Don’t tell me what your priorities are, the old adage goes — show me your budget and I’ll tell you what your priorities are. Do you want to demonstrate your commitment to social and economic justice? Then patronize Black-owned businesses.
There are 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in America, according to the Small Business Association. The overwhelming majority — 2.6 million, or nearly 96% — are nonemployee businesses run by sole proprietors. African-Americans own just 2.2% of the 6 million businesses that employ workers, according to USA Facts.
Black business owners are much more likely to be younger than the business-owning population as a whole and they’re more likely to be women, as well. Together, Black-owned businesses employ about 975,000 people, roughly 840,000 of which work in small businesses with less than 500 employees. Two out of three — 645,000 — work in businesses with fewer than 100 workers.
No matter what they do or sell, what product they make or what service they provide, each founder, co-founder, owner and CEO has a story to tell and a contribution to make. You can contribute by supporting them or any one of the many business owners like them today and every day.
This Los Angeles-based Etsy shop specializes in high-quality, highly functional and super fashionable tote bags. The shop is owned and operated by Felicia Maxwell, who crafts all of her bags from exotic textiles and designs each tote to be waterproof. Bags are reasonably priced from $55 up.
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Ron Robinson’s skincare line is getting rave reviews for its ability to transform complexions. One of the top rated products is the Universal C Eye Perfector Cream which users claim helps to minimize dark circles and wake up the skin.
Marcus Books (named after the activist Marcus Garvey) is the oldest Black-owned bookstore in the country. The bookstore’s founders, Drs. Raye and Julian Richardson, met at and attended Tuskegee University. The brick and mortar store is located in Oakland, California, but you can order online as well.
Run by Juliana Pache, this Etsy shop has a wide selection of beautiful handmade polymer clay earrings. Designs range from dangly moon shapes to rose-shaped statement studs. Prices start at just $14 a pair.
The entire artisan collection at Lemlem is made in Africa. This includes men, women and children’s clothing, as well as home decor. Liya Kebede was born in Ethiopia and founded the company in 2007. Lemlem prides themselves on making sustainable and upcycled clothing.
Melissa Simone Swim
Want to upgrade your bathing suit? Look no further than the fashion-forward suits from Melissa Simone. Simone is inspired by ’90s fashion sported by Christie Brinkley, Tyra Banks and Elle Macpherson. If that’s your vibe, you have to check out this store.
The Furlough Cheesecake
When sisters Jaqi Wright and Nikki Howard found themselves out of work during the government shutdown in 2018, the two made cheesecake to pass the time. Now, that’s become a pretty sweet business. Flavors include classic, key lime, strawberry, pecan and more!
Erin Carpenter created Nude Barre after not being able to find hosiery that matched her skin color. You can take a quiz on the website to find your shade so your tights are a perfect match.
This Etsy shop run by Joshica Kiah Craig offers natural haircare products for 4C hair and skincare. Products come in an array of scents, like coconut, rosemary grapefruit and peppermint. All packaging is sustainable and products don’t use harsh chemicals or artificial additives.
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Andrew Lisa contributed to the reporting for this article.
Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for representational purposes only.