As Black History Month comes to a close, we can continue to commit to supporting the Black community every day of the year. Buying from Black-owned businesses is a valuable way to show recognition and appreciation for their creativity, innovation, and hard-work. Contributing to a fairer and healthier planet at the same time sounds like the jackpot to us. Well, this round-up of sustainable Black-owned businesses is as close to Vegas as we’re going to get any time soon.
Sustainable Black-Owned Clothing & Accessories
Gracemade was created by Jasmine Rennie for women who want to express their personal style while respecting and honoring their faith. The company is run ethically, incorporating sustainable practices into their business model in order to be responsible stewards of the Earth given to them by God. Gracemade openly admits that they haven’t got it down perfectly, but they are committed to continuously learning and being transparent throughout their journey. Currently, all of their fabrics are sourced locally, incorporating deadstock into most of their items. Most impressively, all their manufacturing is done in small batches, mainly in Los Angeles. In this way, Gracemade contributes to the local economy and reduces energy use through minimizing transportation, all while eliminating the waste that usually comes from overproduction and excess inventory.
Winner of Jewelry Brand of the Year in the 2019 Sustainable Lifestyle Awards, Yala is the very first jewelry company in the UK to become a Certified B Corporation. The brand creates bold jewelry at the intersection of earthy and modern, using eco-friendly materials designed to last. Their products are handmade by over 150 artisans in Kenya who are paid fair wages and guaranteed safe and healthy work environments, and recognition for their talent. Founder, Audrey Migot-Adholla, was born in Kenya and now splits her time with Bristol, UK. Her goal is, “to challenge the common misconceptions about Africa and its people through beautiful design, entrepreneurship, and creative talent”.
Founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kume, AAKS is a collection of bold, bright, and colorful handbags created with the intention of introducing the world to her favorite weaving techniques used by Ghanian women. Handcrafted in Ghana, the line also offers ethical jobs to the community, designing bags in traditional styles that share the “spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts”. Akosua makes sure to pay “critical attention to craftsmanship, authenticity, and ethical values” in production, creating bags carefully woven using ecologically harvested raffia and leather. Each handbag takes around one week to complete, a testament to their “unwavering dedication to modern style and interpretations using traditional methods”.
Sustainable Black-Owned Home Goods & Decor
Goodee is a curated marketplace for homeware essentials and lifestyle products for better living. It positions itself at the intersection of good design and good purpose, empowering its artisans and consumers to create social impact by investing in products with transparent sourcing, diverse representation, and ethical treatment of its employees. The brand was founded by twin brothers, Byron and Dexter Peart, after the success of their company WANT Les Essentiels. Their latest venture is inspired by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, requiring all brand partners to report on materials, supply chain, labor standards, ecological footprint, and business practices. Goodee is a Certified B Corp and a 1% For The Planet partner.
Bole Road is a New York based design studio founded by Hana Getachew. After 11 years at an architecture firm, she realized that her affinity for vibrant colors and graphic patterns were a reflection of her upbringing in a home full of beautiful, traditional Ethiopian textiles. So she started her studio as an homage to her cultural inheritance, adding a dash of her personal global modern aesthetic. Hana, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, spent her earliest years in Montreal before her family settled in New York where she obtained a degree in interior design. After her time in architecture, she found her calling in Bole Road. All of the pieces are handwoven in Ethiopia, and the brand is committed to helping their clients design spaces they love while also supporting Ethiopian artisans.
ESTELLE COLORED GLASS
Named after founder Stephanie Summerson Hall’s grandmother, Estelle pays homage to their Sunday suppers with handblown colored glassware. From stemless wine glasses in an array of pretty pastels to stunning cake stands and gorgeous champagne coupes, Estelle has a glass for every occasion. Stephanie describes her grandmother as, "A jewel of a person that instilled in me an appreciation of the pastime of treasure hunting for beautiful finds -- especially for the kitchen which was the heart of her home”. A spirit which is perfectly reflected throughout the collection.
Founded in 2007, Linoto is an old-timer in the linen homeware space producing soft, artisanal quality bedding, bath towels, napkins, curtains, and more. Their bold color offerings and exceptional workmanship sets them apart from competitors, as well as their local production at their workshop in Westchester County, New York. Creators at Linoto are passionate and invested in everything they make, expressing that “every item is marked on the cloth with chalk, cut with tailor shears, expertly measured, expertly sewn to the same standards as a designer dress”. To finish off the meticulous process, everything is washed with natural laundry soap and shipped in plastic-free, recycled packaging.
Sustainable Black Owned Skincare & Beauty
BLK + GRN
BLK+GRN is an all-natural marketplace for black artisans selling green products. They offer a wide range of products across bath and body, menstrual care, home, and hair. All their brands are carefully selected by Black health experts who recognize quality, all-natural products. Founded by Dr. Kristian, a natural lifestyle enthusiast, their mission is to “connect Black women to the tools, resources, knowledge, and products they need to lead happier and healthier lives”.
AcARRE is a brand of “bioactive beauty products for the beauty minimalists, based on modernized African and Pacific Islander ancestry elements”. The brand focuses on natural ingredients that work in sync with the skins own elements like baobab oil, rose-hip fruit oil, and Kalahari melon seed oil. Their products are designed to reap rewards across the board, rebalancing each individuals microbiome while balancing out the scalp and skin. All of AcARRE’s ingredients are ethically and sustainably sourced as the company is committed to ensuring its products safely and cleanly contribute to a sustainable ecosystem.
Sustainable Black-Owned Make-Up & Beauty
Mented was dreamt up one night over a glass of pinot when founders, KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson, asked themselves why it was so hard to find the perfect nude lipstick. The brand is based on a belief that every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty no matter her skin tone. Their cosmetics have now expanded from their original nude lipsticks -- which are completely vegan, paraben free, non-toxic, and cruelty free -- into eyeshadow palettes and blushes, perfectly pigmented to match a variety of skin tones. Their #1 priority is making sure all women have makeup that compliments their complexion, because “when it comes to beauty, no one deserves to be an afterthought”.
In 2015, Rooted Woman founder, India D. Williams, decided to press pause on her professional life to pursue personal wellness. Her 6 month journey to refocus her priorities cultivated better health and a clearer purpose “to create a community of women who value self-care”. Through creating ethical, non-toxic nail polishes and treatments, Rooted woman seeks to revolutionize the narrative of self care as a necessary practice that should be supported and accessible within the lives of women. Rooted Women polishes are all vegan, gluten free, top-10 free, non-toxic, and made in small batches to diminish waste and encourage conscious consumption.
Sustainable Black Owned Stationery & Gifts Brands
AYA PAPER CO.
Stationery fiends, look no further. Whether you're on the hunt for your perfect bullet journal or a beautiful card for a special occasion, Aya Paper Co. has your back. Their mission is to celebrate the people and the moments that matter most. Founder, SaVonne Anderson, kept the well-being of the earth at the front of mind all through her conceptualization process, ensuring that her brand didn’t perpetuate issues like climate change and pollution which disproportionately impacts communities of color. Aya’s collection of stationery, prints, and cards boasts beautiful neutral earth tones, minimalist illustrations, and modern typography, with all paper products made of 100% recycled materials. Plus, the brand offers other gift-worthy items like tote bags and candles to pair with your picture-perfect cards.
Sustainable Black Owned Food & Wellness Brands
“Zero-waste groceries, delivered fast” -- these are the five words that greet you on Zero’s homepage, and they pretty much sum it all up. The company is on a mission to save the oceans while eating cleaner, healthier, and cheaper than ever before. One pantry at a time, Zero is revolutionizing households, showing that environmentalism and convenience can go hand in hand. In their words, “Zero proves that you can have what you want, when you want it, without ruining the planet”. The service is available in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
Golde was initially created in a 1-bedroom Brooklyn apartment in 2017 selling only one product, the Original Turmeric Latte Blend. They’ve been growing ever since, and are now a small but mighty team sharing superfood essentials with thousands of people. Their mission is to make wellness easy, accessible, and fun for all, creating products that “are a celebration of superfoods to effortlessly boost your daily routine, from morning smoothies to skincare”. Their formulas are always completely natural and vegan, using superfood ingredients that you can recognize and trust.
PUR Home offers a wide range of non-toxic home cleaning products from laundry detergent, to multi-surface cleaner, and organic soap. They are committed to using plant-based, biodegradable, sulfate-free ingredients and 100% recyclable packaging, and are Leaping Bunny Certified guaranteeing absolutely no animal cruelty. The founder has respectfully chosen only those ingredients that cause the least harm to Mother Earth, and makes sure to source ingredients from companies that are ethical in their production of ingredients. Best of all, PUR is passionate about contributing to the local and global community, participating in local sustainability efforts and supporting efforts to bring clean water, fair trade, and ethical treatment of workers to the US and abroad.
What to choose?
With so many impressive and alluring Black-owned sustainable brands across the board, we’d understand if you want to go on a giant shopping spree right this second. But remember, a large part of sustainability is buying with intention; purchasing things you need or consciously selecting items you desire. Treat yourself to a couple of products from these awesome brands -- they’re worth it -- and bookmark this page for the next time you find yourself in need (or want) of some sustainable staples.