40 Asian-American-Owned Businesses You Can Support Right Now
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The rise of anti-Asian sentiment during the pandemic has taken a psychological and financial toll on the Asian American community. Supporting Asian-owned businesses is one way to help.
Violence against Asian Americans has been on the rise since the pandemic started. Asian American families and individuals have been verbally abused and physically attacked, and Asian American businesses have been boycotted and vandalized. When a community is suffering, there are many ways to step up and show support. One of the easiest ways to be an ally is to shop from businesses owned by the affected community. Chinatowns have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, so if there’s one near you, consider visiting and buying tea or gift items or getting takeout from a restaurant. See if you can find and patronize small businesses near you owned by Asian Americans, too.
To add to our lists of Black-owned businesses and women-owned businesses, here’s a list of more than 30 Asian-American-owned businesses that you can support right now—and get some amazing items in the process. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re looking to fill your closet, decorate your home, send gifts to friends, feed your cravings, or even expand your skills.
Capsule creates thoughtfully designed wallets that are both multifunctional and minimalist. It began when founder Robert Sha became frustrated with available wallets. They were either not fashionable, not functional, or far too expensive. His Capsule products solve all three of these problems—and look good while doing it. The Ace, the thinnest in the collection, has dedicated spaces for all your essentials. It fits ID, cards, and cash, all with a footprint barely larger than a credit card and a price that won’t leave your wallet empty.
Founders Athina Wang and Florence Shin met in high school and reconnected to tackle a problem they both saw: Glasses were manufactured with industry-standard measurements that didn’t fit all face sizes and shapes. Covry creates comfortable and stylish glasses using a wide range of measurements so their frames can flatter any face, and even better, you can try them on at home before you commit, making this a great place to buy glasses online. Both glasses and sunglasses are produced in small, handcrafted batches, which means less waste and more new styles. These Chara Peony frames are a beautiful example of the unique details that Covry is so skilled in executing.
Warning: You’re going to want everything on this site. Ren is a family-run studio that specializes in fine jewelry made to last “a lifetime and beyond,” and its made-to-order pieces showcase jade, a gemstone to which founder Crystal Ung feels a deep connection. After she fell in love with a vintage jade bracelet that cost $8,000, she set out to create a brand that was more accessible. With pieces like these Ali earrings, named after comedian Ali Wong, Ren merges East Asian traditions with today’s Asian American culture. Each piece is timeless, responsibly sourced, and benefits the next generation of Asian Americans—10 percent of all sales are donated to Apex for Youth and Asian Youth Center.
Heidi Woo is the artist behind the meticulously handmade creations of Woo Ceramics. Her shop carries a variety of mugs, home decor, jewelry, and astounding miniature pottery pieces. She specializes in unique earrings that feel magically lightweight while still making a statement. These ceramic half-moon earrings would make a beautiful gift for a loved one—or for yourself! Woo Ceramics also features a BLM collection, and 100 percent of the proceeds from this collection go to Black Visions Collective, The Love Land Foundation, Urban Justice Center, and Black Trans Travel Fund. Here are more BLM charities and organizations that could also use your support.
For jewelry with a personal touch and positive energy, New York-based jewelry studio Ying & Kang has you covered. Creators Ying Hernandez and Yvette Lee Kang attend to each stage of the creation process with intention and skill. By hand-selecting each material and hand-making every piece of jewelry in an environment that is “harmonious and filled with music and inspiration,” they imbue each piece with wishes for its owner. If you’re seeking peace, love, and happiness this year, they have a bracelet for that. Or peruse their collection to find items that are connected to social justice causes, where they donate between 30 and 100 percent of proceeds to a listed charity.
Husband and wife team Jenn Chong and Roman Khan cofounded the sustainable accessories brand Linjer because they were fed up with having to overspend to buy beautiful, high-quality products that would last, and with choosing between unsustainable fast-fashion and overpriced luxury brands. As a direct-to-consumer brand, the Hong Kong-based company aims to offer luxury products at a fraction of the price of traditional luxury brands. And they do it using the most eco-friendly and long-lasting materials available, and offsetting carbon emissions for every shipment dispatched to customers. Linjer’s gold vermeil Kirsten Pearl Huggies have been spotted on numerous celebrities—and cost only $87.
This pandemic-born brand aims to bring minority representation and growth to the fashion industry. Founded by Asian American entrepreneur Alicia Sandve, the brand is best known for its wide array of 18k gold plated, water resistant, hypoallergenic and nickel-free jewelry, like these sparkling 18K rose gold-plated sterling silver Daydream Hoops. The brand also carries unique home, beauty and lifestyle products, all under $70. An advocate for women around the world, HEYMAEVE has partnered with i=change to donate $1 from each saleto the shopper’s choice of women-focused charities.
Taiwanese-American Carol Chen founded the luxury mask brand Maskela after being turned away from her private club for wearing a disposable face mask. She went home that day and immediately began turning dresses from her own designer gowns into face masks and it grew from there. The former Miss San Francisco previously had a fashion label in LA that sold in over 300 stores, a uniform factory in China, a MMA brand in Hong Kong worn by international fighters, and a dress rental company in Singapore that dressed the stars in the movie Crazy Rich Asians. This Batik Blue Maskela mask, inspired by the iconic Singapore Airlines uniform, is a stunner that will also keep you safe.
Books and Magazines
Founded by first-generation Asian Americans Vicki Ho and Kathleen Tso, Banana Magazine is a sumptuous deep dive into the exploration of Asian American identity. Its title comes from the label “banana,” which is sometimes used as a criticism for East Asians who seem overly steeped in American culture. The magazine takes this term that has been used as a taunt and flips it into a celebration of all things Asian American. The latest issue features interviews with Saturday Night Live‘s Bowen Yang, The Daily Show‘s Ronny Chieng, and more.
Chinatown Pretty started as a project between photographer Andria Lo and writer Valerie Luu. After noticing the vibrant fashion of elderly Chinatown residents in San Francisco, the two set out to capture it through photos and interviews. Now you can leaf through these luminous portraits in book form. Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown’s Most Stylish Seniors brings together images, advice, and inspiration from six Chinatowns. It’s a celebration of color, pattern, joy, and resilience—things we could all use a little more of.
Part of allyship is a will to learn more about communities outside one’s own. So much understanding can be built from reading and taking in art. Slant’d Magazine brings together writers, illustrators, photographers, and more to share pieces of the Asian American experience through their personal stories. Each issue revolves around a central theme and features a different group of contributors. You can order the latest issue, Revolution, here or start at the beginning.
Wesley Kang, co-founder of Nimble Made, was tired of the ill-fitting dress shirts he had to wear to his finance job every day. His cofounder, Tanya Zhang, notes on their website how they saw brands dedicated to petite women’s clothing, but nothing equivalent for slimmer men like Kang and Zhang’s father. Nimble Made makes dress shirts, casual shirts, and flannel shirts that fit slim silhouettes to a T. Driven by a desire to expand fit inclusivity, Zhang and Kang left their corporate jobs to self-fund and run Nimble Made in 2018. Even if a fitted slim-cut is not what you’re looking for, you can also stock up on high-quality basics like T-shirts and accessories like this denim cotton tie.
Another brand created through firsthand experience of a need, Pepper is for women who are tired of bras that gap, slip, or otherwise make them feel like they are not enough. Traditional bra companies have created unrealistic body standards through marketing images, and often don’t carry bras that fit small chests. After her own shopping frustrations, the CEO and co-founder of Pepper, Jaclyn Fu, set out to create products and a community that supported women with small chests. The brand’s most popular product is the oh-so-comfortable Limitless Wirefree Bra, which you can purchase in a range of pretty colors and perfect sizes. You might also want to pick up these essential bras for everything in your wardrobe.
Sorah Yang is a dancer, choreographer, entrepreneur, and creative director from the Bay Area. Most recently, she worked as associate choreographer for the upcoming Britney Spears Broadway musical. Her apparel line specializes in clothing for dancers, and each piece is comfortable, breathable, and fashionable. You don’t have to be a dancer to appreciate these looks, though. They fit the lifestyle of those who love to move and those who love to lounge but still want to look put together. Pick up a pair of easy sweatpants, and follow Yang on Instagram to keep an eye out for community initiatives, which have included fundraisers for essential workers and micro-grants for her students.
Born and raised in Bangladesh, Saima Chowdhury founded Grey State in 2015 to provide an edited selection of relaxed luxury clothing that gives comfort, style, and a sense to calm confidence to a woman’s busy schedule. Grey State is a female-owned and operated brand that is committed to keeping their environmental impact low. Their bestselling Hudson V-neck, made of soft textured cotton, is an homage to the laid back lifestyle.
Taiwanese-born sisters Julie Kuo and Connie Kuo started AVRE to offer sustainable footwear to empowered women. Each shoe, like the Momentum durable, lightweight sneaker, is made from recycled materials and is knitted with fibers created from recycled P.E.T plastic from 8 to 10 water bottles. Today, AVRE proudly stands with GoFundMe and GoldHouseCo, and leaders in the AAPI community who are devoted to taking initiative. Together, they are standing against turning a blind eye to unlawful acts of hate and violence.
Founder Lauren Jin set out to create top-notch skin care and makeup for modern women. Korean technology and methods currently lead the way in beauty trends, and CLE’s products lend themselves to the multi-step skin-care routine that is the signature of Korean beauty. Each product is also versatile within itself. For example, the brand’s Multi Cream serves as a daily moisturizer for the face, body, and even hair. CLE prides itself on being non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free, and aims to give customers products that “nurture your most natural state.”
Cofounders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee put together 20 years of combined work at L’Oreal to create their own brand, which went from Shark Tank in 2015 to CNBC’s Upstart 100 list in 2018. Glow Recipe is rooted in skin care that is fun—a concept made immediately clear by the bright and inviting colors on its website and packaging. Each product has a “superfruit base” like watermelon, blueberry, pineapple, or avocado. Cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and phthalate-free, Glow Recipe prioritizes quality ingredients. Start out with one of the brand’s bestsellers, like this Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask. In case you were wondering, this is the difference between retinol and retinoids.
In 2015, Deepica Mutyala made a viral video showing how she used red lipstick to conceal under-eye circles. In the overwhelming response, she saw the need for makeup that served every shade of skin. Live Tinted started as a community, where Mutyala listened to ideas and feedback. In 2019, she launched the product Live Tinted is now known for: the brilliant 4-in-1 Huestick. You can use it as a color corrector, an eye shadow, a blush, and a lipstick. Try it out in a new shade, Change, to add some easy shimmer that works with any skin tone.
Velour excels at all things brow and lash. Founder Mabel Lee has perfected the art of the lash with products that are vegan, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. Choose from a range of lash lengths and styles, and try out innovative products like Lash & Go, an eyeliner plus lash adhesive in one. During the month of March, shopping at Velour not only supports an Asian American business—it also supports the greater North American Asian community. Velour has pledged that 10 percent of net proceeds will go to Stop AAPI Hate in the United States and CPAC in Canada.
Food and Beverage
This small, family-run business has been making fortune cookies for three generations. They are the oldest fortune cookie shop in Oakland and pride themselves on continuing the tradition of making each cookie by hand. You can customize your order by choosing from an array of designs and flavors, and can even personalize the messages inside the cookies. Instead of a birthday cake this year, try a giant fortune cookie! Each purchase goes toward supporting The Fortune Cookie Factory’s minority employees. For further intersectional allyship, purchase the Solidarity Set; 50 percent of the proceeds will go to the Innocence Project and the NAACP.
Arthur Lee’s parents fled the Cultural Revolution in China and ended up in Pescadero, California, where they started a mushroom farm with Lee’s grandmother. After graduating from college with a degree in Ecology and Evolution, Lee returned to his roots and is now a third-generation mushroom farmer. Mazu Mushrooms serves a variety of fresh mushrooms out of Santa Cruz, but if you’re not in the area and want to try your own hand at growing, you can order cultivation supplies, grow kits, and cultures like this one for Pearl Oyster mushrooms.
For anyone craving a strong, smooth cup of coffee, Nguyen Coffee Supply is ready to deliver to you. Founder Sahra Nguyen is a multitalented entrepreneur who is also the co-founder of a restaurant and a podcasting agency, among other projects. Many don’t know that Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world, and some coffee drinkers have misconceptions that beans from Vietnam are of lower quality. Nguyen is setting the record straight with delicious blends that she sources from a family-run farm in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Find out which blend is your favorite by sampling the Original Vietnamese Coffee Trio, which also makes a great gift for coffee lovers.
Vanessa and Kim Pham are a dynamic duo of sisters who want to give everyone “real deal Asian cuisine.” If you’re new to cooking Asian food or are looking for a way to make dinner faster, Omsom’s flavor packets are a must-have. All you need to do is add a packet of Omsom to whatever proteins and vegetables you have at home—voilà! You have a delicious, aromatic meal. Try the Best Seller Set to make 18 meals split between a Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Thai Larb, and Japanese Yuzu Misoyaki. Recipes are included, and all take under 30 minutes.
Wish you had a great Asian grocery store near you? You do—it just happens to be online! Umamicart currently provides next-day delivery to zip codes in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and the company has plans to expand to more states this spring. If you know what you want, you can select from more than 500 items in departments like Fruit, Vegetables, and Meats & Tofu. If you’d like a little more direction, you can also order a kit that has everything you need for a specific recipe, like the Dumpling Essentials kit. Founded by Andrea Xu, Umamicart sources from Asian American–owned businesses, mom-and-pop suppliers, and Asian American founders creating new products.
Korean American mom and lawyer Carolyn Kim wanted to create a premium spirit that was easy to drink and paid homage to her roots. The result: Yobo Soju. Handcrafted in the New York Finger Lakes, the award-winning spirit has a lighter alcohol content (23% ABV) and clean taste, and is free of gluten, sugar, preservatives, additives. It’s also low calorie (36 calories per ounce) and keto-friendly. In the first two months of 2021, Yobo donated 100 percent of profits to COVID-19 restaurant and food service relief, and will continue to help fund organizations paving the way for minority-owned small business owners, struggling restaurants, and the workers who support them. Find Yobo Soju near you or purchase on Wine.com.
Do you know someone who could use a little pick-me-up? A self-care gift from Effervescencess should do the trick! This Sedona-based shop specializes in bath soaks and body scrubs that are made to soothe both body and soul. Utilizing Tachyon healing techniques, a sprinkle of Abundance in the bath will bring deep relaxation with basil, calendula, chamomile, citrus peel, and more. Each product is handcrafted, natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and packaged in recyclable materials.
Artist Diana Ho started From Here to Sunday to feature “small batch goods from the heart.” She curates products that are made in limited quantities by talented creators with a range of specialties. It was hard to place her shop in a single category on this list because it carries delightful products for kids, beauty, the home, your closet, your art collection, and more. In the end, we couldn’t imagine a better gift than the Cookie Subscription (which you can order for one year, six months, or three months.) It’s a perfect birthday or holiday gift that keeps on giving—literally!
Filipina American sisters Michele and Anna-Marie Josue share the art of Filipino gift-giving through these unique and fun gift boxes. “Para Sa-Yo” means “for you” in Tagalog, and with their range of gifts, it’s one-stop shopping for everyone in your life. There are gifts themed around coping through the pandemic, food cravings, and various holidays, and they’re all hand-packed and wrapped in beautiful packaging. Send a Lavender Love set to welcome the spring, or a colorful, Insta-worthy XO treat set, bursting with flowers, cookies, and candy—perfect for a Mother’s Day gift!
Melissa Ahlgren is the artist behind the cheerful textile designs of The Ahlgren Collage. Among her many lovely products are the prettiest tea towels you ever did see—who knew watermelon radishes could be so beautiful? You can brighten your home and contribute to the community at the same time, as 10 percent of all sales are donated to charity. All packaging materials are also reusable, recyclable, and/or compostable. FYI, the items sell out quickly, so if the product you love is out of stock, order something to be custom-made.
A little luxury goes a long way, as you’ll realize when you check out this candle brand. Founder Michelle Hsu makes her products with natural soy wax and toxin-free fragrance mixes like Grapefruit Mint, Fig, and White Tea. Each candle is hand-poured as part of a small batch and shipped from New York City. In naming ILHA, Hsu wanted to connect with her Taiwanese heritage. “Ilha Formosa” (beautiful island) is how Portuguese sailors labeled the island of Taiwan on their maps in the 1500s. Try the Orange Blossom candle for a light sweetness to brighten your space. If you want your purchase to do further good, 10 percent of net proceeds from the Jasmine Green Tea candle go to the community organization TaiwaneseAmerican.org.
The Sill seeks to boost your quality of life through an abundance of houseplants. Founder Eliza Blank’s mother kept a connection to her home in the Philippines through gardening, so Blank was always surrounded by greenery. She created The Sill first as an online shop, and then expanded into a community with workshops, a Plant Parent Club, and five brick-and-mortar locations. Browse the website to shop by level of difficulty. For true beginners (or those who lack a green thumb), there’s even the option of faux and preserved plants. For those ready for a little more responsibility, the best-selling Monstera Deliciosa in a beautiful ceramic planter is ready to go home to you.
The oldest shop in New York’s Chinatown, Wing On Wo is a cultural institution. One family passed the shop down for generations, but not without uncertainty. In 1964, the family wanted to sell, but granddaughter Nancy Seid stepped up to give it new life by turning its focus to porcelain. In 2016, the changing landscape of Chinatown made Nancy and her partner consider selling again. This time, their granddaughter Mei Lum took on the responsibility of bringing the shop into its next incarnation. She started the W.O.W. Project, an extension of the shop that engages with the community for events and relationship building. The store’s porcelain collection still carries some of the best selections around, including these classic white and blue tea sets and cabbage leaf pattern plates.
Alicia Tsai founded Aerangis, a scented candle company, to blend handcrafted craftsmanship and high-quality ingredients with uncompromising sustainability. She works closely with world-renowned perfumers to craft fragrances that either recall precious memories or create new ones. Aernagis’ signature scents are inspired by Tsai’s most cherished memories, including a secret garden in Taiwan, a ranch and vineyard in upstate New York, and the spirit of New Orleans.
As businesses in Chinatown suffer through the pandemic, some are coming up with innovative ways to help. Grassroots initiative Welcome to Chinatown is creating new revenue streams for small businesses through a project called Made in Chinatown. By pairing brick-and-mortar shops with designers donating their skills, they create branded merchandise customers can purchase online. You’ll find mugs, home goods, bags, and apparel. All proceeds go directly back to each shop or to a charity of their choosing, as in the case of this adorable Gordon & Li Li Onesie. Eighty percent of proceeds from this product go to the Longevity Fund, which provides relief grants to small business. If you love this idea, check out these other beautiful gifts that give back.
Mimochai is a creative studio owned by artist Mimi Chao. The world she has created is inhabited with wondrous landscapes and magical characters, all in an art style you’ll want to lose yourself in. The online shop carries gift boxes, art prints, stickers, apparel, and more. Our favorite is the Let’s Go Explore book, successfully launched on Kickstarter in 2017. This picture book is perfect for adventurous little ones and art-loving adults. Mimochai donates at least 10 percent of its profits to community organizations that support access to art education.
Owner, designer, and mom of three Amanda Stewart has her hands full—especially since she screen-prints every product in her shop by hand. She also takes care to use materials sourced in the United States and follows environmentally friendly practices. Her designs are bright and joyful, and they often feature a favorite food or a smiling character’s face. You can find tops, bottoms, sleepwear, onesies, and even masks and face shields children will love. For kids ages one through 10, get a screen-printed number tee so they can wear their ages proudly.
If you’ve been feeling more sedentary than usual, Steezy has the cure: unlimited dance classes from home, for just $8.33 per month if you opt for the annual plan. The teachers are among the best in their styles of dance, but don’t let that scare you: What makes Steezy particularly great is its multi-view functionality, where you can watch your instructors from the front or back. You can even view yourself alongside them. It’s also less intimidating than a live class because you can slow things down, repeat sections, and retake classes as often as you want. Feeling sociable? Use Party Mode to invite friends to learn with you and tackle this new hobby together!
Wong Fu Productions was making videos even before YouTube launched in 2005, and quickly became one of the most popular channels on the platform. Cofounders Wesley Chan, Ted Fu, and Philip Wang are legends in the Asian American community for creating some of the first content that was representative of the Asian American experience. Today, they have close to 3.3 million YouTube subscribers, and their videos range from comedic sketches to a moving feature-length film. And now, for the first time, they’re drawing from their years of experience to teach a filmmaking workshop. If you’ve ever been interested in what it takes to make a short film, this online course is a perfect place to start.