As a general life rule, we prefer to give presents that whisper, I know you best, but also, I just know best. We try to shop from eco-friendly brands, we value stuff that's going to last a long time, and we like to give things that feed our senses, like ethical spice blends, natural perfumes, and essential oil diffusers, because we are sensory folks with a penchant for Cozy Hermit Life. That’s why this [points to single, falling leaf] is not only our season for thriving, but giving, and as the gift giving amps up during the holiday season, it’s important to support Black-owned businesses amongst your smorgasbord of prezzies. So many business owners took a blow from COVID-19, but Black-owned businesses in particular were hit the hardest, and this is a crucial time to show support.
Don’t know where to look? There are literally entire search engines out there that will find Black-owned products and brands, such as NILE, and digital craft marketplaces including Etsy make a point of highlighting Black creators. We also have a dank short-list of Black-owned brands in, how shall we say, ~green~ industries that we love, and a bunch of other rad wellness, home, and apparel brands that are ripe for Gifting Saïsón and beyond that make up part of Black+, which is a VICE initiative with The National Urban League that provides Black-owned businesses with pro bono media campaigns, creative marketing services, and more.
The following gift ideas are all from Black-owned brands, and while they fit in quite snugly with this cider-sipping, 10-hour-long YouTube fireplace (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it) cozy weather, they are also presents for every other day of the Hot Gregorian Calendar, because they coddle us in plush fabrics, spoil us with kombucha, and have us smashin’ that order button for more.
A velvet hair wrap
Cee Cee’s Closet is a New York City brand making luxury silk-lined headwraps, African print headwraps, and various hair accessories and apparel. It was founded by sisters Uchenna and Chioma Ngwudo, who continue to collaborate specifically with Nigerian tailors for their designs, which are equal parts practical and ~aesthetic~ with their plush materials.
For the coffee-know-it-all buddy
They’ve tried the Aeropress, the French press, and the best coffee subscription boxes. Hell, they’ve even tried that viral coffee alternative that kind of tastes like delicious mud, MUD\WTR. What they haven’t tried is a full-bodied, bright roast by On the Go Jo, a coffee and tea company that is all produced and roasted by Black women. These blends are like a forehead kiss for breakfast.
A purse that deserves its own David Lynch movie
Cool. Verrrrrry cool. Anima Iris’ graphic purses have been worn by Beyoncé and have big Main Character energy. This snake-print leather handbag rolled right out of the 1980s, and deserves to sit shotgun in a creamy Cadillac Eldorado on down the PCH.
A fresh pair of joggers to live in this winter
Black Owned Everything is a marketplace for everything its name promises, from home goods and decor to apparel and wellness items—and all from Black-owned brands that sell out fast. We have literally worn a hole in our joggers from last House Hermit Saïsón, and this pair of 100%-cotton sweatpants is a key piece for our upcoming winter avatar.
Lay on the essential oils
Essential oils and body products are pretty personal, so make sure you know that your bud actually likes Sandalwood before you douse them with the stuff. Perfect Blue Alchemy is both woman- and minority-owned, and handcrafts all of its vegan perfumes and oils with natural and earthy ingredients including Pine, Fir, and others that will make you feel like a wise, anthropomorphic tree. The Body & Beard Elixir is the brand’s essential men's product, and great for moisturizing both skin and hair.
As for body oils, check out Cee Cee’s Closet for a gentle grapeseed and moringa oil blend:
The sober aperitivo setup
Pulling up to a brunch where some non-alcoholic bevvies would be appreciated? Are you off the sauce, or just want to take a break from drinking at every holiday function? We are about to slide into a season that is so goddamn laden and creative with different ways to drink booze that eggnog literally exists. Think about that. (No shame; we nog.) Bring some ginger and peach kombucha by Soul Brew to the mixer for a bit of bubbles, and pair with nibbles by Moonshot Snacks, which is not only a carbon-neutral snack company, but the makers of a rosemary garlic cracker worthy of Strega Nona.
Create the faux fireplace effect
Candles are to gifts what olive oil is to kale: Always a great idea for a more relaxed vibe. There’s nothing wrong with a little PSL-scented flame by L’Arome, if you’re gifting during the fall, but we’re smitten with this medley of its architectural pillars and shaped candles that makes us feel richer.
A tisket, a tasket
A reaaaaaally nice basket for your bike. This one from Black-owned marketplace Goodee is such a head-turner, it deserves to take our favorite nephew down the Nile. Or at least hold all of our farmers market bounty.
They’ll enjoy the ritual of matcha prep
Does your giftee enjoy life’s everyday rituals? Are they the first to stomp on the recycling boxes, and clean out the shower drain? Of course they do. That’s why we love them. If they haven’t tried matcha yet, gift them this blend, which is made of 100% pure, shade-grown green tea leaves from Uji, Japan and created by one of Brooklyn’s best wellness brands, Golde.
This one’s really a gift for you…
Sweet potato biscuits with jam, hELLO. Uncommon Goods (which is a caterer of unordinary stuff that constantly distracts us at work) has tons of great stuff in its curated section of Black-owned brands for your pleasure, but this easy bake biscuit situation is the key to our heart. It was whipped up by Ashley Rouse, a chef of 15 years based out of New York who uses locally sourced, vegan ingredients.
If you need a night-before gift
Have you tried exploring the wonderful world of subscription boxes? They’ve saved our bums on more than one holiday (sorry Mom; sorry god) and/or birthday. They’re also a great gift option if you live far away from your giftee. Cratejoy has a diverse selection of Black-owned boxes, from wellness to journaling and more. If they’re a reader (or want to be), hook them up with the BlackLIT box, which was curated by an educator and includes one brand-new book by a Black author, one T-shirt by a Black creative, three to five products from Black-owned businesses, and five discussion questions so you can engage in thoughtful dialogue about the box’s contents.
*~Aesthetic~* shaving gel
Oui the People was founded within the ethos of making beauty and wellness products less cringe, and far more celebratory of our natural bodies. The packaging is worthy of a 1970s wet dream, the ingredients are delightfully un-scary, and you’ll never find any “anti-aging” or “flawless” language. Their rose gold safety razor deserves its own altar, and their milky shaving gel, which includes dandelion root (an anti-inflammatory) and aloe vera (bigggg skin soother) has a clean, but not flowery scent of subtle jasmine, grapefruit, orange blossom, and neroli.
Happy shopping, you walking cornucopia. You’re our favorite friend.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.