Year after year I struggle to figure out what to get people for the holidays. As someone who battles with rampant consumerism (really only recently, I am a reformed shopaholic), I generally lean towards handmade gifts. However, a craft fair caught my eye and I figured I would go support some local artists.
My only condition was that I would only shop from POC owned shops. At a craft fair in NYC with over 200 vendors, this shouldn’t have been a hard task.
Well, to my surprise, it was hard. By my count, there were only about 20 shops owned by POC. All of the others were white artists looking to sell their products, or white companies selling “artisanal” products made by POC in other countries.
So if you’re like me and want to shop small and support POC artists this holiday season, this gift guide is for you.
Meaning “smile + laughter” in Swahili, Kicheko Goods is a social impact brand founded by an Asian American artist, Sarah Bayot. Based in Washington, DC, Kicheko creates distinctive pieces that invest in education.
Their beautiful jewelry caught my eye while I was at a craft fair, where I learned that their pieces are created in small batches, and that each piece purchased sends a student to school for a month. Their pieces are both elegant and fun, and I simply fell in love.
Kicheko provides scholarships built to break the cycles of poverty by partnering with families and schools to provide children with access to education. To date, they have provided access to over 2,000 months of primary school in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Words of affirmation are wonderful things to share with people, but are also great for yourself. rayo & honey creates home decor, totes, and other goodies with affirmations meant to rally you, push you, and strengthen you. Handmade by Roachele Negron, a black designer on a mission, these items are infused with good vibes and some black girl magic!
Mud To Life provides beautiful and unique ceramic pieces that are either individually wheel thrown or hand-built by Asian American artist, Geesun Lee. These minimalist pieces are one of a kind, inspired by nature and beautiful things in daily life.
The piglet planters are adorable and, coming from a self-proclaimed plant lady, I just want to make my home a pigsty with these!
Satya + Sage is a line of handmade, eco-friendly candles and home fragrance products inspired by self-care. The aromas are formulated to remind you to slow down, uplift yourself, and create your own sacred space.
Each candle is made with 100% vegetable and coconut wax. Candles are created with a cotton wick and an infusion of essential oils with phthalate-free, premium grade fragrance oils. All the candles are dye and zinc free.
A percentage of profits are donated to a private non-profit focused on underserved youth.
A family owned brand headed by an Asian couple, AOKO NOKO is passionate about creating lasting and neutral unisex pieces that can be passed from one child to the next.
The majority of the pieces are made in the USA, and their Pima cotton yarns are sourced from a socially-conscious factory in Peru which empowers women and gives jobs back to the locals in the community.
I love gender-neutral clothing (especially for kids, who outgrow their clothes so quickly) and these pieces are fun and modern, perfect for all. I wish they’d come out with an adult clothing line!
Hand-crafted in Harlem, New York by Japanese artist Maiko Suzuki, these one-of-a-kind pieces are inspired by different cultures from Islamic art to African sculpture and architecture. Minimalist jewelry that exudes beauty and strength, these pieces are made-to-order just for you.
I love how bold and elegant these pieces are, it’s like everything just screams QUEEN.
Okay so, maybe it’s weird to include food in a gift guide, but Ocka Treats really takes the cake. Their snacks and cakes are so amazingly tasty. This Asian duo is focused on creating healthy treats that are plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, and Paleo-friendly.
Order a custom treat and have it delivered to your favorite people (or yourself!), or if you live in New York City, find their pop-ups all over the city! PLUS, if you visit their website, they actually have recipes to share so you can try your hand at making these delicious snacks!
Price Range: Orders are custom made, prices differ
My Picks: Matcha Bliss Bite