This year thousands of small businesses have struggled through the effects of COVID-19, yet none more so than minority-owned businesses. A new survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found more minority-owned small businesses fear permanent closure than non-minority owned small businesses, which could be in part due to the fact that they are more likely to have tried and failed in securing a loan.
So, this season more than ever it’s important to shop with intention and use our buying power in support of diverse and innovative brands. It’s time to put our money where our mouth was when we marched for equality and social justice. Which is the kind of holiday spirit I want to be a part of.
With ideas for boosting a loved one’s WFH setup or crafting their next Zoom happy hour cocktail, here are 25 gifts guaranteed to make their day that also support minority-owned businesses:
To Spice Up Your Quarantine Meals
These items will spice up your life and put the fun back into home cooking:
1. Always Pan
Co-founded by Shiza Shahid who also co-founded the Malala Fund, Our Place creates ethically sourced and sustainable cookware for the modern and multiethnic family—including the most versatile pan you’ll ever purchase, the all-in-one 10-inch Always Pan ($145). Designed to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware, the Always Pan braises, sears, steams, strains, sautés, fries, boils and never sticks, while looking très chic. Plus, it’s now available in a new blue color.
2. Ghetto Gastro BRED Bread Maker
Ghetto Gastro, a Bronx-born culinary collective and CRUX, the leading kitchenware brand for modern home cooks, recently launched an exclusive collaboration of six kitchen appliances with Williams Sonoma, the first time William Sonoma has partnered with an all-Black collective to create a full line of kitchenware. But what rises above the rest is the BRED ($169.95). An all-purpose bread maker built to save you time with 15 preset programs, BRED features two loaf sizes, three crust colors and can be used to make jams, cakes and yes, doughs. Best for cooks who are plugged into the world beyond their kitchen.
3. Estelle Colored Glass
Named after founder Stephanie Summerson Hall’s grandmother, Estelle Colored Glass creates hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware in a mix of jewel tones and soft pastels that’ll make your heart melt. The vintage-inspired stemware ($175 for 6) bring a modern twist on colored glass and add just the right amount of playfulness to your wine cabinet.
For the Kitchen Table Turned Office
As millions of people work from home, a gift to spruce up their “home office” is sure to score you extra points:
4. Grovemade Laptop Stand
Grovemade makes sleek, mid-century inspired home and desk goods that help you do your best work at home. All products, like the Monitor and Laptop Stand collection ($120+), are designed and crafted the hard way from natural materials in the company’s Portland, Oregon, factory. The brand, founded by Ken Tomita, focuses on craftsmanship and style so your new “office” stays true to your home’s personality.
5. JINS Glasses
Long hours of blue light exposure may cause eye fatigue and may even affect your sleep quality. That’s where Japanese eyewear brand JINS’s blue light lenses come into play. JINS offers three blue light lenses, ranging from 25% – 60% of blue light blocking, so even Goldilocks could find her perfect fit. Plus, you can upgrade to the JINS SCREEN lens on any JINS frame ($80+) right now for free!
Coffee and Tea
6. Mostra Coffee
Mostra Coffee, founded by a team of four Filipino American friends, champions the Philippine coffee industry by establishing direct-trade relationships with coffee farmers in the Philippines to help increase their economic opportunities. However, Mostra sells delicious coffee beans ($16+) grown by independent farmers across the globe, including countries like Colombia, Kenya, Peru and more, which makes each sip that much more satisfying.
7. Dr. Sebi’s Cell Food
Not to fret! Dr. Sebi’s Cell Food offers teas in a variety of blends including Stress Relief Herbal Tea ($29.99), Energy Booster Tea ($19.99) and Immune Support ($39.99).
For the Stay Homebody
Staycation 2021, anyone? Here are a few home decor items that make staying home more luxurious:
8. YaYa & Co. Blankets and Cheeseboards
YaYa & Co. is Latina-owned by founder Candida Mashmoor and the epitome of a brand that gives back. Mashoor employs women in Punjab, India, where many of the brand’s products are created, built a center for women who are trauma survivors, and with each purchase made, YaYa & Co. plants a tree in the Brazilian Amazon to promote conservation of the largest ecosystem in the world. Whether a cozy blanket or the Fayre Olive Wood Serving Boards ($29), your home and heart will feel warmer this season.
9. Expedition SubSahara Baskets
Founded in 2017 by Senegalese-born Missouri-transplant Sofi Seck, Expedition SubSahara is a celebration of Senegalese culture and craftmanship. The pieces are colorful works of art; just look no further than the SubSaraha Basket Collection. Its handwoven and sustainable baskets like the Souk Bread Bowl ($45) can be used in the kitchen, living room, or a catch-all for jewelry or your wallet in the bedroom. Even better, 20% of each sale goes toward the building of a girls’ STEAM school in Senegal to empower the next generation of women.
10. MOLECULE Sheet Sets
They say you spend one third of your life sleeping, so why not make it as comfortable as possible? MOLECULE is an eco-friendly sleep brand co-founded by Channing Chor and designed for active and health-conscious individuals. The collection includes mattresses, bed frames and temperature regulating sheet sets ($139+) made with advanced TENCEL™ materials that keep you dry and cool, and help you discover healthier sleep.
To Raise “Spirits” During Zoom Happy Hour
If 2020 has felt a little… “2020,” perhaps a craft cocktail is in order. Whichever your poison, these gifts are worth cheers-ing to:
11. Teremana Tequila
Teremana Small Batch Tequila is an ultra-premium tequila crafted in the Jalisco Highlands of Mexico and founded by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, Jenna Fagnan and Ken Austin. Available in Blanco ($29.99) and Reposado ($32.99), Teremana is made from mature naturally sweet agave slow roasted in small traditional brick ovens and distilled in handmade copper pot stills and meant to be savored one sip at a time.
12. HH Bespoke Spirit Gin
Created by the family behind the Black-owned and operated award-winning boutique Harlem Haberdashery, HH Bespoke Gin ($58) pays tribute to traditional London Dry style gin but is updated with American botanicals, including juniper flavors and an infusion of lavender, rosehip, beach plum and cranberry. Harlem Haberdashery draws inspiration from the rich cultural history and distinctive style of the Harlem Renaissance and continues to give back to the Harlem community.
13. Don Q Reserva 7 Rum
Created in honor of its 155th anniversary, the new Don Q Reserva 7 (SRP: $24.99) is a bright and radiant aged Puerto Rican rum crafted from a blend of rums aged a minimum of seven years in American white oak barrels. Rich in flavor and character, this rum showcases the value of generations of wisdom that’s been blended into each bottle. Don Q also prioritizes green production and is a leader in finding ecologically conscious distilling practices.
14. Daru Whiskey
Inspired by their family’s long and rich legacy of making spirits in India, the Sran brothers created Sran Spirits to continue the tradition instilled in their family culture to distill and create alcohol, known as Daru. Their flagship product, Daru Whiskey ($39.99) is sourced from the highest quality grains to bring you a taste of the same spirit their ancestors enjoyed.
15. FLO Wines
FLO Wines (SRP $20) was created by Marcus Johnson, NAACP Image Award-nominated jazz keyboardist and pianist with more than 15 Billboard charted albums. The name FLO (For the Love Of) is meant to inspire people to follow the things in life that bring them love, whether that be reds, whites or rosés.
16. Avec Mixers
AVEC is a better-for-you canned mixer co-founded by Black female entrepreneur Dee Charlemagne and U.K. native Alex Doman—meaning you never have to drink a bad vodka soda and sugar-packed whiskey ginger again. AVEC mixers ($36 for 12) are made with all-natural real juices, botanicals and spices in perfectly portioned 8-ounce cans, in flavors like festive Hibiscus & Pomegranate (3g sugar, 15 cals); winter citrusy Grapefruit & Pomelo (3g sugar, 15 cals); or a warming mule with the spiced Ginger & Pineapple (4g sugar, 20 cals).
For When a Stress Ball Isn’t Cutting It
Self-care comes in many shapes and sizes. Here are a few items to help your loved ones find their happy place:
Candles, Lots and Lots of Candles
17. For Him – Javielle Candles
Founded in 2016 by single mother Jas Smith, Javielle Candles offers candles equal parts fragrant as they are entertaining—who wouldn’t want a “No Way, Rosé” candle? However, Smith dedicated an entire candle collection to men who felt underrepresented on the candle aisle. Each candle ($15) is hand-poured made with eco-friendly and 100% soy wax. ‘Tis the season to be lit.
18. For Her- Tokki Candles
Hand-poured using eco-friendly vegan coconut soy wax, Tokki candles ($36) come in collections ranging from quarantine to appreciation to the holidays to help you celebrate your most memorable moments. Korean-born Jane Park founded Tokki to make gifting more personalized and sustainable; each candle is wrapped in a reusable Tokki gift wrap, with a Tokki digital gift card (allowing the purchaser to add a personalized digital message to the gift). Park also donates 10% of proceeds of every candle go to the American Red Cross.
19. Aloisia Beauty
Pampering yourself at home is a great way to safely treat yourself. Clean, Korean beauty brand Aloisia Beauty helps turn your bathroom to a home spa. It’s signature 7-Day Skin Care System ($55) comes with seven targeted single-use sheet masks supercharged with natural botanical and marine ingredients to soothe, brighten, nourish, heal, repair, revitalize and moisturize your skin in just one week.
20. Three Ships
However, if you’re feeling nostalgic for clay masks, Three Ships, a natural and affordable skincare company co-founded by Connie Lo, is the brand for you. Its Detox Green Tea Antioxidant Clay Mask ($18) is vegan, certified cruelty-free, gluten-free, pregnancy safe, and made with French green clay and green tea extract to your skin glowing through 2020.
Female-founded and Black-owned POWERHANDZ produces sports and fitness accessories to enhance your at-home workouts and ensure you reach your fitness goals. The POWERPACK Deluxe Gift Set ($59.99) includes sliding disks, resistance bands and the POWERFIT Weighted Fitness Gloves for the ultimate full body workout. Plus, with each POWERHANDZ purchase, the POWER TO GIVE Foundation donates to programs that increase a commitment to athletic and academic excellence for youth in underserved communities.
Small but Mighty Stocking Stuffers
If 2020 has showed us anything, it’s to not take the small things for granted:
22. CHI Life Handheld UV Light Wand
The ideal gift for your loved one still looking for Clorox wipes. With the new and compact CHI Life Handheld UV Light Wand ($99.98) you can sanitize 99.9% of germs within one minute using the power of ultraviolet light. Simply wave it over items like smartphones, laptops or other surfaces, and let it work its UV magic.
23. Gina’s Love Artisan Soaps
Black-owned and with an important message behind each product, Gina’s Love is a body product brand on a mission to show everyone that Life Offers Value to Everyone (LOVE). The artisan soaps ($10) are made with natural ingredients that are good for humans, kind to animals, grateful for plants and smell heavenly. Plus, purchasing bar soap is a great step toward minimizing your use of single-use plastics.
24. Peggy Li Jewelry
Peggy Li Creations designs simple, feminine jewelry pieces with modern edge and have been seen on shows like The Bachelorette, Dead to Me, The Bold Type and more. The Dotted Hoop Earrings ($49) offer a fresh take on a classic and will surely dazzle on your next virtual job interview.
25. Silkkin Masks
On a hunt for a remedy for a dreaded case of maskne (mask ance), Silkkin founder Andrea Gonzalez created her line of 100% silk masks that allow your skin to breathe while your month and nose remain covered and protected. Each mask comes in a variety of colors, as well as a Signature ($39) and Petite ($34) style to ensure you find the proper fit.
Photo by @Lesia.Skywalker/Twenty20.com