Harassment, lack of representation, microaggressions, and scapegoating all contribute to the discrimination faced by Asian-Americans every single day. The rhetoric used by a former U.S. leader—“the China virus” and “kung flu—throughout the pandemic may have sparked the influx of anti-Asian racism, while also bringing a spotlight to the often overlooked issue. As a result, discrimination towards the AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) community is unfortunately at an all-time high.
According to California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there has been a nearly 150 percent increase of hate crimes directed toward Asian-Americans in major U.S. cities in 2020. The damage has been psychologically, financially, and physically draining. In an economy already struggling due to the pandemic, Asian-American businesses have been reportedly vandalized and boycotted more than any other demographic. They desperately need both allyship and advocacy to uplift and support them.
While there are great non-profit organizations to donate to, like Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Pacific Covid-19 Recovery Fund, and Asian Health Services, another way to help is to put your money where your mouth is and support AAPI-owned businesses. From services like your local takeout and salons, to your upcoming shopping needs, there are plenty of Asian-American businesses that provide great products we stand by. The list ahead delivers something for everyone, covering clothing, food, home, and more. Check out these Asian American-owned brands you can support right now.
A post shared by Omsom (@omsom)
Omsom translated is “noisy, rambunctious, riotous; most often used by parents to scold unruly, raucous children in the back of the car.” Two sisters started this brand to celebrate loud, bold flavors in many Asian dishes. They create pantry shortcuts of yummy seasoning blends, like spicy bulgogi and yuzu misoyaki, to name a few favorites.
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Dang Foods was born when the founder couldn’t find toasted coconut anywhere in NYC when making his mom’s famous Thai lettuce wraps. He made them from scratch and his roommates were hooked. Dang Foods is now packaged and in grocery stores nationwide. From crunchy coconut chips and rice crisps, and most recently, protein bars, Dang Foods products are healthy snacks and toppers without compromising flavor.
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Chowbus is a food delivery service that brings the best Asian food directly to your door. It’s run by foodie experts that handpick each restaurant after a series of tests to ensure quality and authenticity.
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Lao Gan Ma is known as the “Old Godmother” of all chili sauces made in China. Brooklyn-born Calvin Eng was inspired to create a Lao Gan Ma of his own, teaming up with a designer friend and a CBD brand to create the perfectly versatile savory treat that is Loud Grandma CBD Chili Crisp Oil.
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Snow Monkey was founded by a female athlete that wanted to stay healthy without giving up her sweet tooth. What you get is “nice cream” that is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free and paleo-friendly in flavors like strawberry, chocolate mint chip, maple cinnamon, and more. Plus, each pint has 20 grams of protein. Whoever said dessert can’t be nutritious clearly never had Snow Monkey.
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Lomli Coffee brings an ethically-sourced flavorful roast to the convenience of an instant steep. Donna Kim created these tea-like coffee bags to fit caffeine into her busy schedule full of 4AM wake up calls. It’s instant coffee with a good reputation—aficionado approved!
Nguyen Coffee Supply
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Vietnamese coffee isn’t talked about nearly as much as it should be. The founder is first-generation Vietnamese-American and a daughter of refugees who fled their country by boat after the Vietnam war and settled in Boston, MA. Nguyen Coffee puts Vietnamese coffee on the map through crisp, bold flavor and organic green beans.
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If you shop our gift guides often, you probably recognize The Sill name. The company started on the belief that plants should live on every windowsill. Afterall, they provide clean air and a cheery oasis. This AAPI-owned business provides a selection of the most aesthetically pleasing plants and pots you can find on the internet. They have store locations in California and New York, too!
Pearl River Market
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If you’ve ever walked through Chinatown in New York City, chances are you have looked at Pearl River Market. The eclectic interior pours onto the streets making it a hard sight to miss. The history of the now iconic TriBeca/Chinatown landmark represents a “friendship store” between China and the United States, where the founders could share their favorite goods from their roots, dating back to the ’70s. It serves a creative space that celebrates Chinese culture, food, and art through fun lifestyle products like socks, teas, snacks, and mugs.
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Lifestyle blogger, @omandthecity opened this shop to curate her aesthetic through sustainable home goods. It is any minimalist’s dream, including products like bamboo dish brushes, natural wood dishes, dyed produce bags, wool dryer balls and more. Consider it a one-stop-shop for sustainable wife gifts, or to stock up on items for an Insta-worthy home.
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TRNK is a design-focused unique marketplace that features a paralleled modern aesthetic of global designers under one umbrella. The shop is a careful curation of home decor, rugs, furniture, lighting, and more. Think of it as your interior design hub to discover new brands and create a luxurious, magazine-worthy home.
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Innovation is the driving force behind all Blueland products. As seen on Shark Tank, the startup has reinvented traditional household items, on a mission to reduce waste and single-use plastic. Their hero product, The Clean Essentials, features tablets that mix into water to make a multi-purpose, glass and bathroom cleaner. The kit comes with reusable color-coated glass bottles, so all you have to refill on are the tablets.
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For the New York label’s FW21 collection (showcased at New York Fashion Week virtually last month), Private Policy paid homage to the nineteenth century Chinese transcontinental railroad workers who built the American railroads, acknowledging the widespread xenophobic feelings of the era as it relates to the anti-Asian discrimination happening today. The collection features a beautiful clash of traditional eastern details, like a mandarin collar with a utilitarian street aesthetic.
Nimble Made Shirts
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Nimble Made was born out of the simple need for an Asian-American man to find a proper-fitting dress shirt for his corporate job. Now, Nimble Made is known for their fit among dress wear, casual basics, button-down flannels, and more.
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Leorever is a luxury activewear brand that combines high style with quality construction and materials. Each item is meant to move in, but also appropriate for a casual outing for the modern man on the move.
3.1 Phillip Lim
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Philip Lim is one of the most celebrated designers in the New York fashion scene. From moto jackets to oversized tees and tapered joggers, Lim creates effortlessly cool fashions for the luxe urbanite.
A post shared by sundae school (@sundae.school)
At Sundae School, you’ll find unique textured jackets, graphic tees, and baggy sweats. The brand combines a laidback Cali vibe with a brash New York attitude. The cannabis-friendly brand is considered a fashion smokewear label—think comfort, casual, cool. They even have a sister cannabis brand called Sundae Flower.
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Aside from a New York Fashion Week collaboration with Reebok last year, Victor Li is known for relaxed suiting with great attention to detail. His boxy silhouettes and playful prints read high fashion, while his tracksuits and camp shirts deliver a dose of streetwear swagger.
A post shared by Hyden Yoo (@hydenyoo)
Remember the show Fear Factor? Hyden Yoo was one of the winners. He used that money to move to New York and start a fashion label. He designs modern-yet-timeless sportswear pieces for both men and women.
A post shared by TATCHA Beauty (@tatcha)
Founder Vicki Tsai was inspired by ancient Japanese skincare secrets and created products using ingredients from the island. The wide range of products are gentle and effective. We especially love the antioxidant rich Violet-C Brightening Serum and the Japanese Blotting Papers to absorb excess oil before hopping on Zoom.
Good Light Beauty
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This new skincare line offers products designed for all genders and skin colors. The three products—cleanser, toner and serum—are designed to work together to balance skin and restore the protective microbiome. We’re especially partial to the deep-yet-gentle cleanse we get from the Cosmic Glow Water Cleanser.
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All of Cardon’s products are designed specifically to meet the needs of men’s skin and are built around cactus extract because of its irritation soothing properties. They’re game changers if you struggle with sensitive skin or post-shave irritation. The Purifying Clay Cleanser and Cactus Soothing Face Mask are particular favorites around the Men’s Health offices.
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Founded by couple Charlotte and David Cho, it could be argued that Soko Glam is behind the Korean skincare explosion here in the US. They were one of the first sites to import cult skincare products from Korea, and remain one of the best places to find effective and budget-friendly products for every type of skin. Cho’s own line, Then I Met You, is a standout, but you really can’t go wrong with anything they carry.
A post shared by Glow Recipe (@glowrecipe)
Glow Recipe uses Korean skincare technology with an emphasis on naturally-inspired fruit ingredients to create effective, but still fun to use, skincare of almost any concern. We’re especially partial to the Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask when we want to wake up looking extra fresh.
Peach & Lily
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What started as a digital hub for Korean skincare became a powerhouse in the skincare world, thanks to their own line of products that harness the very best in Korean skincare technology. The Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask is a powerful exfoliating treatment that leaves our skin smooth and bright, and the Lazy Day All-in-One Moisture Pads are a travel lifesaver.
A post shared by EVENPRIME (@evenprimeandco)
Founded by siblings Koh and Andrew Kim, these unisex skincare products are formulated in Korea using the latest in skincare technology. The straightforward products, like the gentle Gel Cleanser and Daily Moisturizer, are tailor made for the skincare newbie or expert alike.
A post shared by Tower 28 Beauty (@tower28beauty)
Tower 28 is mostly about makeup, which if that’s your thing, more power to you, but their SOS Daily Rescue Spray has become our biggest maskne hack yet. A couple sprays after wearing a mask and irritation is stopped in its tracks; our skin feels more comfortable and blemishes hardly have time to show up.
A post shared by KraveBeauty (@kravebeauty)
Krave is all about simple skincare solutions and products that use the power of natural ingredients to give you amazing skin. The super-gentle Oat So Simple Water Cream is one of our favorite sensitive skin moisturizers, and the cult-favorite Great Barrier Relief serum magically gets rid of redness and irritation before our eyes.
A post shared by VENN (Global) (@vennskincare)
When he created Venn, founder Brian Oh sought to streamline the notorious 12-step Korean skincare routine into fewer, easier to use products that still deliver big results. He succeeded, and has brought that philosophy into top notch hair and body care as well—don’t sleep on the Synbiotic Polyamine Body Wash.
A post shared by Hero Cosmetics (@herocosmetics)
Hero is all about acne solutions. Not just zapping the zits when they pop up, but also preventing them from showing up in the first place, and minimizing the aftermath like dark spots and scarring if they do. The hydrocolloid Mighty Patches, which suck out gunk from zits overnight, have become our go-to spot treatment (and are recommended by dermatologists).
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Founded in Brooklyn by journalist Bee Shapiro, this fragrance company traffics in the unexpected. The scents of their products are a little out there, a little familiar, and completely unique. We burn through the Superego candles like it’s our job, and thanks to their partnership with Pura diffusers, we can now get the same home scent without striking a match.
A post shared by cocokind (@cocokind)
Cocokind’s products are all about natural ingredients and sustainable products, but without breaking the bank. The Daily SPF mineral sunscreen is one of our go-tos for sun protection and we’re pretty partial to the deep-cleaning Sea Kale Clay Mask, too.
A post shared by 100% PURE (@100percentpure)
If you’ve ever thought that natural skincare can’t also be effective, allow us to introduce you to 100% Pure. The brand’s exceedingly high standards about what ingredients to use translate into natural products that actually do what they say they will. The Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream is on of our favorite de-puffers and the vitamin C Serum is top notch.
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Take a stroll through Venice, California and you are bound to see at least a dozen people wearing a Thousand Helmet on a bike or rollerblades. Gloria Hwang’s goal is to save 1,000 lives by making helmets that are so comfortable and stylish, that people actually want to wear them. The company is climate positive and transparent about being 40% women, 40% BIPOC, and 25% Queer.
A post shared by STEEZY Studio (@steezystudio)
Steezy is a dance cardio fitness platform that streams workouts and tutorials at any level. They provide a step-by-step guide on how to move on beat, shift your weight, and find therapy in movement. For advanced dancers missing in-person classes, they offer more difficult sequences that can help you go viral on TikTok in no time.
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