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Shop Black for the holidays

Gift ideas abound at local Black-owned businesses

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Shop Black for the holidays
Skincare products from Brown and Coconut make a great holiday gift. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BROWN AND COCONUT

Small businesses have been hit especially hard in the pandemic and need support more than ever. Here are just a few of the many Greater Boston-based Black-owned businesses to support during the holiday shopping season.

Tafari Wraps

Tafari Wraps provides handcrafted head wraps that blend the vibrancy and tradition of Caribbean and African styles with contemporary design. Run by mother and daughter Imani McFarlane and Delmeshia Haynes, the wraps are made using natural textiles and are meant to be as restorative as they are fashionable. Tafari Wraps also offers classes for wrapping the pieces in various styles.

Sisters Letisha and Zeena Brown, founders of Brown and Coconut. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BROWN AND COCONUT

Sisters Letisha and Zeena Brown, founders of Brown and Coconut. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BROWN AND COCONUT

Brown and Coconut

Medford, Massachusetts natives and sisters Letisha and Zeena Brown launched their unisex skincare line Brown and Coconut after years battling their own sensitive skin challenges like acne and eczema. Their products, ranging from facial oils and body bars to healing masks, are plant based, non-GMO and cruelty free.

Urban Grape

TJ and Hadley Douglas opened Urban Grape with the mission to make wine accessible and understandable to everyone. Their South End shop features wine, spirits, beer and sake. They showcase the wine in a system called progressive shelving that organizes the bottles by body rather than region or varietal. The Douglases literally wrote the book on modern wine consumption — seriously, it’s called “Drink Progressively” and it’s available for purchase in their shop.

Frugal Bookstore

Husband and wife duo Leonard and Clarissa Egerton have been running Frugal Bookstore for 12 years. The Nubian Square shop is dedicated to promoting literacy and the unparalleled feeling of holding a physical book and diving into its world. They stock a wide selection of new titles, children and teen books and classics and can order anything that can’t be found on the shelves.

195essential

195essential was developed this year by father and daughter Jason and Lena Harris as a way to give back to the frontline workers and others heavily impacted by the pandemic. They sell limited-edition T-shirts featuring designs by local and regional artists. Proceeds from the sales are donated to local and national charity organizations such as Seed the Vote and 1647. Proceeds from the purchase of essential worker shirts goes directly to purchasing a meal for a nurse or physician in Massachusetts.

Dorchester Art Project

Dorchester Art Project provides space, support and sales opportunities for local artists, and now it’s providing art-buying opportunities to the community. The DAP physical store in Fields Corner and online shop offer work by local artists in a variety of media from original paintings and prints to custom clothing and jewelry. Seventy percent of proceeds go to the artists; the rest is put back into the organization.

Fusion Dolls

Based in Brockton, Fusion Dolls was born of a mission to give parents easy access to Black dolls. Each doll comes with a story: Motivational Malika is a social justice warrior, Assertive Adelaida wants to help others, Kind Kinara is proud of her cultural heritage. The shop also offers outfits and accessories for the dolls, including an essential worker outfit complete with face mask and bonnets that can be worn by dolls, children and parents alike.

The TéSpa

Alexis Jones used her background in culinary arts to develop The TéSpa, a collection of tea-based products. Drinkable tea is offered in flavors ranging from citrus rose to golden masala. Jones also collaborated with another Black-owned business, Soap Her Girl, to offer a handmade lavender beauty bar of soap and a selection of lavender tea in a bundle. Other products like the hydrating face mist and roll-on tea oils are rooted in holistic healing practices.

Heir Azur

Fabiola Falaise and Aleshia Green founded the jewelry brand Heir Azur with the goal of providing a feeling of enlightenment and individuality to the wearers of their pieces. The delicate but powerful designs are meant to enhance the natural beauty of the person wearing them. The brand’s name combines royal inheritance in “heir” and the endless possibilities of a blue “azur” sky.  

SchnelleCares

Founded to help with the nationwide mask shortage, SchnelleCares sells reusable face masks in Batik, African, holiday and cotton prints as well as heritage designs featuring flags from various countries such as Haiti, Jamaica and Liberia. Masks are custom-made to order and a portion of all sales goes to the Boston Resiliency Fund.   

For more shopping options for other black owned businesses  you can find many of them at GetKonnected Marketplace.

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