The economy’s recent surge in online shopping is an opportunity for small business, and with consumers becoming more adventurous and finding more shops through social media platforms like Instagram, small businesses are getting more notice than the traditional big box stores. With that in mind, many customers are specifically looking to support small Black-owned businesses right now, and in this post, we’re featuring five great ones to check out from wherever you have internet access:
Owner: Elann Zelie
Date Opened: 2012
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Elann Zelie started her career in fashion post college as a fashion blogger before creating the brand Zelie for She in 2012. Her clothing is limited run to prioritize the authenticity and individuality of her band, and her distinct collections include inspiration from travel, natural landscape, and “empowerment of ones self.” That empowerment lends itself to drama; Zelie’s clothing features high hemlines, dramatic cuts, and loose crops, giving even the beachiest wear a catwalk-worthy flare.
This year’s collection is Resort 2020, and it plays with a lot of vibrant colors, whites, lace, and flowey feel. It’s great contrast to the ever-popular neutral toned loungewear, and Zelie brings her style expertise into clothing that is specifically designed for curvy bodies.
Owner: Ray and Val Talbert
Date Opened: 2020
Location: Mt. Lebanon, PA
Ray and Val Talbert are a husband and wife team who opened up their plant design business in the midst of the pandemic this year. Using raw natural minerals and industrial concrete, their pieces combine a modern and classic style that will brighten the home. They hand pour their concrete and all pieces are made in small batches. Each piece is about finding the beauty in imperfections.
The Talberts were inspired to found this company due to a love of mining and nature, and wanted to create “everyday objects that everyone could enjoy” from ethically sourced stones. The pieces often feature minerals, liquid gold, a cement base, and living integrations like succulents. If subtle brightening or industrial aesthetic is your sought-after vibe, Tal and Bert’s collections will be perfect for your home or office (or, perhaps, your new home office?), and especially as gifts.
Owner: Dessica Coleman and LaDarrius Coleman
Date Opened: 2020
Location: Harvest, AL
Dessica and LaDarrius Coleman specialize in both interior design services and a ready-to-order pillow collection inspired by global tribal patterns and natural landscapes.
Their design services are available virtually and therefore open to everyone in the USA, helping you decorate your home so that it reflects more of you. The pillow shop is open 24/7 online, even offering free delivery within 30 miles of Harvest, AL, to offer their local customers savings on shipping.
Married for 9 years, Dessica and LaDarrius’ business grew out of a love of shopping, and the pillows they carry focus on making neutral scenes pop. Their “Mars” and “Inko” pillows take a neutral pallet and add a deep tone. They hand select each fabric to get the best quality, and add the most interesting aesthetic to your home.
Owner: TJ Douglas
Date Opened: 2012
Location: Boston, MA
TJ Douglas started as a dishwasher and opened the boutique wine store The Urban Grape in Boston Massachusetts in 2012 with the goal of getting people to “drink progressively.”
Located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood, Urban Grape is the first store to utilize a progressive shelving technique where wines are organized by body rather than region or type. Urban Grape also has a tasting machine that pours samples of ten bottles of wine to better help the client determine what they like and what types of wines will make them happiest. The Urban Grape is big on hospitality, and that applies to both guests and workers. While their application process is rigorous, they offer 401ks and full health insurance to their employees which Douglas expresses as a desire to “take care of their wellbeing.”
The Urban Grape doesn’t just specialize in wine, but has branched out to beer and liquor, and can ship to the following states : Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Virgina, and Wyoming.
Owner: Valerie Madison
Date Opened: 2014
Location: Seattle, WA
Valerie Madison is putting her environmental science degree to work with her ethical jewelry line, focused on innovative aesthetic and local sourcing. Madison is a Black and Latinx designer based out of Seattle, and in addition to using her work to break down structures like harmful mining and batch production, she socially breaks convention with beautifully and non-traditional engagement rings.
Featuring salt-and-pepper and rose-cut, plus diamonds, uniquely shaped stones, Madison hand selects stones and uses recycled materials to make durable and distinct pieces. Madison does more than just engagement rings, also creating lines of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that have a modern feel with classic inspiration.
Owner: Denise R. Kennedy
Date Opened: 2018
Location: Riverside California
Denise R. Kennedy’s plus size boutique has been operational as an online store since 2018, and specializes in African inspired dresses and skirts. Denise’s mission is to supply clothing that compliments the curves of plus-sized women.
Denise likes to find distinctive pieces that transition well from office to evening, so that customers don’t look like everyone else. Her online boutique offers headwraps, with instructional videos on her youtube channel, in addition to maxi dresses, skirts, romper suits, palazzo pants and purses. This is a passion project and second career for Kennedy, and features different collections with prints that are vibrant, fun, and perfect for the curvy body.
Hear more about Denise Kennedy on the Blog Talk Radio Podcast and shop the Shirley Girl Boutique Here
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