One-of-a-kind clothing, holiday wreaths, killer cotton candy, and a sneakerhead’s dream are a few of the holiday gifts at these North Carolina-based Black-owned businesses.
The season of giving has arrived. And while shopping locally should be a year-round affair, it’s even more important now to invest in businesses owned by Black North Carolinians.
“It really strengthens our global community to continue to invest in our people,” says Alyah Baker, founder of Show & Tell, a Raleigh-based online clothing store. “This is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor and support these folks as they continue to do amazing stuff in the world,”
Baker, a NC-native who started her business in Oakland before relocating to Raleigh, says that the effort to seek out and support Black business comes back in spades.
“Now you can Google Black-owned businesses,” she says. “There’s a million lists, there’s a million people who are trying to aggregate it all so you don’t even have to really do that much hard work. You can go to one website and poke through or find your favorite [business on] Instagram and support.”
Cardinal & Pine wants to give you a hand identifying some NC-based Black-owned businesses to consider while looking for holiday gifts. Here are 16 we’ve picked from across North Carolina.
Show & Tell (Online only)
Founded in 2011, Show & Tell Concept Shop is an online store that specializes in unique and vibrant locally-made clothing, accessories, home goods, health and beauty products, and decor.
Social Status (Online, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh)
Originally from Pittsburgh, fashion entrepreneur James Whitner launched his streetwear journey in 2005 with Flava Factory in Charlotte. Whitner opened Social Status in Charlotte in 2011 and now has over a dozen stores across the country.
Social Status made news last year after Vice President Kamala Harris, while on a campaign stop in Charlotte, purchased a pair of custom Converse sneakers. However, the shop sells everything from t-shirts to slippers and features both name brands and local designers.
Wreaths & Shiznit (Online, Clayton pickup)
Based out of Clayton, mompreneur Meka White sells handmade and customized wreaths for holidays and special occasions year-round. What about the “shiznit?” The shop also stocks table top and non-holiday decor.
Entrepreneurs Color Too (Online)
Raleigh native Latoya Nicole uses her master’s degree in counseling and psychology to put her own twist on adult coloring books. Entrepreneurs Color Too promotes self-care and stress relief while showcasing women of all ages in each book.
The shop sells paperback books on Amazon and individual coloring pages are available for digital download, as well. Check out their holiday-themed coloring book and the bestselling 24 Shades of Business.
Ebony Wine and Spirits (Online, Charlotte)
Camillya Masunda launched North Carolina’s only Black woman-owned wine company in September 2020, and the brand’s popularity has surged thanks to its quality and her commitment to a fun, open-door approach to wine. A red fusion, sparkling white, rosé and moscato are some of the offerings, and the company ships nationwide.
“Whether you consider yourself a wine snob or you are used to buying Barefoot, we want to say, ‘Come on. This wine is for you,’ Masunda said.
Hummingbird Candle Co. (Online, Fayetteville, Asheville)
With just $6,000 and “God’s goodness,” Tianna Dean launched Hummingbird, an Earth-friendly candle and fragrance company, in 2019. The woman-owned and woman-employed boutique sells paraben- and phthalate-free coconut wax candles, fragrance oils, and make-at-home candle kits.
Wrapper’s Delight (Online)
Greensboro’s Xavier and Brooke Carrington founded Wrapper’s Delight to provide representation in every detail of the holiday season.
The store has gift wrap and apparel featuring Black Santas, plus fleece blankets, socks, mugs, greeting cards and gift tags.
SPGBK (Springbreak) Watches Online, Macy’s (Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh), Nordstrom (Charlotte)
SPGBK Watches is a North Carolina-based designer watch company launched by Fayetteville natives Kwame Molden and Maurice Bolden. The two knew each other long before becoming business partners. They attended the same pre-school, middle school, high school, and HBCU: North Carolina A&T.
SPGBK features a wide array of colorful watches on their online store. You can also find their watches in various Macy’s and Nordstrom stores in North Carolina and across the country.
Neema & Co. (Online, Rocky Mount)
Created by sisters Requita Williams and Tiffany Grant-Lane, Neema & Co. is a clothing boutique located in the heart of downtown Rocky Mount. This store specializes in traditional and modern African-inspired clothing for women, men and children. The jewelry, handbags and accessories make fashionable stocking stuffers.
Urban Reader Bookstore (Online, Charlotte)
Sonyah Spencer sold books for years at festivals and expositions before opening Urban Reader Bookstore in July in Charlotte. The brick-and-mortar indie book shop specializes in African American books, selling new titles, classics and works by self-published authors. The shop also hosts Black Singles Book Club events, open mic poetry, book signings and game nights with trivia, chess, and spades.
Wonderpuff (Online, Durham)
Wonderpuff’s cotton candy masterpieces are a pop of innocent delight in an often harsh world.
The vegan, organic and gluten-free cotton candy–perfect for people with health or religious dietary restrictions–packs a visual punch, much like owner Jackie Morin, with her trademark bright pastel makeup. With the help of husband and business partner Rem Morin, she went from pop-ups and Instagram fame to having a retail location in the newly opened Boxcar RTP. But the sugary delights ship anywhere, and have already gained a cult following.
The Pauline Tea-Bar Apothecary (Online, Charlotte)
The Pauline Tea-Bar is an herbal tea lounge based on the idea of unplugging and tuning in, to self and each other.
The two Charlotte locations intentionally do not have wi-fi. What they do have are aromatherapy suites, whimsical teapots, artisanal pastries and of course, high quality, loose herbal teas.
Owner Sherry Waters, a community chaplain, cheerfully provides tea consultations based on customers’ inclinations and health needs and imbues the atmosphere with a quiet joy.
Bright Black Candles (Online, Durham)
A favorite of none other than Beyoncé, Bright Black Candles was launched with the intent of using candles as a platform to spread positive narratives about Blackness. Founders Tiffany and Dariel Griffin were as shocked as anyone to see their business named on the superstar’s list, posted on Juneteenth 2020, of Black businesses she supports. They had only been in business for a year and while well-received, Bey’s nod sent sales skyrocketing.
Their Diaspora collection is based on five pivotal cities of Black cultural significance, including Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Durham, Kingston (Jamaica), Paris (France) and Salvador (Brasil). The Genres collection is inspired by different types of music. Single candles, mini sets and full sets of each collection are available, as well as other offerings.
Greentop Gifts (Online, Raleigh)
Jacquelyn and Shaun Rodgers began creating Christmas decor that their children could relate to from their home in Apex. The venture quickly grew into Greentop Gifts, a company bringing diversity to holiday celebrations with apparel, home decor, and stationery that feature Black faces and cultural touches. Jacquelyn’s more than 13 years of brand marketing experience helped boost the firm into features in O Magazine, Essence, Pop Sugar and Good Housekeeping. Fun find: The jolly Clarence Claus character comes on everything from socks to Crocs charms.
Black Diamond Firearms and Training (Online, Charlotte)
This Black-owned, federally licensed firearms dealer is dedicated to training non-traditional beginners to experienced enthusiasts.
Owners Dreak Byrd and Roman Townsend hope to “build and strengthen bonds in African-American communities” by rekindling a tradition of self defense and neighborhood protection.
In addition to firearms, accessories and concealed carry classes for North and South Carolina, Black Diamond also offers basic pistol and rifle training and a slate of women-only self defense courses. Wilderness camps and other special events are held several times a year.