Good day, friends. I remember: when I started this blog I thought I might blog a little bit about media and geeky stuff, yes, but I also wanted to post about geek culture and “girly” things since I wanted to open the topic up for girls and young women who are so often excluded. So I imagined doing some shop reviews and shopping lists/gift guides … That kind of stuff.
All off that kind of ended up not happening. May it be due to lack of money or me just not needing anything or not wanting to buy anything or me just looking for something special and not finding it (I don’t need 20 nude lipsticks so I’d rather look for a more unique colour p.e.).
But due to the recent events happening in the US I got the idea to make a post about some cute and geeky black-owned online stores. I am a bit insecure at the moment because I would love to be supportive yet a) I am stuck over here in Europe and b) I am white and would not like to appropriate/abuse anything. I have been thinking about privilege a lot recently and even if I try (stressing try here. Because racism is so deep-seated … Let’s face it: We probably all are at least a little bit racist) not to contribute I am still profiting off of it by default. And I am also aware that a solution as simple as “Then don’t” doesn’t work. Especially not for everyone. And I have finding it quite hard to be an ally right now because I don’t really know where to start.
I come from a very white environment so it has never really been an issue I would directly experience or confronted with. So I’ve been trying to educate myself and diversify my environment and behaviours a little. I’m trying to find black creators (and by extention other creators of colour) and I am trying to diversify my feed a little (So if you know some, especially cosplayers and diyers please let me know!). I also took a look at my shopping behaviour and I want to try and support more black brands and look towards more diverse brands whenever I am actively buying something.
I cannot change the privilege I was born with but I can acknowledge it and try to shift it, educate myself and use whatever platform – even if it’s small – to spread support.
Now I can’t say that I never buy off of big companies, am never wasteful and don’t get indulgent at sometimes. I feel like we all do. But I’ve been trying to shop local and sustainable (It is quite hard though, especially since I am a student living in a small to medium town) so I might as well add that to my shopping agenda.
So I went on to research a little and found a couple of cute stores I’d like to share with you. Please remember: I didn’t order from most of these I just did some research and found some black-owned stores I think are cute.
Some I ordered from (I also donated to a couple of charities btw but I’ll do another post on that), some I sadly didn’t find anything (but wanted to) and some I can’t or do not want to afford right now, since I am trying to be a bit more conservative with my money and some (most) I would like to order from in the future and will definitely keep an eye out for.
These are a colourful mix and I also tried to include stores I personally wouldn’t buy from since they don’t fit my style or lifestyle yet I think are still interesting and might be useful for others.
Disclaimer: Technically I have to mark this off as an ad. It’s not. I’m not getting paid, I just did some research and wanted to do a good thing.
Adorned by Chi
An amazingly cute clothing store that sells anime, specifically magical-girl inspired and pastel goth/witchcraft inspired clothing in very soft colours.
The designs are cute but nothing I would probably wear or could wear with my current wardrobe so I didn’t order anything.
But Adorned by Chi isn’t just a clothing store. It’s a manga/comic as well. You can download the chapters on the site as well. 1-4 are currently 0$ while the latest release costs 3$ so well … I got it. I haven’t read it yet but I am excited to do so. From what I’ve gathered (In case you’re reading this: Your about site is offline) it’s a magical girl comic with black magical girls! A rare sight and I think a great initiative for young black girls. The site functions as some sort of support/deep dive into the manga’s world, so there’s a personality quiz as well as some playlists on there as well.
I am really glad I found this one and I am going to keep an eye on it (if only for the cute art style and the next issue coming out)
Ivy’s Tea Company
Remember when I said this was going to be a pretty mixed bunch? Yeah. I tried to include as many different creators as possible to give you some diversity but also to maybe be able to highlight some who may otherwise be missed.
Next on my list is a tea company. Ivy’s Tea Company to be precise. They have a relatively small collection of items yet all of them seem to be mixed and matched very carefully with all sorts of different customers in mind (there’s even one for coffee-drinkers) as well as different situations to use them in. This is where I get a bit critical (nothing major, though): I’ve noticed that a lot of their teas have some claims in their description regarding what they benefit for. Please take claims like this sceptically since not of them are scientifically proven. While some natural ingredients and ideas about tea may help with certain issue the scientific jury is still out on many (It is true, that heat relaxes since it makes blood vessels widen; it’s why swellings are usually red and warm to the touch).
Here’s the thing, though: If a hot cup of tea tastes good and makes you feel more comfortable that’s a good thing. It’s just not a substitute for actual medicine and medical treatment.
Still: They have an interesting an unique collection with teas that I haven’t really seen elsewhere so I wanted to order. Sadly international shipping is currently very limited and they don’t ship to Germany.
Another clothing store. Now I am personally not a decora fan/wearer and I feel like it’s popularity within the anime/manga community has gone down a bit (maybe I’m wrong).
Still: I love creativity and creative styles and I think they have become part of convention culture and fan culture as much as cosplayers and merch. So I always admire people wearing alternative clothing as specially clothing as bright and loud as Decora.
Sadly I feel like it’s another area of our subculture from which POC, especially black POC are mostly excluded, sometimes even actively.
They also have comic on sale on their page which I have also yet to read (but have bought).
Oh So Paper
Looking for some new stationary? Stickers? Notebooks? Well look no further. As a penpalling and bullet journaling enthusiast I am always looking for some new stationary to send out (I am also drowning in the stuff so I decided not to order).
Oh So Paper sells cute stickers and notebooks with recurring figures, inspirational quotes and bullet journaling supplies. They currently have some Black Lives Matter stickers on sale so maybe check those out.
Another shop I most definetely want to shop at in the future (but have to reevaluate what I want and if I truly need it first).
Not only is this brand-black owned it is also body-positive and – not to forget – incredibly cute. I have especially taken a liking to the “fat-phobic-tears”-cup and the “soft”-shirt.
Another body-positive clothing brand. According to their side all pieces tell a story and are inspired by specific women from the owner’s environment. The brand is all about being you, unapologetically.
They sell mostly text print shirts which I am not too much off a fan off (I have to really like the design or message or deeply identify with it) so I don’t think I personally will order from them soon. But that’s mainly due to my own tastes.
Feel free to check out their website maybe you’ll find something you like.
Purple Door New Orleans
Are you prepared to get spooky? Well maybe not. During my search for black owned online shops I stumbled across Purple Door. I must say: I didn’t expect to stumble across a witchcraft (Voodoo? Wicca? Please excuse I don’t feel educated enough to make a proper assumption so in case you know more, please tell me!) store. But it kind of fascinated me.
They sell all sorts of things from actual spellwork and ingredients to books about racism (one reason why they’re on the list). This feels like one of the stores you just have to look around for a while to find something. Even if you don’t: You’ll at least get an interesting experience out of it.
Now to me – a white girl from Europe – the place of New Orleans kind of seems to be an epicentre of black-american culture as well a deeply magical place. This is another reason why it’s on the list.
And: I would definitly see myself ordering something in the future! I feel a little bit enchanted, to be honest … Seems like the magic is working.
Seek the Wildflowers
More on the expensive side when it comes to the shops on this list (We’re talking about jewellery here!) and I probably won’t order soon due to financial restraints but I think Audra’s creations look stunning. If I ever feel like I’ll be able to afford it (I am making it sound worse than it is, we’re not talking million dollar jewellery here) I already have the Maui Rainbow Necklace in my mind …
The Quirk Shop
The Quirk Shop belongs to Quirktastic, a great poc-run site for quirky and nerdy people. And an amazing ressource I was so thankful for finding! A lot of the shops on here were found through one of their articles which I am going to link down below!
Their shop isn’t specific to certain franchises but sells merch more according to different sectors of nerd culture, such as gaming or anime. And they’re really cute so check them out!
Pink Bamboo Blossom
Less of a full on shop and more of a blog with a shop attached. Topics mainly include planning and journaling and I am so on boars. The shop itself offerst stickers and templates some of which are actually for free!
The Lip Bar
I am super bad with black makeup brands so this whole research started with me trying to find some to include into my routine. I think with make up and skincare I usually get into a routine that works and use it (especially with recurring things like concealer and foundation) so it is hard for me to mix it up so when I do I usually get lipsticks or eyeshadows.
The Lip Bar sells all that as well as powder, foundation, blush and all off those things. Their focus is on lips though, duh.
Their make up is made to fit all skintones and they usually have pictures of a light and a dark skinned model wearing them on their page.
And did I mention their products are vegan and cruelty free?
The Lip Bar offers all sorts of interesting and unique colours as well as classics such as reds and nudes. I am a bit insecure about ordering make-up online but I did anyways and I am excited about how it turned out!
First off: How cool is that name? Opals are so diverse and they can shine and shimmer in all sorts of different colours so I think that might have something to do with it …
Anyways: BLK/OPL focusses on getting the right shade of foundation for darker skin tones but they sell other make-up items as well as accessories and skincare.
I feel like their foundations are probably all too dark for me. And that’s totally fine. They weren’t made for me. I still wanted to highlight this brand since I think that they can keep up with drugstore prices (though on the higher end) and they bring some colour into the awfully pale world of beauty.
They do sell some “Skin Brightening” products on their website which I am not sure what to think off. I think they’re just for evening out complexion and making you “glow” and not actual skin whitening which if the latter would be the case I’d be a little disappointed. In case you know more please let me know and I will adjust this post accordingly.
Gosh, onto one of my favourite entries on the list. They were all sold out though … But that’s okay. I feel like this company is still a little small and they are producing in low quantities so I’ll just keep an eye out (because they actually offer international shipping!)
Cantrip Candles are inspired by pen and paper roleplaying and certain fantasy location. They also sell some accessories (like really cute matchboxes) on their site.
I know there’s a lot of “nerdy candle”-type stores out there but Cantrip Candles really takes the cake. They don’t rely on specific franchises and they chose a topic which is essential to nerd culture yet still treated as a niche hobby.
So: Why not light up your room with a new candle?
Bow and Crossbones
Another one of my favourites and one I’ve wanted to order from in a while. They sell a vast array of vintage inspired and retro jewellery and what drew me to them where there bangles and brooches (I love brooches). I also went on to order something off there and I can’t wait for it to arrive.
But why don’t you check it out yourself?
For some more info:
I hope you enjoyed this post and that I was able to shine a light on some black-owned online stores. I have certainly found many new ones and I think I learnt something today.
I’ve also added some other ressources here down below in case you want to do more than just support specific people.
Thank you so much for reading! Stay safe!
People have been putting up Youtube videos that you can run in the background to then donate the ad revenue:
Here’s one by @KRISTINISANGRY on twitter:
Here’s one by @glossedchaos on tumblr: