Sustainable, Asian-Owned Businesses

April 15, 2021  •   6 min read


 

With hate crimes against Asian Americans at an all-time high, conversations around how to support the AAPI community have been top of mind. While there are many direct, and impactful ways to help (see list of organizations and charities below), buying from Asian-owned businesses is an easy step you can take, one that helps create more opportunities for financial stability, something that isn’t always fairly proportioned. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have long been regarded as wealth builders who help upkeep our local economies. Buying from BIPOC-owned businesses allows marginalized communities to create meaningful savings, invest in property and the local economy, and create generational wealth.

 

When it comes to sustainability, our view in the West is disproportionally dominated by a wealthy, white demographic. In actual practice however, BIPOC have been natural stewards of our land and planet for generations, with up-cycling and zero-waste living being an inherent community way of life.

 

Conversations around cultural appropriation are rising, paralleling the injustices marginalized communities are facing. This is important to keep in mind as we navigate our habits, buying patterns, and interactions with trends. We can’t cherry pick the culture we want to partake in, reaping only the benefits of the current wellness or fashion fad while ignoring the very real biases that are faced by the same cultures that bring us these gifts. This kind of behaviour is harmful, hurtful, and only serves to perpetuate prejudices and inequality.

 

A good practice to keep in mind when determining whether a brand is actually sustainable, ethical, and conscious of their re-selling of traditional cultural ideas, is to see how they acknowledge (if at all) the roots of the product, instead of just making a profit off of it.

 

Do they specifically give credit to the culture that the product they’re selling comes from?

Do they provide a history of the tool and how it was originally used before becoming trendy in the West?

Are they uplifting and recognizing the deep cultural importance it holds, or are they attempting to take ownership of it?

Do they donate a percentage of earnings from this product they didn’t invent back into the community it comes from?

 

We should be supporting a diverse range of small businesses, but even more so if you’re considering purchasing an item that you know (or suspect) comes from Asian (or BIPOC) origins. If that’s the case, try buying from a brand that is actually Asian (or BIPOC) owned. Things to consider are matcha, adaptogens, gua sha, jade rollers, furoshiki wraps, products with yin yang signs on them, Mahjong sets, etc.

 

Aside from just voting with your dollar, check in with yourself as well. How might you be complicit in perpetuating biases? Do you do your research when you hear of a new product / beauty trend / wellness practice? Do you get in touch with a brand if you feel like they’re not respectfully honouring the origins of a product or practice they’re selling? How can you make a more conscious effort?

 

Also, supporting local and shopping small isn’t just about trendy brands. Your dollar goes extremely far when you choose to spend your money at local Asian-owned businesses, shops, service centres and organizations. Establishments like these have been long-standing staples in your community, benefiting the local economy in far-reaching ways. Thinking outside of what’s Instagrammable and “on trend” is imperative in creating change in your journey towards conscious consuming.

 

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of sustainable, Asian-owned businesses and organizations to support. There are so many others out there, and I will continue to update this list as I hear of them!

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Beauty & Skin

Vegan + Compostable Dry Shampoo
The Rose Company

Reusable Makeup Rounds
Freon Collective

10-Free, Vegan Nail Polish
Sundays

Jade Rollers 
Mount Lai

Agricultural By-Product Beauty
Circumference Skincare

Obsidian Gua Sha Tool
Metange Beauty

Korean Bathing Products
Binu Binu

Natural Self-Care
Mellow Bath and Body

Konjac Sponges
Wyld Skincare

Spiritual Skincare
Strange Bird Beauty

Clean + Compostable Deodorant
Meow Meow Tweet

Clean + Natural Skincare
Three Ships Beauty


 

Fashion & Accessories

Paper Yarn Clothing
Paper Project

Recycled Loungewear
Leze the Label

Poetic Slow Fashion
Vestige Clothing

Vegan Clothing
Shop Valani

Hand-Quilted, Wearable Duvets
ASOM

Handcrafted Jewelry
Noren

Earring Capsule
Jewels and Aces

Sustainable Jewelry
Hathorway

Sustainable Jewelry
AMYO Jewels

Recycled Plastic Swimwear
OCIN 

Recycled Plastic Footwear
AVRE Shoes

Recycled Leather Goods
Opus Mind


 

Lifestyle

Soy Candles – FORAGE10 for 10% off
Mala The Brand

Sustainable, Bespoke Candles
Aerangis

Hand-Dipped Incense
Cue Calm

Home Goods from Japan
POJ Studio

Organic Cotton Towels
Tombo

Hand-Thrown Ceramics
Lineage Ceramics

Ethical, Artisanal Home Decor
Lu France Interiors

Eco-Friendly Mason Jars
BBTea Jars

Plant & Garden Kit Delivery
Rooted

Eco Solid Dish Soap
Make Nice Company

Eco Laundry Sheets
Kind Laundry

Refillable Cleaning Products
Blueland


 

Wellness

Adaptogenic Blends
Apothekary

Superfood Lattes
Its Blume

Authentic, High-Grade Matcha
Amoda


 

Food & Drink

Authentic, Traditional Kimchi
Salty Cabbage 

Sparkling Adaptogenic Drinks
Droplet

Ethical, Vietnamese Coffee
Nguyen Coffee Supply


 

Organizations & Charities


This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to buy something (at no extra cost to you!). Thank you so much for making a purchase through these links and supporting this website!

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