Holiday shopping is never easy, but it can be personal and intentional. You might be looking for an electric toothbrush for your partner or a tie for your brother-in-law. Or maybe this year you want to take it a step further by having a custom rug made for your loud and proud football fan of a dad or a large bag of kettle corn ready for nana in her stocking, this list has a little something for everyone.
Decor Ones LLC - Howard University
Nothing says originality like gifting someone a homemade, custom rug for the holidays. And Decor Ones, a Black woman-owned rug and wall art brand, has a little something for everyone. Skylar Buchanan, an alumn of Howard University in Washington, D.C., makes her designs come to life by offering each customer ‘the core aesthetic for any living space.’
“With owning my own business, I have learned that a large part of it is having to be mentally strong; entrepreneurship comes with a lot of highs and lows. A few times I’ve wondered why I should keep going when I am not getting the sales and recognition that I want, but each time I choose to stay persistent because I know my worth and the quality of my craft,” Buchanan told Reckon.
“Growth at any rate is a step in the right direction. Just keep going!”
Kay’s Kettle Corn - Grambling State University
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without something a little sweet, and Kay’s Kettle Corn offers just that with their custom sweet and salty popcorn. Khadijah “Kay” Polly, a graduate of Grambling State University in Louisiana, ‘took a leap of faith on her 33rd birthday’ when she left her job as a supply chain management corporate recruiter and started Kay’s Kettle Corn in 2014. Kay’s four simple ingredients of popcorn, sugar, canola oil and sea salt come in bags of small ($3) and large ($10) as well as their signature stylized Melanin popped bags ($12).
Kay continues to grow her business through community, by introducing educational programs like financial management and entrepreneurship to children with her Popcorn CEO’s Children’s Economic Opportunities.
Big Mouth Toothbrush - Howard University
Celebrity orthodontist Dr. Bobbi Peterson has an electric toothbrush built to fight plaque and clean your teeth to a sparkling finish with five different settings, long battery life and multiple brush heads. Dr. Peterson’s education at Howard University’s School of Dentistry laid the foundation for her motto: Everyone should have access to excellent dental care and a better life.
Now with the Big Mouth Toothbrush, she is reaching more than just her patients, Dr. Peterson is also connecting with a community of folks on a mission to better their smiles. She offers toothbrushes in white for $70 and pink for $100; additional brush heads cost $36.
Mack’s Ties - Hampton University
Is your dad tired of getting a tie for the holidays? Well, Mack’s Ties might change his mind this year. Chad Gayle, CEO and founder, created something unique with his variety of knitted and skinny ties after graduating from Hampton University in Virginia. Gayle’s clean, sharp business look inspired him to design what he defines as the ‘centerpiece of your professional appearance.’
Mack’s Ties range from stripes to floral patterns and can cost anywhere from $20 to $30, but if you’re seeking a complete professional accessory combo, Gayle also sells sets with ties, pocket squares, flower lapels and tie clips.
Lets Meet Friday - Tuskegee University
There is no more counting down the days until it’s Friday, especially when you wear a pair of Lets Meet Friday earrings. Owner and a graduate of Tuskegee University in Alabama, Lauryn Watkins designs her handmade clay earrings to encourage everyone ‘to do exactly what their heart desires’ by not waiting until Friday to live life freely and fully.
Lets Meet Friday earrings are molded into quirky and sleek swirls, petals and shapes that come in colors and textures built to accessorize every outfit, ranging in price from $30 to $40.
“Love and community is what I took away from Tuskegee University,” Watkins said.
“When attending an HBCU you build a network that reaches further than financial opportunities. You build a network of LOVE and people that will speak your name in rooms that you have yet to enter. It’s like having a cousin, brother or sister always looking out for you in places around the world.”
TALLY & TWINE - Albany State
An ‘attention-grabbing timepiece’ is how TALLEY & TWINE, a luxury watch company, aims to provide high-end and affordable options with their leather and canvas bands. Co-founder and president, Randy Williams, is an alumn of Albany State in Georgia. He started TALLEY & TWINE in 2014, growing his business from an avid collector of watches to one of the largest Black-owned watch companies in the country. Now Willimas works to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to students of Albany State through his scholarship fund offering business students $2,500 each fall semester.
TALLEY & TWINE watches start at $145 and offer accessories from watch trays to travel cases to keep the gander of their collections safe and flawless.
Know of other HBCU-owned brands we should feature? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.