More Gifts You’ll Want To Keep For Yourself…
Does anyone else feel like it hasn’t been that long since the last influx of gift guides? Instead of figuring out the eternal challenge of what to get my Dad, I thought I’d share some more inspiration for the festive season.
I get so excited when I discover new black creatives, as I didn’t necessarily have the role models when I was growing up. I had to get creative myself, combining a mixture of Naomi Campbell, Oprah and Serena Williams, but things were always limited in terms of visual arts.
Fortunately I have the Internet, events like Black Girl Festival and good old word of mouth to thank for discovering this lot. Whether you’re treating yourself, or buying gifts for your nearest and dearest, then here’s 15 creative businesses that have caught my eye over the last year.
This post contains some gifted/loaned items and affiliate links
For Your Space
Afro Glory – Looking for a plantain print or cute stickers that remind you of 4c curls? Shahira of Afro Glory has plenty of cards, notebooks, pins and mugs to bring a familiar sense of joy into your life.
The shop came about when Shahira graduated with an MA in Design Communication and battled with self-confidence during job hunting. She never lost her passion for design and decided to create her own platform that celebrates black Britishness.
Her big dream is to create a design studio that encourages young black creatives and helps them get on the career ladder.
Follow @afroglorydesigns on Instagram
Kazvare Made It – I’m rather tempted to buy the ‘Squatting Woman’ meme card for myself. Most of Kazvare’s work references pop-culture (there’s a Beyhive coaster set) and the rise of celebrity. I hope she hosts one of her therapeutic colouring in parties again soon.
Follow @kazvaremadeit on Instagram
Kirzart – One of the best things about my co-working space is being surrounded by so many different entrepreneurs. Every so often there’s a new product to taste, problem to solve or impromptu hand modelling opportunity for a renowned digital artist.
I had the honour of being sketched by Kirsty Latoya a while ago and she’s recently brought out a book combining art, poetry and discussions around mental health. She developed her iPad drawing skills when dealing with depression and needing a way to channel her thoughts.
You must check out her time-lapsed BTS videos on Instagram (I loved this Slick Woods piece), which can take around seven hours.
Follow @kirzart on Instagram
Parys Gardener – The retro branding of the Luster’s Pink bottle was destined to be turned into a repeat pattern. I bought one of Parys’ prints on the spot at Black Girl Festival last month and her work explores the various narratives surrounding blackness.
She’s a self-proclaimed pop artist and I can definitely relate to her being inspired by the legacies of her grandparents, who were also part of the Windrush generation. Read this interview where she explains what her University experience was like and add her ‘Pattie Appreciation Tote’ to your wishlist.
Follow @parysgardenerart on Instagram
Yellowzine – After a highly commended debut issue, Yellowzine is back with more beautifully curated pages around the concept of ‘Space.’ It’s a print magazine that centralises BAME creatives and each is invited to share their interpretations along with a short interview.
Follow @yellowzine on Instagram
Beauty & Wellbeing
Afrocenchix – I definitely could have done with Afrocenchix when I was a new and slightly in denial natural. If you’re also perplexed by sealing or adding moisture to your hair without doing some kind of ice bucket challenge, then look no further than their clearly labelled bottles.
I was shocked to read that a lot of afro haircare can contain harmful chemicals, especially since I’ve grown up using relaxers and random brands without a second thought. Founders Rachael and Joycelyn created the range due to various allergies, so each product is manufactured in the UK, free from common allergens and made from mostly natural, organic ingredients.
If that’s not impressive enough, Rachael recently pitched for funding at a WeWork Creator Awards event whilst 9 months pregnant. Their win was well deserved and I can’t wait to try more products from the range.
Follow @afrocenchix on Instagram
Black Skin Directory – For those of us who are figuring out how to deal with hyperpigmentation and keloid scarring, there’s the Black Skin Directory on hand to assist with finding the right products and specialists. This could be a great way to book a treatment for a loved one plus there’s also events to help if you’re overwhelmed by everything.
Follow @blackskindirectoryuk on Instagram
Chalk – Fancy wearing geometric statement earrings designed by an architect? Malaika Carr translates her appreciation for large cityscapes into wearable, colour-blocked pieces. My favourite collection would have to be Shaped Objects, inspired by the works of Spanish architect Ricardo Bofil (he designed the pink and super-Instagramable La Muralla Roja complex in Spain).
Follow @chalkjewellery on Instagram
Lagom – I first met Thabi at #YouCanSitWithUsLDN last year and she amazed me with her stories of working as a newsreader for a Pan-African TV channel. Now she’s launched a range of eco-friendly, soy candles, made in her home on the Sussex coast. After being diagnosed with a chronic auto-immune disease, she created Lagom to help find balance in her own life and reconnect with nature.
Follow @wearelagom on Instagram
Tribal Unicorn – Here’s another multi-hyphenate buddy from Camden Collective. I first met Angelica at a freelance course almost four years ago and she juggles Tribal Unicorn with videography, photography and running the Fempire Collective empowerment network. She started making candles in her kitchen to destress and the range takes inspiration from meaningful London locations, such as Notting Hill Carnival.
Follow @tribalunicornuk on Instagram
Words Of Wisdom
A Life More Inspired – I’ve been a little resistant to the world of positive affirmations, but after hearing about things like The Secret, I’m tempted to give this manifestation malarkey a try for 2019. Nicola’s cards are a great place to start. She’s a creative mentor (and former people-pleaser) who uses her own self-development journey to help others. I’ll let you know how I get on with reciting things like ‘I am enough’ everyday.
Follow @alifemoreinspired on Instagram
Black Cultural Archives – This isn’t a typical gift per se, but I had to shine a light on the only national heritage centre dedicated to preserving the histories of Afro Caribbean people in Britain. The Brixton-based building regularly hosts important exhibitions and talks, but is at risk of closure due to a lack of funding. Donate and follow their progress here.
Follow @bcaheritage on Instagram
Ilé La Wa – Dorcas Creates and Studio Nelle have joined forces to create a Walthamstow-based pop-up celebrating black-British makers. Their behind-the-scenes IGTV videos are so useful if you’re wondering what goes into setting up a temporary space and there’s a great selection of jewellery, cards and stationery.
Follow @ile_la_wa on Instagram
Original Flava – Did you know that Jamaican patties took influence from Cornish pasties? There’s other interesting facts and Caribbean cookery tips over on Original Flava. The brothers have recently signed a book deal with Bloomsbury but until then there’s a signature and vegan cookbook to devour.
Initially Craig and Shaun McAnuff wanted an easy way to show friends how to make Jamaican dishes such as curry goat and jerk chicken. Now their Facebook page has over 350k followers and recipes regularly go viral due to a highly engaged audience.
Follow @originalflava_ on Instagram
Slay In Your Lane – I had to include this hot pink cover again and Slay In Your Lane is a great gift for friends, relatives or those who want to understand more about the black British female experience. There’s sections on dealing with workplace microaggressions, dating and mental health and references to Cleopatra that will make you smile.
Follow @slayinyourlane on Instagram