Delilah Snell, a Latina entrepreneur, attributes the success of her neighborhood shop to its values: Its commitment to celebrating, recognizing, and supporting Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+, and women producers and makers from above and below the U.S.-Mexico border.
"It's difficult to be a small business owner and even more difficult to be a female business owner," said Snell, who owns a curated market that sells an assortment of products and prepared foods called Alta Baja Market in Santa Ana, California. "That's why I'm a really big supporter and it's the ethos of the store to represent businesses that don't have the exposure that I think they deserve, and a lot of those are minority groups."
Consumers increasingly share the same sentiment by being more intentional about where their money goes. The past couple of years have introduced a new emphasis on shopping small during the holidays and supporting businesses owned by women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ community members. A 2022 McKinsey survey found that 2 in 3 Americans report shopping based on their values, and nearly half believe retailers should actively support Black-owned businesses and brands.
Despite the shift, there remains a serious gap between Black business ownership in comparison to white business ownership: In 2020, only 3% of all U.S. businesses were Black-owned, while 86% were white-owned. LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs also continue to strive for equity in their companies. LGBTQ+-owned businesses had smaller annual revenues than non-LGBTQ+ businesses, making them more likely to face obstacles to accessing financing, according to an analysis of the Federal Reserve Banks' 2021 Small Business Credit Survey.
While there is still much progress to be made in expanding inclusion at all levels of business ownership, shopping with and sourcing services from these diverse businesses is one way for consumers to support women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs directly.
Flowcode compiled a list of five resources to help shoppers discover small, minority-owned businesses, find heartfelt and one-of-a-kind gifts, and connect with others this holiday season.
Start Small Think Big is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. It partners with BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, immigrants, veterans, formerly incarcerated and low-income business owners, and entrepreneurs with disabilities—by assisting with financial, legal, and marketing services.
To help circumvent some of the unique challenges that limit the growth and sustainability of small businesses, the organization created a directory for shopping online. There, people can find a state-by-state roundup of goods and services from businesses run by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people, women, and other underrepresented groups throughout the United States.
The Asian American and Pacific Islander Business Collective is a directory for those who wish to support and shop businesses owned by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Calling out the anti-Asian racism and misinformation that circulated heavily during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on AAPI businesses and communities, the site showcases the creative talents of these diverse communities.
With categories ranging from apparel to wellness, food, and art, the AAPI Business Collective is particularly helpful for those seeking specific or unique gifts. The platform allows you to browse small businesses by category and links directly to their websites.
A number of Black-owned business directories and marketplaces make it easy to connect with small Black-owned businesses, which face significant barriers to accessing capital. Some platforms allow you to buy from Black-owned brands nationally and locally. Some cities, like New York, have city-specific Black-owned business directories.
Black Woman Owned, for instance, makes it their mission to amplify Black women entrepreneurs and serve as a resource to find Black woman-owned businesses. Many of these marketplace networks also offer curated mailing lists that help you discover products and services from hundreds of entrepreneurs.
Chez Nous Guide is a Black- and woman-owned site that helps people find and support businesses owned by women, LGBTQ+ merchants, and BIPOC entrepreneurs in major cities globally. The directory is also an excellent resource for consumers looking to shop for ethically sourced products.
The website allows for sorting by city or category, making it less complicated to find small businesses and listings in a wide variety of areas.
Shop for handcrafted goods and support women-, BIPOC-, and LGBTQ+-led creative communities by checking out local markets and craft fairs. Some of these markets are curated to showcase the work of minority-owned creators in particular.
At In Todo, a Los Angeles-based craft fair, shoppers can enjoy a unique experience shopping from over 120 BIPOC artisans selling apparel, art, beauty, home goods, and more.
In Chicago, the One of a Kind Show puts on a market in the winter and spring, where people can shop directly from makers of goods ranging from jewelry to ceramics, homewares, art, pet products, and more. This market is unique for its artist locator, where shoppers can browse the artisans and sort by name, location, and BIPOC-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, and woman-owned businesses, so you're sure to use your buying power to uplift creatives.
Story editing by Eliza Siegel. Copy editing by Kristen Wegrzyn. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.
This story originally appeared on Flowcode and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.