The Clutch Life Blog - December 23, 2020 (5 mins)
The Black Owned Holiday Gift Guide
If this year has taught us one thing, it’s that shopping local is super important. Amazon, Walmart and other big box retailers have made billions during this pandemic and even with those goliaths making a killing, we have seen a massive emergence of small but powerful davids in the form of small businesses. Even moreso, we have seen this great push in support for Black Owned Businesses, and as a Black Owner myself, I appreciate the support tremendously. Therefore, with Christmas a couple days away, we are giving you the guide to do some last minute shopping with some of our fav brands and companies. Please follow, and support these amazing brands:
OMO BAMBOO SHOP is a plastic free reusable products company, passionate about providing sustainable and ocean friendly alternatives to single use plastics. The company’s mission is to free our oceans of plastic pollution while inspiring people to adopt more eco-conscious lifestyle choices. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the owner, Omowunmi who has been taking the GTA by storm in 2020. Despite the pandemic closures, this entrepreneur opened up her first retail store in Scarborough and has been featured on BlogTO! I’ve personally bought her products which including bamboo toothbrushes, travel mug, and sunglasses. In addition, she has an amazing assortment of soaps, detergents, health, beauty and hygiene products that are all eco-friendly, you can’t get better than that. And the prices are amazing!
J ANETBOUTIQUE is an African-print bags and accessories brand based in Canada, officially launched in 2017. They specialize in making the best handmade handbags, wallets and backpacks made of Kitenge and Maasai print African material. Just this year alone, they have expanded their handmade products to include bonnets, facemasks (that includes filters btw), scarves, beanies, necklaces, earrings and fanny packs. There is nothing like looking stylish with these beautiful everyday essentials. I’ve purchased several products from Janet and they are super high quality, affordable and durable. They are the perfect gift for family members or loved ones, and they won’t be disappointed.
LITE IT UP is a unique and dynamic business that is dedicated to providing high quality natural products, made with natural ingredients that nourishes the skin, body and hair made with love. Founded in 2004 in Toronto Canada, Lite It Up Candles was established after the Founders candle making hobby turned into a business. Using natural ingredients such as shea and cocoa butters, beeswax, coconut oil, essentials oils - Lite It Up manufactures deliciously smelling, luxurious whipped body butters, hand-crafted artisan natural soaps, soothing shea & olive body oils, moisturizing lip butters, exfoliating body scrubs and more! I’m telling you this, if you love your body and love smelling nice after a fresh shower, LiteItUp is the way to go. Some of my all time favs are the body & hair oils, whipped shea butter, incense, candles and natural deodorant. I’ve personally made the switch myself from Axe and Old Spice deodorants to Lite it Up Midnight Musk or Sandalwood & Vanilla and I am never going back! Lite it Up has year-round essentials that come in handy for great holiday gifts.
AFRA TORONTO specializes in African Print fashion but on a whole other level. She’s turned everyday fashion pieces like fashionable tops, dresses, jackets and trenchoats and given them that true African flare! Some of my favs are her reversible masks, pop sockets, headbands, satin reversible bonnets, and robes...yes I said Robes! My lil sister is obsessed with robes so I decided to get her a special Ankara robe/kimono and I’ve been dubbed the brother of the year (but that’s every year soooo). Either way, it was the perfect gift and I suggest you check out Afra Toronto on instagram because I know she does some custom orders too.
KOFI is legit one of the best artists to ever come out of Toronto! You really have to see the work as reading about it really doesn’t do the creativity justice but his canvas art always puts Black culture on display in the most authentic and humanizing way. More recently, he’s been able to share more of his art with digital prints that are absolutely perfect for your home office, living room and bedroom and makes any living space come alive. But the talent doesn’t stop there because I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him paint live at events which is a wonder to see. Not only that, he’s a humble hustler and is always working with other entrepreneurs throughout the city. I strongly suggest you grab some prints for your friends and family and if you don't believe me, see for yourself!
LIGNUM HONEY is a unique business that I had the pleasure of being introduced to via SundeSocial Pop Up Market (biggups) and it’s been awesome to see their growth this year! Lignum Honey sources it’s 100% natural raw honey exclusively from the finest apiaries in Jamaica and partnerships are firmly based on a commitment to natural and responsible practices. The taste is a result of Jamaica’s unique combination of tropical climate, virgin forests, nutrient rich soil, and indigenous floral sources. It is delicious and peerless to anywhere else on earth. This is not just regular honey, it’s an experience with flavors like Blue Mountain Coffee, Mango Blossom, Ginger and my personal fav Scotch Bonnet Pepper Honey (you should know I’m addicted to spice). I’ve already make some amany honey glazed wings and this stuff is to die for! Check out their amazing site and show some love!
EAST END VEGAN is another SundeSocial Superstar and when I met this pair of amazing Black Owners during the pop up market and I was super impressed! East End Vegan focuses on building truly AMAZING products that embody the spirit of doing what you can to make the world a better place for everyone. Their specialty are these amazing almond vegan almond cheese spreads that have unique flavours and taste amazing! And you already know me, I went straight for the Spicy (Scotch Bonnet) Almond Cheese spread but other flavours like Jammin' Jerk, OG Basil and What’s The Dill will definitely having you singing in a next octave! If you know any one who is vegan, into healthy products or wants to eat healthier (like we all should), East End Vegan is a great place to start! Check them out here!
CURLY DIVA CREATIONS is definitely one of my go-to businesses for custom cups and speciality gifts. If you know someone celebrating a birthday, engagements, or a new baby, trust that Curly Diva has you covered for some beautiful gift ideas. This year, she released these amazing Starbucks cups which are a big hit and are so fun to use! Plus when you can’t find a great gift on Amazon, custom is always the way to go and you should definitely think of Curly Diva for all your cutom gift ideas to commemorate special occasions.
PINNED UP is one of those shops that helped me understand the obsession with pins and I must say I am officially hooked! This Black Owned pin company uses inspiring messages on their elite pin designs and are the perfect accessory to add to your wardrobe. Beyond that, they have dad hats, trucker hats, fedoras and some great t-shirt designs, all Black inspired of course! Pins go anywhere, hats, t-shirts, sweaters, bags, so cop yours and go pin crazy.
These amazing Black Owned Brands have all been gracious enough to participate in our annual Care Package initiative as a giveback to our most loyal customers. It is our way of appreciating our customers while supporting local businesses because keeping the dollar circulating in our community is so "clutch". Please follow the brands above as they are all doing amazing things and be sure to support them ALL if you can! Happy Holidays!