Friday Finds: Celebrating Black Entrepreneurs
From local to legacy.
CategoryMakers + Entrepreneurs
For this month’s Friday Finds, we shine a light on quality goods from some of our favorite Black entrepreneurs across different categories throughout California.
First up is Stay Fresh by KB, a collection of eco-friendly candles from Los Angeles multidisciplinary artist and educator Kenan Bell. We were first introduced to KB through his debut album, Until The Future, and his series of mixtapes, but his latest business venture with partner and fragrance designer/”candle chef” Christina Graci is our latest olfactory obsession. Each all-natural, soy wax candle is hand-poured into 100% recycled glass, and all are phthalate-free, which means they’re devoid of the ubiquitous, plasticizing chemicals you find in many fragrance-based products like makeup and shampoo. The products come in two sizes—smaller 4.4 oz. pours and larger 10 oz. containers—and a variety of fresh fragrances including kumquat and bergamot, watermelon mint, white currant and cucumber, rose water, and more. If you want to add a little audible enhancement to your situation, queue up any one of Kenan’s “Not A DJ Mix” sets on his Mixcloud for a little extra vibe.
If you live and work anywhere near the Inglewood area of Los Angeles, you should be familiar with Sip & Sonder, a coffee house and gallery opened by Shanita Nicholas and Amanda-Jane Thomas in 2017. Like most coffee and community establishments impacted by COVID-19, Sip & Sonder hasn’t been able to function as the creative hub and gathering space it was intended to be, but you can still enjoy their own roasts, teas and vegan delights. We love the honey lavender latte paired with a chickpea curry puff or an elote scone, but it’s hard to turn down the golden turmeric latte when you need an extra boost. If you’re not able to visit in person, two of their coffees and four teas are available for purchase in their online store. We like the South Market blend—with notes of caramel, orange, and cedar—and their in-house Moroccan Mint tea.
Candice Cox is the owner of Oakland-based CanDid Art, an artisanal jewelry and home decor company inspired by modern African diaspora and cosmic geometry. In operation since 2011, Cox recently expanded her business to include kids apparel, and her collections have been featured in publications like San Francisco Magazine, Essence and Vogue. Rooted in bold, fearless design, each piece is an expressive artform, from the quilted, gender-neutral kids jackets to accessories like face coverings. But it’s her jewelry that first caught our eye. Each earring, bracelet, necklace and ring is simple, elegant and vibrant, finished with hammered gold and brass and featuring accents like crystals and wood pieces. In Cox’s own words, CanDid Art was created for individuals who “desire to make a statement without saying a word,” and every accessory and article of clothing is true to that mantra.
Last up is iconic hip-hop fashion brand Cross Colours, who enjoyed nothing short of a meteoric rise to prominence in the early ‘90s. Created by Carl Jones and TJ Walker, Cross Colours’ oversized aesthetic and unmistakable color patterns were a favorite of celebrities like Tupac, TLC and Will Smith, but financial hardship caused the brand to shutter in 1994, way before its time. (You can read all about their journey here.) Twenty years later—after pursuing independent paths—Jones and Walker reunited to relaunch the brand. A recent exhibition at the California African American Museum, entitled “Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century,” explored the company’s pioneering efforts in fashion and merchandising, but the partners aren’t resting on their laurels. New collections honoring both historically black colleges and universities and their Love Black Lives capsules showcase Cross Colours’ trademark aesthetic and slogans, and reinforce their longstanding mission of creating Clothing Without Prejudice.
This one won’t be back for 7,000 years.