With the holiday season rapidly approaching, knowing just the right gift to give may be tricky. But, there are still three days until Christmas. For anyone who still feels like summer was last week — this one is for you. There is still time to get something unique and with a personal touch. Here are a few businesses owned by women of color, and gift ideas to get you to the finish line.
Plants for Skin LLC on Butler Street in Lawrenceville is owned by Monae Findley, who is originally from Jamaica. Findley created her business in 2019 because she wanted to offer “healthy and vegan skincare products to women,” according to their website. The brand also promotes self-love and positivity. Plants for Skin offers a range of products from skincare to hair care. They also have a men’s line. In addition to their product offerings, visitors can book D.I.Y workshops.
Be Balanced Essentials, an online business based in Braddock created by owner Bryanna Dixon, who has been crafting for more than 15 years. She began making jewelry and soaps. The store offers fragrances, soaps, crystals, jewelry and gemstones.
Levi’s Kozy Korner is a Black-owned family business founded by Chelsea Thomas — it’s named after her son, Levi. Their offerings include chunky chenille blankets, pillows and apparel. They also offer gift cards. “Our scarves make great gifts,” Thomas said.
Lipstyck Lab on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill was founded by licensed cosmetologist Jae’. Her lipsticks focus on custom creations. They offer a “Lipstyck Lab Custom Lip Color Session,” which is two hours long. It allows guests to create their own custom blend lip color that can be made into a Lipstyck or Lip Gloss. The session can be purchased for one or as many as a group of 10. Lipstyck Lab also offers gift cards.
Knotzland Bowtie Co., the Wilkinsburg business founded in 2015 by Nisha Blackwell, reuses discarded textiles by turning them into bowties right here in Pittsburgh. Some of their featured items include a special “Grinch White Holiday Edition Bowtie” and a “Knotzland Yule Bowtie.” They also accommodate custom bowtie and wedding bowtie requests. Knotzland provides gift cards and also sells candles, like the “dark musk and plum” candle. In 2018 they were named “Best Local Brand” by The Manual — The Essential Guide for Men.
Soil Sisters Plant Nursery is owned by sisters Raynise Kelly and TaRay Kelly, whose goal is to provide more access to fresh food by partnering with growers. According to their website, the owners’ mission is to address the importance of needs of local communities who “are lacking resources, knowledge and accessibility to fresh produce and seedlings.” For those with a green thumb and who enjoy growing their own food, the Soil Sauce by Ecotone, a liquid plant fertilizer, could make a good stocking stuffer. Soil Sisters is located on Beltzhoover Avenue in Allentown.
Laverne Kemp Studios, the online studio based in Pittsburgh, sells artistic wearables and home goods. Owner La Verne Kemp is a fiberglass artist and her work incorporates “loom weaving, hand-made felt, traditional and Japanese Shibori dying techniques and beading,” according to her website. Some of her offerings include statement jewelry pieces, scarfs, ponchos and home décor. All products are currently 20% off.
YOGAMOTIF, owned by Alecia Dawn, was founded in 2018. The virtual studio with on-demand classes and workshops offers yoga classes to youth, pregnant people, and the community at large, according to their website. Dawn’s goal was to “make space to center Black women in healing and … to support her community with joyful and gentle prenatal and art yoga classes.” In addition, they also offer yoga paint party workshops. A virtual membership or single-day stream can be purchased.
Ujamaa Collective in the Hill District is a fair-trade cooperative nonprofit with a mix of products from different entrepreneurs, including a 500-piece African American Expressions puzzle. The Ujamaa Collective was founded in 2008 by several women activists with a social mission “to act as a catalyst to advance Africana Women by providing a fair trade marketplace for cultural, artistic and entrepreneurial exchange through cooperative economics,” as stated on their website. Currently, some of their offerings also include African American holiday cards and an onyx note cuff.
Lelia’s Natural Care Line is an online business based in Pittsburgh. Owner Lelia Broughton, an author, parenting coach and mother, founded the business in 2019. Her all natural product line is meant to soothe and heal the body. Broughton said she recommends the shea butter. “Also, the eczema cream works really well for people who suffer from eczema and psoriasis,” Broughton said.
Blanket & Board, an online business based in Homestead, was founded by Tierra Thorne, a licensed social worker in 2020, “explores the intersections of food, wellness, connection, business,” according to her website. Their offerings include charcuterie boxes, gift boxes and curated event services, like picnics and engagement celebrations.
Shaylah Brown is a TribLive reporter covering art, culture and communities of color. A New Jersey native, she joined the Trib in 2023. When she’s not working, Shaylah dives into the worlds of art, wellness and the latest romance novels. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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