Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday and there’s no better way to express love for yourself, a family member, friend or partner than with a warm gift.
As you curate your gift list for that special someone, check out these Black-owned businesses serving up opportunities to shop small and local.
BEM - Online/Pop-up
For the book lover, BEM bookshop is devoted to highlighting food literature of the African diaspora including all genres that feed the soul. Owners and sisters Gabrielle and Danielle Davenport spend the majority of their time bonding over conversations about cuisine.
For a more current read, This is the Honey edited by Kwame Alexander is a Black poetry anthology about the “love of black people and how we take care of each other,” said Gabrielle Davenport.
When they opened their online store in July 2021, the sisters said their shop would intersect their love of storytelling through cooking and the depth of Black culture.
Now, the Davenport sisters are looking to open a permanent space in Bedford Stuyvesant to continue to highlight Black chefs and family legacy through literature.
BGLH Marketplace - 358 Kosciuszko St, Brooklyn, NY 11221
For those whose love language delves into the physical, body butter, oils and soaps from BGLH Marketplace is the way to go. What started as a natural hair blog for owner Leila Noelliste turned into an all-natural product line that feels good for the hair and skin.
Unlike many other skin products, BGLH Marketplace’s butters are whipped, making the consistency easier to melt into the skin. Each product is created with essential oils or plant extracts making it free from artificial scents.
Select butters come in different sizes — a sample size, 2.5 oz mini, 6 oz and 12 oz.
For Valentine’s Day, the most popular scents include the Rose, which has a floral scent or the Candy, which is citrusy sweet.
These scents alongside other popular ones like Mocha Latte or Whipped Cocoa Butter can be added to a subscription box and delivered.
Happy Cork - 51 Buffalo Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11233
Happy Cork isn’t your average wine and spirits shop, according to owner Sunshine Foss, as it houses about 90% Black-owned wine and liquor brands.
Opening its doors in 2019, Foss knew the direction of her store needed to quickly pivot to represent the neighborhood she was in. She noticed a myriad of liquor stores selling the usual party favorites, but when searched for unique Black-owned brands, she was let down.
“When you come into the store, it's almost like a museum,” Foss told BK Reader. “So, you're seeing a lot of these brands online but to have them in one place speaks volumes.”
For Valentine’s Day, Foss recommends Happy Cork’s signature tiered baskets. Patrons can sign up to receive a monthly subscription box filled with diverse wine options for every palate.
The store also houses wine accessories, including shot glasses, bottle openers, coasters and candles.
The Collective at Indigo Style Vintage - 409 Lewis Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11233
If you or someone you know is a fashionista, gift a one-of-a-kind piece from Indigo Style Vintage. Located in the heart of Bed-Stuy, owner Sheryl Roberts created a boutique that focuses on sustainability instead of fast fashion.
When customers walk into the store they are met with racks full of clothing and other small gifts like pillows, journals and decor items. The boutique offers eclectic vintage pieces sourced from Black and Brown designers including designer Kalilah Wright of Mess in a Bottle.
It is important to know where the clothing is coming from, which adds an intimate connection between the designer and consumer, explained Roberts.
“When you shop small you really are able to fully express who you are in a unique way,” said Roberts. “You're wearing what you want to wear, not what the fashion people tell you what to wear, because who says they represent you anyway?”