Founder Marty McDonald shares her favorite Black-women-owned businesses that you can support this holiday
Capital One is proud to support #SmallUnites, a movement designed to rally communities across the country to champion the small businesses they love. Help small businesses thrive in the new normal by shopping this collection of thoughtful gifts for the holidays. You’ll do—and buy—more of what you enjoy, all while supporting the small business community.
After years in corporate America, McDonald started her company when she decided to follow her dream of “creating a community of empowerment, change and freedom.” That dream soon became an entire movement of over 100,000 women connecting to discover their own paths and build the careers of their dreams.
McDonald says she wants to help women overcome fear and reach their goals, so she’s on a mission to connect with women who want more, have big goals and are chasing those goals every day. Here, she shares just a few of those businesses and why she loves them.
Marty McDonald’s Small Business Picks:
Grace Eleyae—Bad hair days are a thing when you’re a hardworking, busy woman. What better way to solve that than to “grace” your crown with a hat or headband from Grace Eleyae? The company started as an Etsy shop selling the Original Slap (satin-lined cap) and has expanded to a full line of beauty products that are not only trendy but also made with quality materials to protect the health of your hair and skin.
Culture Greetings—The average greeting card can be a little blah, so Atlanta-based Culture Greetings lets you personalize their cards. You start by picking a card, and then you add your own note — all online. The company will then print, stamp and mail the card. The cards are high quality, are less expensive than traditional cards and support a good cause. Culture Greetings donates a portion of their proceeds to charity.
Chicago French Press—McDonald says, “There’s no feeling like that first sip of coffee in the morning!” Chicago French Press is a vibrant and fun coffee company with nontraditional flavors and affordable prices. “Plus,” McDonald says, “it was created by a woman…so you already know that’s love in a cup!” Beyond these brews, Chicago French Press “grinds for a cause” by donating a portion of its proceeds to charitable programs every year.
The Vintage Royalty—McDonald warns that you’d better get used to hearing, “Girl, I love your earrings!” when you get a pair from The Vintage Royalty. This brand was created by Chicago designer Meena Osei-Kuffour, who believes “every item we design and curate is a piece of art…designed with care, made by hand and styled to represent our story.”
Kahmune—Jamela A. Acheampong founded luxury brand Kahmune after seeing Kim Kardashian in an “envy inducing” nude-colored outfit and not being able to find anything like it to match her darker skin tone. With a pair of white pumps and some paint, she began her journey to create products to ensure ALL women have options that celebrate the diversity of human complexion. Currently, Kahmune makes shoes in 10 shades, ranging from the fairest of skin tones to the darkest of brown. But they’re more than a shoe brand, McDonald says. Kahmune stands for representation, diversity and inclusion and celebrates it all.
Nude Barre—Much like Kahmune, Nude Barre was founded by Erin Carpenter after a 15-year dance career highlighted the need for skin color-matching as part of the uniform. “In all stages of my career, I’ve experienced the hardships of not finding hosiery that matched my skin tone,” Carpenter says. “We were required to wear nude undergarments as part of our uniform, and therefore spent hours dying/spray painting tights and shoes as most hosiery brands did not produce the appropriate shade of nude.” Now Nude Barre offers intimate apparel for adults and children in 12 shades of nude so you can find the color that best matches you. They even send swatches to color match before
Melarie Odelusi—Are you looking for custom art that no one else has? McDonald recommends Melarie Odelusi, an illustrator and lettering artist based in Dallas, Texas, specializing in portrait, fashion and event illustration celebrating empowerment and storytelling. She creates pieces that are literally just for you. Odelusi says her mission as an artist “is to celebrate women, our lovely layers, femininity and strength while encouraging empowerment and representation through illustration and modern lettering.”
For more ways to support small businesses, visit smallunites.org.