This list is no simple collection of online stores. This one is focused on makers — African Americans entrepreneurs who have embraced the idea of creating change and community wealth by creating things with their own hands.
Sisters Darle and Lizzy Okpo of William Okpo. (Courtesy photo)
We scoured the web to find those businesses whose products reflect some combination of originality, innovation, ingenuity and a commitment from the owners to investing in their own communities.
When you shop at these places this holiday season, it’s more than a purchase, it’s support for a bright future filled with talent, great ideas and progress.
FOOD & WINE
The DC-based spice store offers a stunning global blend of seasonings and botanicals for recipes and healing, from rare African bird peppers to Moroccan preserved lemons.
Winemaker Mark Thierry and celebrity business partner, Nicole Murphy, are taking on the hugely popular trend for sparkling wines on the sweet side. In two styles, Diamond (white) and Ruby (pink).
Mouton Noir Wines
In short order, Mouton Noir (Black Sheep) has grown from 3000 cases a year to now more than 300,000, which makes it the most successful Black-owned winery in America. It’s all the vision of Andre Hueston Mack, the former sommelier at world renowned restaurant, French Laundry, who not only blends the wines, but designs the labels (and the t-shirts).
UncleBrutha’s Hot Sauce Emporium
The many awards given to Unclebrutha’s “ALLSAUCE” shows a dedication to craft that has brought chef/owner Brennan Proctor national attention. Good enough to carry in your purse.
Launched and fully funded as a Kickstarter project just months ago, Asiya Sport takes the model set by Muslim-American Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and goes a step beyond, with a line of performance hijab and modest wear for athletes whose religion or beliefs call for an alternative to the usual skin-baring workout gear.
Sisters Darlene and Lizzie Okpo infuse their Nigerian heritage subtly into a women’s wear collection that manages to be global and completely American at once.
Free Negro University
A basic line of fashionable tees and hats that carry a simple but powerful message — one that’s maybe more necessary now than ever.
Osrick Ingredients Cricket
Anyone paying attention knows that the world’s most fashionable sport, on the field, is —cricket. OK, you may not know the rules, but you have to admit the players are killing it. Osrick is the world’s first cricket menswear brand, and like their inspiration, Ralph Lauren, did for Polo, they’ve captured the spirit and lifestyle of the sport brilliantly.
From Canadian twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart, LesEssentiels is an extraordinary collection of high-end men’s and women’s leather goods -luggage, bags, shoes and fine accessories. For those thick with style, but not thin of wallet.
Spring Break Watches
A unique limited edition of sport and dress watches made from unique craft materials including wood, mineral glass and stainless steel mesh. Thorough modern and fun for a weekend of every day wear.
Ikere Jones Menswear
A deft mix of vintage meets international clothing for men with a bold style that references bout couture and the continent.
Another group of designers using wood and unconventional materials in unexpected places, with hot and stylish frames made from walnut, rosewood, ebony and more.
Rad Black Kids
For the daredevil in the family, Rad Black Kids offers a fun collection of handmade longboards, trick boards, tees, gear and all things skate.
Wall art for the serious (and woman) cave. Ticket-inspired posters for your favorite sport and the team of your choice.
OnyxBox is for those women of color who joined subscriptions like BirchBox, only to find that 90% of the products required them to get their hair wet. These products are all designed with you and your needs in mind.
HOME , KITCHEN & BATH
For the tastefully fancy home, AphroChic delivers high-style pillows, poufs and accessories.
A sharp knife is the single most important kitchen essential. Might as well have an artisan-crafted knife to cut those fancy hand-crafted pickles and farm-to-table veggies.
One of the largest and most successful Black-owned stores on the popular craft site, Etsy, Melaku sells a comprehensive range of natural and vegan body, bath and health products for your body and spirit.