It's hard to put into words the grief and hurt I've felt for the past few weeks. My heart hurts for the Black community that is still battling years of systemic oppression and racism. But I'm also upset. No, that's not the word. Furious. Absolutely freaking furious. I'm furious that we still live in an age where racism is still rampant. I'm furious that there are people who literally cannot for the life of them show respect to another individual simply because the color of their skin is different from theirs. I'm furious that certain individuals in power refuse to acknowledge this oppression and make efforts for systematic change even with countless research and footage of these disparities and just out-right acts of racism thrown in their faces. No, instead of change some of these individuals in power just incite racism even more.
If you haven't read the room by now, it's time to act. Actually, it's been time to act. Check your privilege, get organized, and learn how to do your part to dismantle the chains and oppression the Black community is facing. As Desmond Tutu said "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor". This is ABSOLUTELY NOT the time to be silent. This is the time to learn how you can be an ally and how to be an anti-racist. This is the time, more than ever, for you to stand with the Black community and demand systemic change.
What's another way to support the Black community in addition to educating yourself and donating to funds such as Black Lives Matter and the National Bail Out Fund? Supporting Black businesses. Here's a list of sustainable Black owned businesses to support.
Proclaim is an inclusive sustainably sourced lingerie line specializing in finding your true nude piece of lingerie. Aware of the lack of skin tone inclusivity in nude lines of lingerie, founder Shobha Philips set out to create her own line. Proclaim’s bras not only have a unique cut out design, but they are also made from incredibly soft fabric composed of 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles and TENCEL fabric (Proclaim is actually owned by a South Asian woman. still a rad business to support owned by a female POC!)
Founded by Bolivian – American designer, Vanessa Acosta, Wasi Clothing was created to spotlight Bolivian by designing clothing that is inclusive of all sizes, skin tones, and genders. Some items to note in this shop are their statement T-shirts that include sayings such as “Ally for All” and “Hija de Immigrantes”, and the variety of pieces representative of Bolivian culture.
Earth Toned Collective is a sustainable and ethical brand specializing in women’s apparel. Their clothing is designed using eco-friendly and revived materials. Their Spring 2020 collection titled “Flow” is “inspired by the flow of nature” and is described as a reflection of the colors and shapes that move with the Earth.
The Tiny Closet is a small, woman led business dedicated to making clothing while still being minimalistic about it. All of their pieces are made to order, meaning no back stock and no clothing that could potentially be wasted. In addition to the clothing being made to order, it is also made using dead stock fabric, which is fabric that is no longer needed by larger clothing brands and labeled as waste. If you’re looking for pieces that can be worn year round and dressed up and/or casually, check this shop out! Plus, they ship globally!
Founded in 2013, the goal of Brother Vellies is to ensure the traditional African design practices and techniques are kept in everything they do. The brand specializes in creating luxury accessories that “celebrate cultural histories and timeless design”. Many of their designs are made from sustainable and ethical practices from featuring the work of varies artisans around the world and the use of vegetable – tanned leathers, material from recycled tires, and other sustainably sourced goods. Within the shop, you can find a variety of accessories such as footwear, handbags, and other small leather goods.
Sole Rebels was founded by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu with the goal of blending her Ethiopian community’s talents with the traditional ‘barabasso’ (Ethiopian recycled tire) shoe. In addition to using sustainable materials in their products, they also provide fair and ethical labor conditions by providing full medical benefits, education funds for their employees and families, and paying wages that are three time the industry average. soleRebels features a variety of different styles of shoes for both men and women, including a vegan line.
EDAS is a small business that specializes in selling a variety of accessories such as jewelry and handbags. All of their jewelry pieces are made by hand, allowing for the individuality of the artisan to shine. In doing so, this ensures that each item is one of a kind and unique to the person wearing it. What I absolutely love about this shop is that they have a variety of collections including one that features Black Glamour.
Adele Dejak specializes in African inspired jewelry created in Kenya. All of the materials used in the pieces come from different African tribes. In addition to jewelry, they also specialize in wearable bags and exclusive home decor items.
A A K S was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi whose goal was to introduce the rest of the industry to Ghanaian weaving techniques in addition to providing sustainable jobs within Africa. All of the bags in the collections are handcrafted in Ghana and characterized by their bright colors.
Food & Drink
Marley Coffee is a company founded by Rohan Marley, son of Bob Marley. Rohan Marley notes of his father's passion of music into farming. It was after visiting an Ethiopian farm that Rohan realized that similar to the rhythm in music, farming also has rhythm through the passion of the farmer. It was this passion that inspired Marley Coffee. In an effort to reduce waste, they recyclable Eco Cups for their single serve coffee capsules. In addition, the purchases of Marley Coffee goes to initiative such as One Tree Planted that helps contribute to global reforestation efforts.
Not a coffee drinker? That's okay! Check out Kye Teahouse! Coming from a long line of herbalists, Kye Teahouse aims to inspire wellness in everything they do. All of the ingredients are grown locally in Hawai'i. In addition, their packaging and shipping materials are biodegradable and sustainable.
Enjoy sipping on wine? Me too. Check out McBride Sisters! Originally these two sisters grew up not knowing the other existed until eventually meeting in 1999. Eleven years later, they shattered the patriarchy by becoming the first Black women duo to start a wine company. These sisters pride themselves in creating wines that are not only accessible but also representative of the countries in which they lived in and were inspired by. In addition, these two sisters make sure each of their wines are made from sustainable practices both in production and farming.
If you're local to San Antonio, Texas or just find yourself in the state, check out Southern Roots Vegan Bakery! This bakery prides themselves in recreating southern classics with a vegan twist. While they may be local to San Antonio, Texas, they also ship nationwide! Choose from donuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies and more!
Plant obsessed like myself? Nothing to be ashamed of! Grounded was created to
help you disconnect from the environment around you and reach a sense of tranquility through plants. There are tons of plants to choose from, each with their own description on how to maintain and even spiritual interpretations of the plant.
Looking for some home decor or have a basket obsession like myself? Check out Mama Zuri Style! All of their pieces are inspired by African culture with beautiful colors and designs. If you've been interested in baskets similar to the ones I have on my wall or around my home in the videos, this is a great place to look!
During this time of COVID-19, not only are clean hands and a clean environment stressed, but it's also important to purchase cleaning products that are also sustainable. These products by Pur are not only sustainable but they also meet the CDC standards for disinfectant requirements. My favorite feature about Pur is their wide variety of scents which can be difficult to find with other brands.
Inspired by the use of natural remedies to help ease her daughter's skin breakouts from surgeries, Annya created NaturalAnnie Essentials. NaturalAnnie Essentials specializes in a variety of items such as body care and even hand sanitizer. Personally, I'm a huge fan of their candles! All of the candles are non-toxic, handmade, and made using 100% soy wax and cotton wicks. Because none of the oils used in the candles are diluted, you can ensure a strong aroma that will leave your room smelling amazing long after it's been "turned off". Use the code NAE10 for 10% off!
Face & Body Care
You know I love a good line of makeup and skincare. Check out Lovinah! Their products are inspired by ancient African beauty treatments and remedies designed to address premature aging, dull skin and hyper-pigmentation, and even hormone induced skin changes. All of their products are made using natural herbs while still managing to provide that luxurious feeling.
Plain Jane Beauty's brand philosophy is to serve as a place where individuals of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones are celebrated. They feature a cosmetics line that is not only ethical and sustainable, but also inspired by nature. All of their products are cruelty free and the brand follows fair labor practices. In addition, is certified by Green America, meaning that it is seen as a business that is used as a tool for positive social change, is environmentally responsible, socially equitable, and accounts for their work through radical transparency in all facets of the business. What I also love about this brand is that they offer samples! It's so hard to shop for makeup online when you can't swatch products. Plain Jane Beauty makes this possible by offering a variety of samples including foundation, eye shadows, and primer for an EXTREMELY reasonable cost!
For anyone starting in their sustainable journey, I always highly recommend investing in a safety razor if you are someone who shaves. Not many people are quick to realize that mainstream razors and cartridges are HUGE factors of waste. Safety razors are built to last YEARS and only require the blade be changed when necessary instead of a full cartridge. Want your one-stop-shop for all your shaving needs? Check out Oui the People! They have everything you need to ensure smooth shaving ahead! Practically every single product is reusable and/or recyclable. Their body gloss is made from raw materials and comes in glass bottles that can be recycled and/or up-cycled, or refilled. The same goes for their shaving gel! Since it's a safety razor, the blades are made from stainless steel; literally the most recycled material on the earth. They can also be recycled via a recycling center or sharps collection program. Got the itchies from a bikini shave (or any other shave in general)? Their hydrating masks not only hydrate, but their made from bio-cellulose material that naturally degrades within six weeks.
Plant Apothecary specializes in certified organic, eco-friendly skin and body care. All of their products are plant based, vegan, and cruelty free. Their products vary from body wash, to face wash, and face serums, all designed to address the various skin needs and types.
The largest directory for Black owned businesses. Simply search by category and location and you'll be good to go!
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