Celebrate Black History Month With 9 Black-Owned, Female-Led Brands
By Anna Keeve
February is Black History Month, a time that celebrates the achievements of Black Americans and honors the legacy of African-American culture in the US. The 2021 Black History Month comes on the heels of last year’s events still fresh in many minds; it was a momentous time that brought profound awareness to—and through—Black Lives Matter as droves of people took to the street in acts of solidarity. We also witnessed a surge of people making a concerted effort to support Black-owned businesses.
Black History Month also reminds us that those who fought for racial equality helped pave the way for the Black entrepreneurs of today. We’re highlighting some of these powerhouse Black-owned, female-lead vegan brands that are changing the world one product at a time.
The sustainable snacking brand, Pipcorn, reimagines snacks with heirloom corn to create better-for-everyone, modern favorites. Crowned as one of the queer Black women founders to watch, Pipcorn co-founder Jen Martin and her brother Jeff, along with Jeff’s wife Tereasa Tsou, built Pipcorn from the ground up in Brooklyn, actively pioneering for more diversity in the natural foods space. Beyond making incredibly delicious snacks, they’ve also made it a point to give back through human connection. For example, their recent initiative, Pipcorn Grants, is a program to support Black and minority-founded brands through direct mentorship with the entire Pipcorn team.
2. Maya’s Cookies
This vegan cookie brand is beloved for its gourmet fresh-baked soft and delectable cookies that ship nationwide. Founded by Maya Madsen in 2015, Maya’s Cookies first came onto the scene at local farmer’s markets in San Diego. In just five years, Maya’s Cookies jumped to become the no. 1 Black-owned gourmet vegan cookie company in the country and recently opened their first retail shop, located in San Diego, at the end of 2020. An outpouring of support during Black Lives Matter protests and awareness in June 2020 brought renewed interest and an outpouring of support. Sales skyrocketed and Maya’s Cookies was set on a newfound trajectory, years in the making. Maya’s Cookies is celebrating Black History Month with cookies named after three prominent figures in the Black community that have made a positive impact on the world. The unique cookie flavors are in their honor: The Hank Aaron, The Debbie Allen, and The Amanda Gorman.
Moonshot is a climate-friendly snack brand built on the premise to make a better you, and a better planet. Founded by serial entrepreneur Julia Collins, Moonshot was born from her love for community and food. After spending her career building a number of successful food companies, Collins founded Moonshot to bring delicious food to people in a way that helped heal the plan. Today, Collins leads Planet FWD, a company on a mission to tackle climate change by making it easier to bring climate-friendly products to market. The company is building a software platform for regenerative agriculture alongside a climate-friendly snack brand, Moonshot, made with regeneratively grown ingredients that help sequester more carbon in the soil. Moonshot crackers are certified USDA Organic, Kosher, plant-based, no sugar added, and non-GMO, and come in three flavors: Sourdough Sea Salt, Rosemary Garlic, and Tomato Basil.
4. Hella Nuts
Oakland-based Hella Nuts makes vegan meat from walnuts. Mother-daughter duo Chef Mieko and Chef Kamari founded the company to bring to market healthy vegan meat that resembles the real thing. In 2018, they started their plant-based journey after realizing that available supermarket vegan food was just vegan junk food; they knew there needed to be a better option with no chemicals, no fillers—just natural ingredients. Hella Nuts was born. You can visit their eatery, also called Hella Nuts, in Oakland, Calif., and find Hella Nuts meat alternatives for sale on their online store.
5. Ornami Skincare
Founded by Yewande Masi, who calls herself the “accidental skincare entrepreneur,” after stumbling upon a field that allows her to provide luxurious skincare products to everyday women. Ornami is Masi’s way of serving up a daily luxury spa experience with a lineup of clean beauty. She advocates for breaking up with toxic ingredient products and reminds us that Ornami is more than a clean skincare line, it’s a community of strong and empowered women who believe in self-love, self-care, and toxin-free living.
6. Body Complete Rx
This wellness brand offers a complete range of vegan nutritional supplements, products, and apparel the company says is designed to help you discover what it feels like to achieve your best self. Body Complete Rx was founded by Samia Gore in 2017 after the busy mom of four found it difficult to maintain her weight and self-care journey. Gore’s venture has proven to be successful: In just three years, the self-funded brand created by women for women has garnered thousands of healthier and happier customers, including celebrities LeToya Luckett and Kenya Moore. Products range from all-natural, vegan protein powders and multivitamins, to calming relaxation capsules and energy drops.
7. The Honey Pot Company
A plant-derived, all-natural feminine care system, The Honey Pot Company was founded by Beatrice Dixon on the belief that all products should be free of chemicals, parabens, carcinogens, and sulfates. With The Honey Pot Company, you’ll find an extensive range of organic and natural feminine care products. The Honey Pot Company’s mission is to educate, support, and provide people around the world with the tools and resources that promote menstrual health and wellness. The Honey Pot Company has been quickly growing and is now found across the nation in select stores at national retailers including Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Whole Foods, Bed Bath and Beyond, Urban Outfitters, and more, as well as online at www.thehoneypot.co and select retailers.
ECOS has been pioneering plant-powered alternatives to traditional cleaning products for over 50 years. Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO and President of ECOS, is a Black business leader who has made diversity and inclusion a top priority in her company. Founded in 1967, ECOS uses plant-powered ingredients inspired by her father’s native Greece to create safer cleaning products. Since its inception, ECOS has reimagined the cleaning category with over 200 environmentally friendly cleaning products from laundry, living, kitchen, and bathroom, to baby, outdoor and more, all through sustainable manufacturing practices and thoughtfully sourced ingredients. Now in 2021, this female-led brand’s mission remains to this day to make environmentally-friendly green cleaning products that are unmatched in functionality, sustainability, and accessibility.
9. Sukie Candle Co.
Uniquely scented toxin-free soy candles from Sukie Candle Co. are the brainchild of Sukie Jefferson. Jefferson says that candles for her are a vehicle by which we can come to know deeper levels of relaxation, self-love, and sensuality. Her candles express a diverse range of scents that stay true to her values. In addition to unique scents, candle ingredients are sourced using pure soy wax, derived domestically from American farmers. Always vegan and cruelty-free, Sukie Candle Co. delivers on an aromatic experience that you won’t want to live without.