As we work to support the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath George Floyd's murder, we're examining where on Epicurious we can speak up. One such place is our shopping vertical, Well Equipped. You trust us to tell you about the best waffle maker and coffee grinder; you come here to find the latest cookbooks and a gift for your mom. We'll keep doing all that. But going forward, you'll see an increased focus on who is making and profiting from the products we share with you. It's not an equal playing field for POC-led businesses; in this series, we’re making an overdue commitment to leveling it.
If you're wondering what you can do to support the Black community right now, one small way is to buy from Black-owned businesses. Let me be clear: There is actual work we all need to do—including educating ourselves on racial injustices and police brutality, making donations to organizations that support racial equality, contacting politicians, and voting.
Shopping is at the bottom of this list. Way, way down. But we all do it, and we all have a choice about where to do it. The Washington Post states that Black people make up the smallest share of business owners in the nation. On top of that, Black-owned brands are rarely given the platform or shelf space by major retailers that white-owned brands are.
The 15 Percent Pledge, a movement started by Aurora James, the Creative Director of footwear brand Brother Vellies, seeks to correct these inequities. James asks major corporations like Amazon, Whole Foods, and Sephora to commit 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
I've committed to the 15 Percent Pledge in my own life. An easy way to implement this is to allocate all of your "leisure purchases" to Black-owned brands. For me, this means every time I buy a throw pillow, a fancy condiment, a cookbook, or a birthday gift, I'll be looking to brands below like Bolé Road and Golde.
One of the reasons I can is because I live in a society that rewards me for not being Black. I live in a society that supports the accumulation of generational wealth in white and non-Black POC families; I live in a society that favors my "non-threatening" South Asian appearance and my Anglo-sounding name at traffic stops, in job interviews, and in bank loans.
So for me, taking the 15 Percent Pledge is an easy step. It's one small action—of many actions—that I can take. And I hope you'll take that step with me. If you do, the list of Black-owned brands below will help.
One more thing. Of course, the current economic situation in America makes it a difficult time for many to make these leisure purchases–if that rings true for you, consider instead focusing on supporting Black-owned businesses that provide essential services and products. We can all do this, regardless of our budgets.
For anyone trying to avoid harmful chemicals in their cleaning products, look to Pur Home. Unlike many so-called 'green' products, Pur Home scores a one or two (the best ratings you can get) on the Environmental Working Group's safety page. This three-bottle bundle comes with a multi-surface cleaner, a bathroom cleaner, and an abrasive surface scrubber.
BUY IT: Pur Home Green Home Bundle, $30 at Pur Home
Dinnerware, Decor, & Linens
Bolé Road Textiles
Be warned: you might want every single thing in Bolé Road's shop. The handwoven Ethiopian textiles include sunset-hued kitchen mats, subtly-striped table runners, and every color of bed linen you could hope for.