While every day is a good day to support Black-owned businesses, Black History Month gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on these organizations. No matter where you live in the United States, here is a list of brands and retailers you can patronize today tomorrow and the next day, whether you prefer to shop online or even IRL.
Brother Vellies (New York)
71 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Founded by Aurora James in 2013, Brother Vellies was launched with a focus on keeping traditional African design practices, and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. On top of offering a wide range of timeless luxury accessories (all manufactured sustainably), Brother Vellies also engages its audience with a full library of Spotify playlists and collaborations with other designers.
t.a.newyork (New York)
332 W 13th St, New York, NY 10014
Based in New York's Meatpacking District, t.a. offers its customers a curated collection of luxury apparel and accessories from a number of different Black designers. Founder Telsha Anderson opened her store in July of last year (yes, in the the middle of Covid), soon followed by her e-commerce presence a few months later. t.a. now also offers an Artist in Residence program that is currently occupied by Nikki Terry.
Union LA (California)
110 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA
The original Union store opened in NYC in 1989, as a curated selection of up-and-coming youth-driven art, music, and fashion. Not long after, one of the original founders, Eddie Cruz, moved out west bringing the concept with him and Union LA was born. Today the store has become one of the most prominent concept stores in Los Angeles. Current owner Chris Gibbs has seen the brand expand outside of its original location and maintains a keen eye for the cool and trendy, staying ahead of the curve in predicting the next "it" brand.
Byas and Leon (New York)
404 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Located in Bed-Stuy, Byas and Leon is not just a boutique (though it does have things to sell you). In fact, the store, eponymously named after founders Harvey Leon and Rony Byas, considers itself a "cultural hub" where intellectuals, creatives, and entrepreneurs, can gather to exchange ideas freely and with love. Both the website and store offer wares that come exclusively from Fair Trade, or Zero Waste brands.
320 S Market St, Inglewood, CA
Body Butter Lady was founded in 2003 by Senegalese entrepreneur Marianne Ndiaye. The brand commands a growing base of loyal customers who love Ndiaye’s handcrafted bath and body products. The line is made with organic, fair-trade ingredients, natural extracts and produced with traditional methods of softening shea butter to preserve the natural vitamins and nutrients that heated processing can destroy.
716 S. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Yowie is a Philadelphia-based home and lifestyle boutique founded by Shannon Maldonado. A designer herself, Maldonado is focused on small collections from independent artists, designers, and friends. The shop is a treasure trove of unique finds to fill your home with color, texture, and the emotional experience décor can bring. Selections are not only distinctive, but help local artisans continue to thrive.
Sincerely, Tommy (New York)
343 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY
A unique blend of fashion, design, and community, Sincerely, Tommy is breaking the mold of what it means to be a lifestyle brand. The brainchild of Kai Avent-deLeon is located in the heart of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn and is a must-visit. Sincerely, Tommy is focused on showcasing emerging womenswear but also features a coffee bar where the local community can mix and mingle in style.
KSM Candle Company
3600 Clipper Mill Rd, Baltimore, MD
This Baltimore-based shop features a fun mix of home goods, giftables, and, of course, handmade candles. Founded in 2014 by Letta Moore, Knits, Soy and Metal started as an online only venture. In the years since, Moore has established a local brick-and-mortar presence, allowing customers to participate in the candle making process with in-studio classes and custom-blended scent options.
98 Moore Street, Brooklyn NY, 11206
131 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn NY, 11206
Designer furniture collectors Ed Be and Jared Blake founded Lichen in 2017, transforming their passion and expertise into a vintage furniture and home goods business. Initially, the pair ran the business exclusively online with Instagram as their only marketing avenue, but eventually expanded to brick-and-mortar. Today Lichen is a local icon with two locations and a reputation as one of East Williamsburg’s coolest furniture stores.
Goodee World (New York)
99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
This socially-conscious online home goods marketplace was founded in 2017 by twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart. The brother are designers and entrepreneurs who launched the successful clothing and accessories brand WANT Les Essentiels. Their second venture, Goodee World, offers high quality sustainable products for consumers looking to ensure their purchases are good for the planet and support good people with good purpose.
Natty Garden (New York)
636 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY
A gardening enthusiast’s playground, Prospect Heights’ Natty Garden offers a wide variety of plants, flowers, supplies, and even landscaping services. This local gem was founded in 2008 by Joel Mahfood and has since greatly expanded its footprint in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Whether you are looking to add some greenery inside or outside, this shop has you covered.