Now, more than ever, it’s important to acknowledge the impact we make when we shop. When you buy from Amazon or Walmart, most of your money goes to the CEO billionaires Jeff Bezos or Jim Walton, and fast fashion brands like Forever21 and Urban Outfitters are the second largest contributors to climate change, falling behind only oil companies.
Platforms like Etsy allow small creators to share their handmade products, creating more personalized experiences and allowing for direct contact with the business’s owner. Supporting any and all small artists is important, but with the current push for more visibility for Black-owned businesses, shopping from some of these Black-owned Etsy shops is a great way to show your support — plus, they sell everything from illustrations to pillows, blankets, stickers and more. And I guarantee they're all much cuter than anything you'd ever find on Amazon!
OnTheEdgeCreation offers unique, personalized portraits for any and all occasions. The shop owner, Natasha, has been on Etsy for 10 years, and accepts commissions for custom illustrations of family, friends and pets.
For a design, Natasha needs only a reference photo (or photos), what size you want the final product to be, and whether you want a digital copy or a print. She says her favorite part of running her shop is being able to provide a special piece of art families can cherish forever, and loves the creating memoriam portraits for pets. “It makes me feel special that I’m showcasing their favorite furry friend,” she says.
EmmaMakeStudio features a wide array of adorable digital and print designs, great for wall space in a dorm or apartment. Emma’s designs include dancers, landscapes and florals, and many of them would be a great gift for children, like her animal alphabet series.
This Black woman-owned shop has plenty of other hand-drawn minimalist designs, and you can save money (while still supporting the business) by buying the digital design and printing it yourself. If you’re looking for something even more special, you can get your art printed and mailed to you on Hahnemühle Hemp. This material, according to Emma, is “one of the oldest and most diverse natural fibers in the world, and is made of 60% hemp fiber.”
Emma says that while some may see editor’s picks of Black-owned shops, or articles about them as too much singling out, she disagrees. “The need to celebrate these black creators comes from the fact this positivity wasn’t seen with black creators before, and why should we lament positivity?”
Krystle, owner of CreateTheCulture, hand-embroiders pillows, totes, pouches and more. Get a throw pillow of a Black icon like Solange, Malcolm X, or Bob Marley, and support a Black-owned, and women-owned, business while you’re at it! CreateTheCulture allows you to customize your color options as well.
Don’t worry if it takes a while for the item to arrive – it just means it’s of a high quality, something that fast-fashion retailers and mega-corporations like Amazon can’t offer.
BespokeBinny, a London-based Etsy store, designs and sells napkins, blankets, pillows and lampshades, all with African influence. Unfortunately, West African culture can be very overlooked in the United States, but you can change that by getting on board with the bold lines, colorful patterns and rich history of BespokeBinny’s products.
Shop owner Obenewa sells the perfect home items to bring a flare of global design to any household. And for such unique products, it’s amazing that the price is so affordable. Sometimes we forget that our lamps can be pretty, too!
If you want something simpler and less expensive than a full-size print or blanket, MochaSoiStudio has got you covered. This Black-owned shop makes art prints and stickers, like hand-drawn dinosaurs flowers, or even Tupac, that you can put on your laptop, your fan or your planner.
When you engage with Black artists, whether it’s on Etsy or elsewhere, it shows support for small business and lets large corporations know that their discrimination will no longer be tolerated. Personally, I know I would like to see more diversity on billboards, magazines, and in my own house. Shopping Black-owned Etsy shops allows you to add new stuff to your home that you know was made ethically, and just for you.