It's Black History Month! 8 Black-Owned Shops to Support
One of the things that makes Oakland so electric is our yearly celebration of Black History Month. The Town is rooted in black culture, and we show up to revel in that legacy through art, music, and some damn fine tasting food, and we support our black-owned businesses year-round.
Here at Keep Oakland Alive, we've teamed up with some undoubtedly amazing black business owners whose vibrance makes Oakland... well, Oakland. (If you haven’t heard of us yet, we’re an online storefront for 40+ local shops – we’ve got 30,000+ items on the site, and we’re just getting started.)
Be sure to support them this month, and if you're a new customer – hello! We're giving $10 off to new customers who spend over $50 with the promo code WELCOME. We're also giving a free KOA t-shirt to anyone who spends over $100 on black-owned shops on our site in the month of February.
Meet some of the black shop owners and makers who Keep Oakland Alive:
Iguehi of Love Iguehi
We have so much love for Iguehi James! A Nigerian-American born and raised here in West Oakland, her bold African Ankara designs make The Town just a bit more electric. From headwraps to kaftans and dresses to clutches, her one-of-a-kind pieces both make a statement and accentuate the body, and incorporate vibrant and colorful fabrics. Get to know Iguehi and check out her bestsellers.
Nicole and Brandy of Cole + Jade Natural Body
Nicole and Brandy are two sisters who learned about the secrets of skincare from their own grandmother, mother, and aunts. Known for their life-changing body butters, scrubs, toners, and oils that give you that lit-from-within look, their products are handcrafted with clean and natural ingredients that soften, tone, heal, and normalize the skin and protect it against sun damage. Get to know Nicole and Brandy and check out their bestsellers
Imani of The Lemonade Bar
Imani has always had a knack for sales, from the time she was a high school kid and sold buttered popcorn balls out of her backpack so she could attend the prom, play basketball, and do cheerleading with the other kids. Fast-forward to when her husband invested in a hotdog cart. Imani started incorporating fresh squeezed lemonade, and it took off! The lemonade outsold the hotdogs, so they dropped the hotdogs and The Lemonade Bar was formed. Get to know Imani and shop her bestsellers
Dionne of Iva Jewell
Dionne makes Oakland all the more colorful with apparel and handbags that incorporate bright and bold African prints. Her works are inspired by a trip to Kenya, where she fell in love with the vibrant fabrics. Why did she choose to set up shop in Oakland? "The charm and personality of Oakland have won me over. The people and neighborhoods have character and flavor, and another plus is the weather... Oakland is what San Francisco once was – a city of real people." Get to know Dionne and shop her bestsellers
Vanessa (and Jill) of Mudlab
Vanessa (and Jill) started up Mudlab after working with cafes to reduce their single use plastics. Mudlab is a zero waste cafe, grocery store, and community hub near Lake Merritt with kombucha on tap and a locally famous oat milk latte. Lounge on the communal bench or peruse the local art, but not before you stock up on your nonperishables and sustainable supplies. If you’re in need of a good dose of positive vibes, MudLab will fill your feel-good tank. Get to know Vanessa (and Jill) and shop their bestsellers
Evie of Urembo Asili
Evie founded her beauty line after being beset by acne when she immigrated to the U.S. from Nairobi, when she asked herself: "What did my ancestors use?" What started as a question resulted in a deep dive into the world of natural skincare. She soon fell in love with her roots and discovered the healing power of African oils and butters. It took eight years of careful research and formulation to bring Urembo Asili products to market and today it is a full-fledged line of Afro-rich natural products. Get to know Evie and shop her bestsellers
Kelinda of Kids Play Zone
Kids Play Zone is a soon-to-launch indoor play space for kids in West Oakland, and Kelinda has been dreaming about opening it for 5 years. She’s always thrown personalized parties for her own kids and their friends, and that passion led her to want to own space to manifest bigger dreams. She loves to create lasting memories for families, and looks forward to a time when she can host them in her space. For now, the Kids Play Zone shop with all kinds of kid-approved imaginative toys is open! Get to know Kelinda and shop her bestsellers
Judi of Mannequin Madness
Judi stumbled on a posting for a mannequin for sale on Craiglist while looking for Tina Turner concert tickets. She had always wanted a mannequin for a mosaic project for her garden. When she contacted the seller — a former window dresser — he had fifty mannequins to sell. He was operating the only mannequin rental business in the Bay Area and was leaving the state. She purchased the entire inventory and the rest is history. Get to know Judi and shop her bestsellers
Know of another black-owned business that should be on Keep Oakland Alive? Send us an email, we'd love to meet them! Things are just getting started around here.