In light of ongoing events, it has become more important than ever to turn our focus to the Black Lives Matter movement. To quote author and poet Scott Woods, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. Along with committing to being actively anti-racist, donating, educating ourselves, and protesting safely, we can also help by putting our money towards black-owned businesses.
By supporting black-owned businesses – many of which were already facing the economic consequences of COVID-19 – we can begin to fight racial and economic inequality while uplifting and elevating black voices. Below are some links to sustainable Canadian businesses that are black-owned.
Bôhten – Eyewear
Bôhten is a Canadian-born company that specializes in eyewear (prescription, sunglasses, and blue-light) manufactured with sustainable materials sourced in Africa. Since it’s appearance on Dragon’s Den, Bôhten has continuously refined their offerings, exploring ways to innovate and transition its entire manufacturing process to Ghana.
The Green Jar Shop – Zero-Waste
The Green Jar Shop makes it easier to green our daily routine with its Ready to Go Kits, containing zero-waste essentials for home, travel, school, and baby. The Green Jar Shop’s Toronto West location also functions as a refillery, to help customers embrace a zero-waste lifestyle, one small step at a time.
Bellurelle – Personal Care
Bellurelle is 100%, vegan, animal cruelty-free, and handmade in Toronto. Specializing in affordable face oils and body butters, Bellurelle products are biodegradable, helping to ensure the health of our waterways and ecosystems.
Ellie Bianca – Personal Care
Ellie Bianca products are GMO-free, cruelty-free, certified-organic and sustainably-sourced. Ingredients such as shea butter and oil are sourced by the founder, Calgary-based Evelyne Nyairo, herself and aim to bring people closer to each other and the environment. Ellie Bianca is committed to fair trade with its fundamental ingredients purchased from women-run co-ops in Africa. In addition to its ethical business practices, Ellie Bianca backs the Ellie Bianca Foundation, an educational bursary award for single mothers pursuing post-secondary education.
Essentials by Temi – Personal Care
Drawing inspiration from the Yorùbá language and tribe of Nigeria, “Temi,” which translates to “Mine,” was created by founder Temi Shobowale. Essentials by Temi is based in Leslieville, Toronto and selectively sources high-quality vegan ingredients to produce all-natural affordable skincare designed to work with all skin types.
KEMSI Essentials – Personal Care
KEMSI Essentials is handcrafted in Toronto, with all ingredients locally and ethically-sourced. Specializing in affordable face oils, face mists, and soap bars, products come in unique scents like pineapple guava, champagne, butterscotch, and lemon peach bellini.
Mary’s Brigadeiro – Chocolate
Growing up in Sao Paulo, Mary discovered her love for handcrafted chocolate from her mother, who taught Mary family recipes. In Brazil, brigadeiro is synonymous with happiness, fun, and laughter. Mary’s Brigadeiro specializes in gourmet, handmade chocolate made with high-quality, local ingredients. In addition to chocolate, spreads and cookies are available for shipping from their Toronto East location.
Cup of Té – Tea
Cup of Té was created when founder Taylor Lindsay-Noel was determined to overcome a career-ending accident that left her paralyzed from the neck-down. Determined to look past her challenges, Taylor launched a business with a goal of providing fine loose-leaf organic tea and teaware at affordable prices. Based in Ontario, $1 from all their tea kits are donated towards mental health awareness programs.
Enarmoured – Jewellery
Enarmoured founder Jordan Clarke makes handcrafted, small-batch, fine-art jewellery with brass from her Toronto studio. Inspired by ancient armour, Enarmoured explores the idea of feminine and elegant protective adornment. Using both traditional and innovative techniques, all pieces are designed to be unique, wearable art.
Omi Woods – Jewellery
Omi means ‘water’ in the Yoruba language and pays tribute to founder Ashley Alexis McFarlane’s Jamaican-Ashanti-Maroon heritage. Omi Woods jewellery is individually and ethically handmade in Toronto with fair-trade African gold and globally-sourced conflict-free fine metals. All gold is sourced from small-scale artisanal mines that support communities by paying miners a fair wage. Omi Woods jewelry is intended to be worn everyday, gifted for special occasions and passed down for generations to come.
For further additional information, check out the resources below: