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Black Owned Businesses in Santa Barbara

Throughout this pandemic more than ever, it has become increasingly apparent to me the ways in which multi-million/billion-dollar companies are pushing small businesses into irrelevance. It is highly important that we are conscientious of where our money goes because whether we like it or not, we live in a capitalistic society and our livelihood surrounds money. This Black History month, I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful Black-owned businesses in our neighboring Santa Barbara area that you can support. 

This is one small but impactful way that we can actively counteract the racial wealth gap. Currently, the average White family makes 12 times the amount that the average Black family makes. Most Black-owned businesses are sole proprietors, and showing our support also gives them the opportunity to expand, and create jobs for others as well. It’s important to be aware of where our money is going, and show our support of Black culture, Black people, and Black-owned businesses.


Trattoria Mollie is a restaurant run by Ethiopian Chef Mollie Ahlstrand, where she serves fine Italian cuisine. She emphasizes the importance of cooking with and eating fresh produce and focuses on simplistic and delicious food. Mollie has been invited as a guest chef all around the world, was featured on Oprah, and in several magazines and news publications!  Her restaurant is located on State Street in Santa Barbara, make sure to go check it out! 

Another State Street favorite is Embermill, serving Caribbean Creole dishes, taking inspiration from Barbados, Jamaica, France, Spain, and Africa. Chef Harold Welch opened this restaurant after his first, Hummingbird, located in Solvang. He highlights local, organic food, cooked on an Italian wood-burning stove. Stop in for a bite next time you’re downtown! 

Cristy’s Cookies makes photo-ready cookies and cakes, which you can get delivered, or pick up at a pop-up. Check out their Instagram page to keep updated on their delivery date opportunities, and pop up shops! The cookies look absolutely delicious, and they bake all different flavors, from Mexican chocolate chip cookies to my favorite: snickerdoodles. 

An alternative option for next time you’re in the Downtown area is Petit Valentien, a French and Ethiopian restaurant. Their menu varies from traditional French lunch and dinner to weekend Ethiopian brunches. Their French and Ethiopian chefs trade-off, offering you different menus on different days. They are currently open and offering limited indoor and outdoor dining options, so make sure to head on in for some COVID-safe dining! 


Self Care

Luna Bella Makeup and Hair is the perfect place to get your next makeover! Featured on West Mission Street in Santa Barbara, wives Ashley Kelly and Christin Brown offer a variety of services. They specialize in curly hair and event makeup, focusing on the art of beauty wanting to enhance the natural appearance of their clients, and bring out our very best selves! This duo receives exceptional reviews and has been featured in many well-known publications. 

Massage Envy is a self-care must. Massage Envy offers everything from facials, to stretch sessions, and of course massage therapy. They have a host of locations, but our Santa Barbara spots are on Calle Real, and Hope Avenue. The website features several different deals for affordability, and each location has unique COVID regulations, to ensure your safety is a priority during your relaxation. 

Catch These Hands 805, offers natural hair braiding or twisting in your own home (another safe pick for during these times!) anywhere in the Goleta/Santa Barbara area. She is located near to UCSB (perfect for us!) and offers free 30-minute zoom consultations prior to your appointment. Give her Instagram page a visit to schedule your consultation and appointment. 

Looking for another place to get your self-care on? I know I am. Dr. Jacques Charles Aesthetics, Health, and Wellness Institute offers everything you can imagine: chiropractic, aesthetic, massages, electrolysis, physicals, and lifestyle counseling. Dr. Charles was born and raised in Haiti and immigrated to the United States at the age of ten. He comes from a challenging childhood and credits his spirit and ambition to his current position and accomplishments.

Niche Needs

If you’re a dog-owner, you’ve got to check out For Paws Salon. For Paws focuses on grooming, as well as offering dog walking, overnight care, and more. They have locations in Santa Barbara and Montecito, making your pets their priority, and giving high-quality care. 

Woody’s Detail is a great place to take your car for hand wash and detailing. Woody’s has outstanding reviews on Yelp, highlighting both the customer service and attention to detail, as well as the affordability factor! They’re located on N. Milpas street in Santa Barbara. 

I recently started to get into crystals, and I just found TJ Brown’s Etsy shop, High Resonance Rocks, and I cannot wait to place an order. He has personally collected all the stones on the page and runs the shop single-handedly based in Santa Barbara, labeling each stone with a detailed description and full list of benefits. The Etsy reviews are all five stars, noting the care and passion TJ displays in packaging and selecting the crystals. 

Rhythm Dance and Fitness Studios is currently offering COVID-safe classes at all different levels of expertise, both over Zoom and outdoors in person. The Studio is run by Tamarr Paul, hip hop dancer who has worked with MTV and Fame Dance School, and wants to share his passion for the art of rhythm. He focuses on hip hop, taking inspiration from several different forms of dance, combining them together to create an intense workout in a fun format! 

Check out these Black owned businesses in the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas! It’s important to be mindful of where your money is going as best as you can, and here are some great places to put it! If you’re not up at UCSB right now, make sure to do some research in your own neighborhood. Happy Black History Month! 

Sophia Lovell is a third year Philosophy and English double major at UCSB. She is originally from San Diego, but embraces Isla Vista as her second home. Her passions include trying not to kill her houseplants, cold brew, and dismantling the patriarchy.
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