What’s a great way to celebrate Black History Month? Spending your dollars and time with Black-founded businesses, brands and events.
These days, many of us are much more intentional about where we spend our money and how our choices impact our communities. One of the first steps to creating equity for marginalized communities is by focusing on economic impact.
Black Businesses to Support
Check out some of our favorite local Black-founded businesses and brands. Pull up in-person or support them online.
Let’s start in Northwest D.C. with my childhood friend turned D.C. staple, Angel of The Spice Suite. From its inception in 2015, Angel has used her brick and mortar store not only to share spices sourced from around the world, but as a hub for mentorship, business opportunities and sisterhood. She created the SpiceGirls, a collective of Black women entrepreneurs who each have growing businesses. When Angel isn’t killing it as an entrepreneur, she is working as the co-founder of DC or Nothing Inc., a nonprofit organization that advocates for social justice, equity and economic inclusion for Native Washingtonians.
Want to take your at-home cocktails up a notch? Chrissy of Charismatic Creations is my go-to beverage and hospitality expert. From services like full-scale development of restaurant beverage programs to creating signature drinks and experiences for your special event, Charismatic Creations has you covered. Shop her premium drink infusions and barware online today.
Prefer beer? Grab a six-pack or glass of Soul Mega Beer from one of these local stores and restaurants. Founded by Elliot and Jahi, two young Black men based in D.C., Soul Mega is on a mission to be recognized and respected within the booming craft beer industry. This duo has definitely added a bit of diversity to the local beer scene.
Anifa, founder of the brand Hanifa, designs the type of clothes and shoes a girl dreams about. From bold colors and prints to silhouettes flattering to all body types, Anifa uses her creative eye to merge femininity and luxury. These days, Hanifa is being recognized everywhere. Anifa’s designs have been worn by legendary figures including Gabrielle Union, Bella Hadid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary J. Blige, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross and Melissa McCarthy.
Dreams of Triumph is not just a clothing company that uses inspiring and thought-provoking messaging on its design — it’s a brand that uses its platform for community outreach and advocacy. From mentoring programs for students in Southeast D.C., to donating proceeds from popup shops to nonprofit organizations, Dreams of Triumph is a brand you should stick with.
Now you’ve got your meal, pregame cocktail and outfit locked down, grab a signature body butter, sugar scrub or fragrance from Zen in a Jar. This health and wellness brand created by ray of sunshine Nikki Brooks uses aromatherapy to alleviate stress and boost your serotonin. With a wide variety of scents to choose from, the girls say start with Pink Cashmere. It’s the scent that put the brand on the map. Zen in a Jar will be opening its first brick and mortar store this spring in the DMV.
Are you a plant parent who sucks at plantcare? Soulfully STEMulated, founded by besties and native Washingtonians Joy and Crystal, is a plant care, curation and design company. The duo will shop for your home or business, find the perfect plants for your space, provide maintenance for your hard-to-care-for plants and will provide plant pest control for those little critters that sneak in. Upgrade the space you love with beautiful plant decor and maintenance from this Black women-owned company.
Save the Date: Five Local Black Events to Attend
We’ve gotten our food, outfit, skin and home decor in order. Now let’s get out (or stay in) to support some in-person and virtual Black experiences.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be at the Kennedy Center this month. Since I went to my first Ailey show with my dance school as a kid, I have been awe-inspired by the technique, talent and sheer power of dancers in the company.
Nubian Hueman is a retail concept that focuses on fashion apparel, accessories, art and beauty brands reflecting the African Diaspora. The store, with locations in Anacostia D.C. and Baltimore, has a ton of small business pop-up shops, community events and workshops this month. Click here to check out their event calendar.
The National African American Roller Skating Archive is hosting an exhibit that tells the story of the origins of roller skating from the 1920s to present through the lens of the Black community. I wasn’t blessed with the “Black skater gene,” but I will definitely be attending this exhibit decked out in a look I would wear while skating.
If you’re into photography you’ll want to attend BlkArthouse’s “Attacks on Democracy,” an exhibition reframing the January 6 insurrection through Black photojournalism at Gallery O. In a hostile crowd surrounded by white supremacy and pure chaos, Black photographer Shedrick Pelt stood in the middle to capture this dark moment in our history.
About the Author
Kelcie has a marketing consulting agency where she focuses on brand development, marketing automation, integrated digital campaigns and social media optimization. Her client-based projects have allowed her to have on-going relationships with major brands like Amazon, Bozzuto, Kettler, Apple, Nordstrom, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Samsung, and many others. She has worked with major brands like Amazon, Jack Daniels, and Nordstrom on inclusivity initiatives, often developing brand strategies for new markets.
She also has expertise in political communication and messaging, policy and advocacy, and has worked with several progressive organizations. She was a communications consultant for two elected D.C. council members and has led digital marketing and organizing for three campaigns for the Communications Workers of America, helping the union find frontline workers who deserve more protection and job security.
Her professional goals are to not only share marketing tools and resources with marginalized communities, but to make sure business owners (both small and large) have a more robust and integrated approach to their digital marketing efforts.
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