Since February is Black History Month, it is important to support and focus on Black-owned businesses. Washington D.C. is home to a plethora of incredible Black-owned businesses, ranging from restaurants, to coffee shops, to bookstores and more. Not only are there numerous Black-owned businesses, there are also many Black-female owned businesses in Washington.
- Black Pepper Paperie Co.
Founded by Washington native Hadiya Williams, Black Pepper Paperie Co. is a mixed-media art studio and lifestyle brand. As stated on her website, Williams creates “one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces that include wearable ceramic art, home decor, paper goods, and apparel. These ancestral modern pieces are rooted in memory and cultural influences from across the African diaspora.” BPPCo. hosts an online boutique with an incredible array of mugs, apparel and prints, each of which display their own handcrafted design. One look on her website and you will be amazed.
In her artist’s statement, Williams comments on the way that her art tells stories.
“The lineal artwork of Black Pepper Paperie Co. is inspired by the relationship between Black people, history, memory, ritual, and culture across the diaspora. To define lineal is to speak of something in a direct line of descent or ancestry; relating to or consisting of lines,” she wrote. “All of my work is a form of improvisation and intuition which is centered around movement, migration, and cultural memory. It is inspired by those who, for centuries, have always managed to turn function into art.”
- The Sweet Lobby
Located in Capitol Hill’s Barrack’s Row, The Sweet Lobby is an award-winning boutique bakery. The bakery’s founder, Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, is not only a pastry artist, but she is also an engineer. She has a degree in chemical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. After opening, Winnette went on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and won.
The Sweet Lobby’s specialties include French macarons, madeleines, éclairs, shortbread and more. They also have “The Cupcake Lab,” where you can custom order any flavor of cupcake. Using the team’s chemical engineering skills, the range of creations are limitless.
- The Spice Suite
Founded by Angel Anderson, The Spice Suite is a spice shop located in Northwest Washington. Anderson built her business after one day spotting the empty building and deciding she would open a spice shop. At the time, she was working as an assistant principal at a local charter school. Anderson has been extremely successful with her spice shop, and has even expanded to online ordering. Customers can create their own spice boxes online, or even shop a selection of kitchenware and apparel. Anderson is also part of Spicegirlin’, a membership club where a series of Black owned businesses each provide a product sold during Spice Suite pop ups. With a motto of “Food is fashion,” The Spice Suite aims to dress up plates with spices of all varieties. Anderson calls her shop “A love letter to Black food & culture.”
- hunnybunny boutique
Specializing in all-natural bath and body products, hunnybunny boutique was founded by Leigh Byers, but is now owned by her two daughters, Nya and Zuri. As owners, each product must receive their approval before being sold to customers.
“Before it hits the shelves, every hunnybunny product must pass the ‘Owner’s Challenge’ – is it good enough and safe enough to be used on the company’s two owners, Nya and Zuri,” according to the hunnybunny website. “Made by a mother for her children, there is no higher standard. Before your family uses it, our family uses it.”
hunnybunny offers an online shop of natural bath and beauty items, including body bars, facial solutions and gift baskets. They also offer HBB subscription boxes, which are shipped on the first of every month. Visit the boutique at 311 8th Street NE.
- Calabash Tea and Tonic
Calabash Tea and Tonic is an herbal tea and coffee shop, located in Northeast Washington and is owned by Sunyatta Amen; the motto of the brand is “decolonize your tongue.” Amen is a fifth generation herbalist with the goal of decolonizing wellness in her incredible space. The store features a range of loose leaf teas, tonics, superfoods, coffee and spices. They also offer merch and cookware.
In addition to running her shop, Amen hosts a podcast called “Decolonize your Dish,” which illuminates food and drink through the lens of history and culture. She even hosts interviews with artists, chefs, musicians and more. Check out the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
Visit Calabash Tea and Tonic at 2701 12th St. NE, or visit their online shop.
Next time you’re out and about, or you’re looking to do some online shopping, checkout these Black female-owned businesses!