Between a pandemic that slowed down the world, protests across the country, the Front Range fires, and a contentious presidential election, it’s time to spread a little joy in the world.
This year, many of us received a rude awakening to the inequities and racism that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) still experience. Many people have been left wondering what they can do to be part of the solution. There are many ways that you can take action, and one way is by intentionally using your holiday shopping to support BIPOC-owned businesses. The following guide features Colorado BIPOC-owned companies that we are excited to shop with this holiday season and beyond.
Art and Furniture
Industrial Arts: If you’re looking for a more heavy-duty gift this holiday season, you might want to make your way over to Industrial Arts. This furniture fabrication shop based in Denver makes custom designs with steel as their staple material, though they also often incorporate various other types of metals, hardwoods, glass, and stone depending on the project. Industrial Arts also factors the environment into their business equation, using locally sourced materials, and apply little to no volatile organic compounds (VOC) coatings to their products when possible.
Strange Dirt: To say that Marsha Robinson’s artistic creations are some of the most unique imagery you can lay your eyes on is an understatement. Marsha’s bold, botanical fine art prints are mesmerizing. It’s the type of art where you can discover something new every time you examine it. "In my process, I set the intention for healing through the potency of plants and the natural world,” the self-taught artist states on her website. “In setting these intentions I hope the imagery I create is transformed into a visual almost physical form of plant medicine. I want to see my work heal."
False Ego: False Ego is more than just a clothing company — it’s a Denver business dedicated to sustainability. The company, founded in 2018 by Jevon Taylor, strives for transparency when it comes to quality, raw materials, and employee wellness. They also offer eco-friendly packaging, garment recycling, and all orders go toward re-forestation efforts.
Edward Joiner: New to the Denver business community, Edward Joiner is a black-owned brand with minimalist products such as hoodies, sweaters, hats, and water bottles. Founded in 2020, all their clothing materials are made from 100% cotton sourced from the United States and milled in Canada. The materials are dyed with non-toxic dyes. The sewing, dyeing, and finishing of Edward Joiner products is done within a 12-mile radius, which reduces their carbon footprint.
SIC 970: William Bell founded his Fort Collins casual-wear business out of a desire to give a platform to social causes he cares about such as human trafficking and racism. “Recognizing the inherent resilience in people and the belief that they can overcome racism, sexism, ethnic cleansing, and earth destruction is what makes Sic 970 special,” he stated on his website.
[ Read: The Colorado B Corp Gift List ]
Ti-a Woven Goods: Simbala Drammeh started Ti-a Woven Goods with $100 and a dream after a trip to Africa. Simbala sells beautiful woven baskets handmade by women's co-ops in Ghana that are fairly traded. Elephant grass is grown for four months before it is harvested and sewn into intricate baskets. They even make woven dog beds!
Yarn Shoppe Denver: Got a friend or family member with a crochet habit? Here’s your chance to get them the holiday gift of their dreams while also supporting a small, local business. This Denver shop specializes in vibrant hand-dyed and handspun yarns. But it’s not just balls of yarn you can find here! You can also find a variety of hats, ponchos, and neck warmers in the online store.
Eternal Balance: At Eternal Balance, the saying goes, “‘nine out of 10 candle users say they use candles to make a room feel comfortable or cozy’ and we create soy wax candles for those nine people like you.” Our favorite part about this company? Eternal Balance Founder Kimberly Ward is passionate about the importance of mental health and destigmatizing the conversation.
Lilipurl: If you want to stand out or add a pop of color to your style, Denver’s Lilipurl has you covered. From smoky quartz and pearl drop earrings to fossilized coral bracelets, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from these beautiful creations by Dawn Givens.
Matter: Listen Denver, we lucked out because we are home to Colorado’s only Black-owned bookstore. You can find just about everything you could want at Matter: books, fine art, stationery, and games to name a few. This shop, owned by Rick Griffith and Debra Johnson, was even mentioned in Oprah’s “O Magazine” article about Black-owned bookstores.
An Essential Basket: If you’re having trouble pinning down a single gift for a loved one, why not ask for help from an expert? An Essential Gift Basket is a Denver oldie but a goodie. This gift basket store has been open since 1999 and its owner, Lydia Flynn, creates congratulatory gift baskets ranging from new babies to Colorado-themed baskets.
Coats Custom Creations: This Denver gift company made us smile! Started in early 2020 by husband and wife team Perry and Brandy Coats, Coats Custom Creations offers any kind of gift you can think of – from cheeky mugs to succulent plants and t-shirts. If you’re struggling to figure out a gift idea, Coats provides lots of suggestions as well as pre-made themed care packages that will be available down the road.
Ashae: When it came to naming her Denver soap business, Latasha Bell, the owner of Ashae, took inspiration from the African language of Swahili. In Swahili, Ashae means life. Ashae has been in business for almost more than 10 years now, and the soap products are beautiful. Chocolate soap made of real dark chocolate. Beer soap full of antioxidants. Activated charcoal that smells like lavender. We could go on and on about Ashae’s unique soaps.
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