Having worked from a young age at my mother’s small business, supporting Women of Color-owned small businesses is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Small businesses bring so much culture and character, and are often bastions of their community, yet are so much more vulnerable, especially with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. BIPOC and Communities of Color have been powerfully impacted by the pandemic, and it’s as important as ever to make sure we continue to amplify their voices.
In celebration of the fortitude shown by BIWOC and WOC entrepreneurs, I am honored to be sharing a series of interviews from 5 amazing small businesses and organizations that you can support this holiday season (and beyond)! You’ll find the list and links to their interviews below.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know these women (either through Instagram/the Seattle community, or through these interviews), and their dedication to their craft and the missions of their organizations is truly inspiring. Special thanks to them for taking the time to interview with me and share their wisdom!
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’d love to hear your ideas on more Black-owned and POC-run brands that you love!
SEATTLE-BASED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT
1. Samantha Leung of Hemleva.
Samantha is the designer, entrepreneur, and business owner behind HEMLEVA, where she designs beautiful botanical-inspired accessories.
In addition to being an amazingly kind and thoughtful person, Sam uses her platform (reaching 138,000+ people across the world) to amplify other BIPOC and POC-owned small businesses. I love her plant-themed pins, her suncatchers, and keychains – they make perfect gifts for your favorite plant lover! Read my full interview with her HERE.
2. Tash Haynes of Wisdom and Courage.
Tash Haynes is the owner of Wisdom & Courage, a blog dedicated to family, faith, entrepreneurship and travel. She is a Haitian American who is passionate about working motherhood, Black family travel and seeing women take a leap with their dreams. She is an authentic and beautiful soul who uplifts those around her – you can read my interview with her HERE.
3. Erin Page, Leah Kim, and Matthew Kim of Elm Candle Bar.
Erin Page, Leah Kim, and Matthew Kim are the owners of Elm Candle Bar and have brought an amazing, family-owned, custom-poured candle experience to Capitol Hill, Seattle. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting their local store pre-COVID and having a custom-made candle making experience at home with my parents during quarantine. Check out my interview with them HERE.
A couple of photos from our at-home candle-creation process earlier this year:
SEATTLE-BASED ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT
1. Laura Clise of Intentionalist.
Laura Clise is a passionate and magnanimous social impact instigator. Her organization, Intentionalist, believes that where we spend our money matters, and that “everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop are an opportunity to connect with and support the small businesses at the heart of our communities.”
Laura and her team have been doing incredible work to increase transparency, awareness of, and support for small businesses, encouraging us to #spendlikeitmatters.
On their website, you can search up businesses (Black-owned, Minority-owned, Native-owned, LGBTQ-owned, and more) across the US to suit your small-business needs (bakeries, restaurants, catering, spas, shopping, you name it!) You can read Laura’s interview HERE.
Find a local business for your needs at intentionalist.com
2. Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman of The Refugee Artisan Initiative.
Founded by Executive Director Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman, Refugee Artisan Initiative helps to create economic opportunity for low-income, recently-arrived refugee and immigrant women by providing sewing and handcrafting training and helping them start their own micro-businesses.
RAI has made over 80,000 masks and donated over 10,000 face masks and other protective gear to medical and frontline workers, first responders, senior citizens, marginalized communities, homeless populations, and fire victims across the country.
In Washington State, 34% of households headed by foreign-born women are living at or below poverty level (DSHS, 2015). The opportunities provided by RAI have been especially critical for refugee/immigrant families where one or both parents have lost their work due to COVID-19. Check out my interview with them HERE.
Support their online holiday shop and learn more about their organization at refugeesarts.org
Thank you to all of the lovely entrepreneurs for sharing their experiences and for taking the time to interview for this series! What other local small businesses do you love?