-free doodles, always opens the doorway to more.
Anj: I know firsthand that community-building is huge for you. Tell us more about what your support system and creative community looks like.
Dev: I feel a lot of love and strength when I think of my community. My relationship with my sister led the way what women supporting women looks like. It's listening, asking questions, remembering, cheering for all the wins, being there even if it's hard, and taking time to invest in them. The way me and my sister show up for each other is why I have these amazing women in my life. I can talk to them about my family, motherhood, and we're all trying to balance it all while sharing my most recent project. I feel really blessed especially looking back in my college years where I don't know where Art would take me.
Anj: When you need to give yourself a pep talk, what does it sound like?
Dev: I usually take a deep breath then say or think "One step forward". Most of the time, I'm scared (as shit) but the thought of not trying scares me more. That one step forward can be hard as hell and maybe even heartbreaking, but I have to try.