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Your Guide to Giving BIPOC-Created Gifts : Part I

It isn’t easy to live in systems we don’t believe in, that have and continue to cause harm to many communities near and worldwide. Unfortunately, and fortunately, this is the way the world works and will continue to work. Unless we start to make changes. Unless we begin to make conscious choices to act with our voice, our money, and our habits. One way I work to build the world I dream of is how I spend the money I earn. When you vote with your dollar, you are making critical choices to support the companies that either perpetuate the tyranny and undermining of so many, or that begin to shift and change how we raise and uplift the communities and people we believe in. Our world currently revolves around money and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. It is what we wake up each day and go to work to earn. It is what we spend on just about everything we have in our homes, the food we place on our tables, and how we travel from A to B. And you can make a choice. Each and every time you go to spend your hard-earned money. Your spending habits need to reflect the world you believe in for yourself and future generations. I have curated a shopping guide that support BIPOC businesses and individuals. We know our systems are inequitable, which is why we need to consciously and actively, share the wealth.

HOMEBODY: Our first section is for the homebodies in our lives, those who love to create and live in a space that is cozy, inviting, warm, and full of life. We are huge lovers of candles and scents in all the spaces of our home to lighten and brighten a space, and to add a touch of the essence of who we are.

Simply Scents was borne from taking a whole paycheck and investing it in herself; she attributes her success to experiences, the community that surrounds her, and the opportunities she’s taken. She credits her entrepreneurial spirit to genetics and love of math to all that the company embodies. Simply Scents Candle Company has several different products that consist of triple-scented candles, room fragrant sprays, wax melts, oil burners, reed diffusers, jelly jars, electric burners, bath and body products, accessories, and more. Simple Scents Candle Company’s signature item, the Simply Scents Candle Bundt Cake, is a 4-wick candle decorated in the shape of a real bundt cake. She also gives credit for her boldness, strength, and determination to succeed in the United States Airforce, where she served eight years working with T38 bombers and performing aircraft inspections of F16 and F17 fighter jets for NASA.

Wooj Designs create perfect additions to your home. Built by robots and people, their products include kitchen wares, homewares, and lamps, to enhance your side tables, hall or the kitchen table, or kitchen counter (or anywhere else your heart desires!). All of Wooj’s products are designed, manufactured, and shipped on a made-to-order basis from their small studio in Brooklyn, New York, using ecologically responsible materials and finishes.

With the upcoming holiday season, however you and your loved ones choose to celebrate it, we love and cherish time spent with family and friends, preparing, cooking, and sharing meals.

The founder of Our Place has created perfect cookware, tableware, and utensils to pair with all your shared meals. Our Place believes in the power of home cooking to bring people together, which is why they create products that make cooking and sharing a meal easier and more joyful. Their products are designed for how we live and celebrate making (and breaking) traditions with family: given, chosen, and found. There is transformative power in uplifting the differences in how people cook and eat together.

Jitana is another incredible homeware company, specializing in earthy décor and textiles, to add depth and one-of-a-kind pieces to add to your home. Jitana was founded by Denise Hernandez, who has traveled all over the world to find unique and inspirational pieces that support and impact artisans everywhere. She has been inspired by the beauty the world has to offer and is continuously dedicated to finding new, one-of-a-kind pieces to add to her collection.

NURTURING + HEALTH: When nurturing ourselves and others is at the forefront of our day-to-day actions.

Maya Njie perfumes create scents that are deeply connected to her Swedish and West African cultures. She began experimenting with the sense of smell while studying at the University of Arts in London. Inspired by an old family photo album from the decades before her birth, Maya set out to capture the special moments in time, the tropes of family life, set within their frames. Maya’s perfumes will sweep you off your feet through her use of essential oils, aroma compounds, and resins.

Consider Emvi Beauty, who honor their Mexican roots by providing accessible vegan skincare to nourish and enhance your beauty routine.

Ancient Cosmetics is a vegan skincare and home fragrance company that will add a touch of sparkle to your gift-giving this holiday season. Using the ingredients that nature provides, they strive to create and supply products that deliver the benefits your unique skin needs.

good light is a multi-purpose, layerable beauty product creator, that believes in beauty beyond the binary. good light creates highly efficacious, yet gentle personal care products that are for all people regardless of your gender identity. They are focused on moving culture forward by promoting a more inclusive definition of beauty through product and purpose. They strive to reflect the diversity and fluidity of the world we live in today.

Bread Beauty have designed basic hair care for not-so-basic hair. Bread was founded on the need for haircare that would think and look differently: for the curls, fuzz, frizzy bits, bangs, braids, Bantu, and other bits. They begin with the essentials needed for a routine clean. Then they add on things to layer (and layover) between showers for conditioning and style all-over.

Big Mouth Toothbrushes are specially designed for people with larger mouths; each toothbrush comes with five different-sized brush heads, so you will always be able to find the right fit. They also believe that awesome and affordable shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, so they made a toothbrush that has the functionality of the highest-end products at an approachable price point. They believe everyone should have access to excellent dental care and a better life.

Check out Piper Wai for all-natural deodorants, a company that was founded with a mission to build a more sustainable future through the products we use every day. The first step to healing our Earth can be as simple as what we put on our bodies. As a black, female-owned business, they value diversity and conscientiousness in all they do. Their products are gender-neutral and safe for all ages.

For all the humans who experience a menstrual cycle, Ruby Love is your go-to for period-proof underwear. The technology features a discreet, built-in absorbent organic cotton liner that is perfectly angled to collect your flow. They promise no leaks, no stains, and no worries for their entire product line.

Grounded is a place to find products that will refresh, reinspire and nourish any home. Grounded was created to help you disconnect and decompress through the appreciation of plants in the spaces we occupy. From boosting creativity and concentration, to reducing stress and purifying the air, the influence of plants within a given environment has proven to be advantageous. Sometimes, when the world around you seem a bit chaotic, the synergy between plants and humans is a natural progression in helping us to remain grounded.

Whispering Winds supplies authentic Native American crafts to add to the natural spaces we create in our homes. Sheyenne prides themselves on handcrafted natural products that honor the places they have come from. They believe lessons can be found in all things and experiences and that everything has a purpose. It’s about love, honor, and respect, not only for our Creator and Mother Earth but for every living thing.

Mother’s Finest creates wellness tonics and honey to detoxify and aid immune support. Mother’s Finest supports women in the farming industry, recognizing that women have been critical in many farming operations for thousands of years. They also offer camps and classes to inspire future generations of farmers to explore and find their true purpose on the planet.

Little Herbs Co. is a great addition to your gift-giving basket this year. Their joyful assortment of natural oils and essences will have you and your loved ones feeling reset, energized, and grounded.

CULINARY: As we continue into the colder months, we tend to go inward and hibernate in our own unique ways, often creating and savoring nourishing foods, and cocktails, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. We spend these cooler months slowing down, testing out new culinary delights, and spending time with family and friends. The following recommendations are separated into three categories: drinks, flavorful add-ins, and of course, sweet things!

As the weather continues to grow colder, and the snow begins to fall, Abisola Whiskey is all about celebrating the now. There’s no need to wait for a special date, a special occasion; every day is the right occasion to celebrate yourself and your loved ones. It is a young, smooth-tasting whiskey, a blend of Bourbon whiskey and Malt whiskey, with notes of vanilla and waffle coming to complement the caramel and spice in the blended base.

For the sober curious, and mindful drinkers this holiday season, Mocktail Club, supplies a variety of rich and interesting flavored non-alcoholic cocktails, with the added benefits of prebiotics and antioxidants. Mocktail Club is perfect for people who want a healthier lifestyle and an alternative to alcohol but still want the kick. They embrace the world by infusing global spices such as cardamom, chili peppers, and lemongrass, capturing the sights and sounds of their travel experiences and bottling them for you.

For wine lovers, Love Cork Screw “is a whole mood.” Love Cork Screw is designed and made for those who don’t give up on their dreams, who pick themselves back up and try again. Chrishon is passionate about bringing people together and sharing advice and tips on wine, entertaining, and relationships. You can find wine, candles, and self-care products, as well as an online marketplace dedicated to the sale and promotion of home goods and products exclusively made by people of color.

For the morning after, try Copper Cow Coffee and all their fixings. Copper Cow Coffee shares their Vietnamese and Californian culture to offer so many different delicious flavors of coffee and creamers, lattes, and tea. Their values include being a good citizen through sustainability and high-quality coffee directly from organic farms in Vietnam, bringing others along because experiences are better when they’re shared, and acting like owners to be responsible and accountable. You can create a custom box and mix and match it for the holidays.

Now to pair these incredible drinks with the food we share. We all enjoy different foods from all over the world; this list is designed to accompany any and all tastes, textures, and smells you create in your kitchen and your loved ones create in theirs.

Cutino Sauce Co. packs a whole lot of flavor into little bottles. A father, a son, and a lot of time. It started with a secret, killer habanero sauce. For years, Jacob persisted in recreating the secret recipe. Now, they’re more interested in creating gourmet, artisanal sauces to ignite taste buds, enhance recipes and push the boundaries of sauces. Their website also includes incredible recipes if your gift recipients need inspiration!

Capital City Mambo Sauce is a D.C. Wing Sauce like no other. Capital City is a global majority, family-owned business that missed this sauce when Arsha moved out of Washington D.C. to the suburbs. She began to regularly make mambo sauce in her kitchen for her boys and decided it was good enough to market and sell. Buy it in mini, regular, or bulk size, depending on how much you want to douse on your food! Oh, and they have t-shirts too.

When you’re looking for seasoning and spices to add flavor to the food you create, Poks Spices is where to start. After noticing that West African food and products were lacking in mainstream retail stores, Abena leveraged her food science background and West African heritage to develop the first prototype of POKS Spices West African Seasonings. The Holy Trinity of spice mixes, Poks Spices include chili pepper, ginger, and an allium; onion and/or garlic. Often supplemented with salt, indigenous spices, and herbs, this mix serves as a seasoning base for cooking savory dishes.

On to the sweet things. Cornbread 26 Food Co. create Cornbread Madeleines in a variety of flavors. Order before December 18th for delivery before Kwanzaa and Christmas. The founders, Claude and Craig, believe in the joy that entertaining brings to homes across the world. They offer catering as well as kitchenware and apparel.

Blondery might just be your new go-to year-round! From blondies to cakes and cake jars, these sophisticated sweet treats will have you drooling at first sight. They are available as a slab of one flavor or a slab of variety. They also have gluten-free and vegan options available for purchase.

For the morning after (I’m thinking pancakes, french toast, or waffles for breakfast), consider Michele’s delicious syrups. Sunday mornings at the Hoskins home began with a gathering and tradition of homemade waffles. This secret syrup recipe was created by America Washington, a former slave, and the great, great, great grandmother of the only daughter in the house, Michele. Inherited through generations, the family recipe was eventually commercialized and brought to market. It was Michele’s determination to leave a legacy for her daughters, learning from her mistakes, and her continued commitment to making it work.

Trade Street Jam Co. is women and Black-owned business that started in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their in-house chef curates all of the jam flavors by pairing her knowledge of great flavor combinations with her fervor for taking risks. If you’re looking for additional sauces to add to your savory dishes, Trade Street Jam Co. also offers a variety of hot and BBQ sauces, biscuit and waffle mixes, and mocktail elixirs. They’re pretty much your one-stop shop this holiday season!

Oh, and for the sweetest wee treats, we recently discovered Amend All during a wander through Downtown Denver. These are all gluten-free, and some vegan treats are gourmet and unparalleled. Shop local this holiday season and purchase your favorite flavor pairing, including red velvet fudge, white chocolate molasses cookie, creamsicle fudge, and many more!

Keep your eyes peeled for lists II and III.

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