Going holiday shopping for your loved ones can be a stressful endeavor. As the holiday shopping season comes to a close, you might be tempted to go the easy route and pick up something at the corner mall. But this year, why not spread the love and support the community through your gift-giving instead?
NBCBLK spoke to a few independent, black-owned business owners, about purposeful gifts that make a real difference. By supporting these businesses, you can be confident that your dollars will be invested in gifts that stand for something.
The Atlanta-based, Parsons Design School alumna Paige Dawkins creates high quality resort wear inspired by her travels. Made ethically in the USA, Dawkins’ line aspires to promote quality, everlasting pieces that withstands time. Her signature item is the ‘Talia’ jumpsuit.
“Climate change is real issue that we can no longer choose to ignore. Having a clothing brand that focuses on sustainable fabric alternatives, produced ethically and consciously, is the cleanest process for a small imprint on our planet's resources. This process is very important for me because I believe it is the right thing to do in the fashion industry,” the fashion designer said.
Founded by Harlem based entrepreneur Marva Allen, Hue-Man Bookstore is an online book shop featuring a ‘sku for every hue.' Every book in the online store is written by black authors, providing stories and perspectives that represent the diaspora.
Allen recommends the following titles as a gift for every member of the family:
- “Rice and Rocks” by Sandra L. Richards, a children’s book dealing with diversity and culture.
- “Obama: An Intimate Portrait” by Peter Souza, a beautiful picture book documenting former President Barack Obama’s administration.
- “The Mother of Black Hollywood,” written by legendary entertainer Jenifer Lewis, is a memoir in which the author discusses intimate details of her journey (including her experience with mental illness), in an honest, yet entertaining voice.
Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars
Raised in Miami, twin sisters Yvette and Yvonne Rodriguez stand out in the cigar industry with thanks to their matriarchal influence, their grandmother. The duo co-founded Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars, which translates to “Three Pretty Cuban Girls" and represents black beauty. Each cigar is named after the different complexions of black women and celebrates them equally.
“We wanted to have a business that we’re passionate about. Something that we can relate to, and tells the story of our upbringing as black women raised in a Cuban-American household," said Yvette. "We’ve never felt that we needed to choose a side because we embraced being both black and Latina, and our cigar brand reflects that: new traditions, urban sophistication."
Mobicolor Coloring Books
Founded by Southside Chicago native Paris Williams, Mobicolor makes coloring books that aspires to bring creativity and pop culture together. The latest holiday book entitled, “Another Ugly Sweater”, features 40 images of familiar faces, such as Kanye West and Will Smith, all ready to be colored in.
“When I first created the books, I just wanted to please my inner kid. Through this journey of coloring, I have been able to feel more relaxed and focused. I have developed patience and can release my creativity more than ever. Now that MobiColor is its own brand, it has proven to me that coloring can help so many people like it has for me,” said Williams.
Haute Hope Gives
Jessica Puccinelli of Los Angeles started Haute Hope because she wanted to curate beautiful products that support a cause. The result is a collection of stylish gift boxes that gather carefully chosen items from other small businesses.
“I have always believed in giving thoughtful gifts, but the idea that one box filled with a few purposeful products could impact so many lives is the best gift I can imagine,” Pucinnelli says on her website.