Buy Black is more than a shopping list, it’s a movement. Since Maggie Anderson’s 2009 book about trying to buy exclusively from Black-owned businesses in the Chicago area, the movement has grown rapidly. Yet, like Anderson’s book highlighted, there were many gaps in goods and services. As this season’s holiday lists show, there is a frequent focus on adult basics and designer luxuries. Baby and children’s products used to feel like an afterthought but this holiday season, there are many more baby essentials, toys, and learning tools to choose from for children of all ages. There are many sites, like We Buy Black, Buy Black Movement, and Blk Oceans that now have a large children’s section, with a wide variety of gift options for kids of every age. Bold Culture Hub’s 2021 list focuses on fan favorites available across a variety of online shopping platforms that offer long-term value for a wide range of age groups.
Pretty Please Teethers is led by Kelli Ulrey, who launched her handmade and eco-friendly teething line while bedridden with severe morning sickness. Wooden teethers and silicone bibs are popular for parents and gift givers, especially those looking for a product that can grow with kids as they age. Most of these products are made in Utah by local families. Baby chic comes to mind when looking at these highly functional rings and chewable toys that help develop fine motor skills and toddler teething.
Puzzle Huddle is a jigsaw puzzle company that centers diverse characters doing a wide variety of things. Created by Matthew and Marnel, parents of three young children, this family-run business has thrived on word-of-mouth and the quality of their products. A wide variety of images include a Muslima doctor, a Black airplane pilot, and various individuals in STEM roles. These figures are now on throw blankets and apparel, which recently launched. For young learners, these role models are a positive affirmation of what they could be in the future.
Black Santa was launched by former NBA player Baron Davis to fill the void around Black-
focused content, and this feel-good brand is as straightforward as it sounds. Those searching for Santa imagery in ornaments, apparel, footwear, and even wrapping paper will find this playful line perfect for little kids who are just learning about Santa and haven’t yet pegged a race or color to the fearless, jolly gift-giver.
World Girls is meant to expand the options for dolls so that customizable options extend beyond the well-known but limited American Girl brand to something that any girl, from anywhere in the world, can call her own. In their interview with Blk Oceans, the Brooklyn-based founders, Laken and Carlissa King, explained how the dolls reflect their own quest to create diversity in the fashion and toy spaces. Pemberly, Zari, and Maud are the three dolls on offer now, but two more are in the works.
Kamaria Warren, CEO of Brown Girl Stationery, designs her own paper products that offer a youthful vibe to any ordinary desk or homework assignment. The online store goes beyond notepads and greeting cards; it also offers home decor items like blankets and shower mats that can help tweens curate their space and affirm their identity in an age appropriate way.
Pardon My Fro has a lunch box or book bag for anyone who wants to start the calendar year with a statement. Whether it is in braids, a mohawk, or a natural coiffe, natural hair-positive styles are always on the agenda. These stylish back-to-school essentials exude confidence and self-assurance.
Nail polish rules can vary from house to house, so before planning your stocking stuffers it’s best to check with parents before gifting. However, if nail polish is a go, Mischo Beauty offers rich colors that adults and kids will enjoy. This ten-free nail polish brand ditches all the harmful chemicals and additives, simply offering a cruelty-free color on your nails. This is also ideal for new moms who want a touch of color but are afraid of carcinogens getting in babies’ mouths or on their sensitive skin.
Tweens and Teens:
In 2011, a young man named Moziah from Memphis took the world by storm with his personally designed bow ties. As 2022 ushers in more in-person events to make up for lost time, kids will need formal wear and school casual accessories that leave a positive impression. Mo’s Bows now includes neck ties and pocket squares, which make for gifts that are one-size-fits-all but ever unique.
Banking on the expectation that technicolor will never go out of style, a Jade Purple Brown towel will always be a hit. The New York–based graphic designer mixes strong female images with a flower power to give a modern twist to familiar iconography. These ethically-made, 100% cotton towels are perfect for the daily beach goer, as well as the city-stuck sunbather.
Discarded fabrics are upcycled and reborn with the Dakar-based brand, Bole.Dakar. The cloth pearls are hard to find and rare to have, ideal for the teen who is looking to stand out from the crowd. Typically worn as a bundled necklace, these are best bought by mixing and matching. U.S. buyers can DM the Instagram account, or browse in-person at UCLA’s Fowler Museum Gift Shop.
Nafeesah Allen, Ph.D. is a multi-lingual author, independent researcher, editor, and contributing writer for various national online publications. She frequently covers personal finance, family, culture, real estate, and discrimination. Her work is best found on NafeesahAllen.com and on IG & Twitter @theblaxpat.