May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! As a nation made up of diverse immigrants, we stand with the diaspora of Asian Americans and the incredible contributions they have made to this country's culture and society. From art and scientific advancements to entrepreneurial successes, essential work and shared values of compassion and kindness… America would not be what and where it is without its AAPI citizens.
Since Prosperity Candle's founding, we’ve been dedicated to providing living wages to women refugees. Among these have been many forced to flee their Southeast Asian homeland of Burma, and who are now creating a brighter future in the U.S. for themselves and their families as candle-makers. During this pandemic year, we’ve been deeply saddened and alarmed by the increasing acts of hate and violence against Asian Americans witnessed in New York, Atlanta and too many other cities. Over the past months, more than 3,000 incidents of anti-Asian violence and harassment have been recorded, with likely many more not reported.
Compassionate individuals and BIPOC allies have been standing in protest against these injustices, and are calling for unity and solidarity with the AAPI community. If you are able to, we encourage you to connect with neighbors, friends and colleagues to help raise awareness, or to make a direct donation to organizations and charities that support AAPI communities, such as AAPI Community Fund.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have historically experienced discrimination and violence, particularly against women. With worsening acts of anti-Asian racism and harassment, many Asian-owned and AAPI-supporting small businesses have experienced a large drop in sales and have even faced closings. Now even more than ever, we are called to show support for Asian American businesses and AAPI artisans.
One way to make a positive impact on AAPI communities near and far is by shopping from brands that give back to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Here are just a few of the many incredible AAPI businesses you can shop from to show support.
Founded by Taiwanese-American sisters Julie Kuo and Connie Kuo, Avre is a sustainable footwear brand with beautifully designed sneakers and slip on shoes that are mindful to the environment and empower women. During this time, they are donating 20% of all sales to the AAPI Community Fund in solidarity. We love their eco-friendly practices of using recycled water bottles as materials, sustainable packaging, and reducing water usage during production. Give one of their signature Energee shoes a try!
2. Grey State
Looking for comfortable, ethically made women’s clothing that is AAPI-owned and gives back to people and our planet? Grey State does all three! Founded by Bangladesh-born Saima Chowdhury, their collections of classy cotton sweaters, tops, dresses, pants, and shorts are all responsibly made in WRAP-certified, ethical factories in Bangladesh. They regularly donate to support a school in Bangladesh serving children with intellectual disabilities, partner with GEAR to correct gender imbalances, and provide childcare for parents at their production facility.
3. Ellie & Becks
If you have little ones at home, you’ll love Ellie & Becks Co.’s adorable artisan-made favorites. Their diverse dolls, books, toys, and furniture are lovingly crafted by artisans around the globe and designed to be empowering for different cultures. Founded by first-generation Vietnamese-American wife and husband Christina and Steven, they felt from the beginning that it was important to fill the representation gap often seen in children’s toys and books. We love how they are amplifying the AAPI community!
Covry is an Asian-American owned, 100% female-founded eyewear brand that is all about making inclusive prescription specs and sunwear that are comfortable for all face shapes and sizes. Unlike many one-size-fits-all glasses, their frames are designed with a special ‘elevated fit’ that accounts for diverse face shapes and uses measurements from real people. Founders Athina Wang and Florence Shin also created the ‘We Belong Here Hat’ that donates 100% of proceeds to Act to Change, a national non-profit working to end bullying against AAPI youth.
5. Us Two Tea
Founded by second generation Asian-American woman Ranmu Xue, Us Two Tea offers authentic, all natural Taiwanese teas directly sourced from three family-owned farms. Using traditional techniques and wrapping them in non-toxic tea sachets, their vast range of oolong, black tea, jasmine, and baozhong teas are a reflection of the Asian American experience. We love the stories they share from Asian American voices relating to tea culture and beyond.
6. Paper Culture
For eco-friendly and elegant wedding announcements, thank you cards, photo books, and birthday invitations that give back to the planet, give Paper Culture a visit. Founded by Chinese-American Christopher Wu, this amazing collection of sustainable stationary picks are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. We love their mission of planting one tree for every card sold and offsetting their carbon footprint at every step, from production to sustainable packaging.
7. Diaspora Co.
Born in Mumbai, India, Asian-American founder Sana Javeri Kadri created Diaspora Co. to re-vision and decolonize the spice trade. Telling stories of freedom, struggle and diaspora, their distinctive spices are sustainably made and never compromise on ethics. All are fairly source from Indian farmers, who they pay an average of 6x more than the commodity price and aim to provide health insurance to every single farm worker. Choose from Pragati Tumeric or Baraka Cardamom to stock your pantry, and try one of their delicious recipes from their blog!
8. Nguyen Coffee Supply
If you’re like us and love a delicious pick-me-up brew in the morning and afternoon (or honestly any time of day), you’ll love Nguyen Coffee Supply. Their single-origin coffee beans are sustainably sourced from 4th generation Vietnamese farmers and then roasted in Brooklyn. We were moved to learn the story of its founder Sahra Nguyen, who is a first generation Vietnamese-American and daughter of refugees, and her dedication to celebrating diversity in coffee. Try their delicious Original Vietnamese Coffee Trio of whole beans to support this Asian-American owned brand.
9. Hey Maeve
Originally from Singapore, Singaporean-Chinese American Alicia Sandve founded Hey Maeve to empower women and give back to causes personally dear to her heart. Shop from a beautiful array of gold-platted earrings, necklaces, bracelets, silk, and accessories that donate $1 from every purchase to a cause. Partnering with i=Change, they help support AAPI communities in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, & Vietnam to prevent sexual harassment, encourage girls’ education in Calcutta, and building women’s futures in Rwanda. Shop their gorgeous jewelry to make a positive impact on Asian Americans globally.
10. Prosperity Candle
Yes, that’s us! Our mission is to provide living wages to women artisans who resettle to the U.S. after living for years as refugees. Many have been from Southeast Asia, including Burma (Myanmar) where they fled persecution and are now creating a brighter future for themselves and their families as candle-makers. Every handmade candle comes with a story card about the woman who made it, and a way for you to send a message of support. We’ve been so deeply inspired by these strong, resilient women that our Burmese Candles were created to celebrate the many wonderful qualities they bring including compassion, kindness and joy.
There are numerous Asian-American owned businesses and small brands across the U.S. (and local) creating beautiful, meaningful products that support AAPI communities. Of course, this list is just a start. Let us know of your favorite AAPI supporting businesses or Asian owned brands we missed below.
Thank you for standing in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islanders right now and always, and for taking time to show your support to the AAPI community. #AAPIHeritageMonth #StopAsianHate
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