Inventory: These B.C. businesses run by Black entrepreneurs are walking the walk

Trends change, but mindful shopping is always in. Buy Black-owned.

Credit: Devi Arts Collective

Trends change, but mindful shopping is always in

From jewellery to soaps to handwoven bags, here are some of the best local goods from Black-owned companies.

Credit: Boostani


Inspired by artisans from her tribe, Lois Okello started selling handwoven baskets as a side hustle in 2018. But Vancouver-based Boostani isn’t your average wholesale operation–much of the work that Okello offers is made by members of her own family in Kenya. She’s learned how to weave herself, too, and offers a Made in Canada line.

Credit: Devi Arts Collective

Devi Arts Collective

Devi Arts Collective was launched in 2013 by Bayoush Mengesha. The women-led Vancouver brand sells dainty, minimalist jewelry ideal for everyday wear. Each of their pieces is handmade using recycled or refined metals and ethically sourced gemstones, and their design is mindful. (For example, the Duality Asymmetrical Disc Studs reflect the complementary nature of opposite forces.) Coming this spring: a one-of-a-kind collection featuring recycled 14-karat gold. Online

Credit: Uchi Collections

Uchi Collections

After moving to Canada, Irène Shema and her family had a tough time finding African décor that made their home feel more like, well, home. She established Uchi Collections in Victoria in 2019 to provide income for artisans in East Africa–many of them single mothers–and to bring traditional African style to the Island (and the rest of the country). Her blankets, clothing and accessories are all handmade.

Credit: Khimia Designs

Khimia Designs

Victoire Lyele, who grew up in Vancouver, began making earrings as a way to embrace her Congolese and Gabonese roots. Using an African print fabric called kitenge, Lyele crafts vibrant jewelry, clothing and headwraps (great for bad hair days, she says). She founded Khimia Designs in 2018 and still makes every product herself.

Credit: Karibu Soaps

Karibu Soaps

When Ken Okondo founded Karibu Soaps in May 2020, he was determined to make suds simply–with basic ingredients and creating as little waste as possible. Okondo creates moulds from everyday waste like milk cartons and Pringles containers. His New Westminster micro-business stirs up small-batch soap and shampoo, all in bar form, so there’s no plastic bottle waste, either.

READ MORE: 5 business resources for Black entrepreneurs in B.C.