If you’re looking to give a gift for someone’s home, artwork can be an amazing thing to buy. Natalie Osborne is an artist from Chicago who sells her work on Etsy. The vibe of her work reminds me of Picasso, but with a modern twist. She sells her prints in a variety of sizes and prices, starting at $40 and going up to the $200-$300 range for large scale or framed prints. And if you’re lucky, you might be able to score one of her originals at an art show.
There is a myth that black people don’t need sunscreen, since the pigment in their skin protects them from the sun. While you’re rarely going to see a black person with a sunburn, that doesn’t mean that they’re immune from the sun’s rays. Too much sun exposure can still cause premature wrinkles, skin damage, and cancer, just like anyone else. That’s why I love this brand, Black Girl Sunscreen. Just the name alone is helping to break down the misconception.
The founders are from Miami, Florida, where the sun is shining all year round. In 2020, you might not know anyone who’s going on a tropical vacation. But I can totally see this being a great gift to give someone before they fly to a tropical or sunny place.
Maria Running Fisher Jones was born on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Northwestern Montana. The people in her local community suffered with poverty, and her mother moved them to another town in order to give them better opportunities. As an adult, Maria founded TPMOCS, a company where she makes and sells traditional baby moccasins.
For every sale of moccasins, Maria gives back a portion of that to help the people struggling with poverty in her community at the Blackfeet reservation. The company has teams in California, Washington, and Montana making sure that the people of those communities are having their basic needs met. While these may be pricey for baby shoes, I personally want to buy these for all of my future kids. So many companies make knockoff versions of shoes like this, which is a form of cultural appropriation. When you buy these, you know the money is going directly to the tribe.
So many people buy bath and body products for their friends and family during the holidays. But most of these products are either trendy, or something we found on sale. So why not buy body products that double as a charitable donation? Alaffia is a nonprofit organization that sells bath and body products. One of their most popular products is called Authentic African Black Soap.
All of the proceeds of the sales go towards the Alaffia Foundation, which promotes education, fair trade, and gender equality in Togo, West Africa. In 2006, they started the Maternal Health Project, which aims to lower the amount of women who die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
If you have anyone in your life who loves vintage and antique items, check out BLK MKT Vintage. They curate antique collections surrounding African American lifestyle. The company was founded in Brooklyn, New York by Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart in 2014. Since then, they have worked as set designers on TV shows and movies.
Anyone who lives in Brooklyn should go to the physical location, if at all possible. But it’s still easy to shop for their products online. They also have collaborations launching original products like tote bags, and prints from the series Lovecraft Country.
Keri Ataumbi is a Native American jewelry designer living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She founded her own brand Ataumbi Metals to make jewelry that is considered wearable art. On her website she says, “My jewelry has a conceptual narrative exploration as its core. I use traditional Kiowa imagery and materials in a contemporary form. The purpose of jewelry is not just for adornment. There’s information in it and it changes you when you put it on.”
Ataumbi Jewelry has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, and more. If you buy a piece for someone you love, you know that you’re getting museum-quality statement pieces that are meant to last a lifetime.
Recently, pretty much everyone has shifted their wardrobe to focus on comfort rather than style. The only issue is that sweatpants and yoga pants don’t look very professional, and yet they’re some of the only comfortable trousers on the market. Pashko makes ultra-comfortable clothes that look good enough to wear to a business meeting. (Where do I sign up?) The Serene Ultra Comfortable Pants were featured among Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2020, and retail for $168.
Pashko was founded by a black designer named Patrick Robinson. Before 2020, all of the clothing was made in Asia. Now, due to overseas shipping being so difficult, Pashko has decided to move production to create new jobs in low-income communities in the United States. The company also strives to have a lower carbon footprint by making their clothes out of upcycled and sustainable materials. While the clothing might be pricey, you know that you’re supporting an American made product that should last for years.
Almost everyone knows and loves a man in their life who is going bald. Unfortunately, most products on the market for bald men are subtly shaming them. They try to figure out a way to hide thinning hair, or pretend it’s possible to regain thickness with regrowth serums. Until now, there was never really any product on the market that celebrated the fact that sometimes, men choose to shave their heads so that they are completely bald.
MANTL was founded by Karamo Brown, who you may recognize as the life coach from Queer Eye. When he first started going bald, he would draw on his hair line every morning with an eyebrow pencil. One day, he realized that confidence in who you are as a person is far more sexy and empowering than trying to hide it away. So, he shaved his head, and fully embraced his natural self. MANTL products include moisturizers, sunscreens, and a scalp cleanser. This might be a great gift for your partner, or anyone else in their life who shaves their head.
Many of you might recognize the name Tan France, because he is the fashion guru on Queer Eye. Tan’s family is originally from Pakistan, and he grew up in England. Now, he lives with his husband in Salt Lake City, Utah. The name of his swimwear brand, Kingdom & State comes from the fact that Tan is in-between two worlds of the United States and United Kingdom.
Since Kingdom & State is a luxury brand, keep in mind that these pieces are in the $100 range. However, they are much better than most luxury brands, because they come in extended sizes, from XS to 3XL. This is amazing for plus size women who struggle to find high quality swimwear. If you know someone who plans to go on a vacation and needs a new swimsuit, this is a great option for them.