While I like to think of every day as a day to celebrate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, May is officially AAPI Heritage Month. That means, it's a month to learn about, celebrate, and support our beautiful and rich community. So, to kick-off this month, I'd like to share a few AAPI businesses you can support. 50 to be exact.
Books, Stationery, and Games
Parents Are Human - a bilingual card game bridging the gap between generations. Check out their site for all the languages they offer.
Yu and Me Books - NYC Chinatown bookstore committed to sharing diverse and immigrant stories. If you're not in NYC, you can still shop and support the store through their online bookstore powerd by Bookshop.org.
Poketo - bold, colorful, fun, and practical stationery plus super cute and super fun shear socks founded by Thai American and Korean American husband-wife duo, Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung.
Bitty Bao - children’s bilingual books, founded by two moms who wanted to pass on their heritage to their own kids.
Habbi Habbi - children’s bilingual books, founded by two moms looking to spread the power of language learning in an accessible way for the whole family..
A Good Used Book - LA-based online bookstore that sells new, used, and vintage books. The owners carefully choose, clean, and condition books, giving them a second life for a new mind to get lost in.
Arkipelago Books - located in San Francisco’s Historic District hosts an extensive collection of Filipino Literature, Culture, Social Sciences, Art, Poetry, History, and more. It is a cornerstone to the Filipino businesses, advocate organizations, art spaces and families in the neighborhood.
Bel Canto Books - founded by Filipina American poet Jhoanna Belfer, Swiss fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books. They also select a theme each month to celebrate books by women and people of color.
East Wind Books - located in Berkeley, CA has been a major source for Asian American literature since 1982.
Femme Fire Books - down in Jacksonville, FL, celebrates diversity, selling used and new books.
Tiny Sprouts - They've created a new fun and creative board game that empowers children and teaches them empathy called Empower Empathy. It's currently availabe for pre-order and general retail begins the second half of 2022. What I love even more about them is their commitment to social and environmental responsibility through every aspect of their business operations. 10% of purchases goes directly to building schools around the world.
Paper Culture - plant a tree with every chic and sustainable piece of stationery you purchase.
Food & Beverages
Xi'An Famous Foods - Xi-An style noodles, dumplings, and more (order their meal kit so you can make hand pulled noodles at home!)
King's Hawaiian - I'm especially biased because its HQ is in my hometown and our family loves their bakery. If you happen to be in or near Torrance, CA, definitely hit up their bakery. Their Paradise Cake is a birthday staple around these parts.
Kitazawa Seeds - the oldest American seed company specializing in Asian vegetable seeds
Tanaka Farms - if you live in Southern California, this is a great place to go fruit picking.
Omsom - founded by daughters of Vietnamese refugees, Omsom makes it fun and easy to add Asian flavors to your cooking. I also love that their name comes from the Vietnamese phrase om som, meaning noisy, rambunctious, riotous. Most often used by parents to scold unruly, raucous children in teh back of the car.
Diaspora Co. - provides a new and equitable approach to the Indian spice trade that offers quality spices directly from its farmers.
Us Two Teas - serving up some of Taiwan's most elegant teas from family-farms in an accessible and sustainable way.
Uproot Teas - sustainability and transparency are the names of the game for this loose leaf tea brand. Everything down to the packaging is compostable.
Rae's Roots - this one I can relate to...and any other mama out there, too. Founded as an answer to one mama's worn out body and mind, and experience with post-partum depression, founder Joanna Linton turned back to her roots and created a tea blend of ingestible Chinese herbs known as adaptogens to ease tension and stress and restore the body's balance. Healthy gut = healthy mind. Rae's Roots now also has blends to support lactation and for expectant mamas.
Setsugekka - matcha tea. The real deal. And if you're in NYC, stop by their Manhattan teahouse to relax and enjoy sweet treats.
Noona's Ice Cream - ice cream inspired by Asian flavors. "Noona" means big sister in Korean. When you read Noona's story, you feel the passion, purpose, and noona love.
Kauai Kookie - still a family-owned business, these are my favorite Hawaiiwan cookies. So perfectly crisp and not too sweet (apparently "not too sweet" is an Asian thing to say about food haha). My faves are the Guava Macadamia, Cornflakes Krunch, and Kona Coffee.
Yumday - a subscription snack box that highlights women and bipoc snack brands. Can we say yum yay!
Nguyen Coffee Supply - this one is for all you coffee lovers out there. With a mission to increase economic advancement for Vietnamese farmers through specialty coffee production, Nguyen Coffee Suply is the first specialty Vietnamese coffee company in America that directly imports single-origin Robusta.
Any local to you Asian-owned restaurant, boba shop, bakery, or other food & beverage establishment.
DAI - sustainable clothing that takes you from gym to work and vice versa. Like literally their suits feel like comfy yoga clothes and you can go rock climbing in them. While the company is London-based, its founder originally hails from the sunny beaches of Orange County.
Lavahut - the most heavenly Aloha shirts and Hawaiian dresses, always made in Hawai'i. You can even buy matching outfits for the whole family.
Diana Ho Designs - dainty 14K gold jewelry known for intricate and outfit enhancing body chains. Diana makes each piece by hand in her home studio.
Tank Air - slow fashion made of dead stock (aka leftover fabric). Their About Page says it all: Quality clothing and ideas made for the Matriarchy. The founder Claire Robertson-MacLeod is Thai American, born in Bangkok. Everything is made responsibly in downtown LA, and Claire even has a personal relationship with everyone from the seamstresses to the pattern makers, and fabric cutters.
Dauphinette - "The happiest brand on earth" brings you recycled and byproduct fur and leather, vintage, and artisanal apparel, handbags, and accessories. One look at their website and they are totally speaking my colors.
SVNR - brings together ethics and aesthetics using upcycled and natural materials for apparel, accessories, and one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Blueland - non-toxic and sustainable cleaning products.
Bebeboo Diapers - I'm listing them under "household products" because they now sell "Scrapz," a compostable cleaning cloth made of recycled cellulose. Plus the wetbags and changemats are great for many other non-baby related uses. Owned by a kickass Filipina Mama.
Wing on Wo Co - family-owned, vibrant porcelain wear and cultural goods, including tea sets, dinnerware, decor, and more. Also the oldest operating store in NYC's Chinatown since 1890.
The Sill - for all you plant lovers out there, here's where all your potted dreams come true. They even offer in-person and online workshops!
Our Place - cookware founded by Malala Fund co-founder, Shiza Shahid.
Goldune - adding color and personality to the often beige and monochrome world of sustainability. Iranian American founder, Azora Zoe Paknad, created Goldune to be your online resource for cute, joyful, and useful sustainable products. They've got everything from household essentials to home decor, kids' items, and more.