The holiday season tends to be a major moneymaker for mass retailers, and that’s understandable: You know the brands and products are reliable, and shipping is super fast. But it’s important to not overlook smaller businesses owned by people of color. The items they offer are often unique, and sometimes there’s an amazing story behind the products and proprietors.
Below are brands owned by men and women of color that are high on quality, representing Black men and women, Latinas, Native Americans and more. These suggestions can speak to most everyone on your list, from the makeup lover to the fashion-forward to the self-care king or queen.
Pelo Malo Where? T-Shirt
“Pelo malo, where?” It’s not just a question, but a declaration that there’s no such thing as bad hair. Started by Sherly Tavarez, the Hause of Curls line of shirts, swimsuits and accessories are for curly hair Latinas who embrace every kink and curl.
If you know someone who relishes self-care or just needs a little something to combat the cold weather, New York-based brand Eternile probably has one or several items they’ll like. The vegan skin-care line is free of palm oil, artificial colors and packed with skin-nourishing goodies. The lavender and bentonite clay soap is a winner for anyone looking to detox and reduce inflammation.
Natural Body Products With A Fun Twist
G.IRL is another woman of color-owned beauty brand that’s all about self-care. Created for girls “in real life,” the line’s all-natural body products have the cutest names (like You Glo, Glen Coco body scrub) but they’re also sulfate- and paraben-free. The cute packaging doesn’t hurt either.
Shopping for clothes for someone can be tricky, but if there’s a trendsetter on your list, she’ll love this pair of fringe denim from Nichole Lynel. The Los Angeles-based designer has tons of showstopping pieces, especially the dresses, but the jeans really take a closet staple and go above and beyond for something that’s truly head-turning.
Multi-Tasking Glow Stick
If you head to Hi Wildflower’s site, you might find some of the bold, pigmented lip shades sold out. Yeah, the shades are that good and look great on a variety of skin tones. Founder Tanwi Nandini Islam has a matte lipstick for every shade or mood, but it’s one of the newer shades, the Matí Rose Glow, that’s a paint that works on lips, cheeks and eyes. With cupuacu seed butter ethically harvested from Brazil, the moisturizing product is a great addition to any stocking stuffer for someone who appreciates a multi-purpose product.
A Major Refresh
Stephanie Kim started her career as one of the first interns at Birchbox and now she’s a co-founder of Moonlit Skincare, which is all about nourishing skin during those ever-important hours of rest. The Ultimate Sleep Kit contains a 100% silk eye mask and pillowcase, travel pouch and the top-selling overnight face oil. The natural products are made in Bali and the facilities have a child-friendly area for working parents, so you can feel good about your purchases.
The Perfect Topper
Launched in 2017 by two Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. brothers ― Tajh Crutch and Archie Clay III ― Brims is a fedora brand that’s all about stylishly expressing individuality. The made-in-America hats feature 100% wool and statement accents like the Posse fedora, with a black and white band. They’re an instant way to look sharp and sophisticated.
A Functional Gift To Help With Health Challenges
When Chaitenya Razdan noticed a friend and family member using tube socks to cover up the lines caused by catheter insertions during chemotherapy treatments, he wanted to find a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing solution. Fast forward to 2014 when he co founded Care+Wear, a line that includes recovery bras, onesies for premature babies, mobility gloves for wheelchair users and port access shirts that keep patients warm while giving access to any ports for chemo or medical treatments.
Gifts With An Edge
You’ll find a little bit of everything for sale on Ilse Valfré’s site, from apparel to phone cases to journals. But all of the goods highlight the Mexican-born artist’s work. It’s hard to pick just one fly piece, but the Lucy products, especially the Hella Cute long sleeve top, that showcase the artist’s original artwork are sure to be a hit with your gift recipient who has a bit of an edge and a sense of humor.
They’re Not Bronzers, But Brownzers
While some mainstream brands only create a range of shades after receiving backlash from a lack of inclusion, Prime Beauty makes it clear to women of color: “Our beauty needs are primary. Not secondary.” The line of Brownzers come in shades like Bronzeville, Chocolate Litty and Glow Coast. They provide just the right amount of shimmer and give a sunkissed look to all melanin.
A Versatile Bag That Gives Back
It’s a clutch. No, it’s a crossbody bag. Well, actually the Dream Clutch is both with the addition or removal of the gold chain strap. Unfortunately, the Red Purse Collection created by SheNative Goods to raise awareness about missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada is currently sold out. But you can find other leather goods that highlight the work of indigenous women. All of the brand’s products contribute at least 10% of profits to the community.
When Sudhir Gupta came to the U.S. to study engineering, he took a job at a fragrance company to pay bills. This fall he launched Love Potion, fragrances for men and women. With top notes that include pink pepper, bergamot, fruity ambrosia apple and pineapple, the collection of four fragrances has something for everyone.
Personalized Products For Men
Sometimes men are forgotten in the conversation on personal care products, but Brian Jeong and Phil Wong created Hawthorne for men who want great products tailored to their lifestyle. Simply answer a few questions (hair type, field of work you’re in, etc) and the algorithm suggests a line of products. Order them once or set up recurring delivery so your recipient never has to run out. The sleek packaging also looks great on any bathroom countertop.
Custom Care Packages
Creating a custom care package just got easier with GiftSuite. Though ready-made gift boxes are available, the create-your-own gift set allows you to choose products for your specific recipient. The options include tons of face masks, cutesy socks, cleansing cloths and more. This has the personalization of a handmade basket without having to painstakingly shop for each individual item.
Cinderella-Level Glass Slippers
Toronto-based designer Jennifer Le is no stranger to celebs loving her footwear, but when Beyonce rocks your shoes? That’s next level. The Glacier Glass Slipper doesn’t just look amazing, but because the crystals are handsewn, no two pairs are exactly alike. Gift these to any shoe lover and watch her eyes light up.
For The Unbought And The Unbossed
Rummaging through vintage shops and flea markets can be time consuming, but the duo behind Blk Mkt Vintage, Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart, have done the work for you or your lucky gift recipient. Though many of their finds are vinyl records, literature and home goods, you’ll often see a few gems like the Shirley Chisholm election pins.
Double The Accessories
Earrings are one size fits all and this Beyond Buckskin set includes not one, but two pairs. The North Dakota-based brand highlights the work of Native American designers and artists. Handmade in the Turtle Mountains, this earring set is made of horn hairpipe with a trio of beads and hand-cut rawhide.