As Black History Month comes to a close, I find myself brimming with gratitude and hope. The show of support and appreciation for Black experiences that I've seen this past month – on social media, in my personal life and in my professional relationships – has been greater than I've ever witnessed before. As a small business owner of color, I was reached out to over and over again with exciting opportunities and genuine acts of kindness. This included a Black History Month pop-up at B/Spoke Studios, a collaboration with local food heroes Clover Food Lab, a spotlight in the Passport to Black-Owned Businesses event coming this weekend and being featured in numerous outreach campaigns on Instagram.
Although these things may not look groundbreaking from the outside, they are remarkable in my experience. To be sought out with sincerity and bolstered up by the community around me in this way...I can't help but feel that it's a positive sign of the shifting times. As writer and activist Alice Walker once said, "Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming." When I look around at the support I've received from my community members, friends and even strangers recently, I am finally seeing tangible reflections of the equitable future I always dreamed about.
In the spirit of keeping this supportive, celebratory momentum going, I want to share some of my favorite local, Black owned shops and restaurants with you. Most of these businesses are ones I have personally collaborated with, and they mean a lot to me! All are well worth checking out:
We Grow Microgreens does exactly what they promise - they cultivate the most delicious, vibrant microgreens I have ever tasted using sustainable growing practices. The variety and quality they offer is outstanding!
B. Royal Boutique is a bold, size-inclusive fashion and lifestyle brand. It's my local go-to for unique accessories and jewelry.
Rhythm 'N Wraps is a delicious stop in Allston for omnivores and vegans alike. Their eclectic, full-flavored menu is a must try!
Urban Grape is the best place to go for that perfect bottle of wine. They often collaborate with other Black owned businesses - Nüssli118° has been featured in their tasty gift boxes and we look forward to more in the future!
Lifebloom handcrafts elegant candles and incenses that smell divine! Their style is elegant and understated – definitely check them out for gifts.
Hillside Harvest is a Caribbean-American hot sauce company, focused on "flavor over everything!" I love how they balance delicious flavors with just the right amount of heat.
Petsi Pies is a local staple in Cambridge and Somerville, MA! They make the most delicious pies that are a feast for the eyes and stomach (both sweet and savory baked goods are offered, often with one or two vegan options).
Tafari Wraps is a luxury design house offering headwraps, home décor and beautiful fashions inspired by the Caribbean and the landscape of Africa. Their fabrics are so gorgeous!
If you decide to visit any of these local gems, be sure to tell them Angela from Nüssli118° sent you! I also recommend seeking out institutions that center Black voices like Central Square Theater which is now showing Young Nerd of Color, a production about equity and inclusion in science. This is especially close to my heart as my daughter is applying to graduate school to study endocrinology!
There are so many ways to create the future we want in the present! Never forget that, Black History Month and beyond.