This February, the Passion Lilie team hopes you’ll join us in using our spending power to help elevate Black-owned businesses. Did you know that, historically, Black business owners have faced more difficulty raising capital and obtaining loans to start their companies? Even with the same credit worthiness, need for financing, business types and human capital, Black business owners have a harder time accessing loans and financing than people in other racial groups.
These inequalities were deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the number of black business owners plunged by more than 40 percent – a far steeper drop than the 22 percent decline of business owners as a whole. According to The Washington Post, “Experts have voiced concerns that wealth gaps, trouble accessing government aid and concentrations in reeling industries have left these companies and the families they support more vulnerable to the pandemic’s fallout.”
It's up to us, the consumers, to research the brands we support and put our money where our mouths are. Every like and share helps bring awareness to small businesses, but using our purchasing power to uplift their work is the best way to give Black-owned businesses the currency, acknowledgement, and space they have earned.
We do our best to support Black-owned businesses all year, and we want to share a few of our favorites with you so that you can, too. Please share your favorite Black-owned businesses in the comments!
Founded by: Mimi Striplin
Located: Charleston, South Carolina
Why we love The Tiny Tassel: You know those Instagram accounts that just fill you with joy as you’re scrolling through? The Tiny Tassel does that for us. Mimi’s feed is bursting with color and happiness. What started as handmade tassel earrings has now become a beautiful flagship store in the heart of Charleston, SC filled with jewelry, garments and handbags. One of our favorite things about The Tiny Tassel is that Mimi’s mom, Keiko Striplin, designs and makes all of the shop’s clothing and headbands! The Tiny Tassel truly has something for everyone. Take a look at Mimi’s unbelievable jewelry collection and you’ll find yourself thinking of gifts for everyone you know – just be sure to get something for yourself while you’re at it!
Founded by: Liya Kebede
Located in: Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco
Why we love lemlem: Lemlem means “to bloom and flourish” in the Ethiopian language of Amhari. Lemlem’s founder, supermodel Liya Kebede, describes her brand as “a label of love, celebrating women and nature”. Lemlem and Passion Lilie have so much in common – both are inspired by the handwoven patterns and vibrant colors of the places where they’re crafted, and both have a focus on eco-friendly production. Liya created lemlem after visiting her native country of Ethiopia and realizing that local artisans were losing their jobs. She wanted to preserve the ancient artform and create jobs for local creators. Liya says, “By employing traditional weavers, we’re trying to break their cycle of poverty, while preserving the art of weaving, to create modern, casual, comfortable clothes that we really want to wear.”
We really do want to wear them! Lemlem’s caftans are actual works of art. They’re colorful and incredibly soft. Best of all, 5% of each purchase supports the lemlem Foundation, which helps create a pathway out of poverty for women artisans in Africa through programs that promote better access to healthcare, job opportunities, and responsible production.
Founded by: Taylor Jay
Location: Oakland, CA
Why we love Taylor Jay: We absolutely love Taylor’s focus on inclusion. She designs each piece to be adjustable for all body types so that women can feel comfortable in their own skin. Born out of Taylor’s frustration that the fashion industry wasn’t catering to her body type, Taylor Jay clothes are adaptable with generous sizing and smart design features to guarantee a perfect fit. Taylor Jay is an inspiration for black-owned business women and entrepreneurs.
We adore Taylor Jay’s berry jumper for an outfit that can be worn with sneakers on errand day or heels and jewelry for a night on the town. Chic enough for a party and comfy enough for lounging? Sign us right up!
Founded by: Dr. Kristian Edwards
Location: All over!
Why we love BLK + GRN: Dr. Edwards is on a mission. Well, two missions to be exact: BLK + GRN aims to bring non-toxic products to Black women and to fund the Black-owned businesses who create these non-toxic products. BLK + GRN is a marketplace that unites Black women who believe that “products that are used on people’s bodies and brought into their homes should not contain toxic ingredients that threaten their wellness or health.”
At BLK + GRN, more than 136 artisans create health and wellness products that are high quality and eco-friendly. Their Dinobi Gentle Laundry Detergent is perfect for washing your Passion Lilie products (and everything else in the hamper). It’s safe enough for babies and pets and uses only four botanical ingredients! Clothes come out fresh and clean without causing skin irritation. BLK + GRN is an excellent Black-owned business you can support whenever you’re replacing products you use in your medicine cabinet, makeup bag, or cleaning closet. Before heading to a big name store, see what BLK + GRN artisans can make for you instead! We know you’ll be happy you did.
Founded by: Brittany Kozerski
Location: Designed in NYC/Made in LA
Why we love JADE Swim: Responsibly sourced. Recycled and regenerated materials. Toxic-free. Solid colored fabrics = reduced water usage. Slow fashion. Oh, and did we mention STUNNING? Brittany has created a timeless swimwear brand that combines a minimalist aesthetic with innovative silhouettes and unique design details. She uses luxe fabrics that are made from 100% regenerated nylon, reducing waste from oceans and landfills.
Brittany wants her swimsuits to last forever – a timeless, stylish piece you can use year after year. She says she stresses the importance of the swimsuit lining: it’s what gives the garment a shaping and sculpting effect. Her swimsuits don’t need any of the extra hardware because the double lining creates the perfect silhouette. Check out JADE Swim’s latest lookbook here, and get ready for swimsuit season!
We hope this list of brands we love will help you support a Black-owned business this month and be inspired to seek out others throughout the year! Please let us know what other brands you love so we can join you in supporting them.