If last year taught me anything, it’s that being a business owner is never going to NOT be a roller coaster ride! Just as soon as I felt like Pamut was on track for smooth sailing in 2020, the pandemic hit and our lives all turned upside down. Maybe that’s why entrepreneur Jes Averhart’s message of reinvention resonated so strongly with me when we met earlier this year. As so many of us have had to “pivot”, both professionally and personally, the notion of acclimating to that big space outside of your comfort zone has never rung truer.
Jes and I have spoken extensively about the idea of reinvention, and you can hear more in her podcast episode featuring me. Having gone through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, I have lots of admiration for any business owner who has weathered the last year of uncertainty. I’ve also gained an additional level of appreciation for black women entrepreneurs, who continue to shatter glass ceilings in spite of the trauma of the last year. Jes is one of those inspirational women, and I encourage you to check out her Reinvention Roadtrip Podcast if you feel stuck in your career or your personal life.
Together, Jes and I have put together a list of inspirational black women business owners that we ourselves love to shop with! If you’re looking to support black-owned businesses or just looking for a great new skincare brand or piece of art, then this list is for you.
You may have seen Ashley Johnson's work before… because she photographed the last two Pamut collections! Ashley is an authentic human with lots to say on IG Stories (whether it’s about current issues in the black community or just a commentary on her favorite chick flicks). Support her by purchasing a print on her website, or a gorgeous tufted pillow from Cool and Brown Shop. But hurry, those pillows go fast!
Owner Tiarra Smallwood’s drive to launch bag brand Max & Min stemmed from the underlying stigma that “Black owned brands can’t be luxury”. She sure did prove a point… Max & Min’s drool-worthy leather handbags and totes appeal to minimalist sensibilities while packing a big punch. Pick up a Max & Min bag or tote at Bloomingdale’s or Sak’s!
Plant people, this is your spot! Megan George and her mother Margaret operate two wonderfully green plant shops in the Raleigh-Durham area. The Zen Succulent is worth an in-person visit just for their DIY terrarium bar! If you’re not local, you can find a variety of unique plants, planters, and giftables in their webshop. Stay tuned for their wall hanging collection, coming soon.
A brand crafted around African ingredients and beauty rituals, 54 Thrones is bringing skincare back to it’s roots. Founder Christina Tegbe’s Nigerian heritage informed and inspired the belief that African beauty rituals are “communal, romantic, ethereal and the cleanest thing you could adorn your skin with.” Best sellers include a Turmeric Glow Bar ($16) and Moroccan Body Mask ($42).
Tiffany, along with her husband Daniel and little daughter Elena, make candles to order. With scents like Addis Ababa and Salvador, Bright Black’s candles evoke African culture and traditions. Their combination of soy and coconut waxes result in a slow, clean burn.
Jewelry that’s delicate but exciting is hard to find, but Yam has got you covered! Owner Morgan Thomas created Yam as an ode to her late mother, mixing upcycled materials with new nostalgia. One thing that has us particularly excited: Most of Yam’s earrings are under $100!
Once you see Candy Carver's paintings, you won’t be able to forget them! Working primarily with acrylic and various surfaces from canvas to vinyl, she creates vibrant, textured pieces that touch the soul and excite viewers. You can purchase Candy’s originals as well as prints on her website.
Dynasty Casanova creates delicate, feminine garments from sustainably sourced fabrics for her brand, Dynasty George. Each piece is designed in New York and then sewn by Indian artisans. Garments are available in sizes XS-2XL. Moms will love the new mommy and me dresses in soft florals and plaids.
If you haven’t heard of Jessamyn, you’ve probably been living under a rock! Jessamyn is a Durham, NC native, but you don’t have to be local to participate in her body-affirming yoga classes. Subscribe to The Underbelly, where you can find new classes every Monday! And find acceptance both on and off the mat with Jessamyn’s book, Yoke.
Is there any food that evokes more joy than cotton candy? How about cotton candy with seasonal flavors like Campfire S’more and Orange Cardamom? The ladies at Wonderpuff spin up delightful cotton candy treats that will ship straight to your door (shipping is free for orders over $25). If you’re local to the Raleigh-Durham area, Wonderpuff can be found just about every weekend at a popup event!