12 Black-Owned Brands to Shop for Kwanzaa
Although gifts aren’t the focus of the holiday, buying from Black-owned businesses is a great way to honor the Kwanzaa principle of cooperative economics.
A half-century after it was first established, millions around the world celebrate Kwanzaa every year from December 26 to January 1. Started in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is a secular celebration of African-American culture centered around seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Although Kwanzaa is primarily a celebration of culture and community, the final day, January 1, focuses on gift-giving. Traditionally, the gifts are homemade, as the holiday is meant to be values-based and non-commercial. But if you celebrate Kwanzaa and you’d rather give store-bought gifts, buying from Black-owned brands is a fantastic way to honor the principle of cooperative economics, which Karenga defines as: “To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.”
Thanks to organizations like the Fifteen Percent Pledge, it’s easier than ever to support Black creators and business owners. What began as an Instagram post by now-founder Aurora James — she asked that major retailers dedicate at least 15 percent of their shelf space to products made by Black-owned businesses, because Black Americans make up 15 percent of the population — is now a pledge that’s been taken by over two dozen major brands like Sephora, Nordstrom, Old Navy and Target.
Sure, buying your holiday gifts from Black-owned businesses may not have as big an impact as a giant retailer pledging their support. But small shifts can add up to make a big difference. If you’re shopping for Kwanzaa (or another holiday!) this year, here are 11 fantastic gift ideas from Black-owned brands.
This kid-friendly bath soak is scented with lemongrass and lime essential oils, and one jar is enough for three or four baths. Instead of regular bubble bath soap, spoon a couple capfuls of this powder into your bathtub and watch it fizz and foam.
At Frolic + Sage, a candle is more than just a candle. Filled with their signature scent — a blend of sage, French lavender, amber and gardenia essential oils — these candles are made from soy wax and packaged in recycled glass containers. We love this trio of miniature candles emblazoned with strong affirmations.
A streetwear brand for children, Royan Nation is as much about storytelling as it is about clothing. ″It’s the setting of a story about a squad of knights led by an unlikely king, and a battle to save their kingdom from the destruction of imagination,″ their website explains. This hat, along with everything else they offer, is great for kids who want to feel like the hero of their own story.
These luxurious whipped body butters are available in eight variations, including Cocoa Mango and Milk and Honey. House of H.E.R. was founded by a woman who needed an alternative to expensive lotions and creams available for dry skin, and her whipped body butters and body oils are great for anyone in the same boat.
Instead of a coffee subscription, give your friends and family members the gift of loose leaf tea. The Harmony blend from Big Black Tea is made from green tea and jasmine flower, and you can buy a single bag or get one delivered monthly.
According to Business Insider, New-York based designer Brandon Blackwood is on track to sell $30 million worth of goods in 2021. There are several bags, wallets and even fanny packs to choose from, but we really love the Medium Kuei in Aqua Blue.
Jungalow is a mission-driven brand that plants two trees for every product purchased. Founded by designer and artist Justina Blakeney, the company sells various home goods, from planters to bedding to wallpaper. We love these striped ceramic cups, which are sold individually or in sets of four.
In March 2021, civil engineering student Jamila H. Lindo published Girls Can Be Engineers in hopes of inspiring other children of color, particularly young girls, to see themselves as future Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals. It’s a great gift for any young kid in your life!
Featured in Oprah’s Favorite Things 2021, this stainless steel jewelry has been worn by A-list celebrities like Beyoncé and Issa Rae. The designs range from classic to modern and geometric, and come in stainless steel or gold-plated finishes.
Although even frequent fliers probably haven’t travelled much these past couple of years, they’ll definitely appreciate this travel belt. It’s a one-of-a-kind belt designed to strap your oversized carry-on to your suitcase. It’s made from vegan leather and elastic, and for an extra $15 you can have it monogrammed.
Founded by DJ and influencer Hannah Bronfman, HBFIT is an online wellness platform with a small shop. There are candles, bath bombs, bucket hats and a few athleisure clothing options on offer, and we particularly love the HBFIT Perfect Short, available in cream, toffee and espresso.
Sewing Seams founder Lolita Korneagay custom embroiders beautiful plush robes that would make anyone feel like the king or queen of their home. On her Etsy store and website you'll also find custom-made sweatshirts, graduation stoles, and a nutcracker collection perfect for holiday gifting.