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AAPI SMALL BUSINESSES: SHOPPING WITH A PURPOSE, EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Discover and support this list of AAPI small businesses making a big impact. Learn how they're building their brands and contributing to their communities.

a couple of women attending their business

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) entrepreneurs are an integral part of the small business community in the United States. Despite facing systemic and cultural barriers, AAPI-owned small businesses have been thriving and making significant contributions to the economy. From food and beverage to fashion, these AAPI-owned small businesses offer unique products and services that reflect their rich cultural heritage and diversity. In this blog post, we will highlight their stories and share why it's important to support them now more than ever.

the revolutionary mushroom sticker products

The name "The Revolutionary Mushroom" stems from the idea that we are all connected by our shared responsibility to break down failing systems and make way for new growth. Mel Xu is a second-generation Chinese American who was born in Chinatown and raised in Queens. Mel draws inspiration from plants, animals, and fungi that she finds art in. She founded The Revolutionary Mushroom to support and better nourish herself, her community, and the environment. As Mel Xu says, “The Revolutionary Mushroom is YOU.”

Find them here and support them without cost: therevolutionarymushroom

colorful bandanas with floral decorations by barks and crafts

Jess Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American entrepreneur and founder of Barks & Crafts, a handmade snap-on pet bandana company. Growing up in San Diego, Jess learned the art of sewing from her mother, who worked as a seamstress for over 30 years. Jess combined her entrepreneurial goals with her passion for crafting and love for dogs to launch her small business. With a mission to contribute more to animal shelters and rescues, Jess hopes to inspire others to follow their passions and dreams. Working alongside her mother has strengthened their relationship, creating cherished memories that Jess will carry for the rest of her life.

Find them here and support them without a cost: barksandcraftsco

one woman wearing a longsleeves with a  head gear and another one wearing a green dress

Yau-Weeks Studios is a slow fashion and textile company run by Sophia and Isabel, two mixed-race Chinese-American sisters from Oakland, CA. Coming from a family of artists and craftspeople, their grandmother was a documentarian who photographed everything from family trips to mundane moments while their grandfather was a draftsman and woodworker. Despite the pressure to follow more stable paths and trades, their family's creativity has remained constant. Through their craft, Sophia and Isabel hope to build community and make beautiful pieces.


Find them here and support them without a cost: yauweeks.studios

woman wearing a black pullover

We Are Chimmi is a platform founded by Hoa and Sunny that celebrates the immigrant hustle. Hoa's parents were refugees from Vietnam and Laos while Sunny's family immigrated from South Korea to the U.S. They bonded over their cultural pride and love for Asian cuisines and launched their platform to share their passion for playful accessories and connect with communities. They also donate a portion of their profits to organizations that support immigrants and marginalized communities and share inspirational stories from their communities, founders, and organizations they support. We Are CHIMMI aims to create a positive community that supports one another and celebrates unique cultures.


Find them here and support them without a cost: wearechimmi

5. Oateu

oat products

Oateu is a female-owned granola brand that takes inspiration from traditional Korean flavors to create clean and nutritious breakfast options for people with food sensitivities. The founder started making granola for herself due to her struggles with food sensitivities and was inspired by her mother's health journey to create blends that appealed to their Korean-American palates. The company is committed to using only premium and clean ingredients and aims to bring different cultures together and build community through food. Find them here and support them without a cost: oateu_

6. Nary

a couple of ladies on top of a hill

Founded by three sisters in May 2020, NARY is a fashion brand named after their Cambodian mother, Phannary. The brand was inspired by their mother's remarkable story of survival during the Khmer Rouge genocide in the late 1970s in Cambodia. NARY's objective is to contribute to the underprivileged nation of their mother's origin and showcase the distinctive Khmer culture that played a significant role in forming the Khmer-American identity of the sisters. Using their fashion education and experience from San Francisco and New York City, the sisters strive to produce ethical, sustainable, and beautiful products.


Find them here and support them without a cost: naryresort


clay accessories

Dreaming of Clay is a small business that was created by Jea, a Filipina based in Florida, during the pandemic. It all began when a friend gifted her with custom-made polymer clay earrings for her graduation. She then bought a clay kit and started creating her own clay creations. Jea's hobby turned into a business that brings joy and peace to her during these challenging times. Dreaming of Clay™ offers a variety of clay earrings, necklaces, and hair accessories. The business has grown from selling 86 pairs of earrings in the first drop to over 3000 pairs sold.


Find them here and support them without a cost: dreamingofclay 8. Anchovy Studio

a man and woman wearing korean-inspired clothes

Anchovy Studio is an independent apparel and design studio based in Philadelphia that is inspired by many sources but mostly Korean folk arts. Their goal is to create meaningful and thoughtful basics that will stand the test of time. Their inspirations include care for the land, everyday practices of life, pop culture, organic shapes, and abstractions. They believe in a slow and intentional fashion, that clothing is a means of freedom in our bodies and presentation, and aims to appeal to a wide range of gender expressions. They are committed to cultural exploration, challenging their relationships with nature, and consumption, and sparking joy through the sharing of art and culture.


Find them here and support them without a cost: anchovy.studio 9. Simitri

a hand holding a colorful handbag

Founded by sisters-in-law. Simitri is a small family business that creates sparkling, handcrafted wearable pieces that are alike to works of art. Simitri takes pride in creating the most original designs, sourcing good quality material that they thoughtfully handcraft into their line of shimmering products. Each item is handmade in India, preserving the mix of cultures that their artisans capture for each sequined product to have its touch of traditional arts & techniques for a modern output. And most importantly, Simitri products are cruelty-free which makes their stunning pieces more valuable. Find them here and support them without a cost: simitri.shop


black sesame crunch butter jars

Ashley Xie and Hedy Yu, co-founders, childhood friends, and daughters of immigrants created Rooted Fare, a business rooted in their Chinese heritage. As Ashley and Hedy began to connect with their realizations about the minimal access to their food and culture, they were inspired to create something that brings value to their Chinese-American heritage. Thus, producing modern Chinese American pantry staples including their popular & unique Black Sesame Crunchy Butter. As the co-founders define it, "Rooted" speaks to their roots of heritage and one another, while "fare" means "food" that sustains. Rooted Fare aims to build a brand and community rooted in heritage, togetherness, play, and creativity! Find them here and support them without a cost: rooted.fare


sincerely crys

Sincerely, Cryss is a Filipino-American-owned small business by Crystal, the sole founder. She was inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of many Asian Americans. The idea behind Sincerely, Crys is to raise awareness of other AAPI owners and provide mutual support. Her mission and vision involve expanding into Filipino-inspired merchandise and promoting an understanding of the culture. The most extraordinary aspect of her brand is sharing her creativity with others and connecting with each customer.


Find them here and support them without a cost: sincerelycryss


a woman holding a box

Kits by Food Craft was created by Filipina-American founder, Aimee, who was inspired by New York City's rich diversity which made her pursue her passion for crafting food, drinks, and arts and crafts. With her inspiration and determination, Aimee took on a new venture in sharing experiences for in-person team-building events that started with Paint-and-Sip and Sushi Rolling classes. In three years, Kits by Food Craft has grown with a vision to promote cultural awareness within the world by featuring heritages through food, drinks, and arts & crafts experiences with kits delivered. Aimee believes in sharing the gift of experience, which is why each Kits by Food Craft DIY Kit is thoughtfully curated to give everyone easy access to creative crafting, self-expression, and a memorable shared experience.


a computer and diy kit with bubble tea ingredients and matcha bubble tea

Supporting AAPI-owned small businesses not only helps to sustain their livelihoods but also promotes diversity, inclusivity, and representation in the market. At Kits by Food Craft, we are proud to be a culturally driven, AAPI-owned small business that celebrates diverse cultures and strives to share unique experiences with the world through food, drinks, and arts & crafts virtual & in-person experiences. Every purchase you make can make a difference in uplifting and empowering small businesses like ours to thrive. By choosing to support AAPI-owned small businesses, you not only invest in quality products and services, but you also help create a more diverse and inclusive economy for everyone.


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