If you had to take a quick guess, what would you say is the most celebrated holiday tradition? (Hint: It starts with an “S”)
No, not Santa Clause, my friends. The answer is shopping. And for Black shoppers, in particular, the holiday season is a time to exercise that $1.3 trillion in spending power more voraciously than ever.
Unfortunately, only a small chunk of those dollars are spent at Black-owned businesses.
Even so, with growing support of an economic boycott on Black Friday, the social incentive for African Americans to “buy Black” is arguably at its height. According to a Northwestern University study, over half a million jobs could be created if Blacks with disposable income spent $1 of every $10 at a Black-owned business.
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As Black unemployment rises to nearly double that of Whites, a St. Louis startup is merging the buy Black movement with social media to empower African American consumers in a creative way. Launched in October, the Yelp-inspired mobile app features a directory of Black-owned businesses and events in major cities around the country. Called Tuloko, the application aims to familiarize shoppers (and their wallets) with these local businesses, thereby cutting at the racial gap in unemployment.
Wondering how you can join Tuloko in support of Black enterprise? Spend your dollars wisely and shop your holiday essentials with these Black-owned businesses.
FOR THE TABLE
The holidays play host to some of the greatest meals of the year. Support Black farmers and bring fresh produce to your holiday dinner table with groceries from a local farmers market. While many Black farmers escape the cold and fly south for the winter, there are some who hold events year-round, including Five Seeds Farms in Baltimore. Check out this list of Black farmers to buy from to find a market near you.
However, you don’t have to travel farther than your neighborhood to support Black business. Chances are your local supermarket is stocked with everything from fresh greens and cooking bases to premium cake recipes from Black-owned food brands such as Glory Foods and Comfort Cake Mix.
FOR THE TREE
Decorations are perhaps the most visible displays of holiday cheer. If you’re looking to add some cultural flair to your decor this season, toss those old twinkling lights and replace them with African-American ornaments like Black Santa or (even better) Black Jesus from It’s a Black Thang.
FOR THE TURN UP
Speaking of ornaments, dazzle your relatives and make your ex swoon at this year’s festivities with a little holiday primping. You can channel your inner Beyonce with some gold foil tattoos by Melanie Marie or get your mistletoe game right with some bold lip liqueurs from The Lip Bar.
Oh, and remember, a party ain’t a party without a little wine. Treat yo’self and your guests to a glass of the good stuff from one of these Black-owned wineries and vineyards.
FOR THE KIDS
One of the fondest holiday memories for parents is the pitter-pattering of little feet running to see what Santa left under the tree. Give your little one a present that helps them appreciate all their kinks and coils with these natural hair dolls by Natural Girls United.
FOR THE MAN IN YOUR LIFE
Shopping for your dad or the father figure in your life can be a real challenge. When in doubt, keep it simple with wardrobe staples. Buy Black and get pops in the holiday spirit with a pair of printed socks from Gentleman’s Choice Kollection or keep him looking dapper with a handcrafted bowtie by Knotted.
But, feel free to get a little more creative when it comes to “bae”. Get your love a gift that fits both of you with some perfectly nude lingerie from Nubian Skin.
FOR THE SOUL
The holidays are also a time to take a much-needed break from work responsibilities and do some soul searching. Get ready to run that bath water and sip some organic and specialty teas from shops like Gullah Girl Tea and Bundts and Crumpets. And while you’re at it, really set the mood and indulge all your senses with some aromatic candles from Simply Scents.
FOR THE MIND
Give the gift of mindfulness this year with a present you can open over and over again – a book.
From Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates to The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae, there was no shortage of literary gems from Black writers this year. Check out this list of recent gems published by African American authors for the perfect find for your favorite bookworm.
FOR THE FRUGAL
Whoever said it was the thought that counts was absolutely right!. For folks on a budget, keep it simple and cost effective with a sentimental personal message on an African-American inspired e-card from Cowrie Cards.
Did we miss something? Share more more Black-owned businesses in the comments below.
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