December 14

Blk holiday gift guide

As a black business owner, I understand how difficult it is to start out and build your business from scratch. As a person of color, in the “traditional” business world, it is hard to get loans, capital, investors, etc. Thankfully as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is more exposure to black owned businesses and a concerted effort to offer more capital to black owned business owners. Money is the great equalizer with reversing the marginalization of the black communities. I am sad about the events that happened for this to occur, but I am thankful that black owned business owners are getting their fair shake.

I am also thankful for the “allies” that have come out to support black owned business owners. Allies are people that understand the disparities that occur in the black communities and are taking action to remove those disparities by speaking out against them and promoting solutions to help black communities get more financial support. I appreciate and love this, although at times I become skeptical and question if this is simply a trend. Regardless of the motives, the support is appreciated, and I hope that this continues for years to come.

It is important that I also be an “ally” to fellow black business owners. It is crucial to create a sense of community despite our differences and come together as a united front. In my experience as a newbie, I have met other new business owners who not only have great products but possess great character. Since Christmas is coming up, what better time to highlight them so that they can be supported with your dollars. Here are the black businesses that I love that I hope you will support:

1.) Graffiti Panda- this eclectic, innovative accessory business focuses on bright colors and bold patterns to offer unique alternatives to the everyday, mundane options available in more mainstream settings. Each piece of jewelry feels like a one of a kind piece even if it isn’t and adds some brightness to your day. The collection also has really cute clutches and cross body bags that mix patterns, so you add pop of color to your outfits. In addition to the owner’s hand-made pieces being unique and beautiful, Ashley is also a very nice person. I mean character means everything to me and if your character is questionable, I am not supporting your business. The product, mission, and character of the individual are all things I look at before I throw my hard-earned money behind a business. Feel free to visit Ashley’s website to browse her pieces and make a purchase if you so choose.

2.) African American the Beautiful- this female owned apparel company displays the artwork from the business owner, Nadia, on all of her items. She also includes jewelry in her collection and the jewelry colors are incorporated into some of her apparel so you can match your jewelry to your outfit, which I love! I once vended beside her and let me tell you, her business game is on 10!  I am so impressed when I see people younger than me running their own business and with a level of professionalism that you don’t expect because of their young age. Just know that you are in good hands when you shop with her.

3.) Spiked Kitchen- I don’t really have a sweet tooth so for me to love a dessert means it MUST be good. Spiked Kitchen specializes in luxury decadent desserts that range from gold dusted strawberries to Hennessy cupcakes to hot chocolate bombs. I tried her spiked cupcakes at an event I attended and was floored. They were so good with just the right amount of alcohol. I also purchased her hot chocolate bombs for Thanksgiving, which was my first time ever trying anything like that. I followed how she used it on her Instagram and the magic of seeing the bomb transform into milk chocolatey goodness was amazing to me. She is even doing hot chocolate bombs with lucky charms too. She also does cakes which are amazing to look at and I am sure equally as delicious. I am not a big fondant fan but I’m sure that her cake batter more than makes up for the fondant taste. I like how she makes her desserts and I think that her creativity stands out in an industry where everyone is pretty much doing the same thing. So, if you are in the Raleigh- Durham area, take a chance and try her desserts. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

4.) My Well Read Child- In a world where blacks are underrepresented in children’s books, this online bookstore specializes in featuring books with black protagonists. She also gives new authors the opportunity to have their books in her online store, which she offers at a very low monthly cost. She is also a consummate professional who ensures that you receive timely payouts for your books. I had my book, Trey the Chef, featured in her store and I appreciated how she treated me as an author and her prompt and courteous communications with me. I have had some bad experiences as a new author eager and unknowingly trusting the wrong people in business and getting screwed over as a result. Toni Settles, the owner of My Well Read Child, is not one of them. As a new author you can trust in her. As a parent, caregiver, teacher, etc. you can be sure that you will get quality books because these books are curated by an author herself. Make sure to check out My Well Read Child for more info!

5.) KaBreek cosmetics- I am a BIG makeup fan and indulge in makeup even if I am not going anywhere (which is the current case now due to Co-vid). I love quality makeup but have dedicated this year in particular to shopping black owned makeup products. So far, when it comes to small businesses, nothing I have tried beats this brand! I mean the variety of options in terms of makeup sets is competitive as well as the luxurious feel of the glosses and staying power of matte lipsticks. I was hesitant at first to take a chance on this makeup since this was this person’s first endeavor into this market. Kendreeka Carrington by trade is an aesthetician who owns her own business and is best known as the “Brow Savior.” I watched tons of her makeup tutorials before taking the plunge to purchase and I am so glad I did. I use her makeup just as much as those mainstream high-end brands and can see myself continuing to purchase from her in the future. Nothing beats good quality, inexpensive makeup and being that this company is black-owned, I implore you to check it out here.

6.) Blush Essentials- Nothing also beats great skincare! Nothing. I need to do a better job of self-care and taking care of my skin (I am frugal in this department). However, after meeting Ithiopia Meekeda at an event and seeing her products, I tried her Let My Mango body butter and fell absolutely in love. Not only did it smell amaaaaaaaazing but it moisturized my skin well too. She then sent me more products to try when I was a giveaway winner and I continued to buy because her products are Grade A quality. Her body butters are not just ideal for dry winter skin but I used them on my son who suffers with eczema. One of the body butters “Naked” comes with no smells or additives so this was perfect for my son’s sensitive skin. Ithiopia has now branched into other products such as scrubs and raw African black soap so there is more than just body butter for you to try to combat winter skin. I recently ordered a coconut sugar scrub from her and I can’t wait to smell it or try it! Her skincare products are just as sweet and soothing as she is when you meet her. She embodies her line of skincare and again it is just as important for me to support the person as it is the product.

 

As you can see, all these recommendations are products I have tried out myself and can stand behind. I received no monetary compensation for these endorsements and have no reason to lie to you about the quality of these products I am recommending. I pride myself on highlighting companies with not just great products but high ethical standards that go along with those businesses. If there are some black owned businesses and products that you also love, please make sure to comment below so that others can know about them too. I receive a significant amount of traffic to this website so it is important to me that all great black owned business are highlighted and receive the appropriate recognition they deserve. As I saw in a recent Instagram post, “supporting black owned businesses is not about vengeance, it is about economic empowerment.” If you consider yourself an ‘ally’, then it takes more than some social media posts; you must be willing to take action to level the playing field. Supporting black owned businesses with your dollars is one way you can do this.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and see you in the new year!

Love and light,

Kira


Tags

AFrican American the Beautiful, allyship, black business grants, black owned businesses in Durham, black owned businesses in Raleigh, black owned businesses in RTP, black owned businesses in the Triangle, Blush Essentials, Grafitti Panda, holiday gift guide, Kabreek cosmetics, My Well Read Child, Spiked Kitchen


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