25 Enchanting Gift Ideas From BIPOC Businesses

Shannon Quinn - December 16, 2020
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The white birch candle by B. Yellowtail. Credit: b Yellowtail

19. b.Yellowtail

Bethany Yellowtail is a Northern Cheyenne/Crow fashion designer. She incorporates Native American culture and style into her clothing and fashion accessories in her brand b.Yellowtail. If you check out their website, you’ll find cozy cardigans, and gorgeous clothing. The store also has candles, which is perfect for a cozy night in.  

 

Instead of just displaying her own designs, the b.Yellowtail brand website also offers items handmade by artisans who are from other First Nations tribes. Many other brands, don’t have as much of an online presence, so I really appreciate how Bethany is including these products as part of her branding in order to give them more exposure. Also check out B. Yellowtail on Instagram.

A log bag is great for carrying in wood for the fireplace. Credit: Mi Cocina

18. Mi Cocina

Yet another one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2020 is the Mi Cocina denim log bag. If you have ever chopped firewood and tried to carry it inside, you already know how much of a hassle that can be. Most bags will rip, wear down, or simply aren’t big enough to carry logs. In my family, my dad uses a wheelbarrow to bring logs in, which trudges mud and dirt all over the floor. Obviously, there is a better solution to the problem! The fact that this bag is made of denim means that it’s washable, and likely to last a lifetime.

Mi Cocina is based in San Francisco. It was started by a man named Ulrich Simpson who realized that denim is the best material to use for home products, because it’s the strongest and most durable. So if the log bag isn’t a good fit for you, look at the Mi Cocina website, where you’ll find some amazing denim products for the entire home.

Kiva gift cards. Credit: Kiva

17. Kiva

If you want to support a BIPOC businesses around the world, consider purchasing a Kiva gift card. These are loans that support  business owners in 77 countries. The recipient of the gift card can visit the Kiva website to find a business they want to support. You can browse through thousands of people who are trying to grow businesses in third world countries. While you can find both men and women on Kiva, there is a big focus on supporting female owned businesses. Many of these women have children, and are figuring out a way to support themselves against all odds. 

The money taken from the gift card balance will eventually be paid back by the business owner, since you’re essentially lending that money to them, rather than giving it away. So it’s up to you, or the person given the gift, on how to proceed. The recipient of the gift can choose to take the cash back, or turn around and lend that balance to someone else in need. By doing this, you can see the real power of giving. It’s truly a great way to support these people achieve their dreams and build a better life for themselves.

The future scientist puzzle. Credit: Puzzle Huddle

16. Puzzle Huddle

If you’re a parent, you already know the struggle of entertaining your kids on cold, rainy, or snowy days when they can’t play outside. This is why there has been a huge resurgence in the popularity of puzzles in 2020. Similar to dolls, there hasn’t been very much representation in characters we see in puzzles that are available at stores.  Puzzle Huddle features cartoons of black children growing up to become any number of career aspirations. 

The company was founded by Matthew and Marnel, who are parents to 3 kids. They started creating the puzzles to encourage their own kids to be whoever they wanted to be when they grew up, and the message can be spread to children everywhere. This was one of the items featured as Oprah’s Favorite Things. So if you’re looking to buy from Amazon Prime, the only two puzzles available for 2-day shipping are the firefighter and scientist. If you’re looking for a puzzle featuring your child’s dream career, the main Puzzle Huddle website has a much larger catalogue to choose from.

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Harriett’s Bookstore in Philadelphia. Credit: Harriet’s Bookstore

15. Harriett’s Bookstore

Independent bookstores are few and far between, especially in today’s world. As much as Amazon Prime is helpful in today’s world, it has made it incredibly difficult for smaller bookstores to survive. That’s why I’ve chosen to include a bookstore on this list. When you’re bored and looking for a good book to read on a snowy winter night, consider buying from an indie seller. Named after Harriett Tubman, the Harriett Bookstore in Philadelphia celebrates books written by female authors. They cultivate an environment that’s a beautiful safe space for women who are artists, writers, and activists.

The beautiful thing about Harriet’s is that they bring together books that you may have never heard of before. Without well-read taste makers like this, you might never know to search for these titles when looking on Amazon. So many of the books they sell have such important and uplifting messages about feminism and equality. Check out The Harriett Bookstore Instagram, and please consider buying a book through their website.

These nesting baskets look beautiful. Credit: Mandika

14. Mandika 

Mandika is an African American owned brand of  luxury housewares. Their most popular products are baskets that are handwoven by several artisans across the African continent. The three baskets shown above appeared on Oprah’s Favorite Things of 2020, and are available on Amazon, if you prefer to add them to a wish list.  They sold out so quickly, you now have to pre-order to get them again! While the price isn’t shown on Amazon, they go for 3 for $120.

 

I strongly recommend you check out the Mandika website and buy directly from them, if you want to place a preorder. There is a much larger variety of baskets to choose from, as well. I especially love their large hampers with lids. These would look beautiful in any home, but they especially work well with anyone who has a bohemian style.

Books about racism and white privilege. Credit: A Kids Book About

13. A Kids Book About

Children’s books always hold some kind of message to teach your kids. It might be as simple as learning to wash your hands or say “please” and “thank you”. A Kids Book About is a company that publishes books on more complicated topics. Usually, parents try to shield their kids from topics that are difficult to explain to kids. But these writers have figured out a way to explain it in a simple way so that children can understand. Some of the topics covered are white privilege, racism, depression, shame, bullying, change, and more.

The founder and CEO is Jelani Memory, a black man who is raising a mixed race family. He realized that these are important conversations that parents should be having with their children, no matter who they are. If you feel strange about buying a book about racism for your kids, the author has uploaded a YouTube video where he reads the entire book to you. This way, parents can see exactly what it says before they purchase it and give it to their children.

Mented sells makeup for a variety of skin tones. Credit: Mented Cosmetics

12. Mented Cosmetics

With so many cosmetic products out there catering to light-skinned people, Mented Cosmetics is made for people of color. There are a handful of brands out there who make various shades of foundation and concealer, but Mented goes one step further. They have bronzer, blush, highlighter, lipsticks, and eyeshadows that are all meant to compliment a variety of skin tones.  

 

Mented Cosmetics has been chosen as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2020, but it’s honestly good for any year, at any time. If you know someone in your life who is struggling to find great makeup to match their skin, check out these products.

These stunning earrings were made by Alicia from Lingua Nigra. Credit: Etsy

11. Lingua Nigra

Lingua Nigra is a handmade jewelry brand from Chicago. The owner, Alicia G., makes amazing etched and hand cut earrings, bracelets, rings, and necklaces in different geometric shapes. These pieces are plated with real gold, so they’re not cheap costume jewelry. If you buy from Lingua Nigra, expect to hold onto them for a lifetime. 

What I love about her jewelry is that you can see the African influence in her work, but it’s different than anything you can find in a store. These are truly statement pieces that will catch people’s eyes, and elicit loads of compliments. If you know someone who collects jewelry, check out the Lingua Nigra Etsy Shop.

Credit: Bison Star Naturals on B. Yellowtail

10. Bison Star Naturals

Bison Star Naturals is a skincare brand made from natural herbs and ingredients in Taos, New Mexico. They also sell tea, sage sticks, bars of soap, raw honey, salt scrub, and more. I absolutely love the scent options that they have available, like cedar, sage, and lavender. They also sell an unscented version for people with sensitive skin. These scents are unisex, so they can be given to anyone who appreciates natural vegan skincare.

The owners are a part of the Taos Pueblo tribe, which is where their brand new workshop is located. Currently, only tribe members are allowed to enter the store, because of the current situation in 2020-2021. But anyone can buy online from their website. Also check out the Bison Star Naturals Instagram, where you can see some of the daily life of the owners, as well as updates on new products.

Artwork by Natalie Osborne. Credit: Etsy

9.  Natalie O Decor

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. 

Dark skinned people need sunscreen, too. Credit: Black Girl Sunscreen

8. Black Girl Sunscreen

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.

These tiny moccasins are perfect for babies and toddlers. Credit: TPMOCS

7. TPMOCS

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.

Authentic African Black Soap by Alaffia. Credit: Alaffia

6. Alaffia

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.

Credit: BLK MKT Vintage

5. BLK MKT Vintage

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.

Everything at Ataumbi metals is hand crafted by Keri Ataumbi. Credit: Ataumbi Metals

4. Ataumbi Metals

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.

The Serene Ultra Comfortable Pants. Credit: Pashko

3. Pashko

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.

The full line of men’s scalp products. Credit: MANTL

2. MANTL

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.

Luxury swimwear from Tan France’s brand, Kingdom and State. Credit: Kingdom & State

1. Kingdom & State

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.

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