October 24, 2016

5 Amazing African American Owned Handmade Businesses

shoe bakery (1)

I’m a big believer in giving credit where credit is due.

As it concerns the entrepreneurs you’ll discover here, credit is due all day long, all year long, every day, and every month.

Considering it’s Black History Month, I want to give a special shout to a sampling of African American handmade business entrepreneurs who are blazing an inspiring trail for the world to follow — and buy.

Buckle up to meet some homegrown African American handmade goodness.

1. Chris Campbell: The Shoe Bakery

Forget the dress! Say “yes” to the shoe!

Chris customizes amazingly realistic bakery themed shoes and accessories for women. Want a shoe to match your wedding cake design? Chris has got your back, ladies!

Inspired by everything from cinnamon buns to pound cake, Chris takes a model shoe and customizes it to resemble an edible, calorie-filled treat dripping with icing and sprinkles. In addition to shoes, you can get some arm candy (otherwise known as a purse) with a matching key chain, and even a pair of baby shoes. You can grab up their seasonal wares (gingerbread house shoes anyone?) or have a design custom created just for you.

Check out the Shoe Bakery website and follow along on Instagram.

2. Celeste Beatty: Harlem Brewing Co.

Launched in 2000, Celeste’s artisan crafted beer was recently picked up by WalMart, according to the word on the street , and it will be in select stores in just a few weeks. In addition to the original Harlem Brew, you can also get Sugar Hill Golden Ale Strawberry Hill Hard Cider made with New York apples. Every single bottle is hand crafted in small batches in Harlem, and made with hops that are grown and harvested in New York. Celeste traces her beer inspiration to her love for the spices and creativity that go into making the southern foods she grew up on.

Check out the Harlem Brewing Company website and follow it on Facebook.

3. Gwen Jimmere: Naturalicious

Naturalicious is the first company to develop an all-natural, all-in-one hair care system designed specifically for curly, coily, kinky and wavy hair textures. Gwen is the first African American woman to ever hold a patent for a natural hair care product. After being frustrated that it took her hours to style her hair every day, Gwen created the line of Naturalicious “OooLaLocks” products to save time and money for women of color who want to wear their hair natural. The products are made up of a 4-step hair care system that allows you to go from wash to ready to style in less than an hour.

Check out the Naturalicious website and follow along on Instagram.

4. Todd Parsons Designs: Todd Parsons Ear Art

Todd makes laser engraved ear art. With designs ranging from extremely unique jewelry to digital fine art, Todd is a staple at shows nationwide. Women love his designs and the friendly, personal customer service he and his team offer. Whether it’s the beautiful silhouette of a woman with natural hair, a rendition of the continent of Africa or another related theme, Todd’s work usually honors Africa in some way. He can also custom-laser your matching ear ring logo design.

Check out Todd Parsons Designs website and follow him on Facebook.

5. Valerie Reed: Valana Minerals

Valerie founded Valana Minerals after being disappointed with the makeup options for women of color. She decided to make her own, and eventually opened a business so she could cater to women like her who often cannot find makeup to match their beautiful brown skin tones. Valana offers foundation, lip color, eye shadow and blush, along with faux brushes. Valana Minerals is the only line of mineral makeup for women of color that is also vegan.

Check out all the vegan goodness at the Valana Minerals website and follow along with her very active Facebook page.

Every one of these African American handmade business leaders has something incredible to offer. What a great way to close out Black History Month, don’t you think? Now, tell me what African American handmade businesses inspire you the most!

Image: Shoe Bakery

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Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria Coles Johnson Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a trade organization providing mentoring and coaching services, and affordable product liability insurance, to makers and creative entrepreneurs across North America. An award-winning small business advocate, Donna Maria has hosted the Indie Business Podcast since 2005. She blogs at Indie Business Blog.

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13 Reactions

  1. Handmade businesses are really taking the world by storm this year. So much of these businesses are succeeding. i love how their concepts can be so creative.

  2. I agree. There are so many creative ideas here. I think that the shoe cake would really fit fashion-related celebrations. It looks so yummy too.

  3. Wow! Thank you so much Donna Maria!!! One of the ladies in another group I’m in alerted me to this awesome list. Honored that you included me and Naturalicious! xoxoxo

  4. Thank you sooo much Donna! I’m honored to be included and we certainly look forward to seeing you again. The birth of our son has triggered yet another creative spurt so thanks for keeping me in the loop! God Bless!

  5. Wow! This is Fantastic. everyone needs to share these Black Owned Businesses. we should be proud!

  6. Give me more!!! I love to support black businesses, usually can’t find them.

  7. I am looking for an AA purse manufacturer. Got any of those? Looking for something structured.

  8. Hi ya,

    These are fantastic and I would never have heard about them, if it wasn’t for my daily research on how I can better help handmade businesses. The shoe business I can see so much potential with celebrities and special events occasions. I will definitely be checking out each one of these businesses.

    Be passionate, be focused be blessed
    Janet xx

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