This holiday season, Black-owned businesses across Detroit are doing everything in their power to keep the doors open safely and welcome customers for holiday shopping. We’ve selected a couple dozen of our favorite Black-owned businesses where you can find great gifts — and put your dollars back into our community.
Keep scrolling for the shopping guide.
Owners of small businesses in Detroit are reeling from the pandemic, facing financial crises and suffering alongside a city where more than 1,500 residents have died of COVID-19. The struggles are magnified for Black business owners, who were less likely to receive federal relief and more likely to have a COVID-19 infection among their family or staff than their white counterparts, according to two different surveys. And many lost, or risk losing, their businesses altogether — the number of working African American business owners declined more than 40% in the first couple months of the pandemic.
Felicia Williams-Patrick, owner of Flo Boutique in Midtown, told Detour she is hoping to double last year’s holiday sales just to stay afloat.
“I am worried about surviving because people are going to be scared to come out, and I get that,” she said. Flo offers appointments and curbside pickup to make shopping safer for people who are limiting their exposure to others.
February through June was “pretty tough” for the Shops on Top, a collection of brands in Eastern Market owned by Deron and Tina Washington, but a busy holiday season could help them make it through.
“I’m so optimistic that we’re going to be okay,” Deron Washington told Detour.
The Washingtons have put their energy into customer service and relationships.
“We stay on the phone pretty much all day, thanking our customers and asking them to come in. That’s really one-on-one retail,” Washington said. “Right now, only one of our stores is online, not all of them, so letting our customers know that we are thankful for them, reminding them that we are here, and offering them discounts to come in to shop with us is important.”
For many business owners, concerns about their own finances compete with concerns about their community.
Sales of fashionable cloth masks helped streetwear line DIOP gain national attention and sales in the last few months, and the brand is seeing lots of returning customers this season. Co-founder Mapate Diop said that’s allowed them to focus on supporting local organizations like Hey Y’all Detroit, Cass Community Social Services, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Barbershop Books and Humble Design.
“We’re concerned for the already underserved, marginalized and historically excluded communities in and around the city,” Diop said. “COVID isn’t just a public health crisis, but a political, social and economic crisis too. We’re mindful that the effects are more severe on those already at risk or most exposed and we’d like to continue to find ways to support people working, day in and day out, rain or shine, pandemic or no pandemic, to support these communities and address these challenges.”
At House of Pure Vin, wine sales are actually up this year, with options like online ordering making shopping easier. But owner Regina Gaines is too worried about her clientele to spend much time celebrating their success, noting that increased spirits purchases doesn’t necessarily indicate good spirits for her customers.
“We’re mindful of the fact that some people might not be spending the holidays with their relatives for the very first year,” she said. “This is more so a ‘thank you God, I’m alive,’ season than a celebration… And a lot of people are grieving.”
Holiday shopping might not be the festive, carefree activity it’s been in the past. But if you’re buying for loved ones this year, here are some places to pick out meaningful gifts, sold by Black Detroiters who care about their community.
Apparel and accessories
Roslyn Karamoko started printing her Détroit is the New Black. shirts for friends — but it wasn’t long before you saw them all over town, a bold but refined twist on Detroit-themed apparel. Karamoko’s shirts turned into a line turned into a brand with a flagship store downtown that opened in 2017 and now includes a marketplace for a curated collection of local goods and independent fashion labels from around the globe.
What to gift: Some of our faves include the Détroit Panthers tee ($44), the Dét onesie for little ones ($25) and the French black-and-white striped tee ($44): Détroit est le nouveau noir, indeed. In store, find goods from local designers like GODNII eyewear and TOMICIC bags.
How to shop: Buy DINB apparel and select products from other labels online, or visit the store at 1430 Woodward Ave., Detroit.
Mapate Diop, a first-generation American with West African roots, co-founded DIOP alongside Evan Fried to design Diaspora-inspired streetwear. DIOP’s colorful clothing, scarves and facemasks are all inspired by Ankara fabric that connects to Diop’s heritage. Diop invites all wearers to get in touch, ask questions and get to know the history and culture behind his apparel.
What to gift: The brand new Kente masks make a great gift to keep loved ones safe and looking stylish, featuring adjustable ear loops and a filter pocket for $15. A portion of the proceeds from mask sales are donated to Feed the Frontlines in Detroit.
How to shop: Order online.
At Shy vs. Bold, you’ll find customized face masks, cozy leggings, sleek handbags and much more. Owner Tennille Gee stays on top of the latest fashion trends and loves helping customers find that perfect gift.
What to gift: Find one-of-a-kind women’s clothing, distinctive jewelry and gifts from all around the world for under $100. Stay cozy and stylish in a pink faux fur vest or an athleisure set — or give a cassette tape purse to a nostalgic friend.
How to shop: Buy online or visit the Detroit location within the MKR Collective at the Fisher Building, 3011 W. Grand Blvd, Suite C9, or 29286 Northwestern Highway in Southfield.
The D Jewelry is Yolanda Nichelle’s custom jewelry line paying homage to Detroit. It’s also part muse Sydney G. James’ 2020 mural, The Girl With the D Earring. These pieces are beautiful and for the culture.
What to gift: The bamboo Old English “D” earrings are understated statement pieces, and a steal at just $25 — or go with the neon pink acrylic version who wears their hometown heart on their sleeve.
How to shop: Order on Etsy.
Modele Dress is the flagship modern fashion brand co-owned by Deron and Tina Washington, proprietors of the Shops on Top in Detroit’s Eastern Market. With three decades of experience as fashion buyers and retailers, the pair offers customers chic styles with unbeatable service in every interaction. In addition to Modele Dress, their premier women’s brand, Shops on Top also features High Street Men’s Wear, Y Not Detroit Casual Wear and the Red Velvet Café — providing shoppers a well-rounded and well-nourished retail experience.
What to gift: Deron Washington said Modele Dress stocked up on new casual and loungewear “for people to look good at home this holiday season.” Also find soaps, lotions, all-natural Modele Makeup lipsticks — and cute hats and winter wear from Y Not Detroit.
How to shop: Shop in-person at 2363 Russell St., Detroit.
Offering luxury cut & sew clothing for men, women and children, the Upperow brand was created by Latoya and Anthony Thompson when they struggled to find exclusive, high-end fashions for their growing family.
What to gift: Fine clothing and accessories for men, women and children that will become wardrobe staples — with timeless cuts and small details, like the adorable boy’s navy bow tie with little anchors or a chic black jumpsuit.
How to shop: Buy online or visit in-person at 3031 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 180, Detroit.
Seamstress Brianna Williams’ handcrafted baby apparel is honestly too cute to stand. Williams started sewing at age 12, and started making her own baby clothes for her daughter in 2008. Now, she offers one-of-a-kind pajama sets, rompers, leotards and more.
What to gift: The holiday pajama sets are to die for, or get a onesie with your beloved tot’s name on it. Dresses with sunflower and leaf patterns are perfect for a mini boho babe.
How to shop: Order on Etsy.
For the past 15 years, seamstress and fashion designer Felicia Williams-Patrick has operated Flo Boutique — named in memory of her mother — out of a cozy space in Midtown, just a stone’s throw from Avalon International Breads. Geared toward women who value comfort and quirkiness, Flo’s offerings combine a Saturday night sensibility with Sunday morning comfort. This year, she’s focused a bit more on the comfort end, catering to women who are adapting to the pandemic lifestyle while retaining a sense of style.
What to gift: Williams-Patrick said her favorite items right now are looks that are cozy enough to lay around in, but work for when you have to leave the house. Pick out a t-shirt dress to pair with sweatpants, then layer with a fancy sweatshirt or cardigan.
How to shop: Visit the boutique at 404 West Willis St., Detroit or call for personalized assistance at (313) 831-4901.
Beauty and wellness
Melissa Butler started making lipsticks at her kitchen table while working on Wall Street; a hobby fueled in-part by frustration with the beauty industry’s lack of diversity in models and the makeup itself. Butler moved back to Detroit to turn her passion project into a business, and her love of bright and bold colors resonated — her line of lipsticks and other makeup products are now sold at Target (and at her flagship store in Detroit).
What to gift: Get the Max Matte trio of lipsticks in red, pink and blue ($28) before it sells out, or pick up the Minimalist lip gloss ($14) for a low-maintenance friend. Or find your perfect shade of the Fresh Glow bronzer and blush duo ($22) — it’s an Allure Best of Beauty winner for 2020.
Esthetician Kim “Sevyn” Jones opened her facial spa on the Avenue of Fashion, with treatments designed to “target root causes rather than temporary fixes.” SkinBarVII offers customized facials as well as services including lash tinting, massages, microblading and makeup application.
What to gift: Buy a gift card to give a restorative facial treatment of your loved one’s choosing, or pick out skincare products from brands like Dermalogica and SkinScript.
How to shop: Check out the online store.
Cream Blends is owned by Yolanda Williams and husband Rick Williams, who first started making their products in their home kitchen.
What to gift: Cream Blends is known for its body butters with over 85% Shea butter, body scrubs, body oils and lip balms that use beeswax from Detroit Hives.
How to shop: Visit the online store.
Opened by Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson in 2016, The TEN is a favorite downtown salon for luxe nail treatments — and is often booked up. Don’t take it from us: last year, Cardi B visited the salon to meet with Sen. Bernie Sanders. Talk about an endorsement.
How to shop: Buy online.
Jamesha Lucas and Destiny Thomas opened their Avenue of Fashion shop in August after years of planning. Thanks to its top-notch and personalized customer service and emphasis on hair care education, Bronzed N Glow Beauty Boutique is #MoreThanABeautySupplyStore.
What to gift: Shop a wide range of products and accessories for men, women and children, like hair masks, satin-lined caps and beard balm.
How to shop: Check out the online store or visit in-person at 19327 Livernois Ave., Detroit.
Chinonye Akunne launched holistic skincare line ILERA in 2015, with products like body butter and cleansers made in Detroit and influenced by Akunne’s Nigerian heritage. When you buy online, 5% of sales go to Jasper House Haiti, a nonprofit that offers education, therapy and job training to young women in Haiti who have left lives of prostitution, exploitation and abuse.
What to gift: Choose between curated holiday bundles ($14.99-$54.99) and give someone a scented set matched to their personality: nostalgia, tropical escape, mellow and more. For new parents, try the baby bundle, with calming wash, balm, diaper cream and bath oil.
Home goods, books and art
Founded in 1996 by Jo Griffin, Jo’s Gallery is the ultimate spot for one-of-a-kind original artwork, framing services, eye-catching prints, paintings, sculptures and artisan jewelry.
What to gift: Frame a selfie or family photo, or purchase original art pieces for someone you love.
How to shop: Buy online or in-person at 19376 Livernois Ave., Detroit.
Source Booksellers owner Janet Webster Jones is a pro at hand-picking non-fiction books at reasonable prices, but she’s also a fan of bringing the community together through book talks and classes (currently gone virtual).
What to gift: Pick out a new release or featured title from Source Booksellers, like Michael Eric Dyson’s “Long Time Coming” or Ijeoma Oluo’s “Mediocre.” And we love the selection of children’s books — can you ever go wrong with Ezra Jack Keats’ ”The Snowy Day”?
How to shop: While in-store shopping at the Midtown shop is suspended due to the pandemic, you can order books online, over the phone at (313) 832-1155 or by emailing email@example.com, with doorside pickup.
For Alexis Sims, plant care is an act of self care that she discovered helped her stay in the moment and quell anxiety. In June, Sims launched plant boutique Leaf Me. She sources plants from nurseries in warmer climates, but with particular attention to which species will thrive in Michigan seasons. Leaf Me also offers plant styling, repotting and rental.
What to gift: Brighten up any friend’s space and bring them a little of that plant-caring calm by picking out a gift from Leaf Co’s rotating selection. Get a fiddle leaf fig ($72) for someone who’s already on the plant trend or pick out a low-maintenance philodendron ($31.50) for a beginner.
How to shop: Buy online.
An Eastern Market mainstay, Discount Candles has been a destination for candles, incense and blessings for more than a quarter century.
What to gift: Whether you want your candles to provide light, luck or love, owner Donna Adams has you covered — and will help you pick out something tailored to your giftee.
How to shop: Visit the store at 1484 Gratiot Ave., Detroit.
Food and drink
Part of what we love about House of Pure Vin is the vibe — refined but approachable, serious about wine but just as serious about making sure people are having a good time. During the pandemic, owner Regina Gaines is just as committed to shoppers’ experience — but it looks a little different. Instead of in-store gatherings, there are virtual wine tastings and online gift cards, while wine delivery (in- and out-of-state) and curbside pickup are key.
What to gift: Pick out a bottle to send to a friend online (Brown Estate’s Chaos Theory, a Napa Valley Petite Syrah, Merlot and Zinfandel blend, $45, is a fitting choice) or shop in-store for guidance picking out a bottle or case. If you’re going big, give the gift of a wine club membership, with two bottles plus other perks for $35 a month.
How to shop: Shop online or visit the store at 1433 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.
Co-founded and owned by Detroiter Nayana Ferguson, Anteel Tequila has won several awards, including Best Michigan Tequila Brand, Double Gold at the International SIP Awards and Silver Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition since its inception in 2018.
What to gift: A bottle of Tequila of course. You can choose between Blanco ($31.99), Coconut lime ($37.99), or caramel smooth Reposado ($44.99).
CommodiTeas founder Katrina Anderson offers blends for serenity, productivity and longevity from around the globe, whether you’re looking for a classic chamomile, their energy blend or an individualized pick-me-up, like the strawberry green tea.
What to gift: Buy bagged or loose leaf teas — you can give all the flavors that catch your eye with the $5 sampler packs or pick out one fave. For a really special occasion, pair your brew with a gold metallic mug or a delicate tea set.
How to shop: Shop online.
Chef and entrepreneur Jennifer Lyle is passionate about the fourth-generation family recipe that she learned from her granddad. His favorite recipe was his mom’s Lemon “Butta,” which has become Lyle’s signature pie. The Lemon Butta, Peach Pie and other signature flavors are Oprah-approved (she’s selected several flavors for her famous list, “Oprah’s Favorite Things”).
What to gift: Lush Yummies’ Lemon Butta pie ($35) and decadent German chocolate cookies ($18.50 for 6) are the ultimate desserts to gift for friends and family this holiday season.
How to shop: Order online and get your goodies shipped, or pick up at 1520 Adelaide in Detroit.
Detroit Dough is for cravers of cookie dough who want to indulge without worrying about salmonella. There’s no raw egg or uncooked flour in this sweet treat, and 5% of all sales go directly to the Dough that Makes a Difference Fund, to support community-based initiatives in Detroit’s NW Goldberg neighborhood.
What to gift: One or all of five flavors of dough: Chocolate Chip, No Chip, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, or Sugar.
How to shop: Find Detroit Dough at retail locations across Metro Detroit.
Olive Seed is a wellness company offering simple solutions to better health through tea tastings, wellness workshops, and wholesome, sustainable products.
How to shop: Shop online at Olive Seed.
Detroit Chips are so tasty that Oprah declared they’re one of her favorite things. Even better, they’re notable for fueling employment opportunities in the Hope District on Detroit’s east side, partially funding a soup kitchen, and helping to create or sustain other grassroots projects that benefit the community.
What to gift: A variety crate or 3-flavor tin should satisfy that craving for salt and crunch. Flavors include Aphrodisiac, Barbecue, Chipotle (our fave!), Himalayan Sea Salt, Lemon Pepper, Love, Onion & Celery, Sea Salt, or Voodoo.
Quiana “Que” Broden has some advice for those of us who have lost all motivation to prepare meals: “Even though you’re at home, make it a big deal,” she said. “Eat off a plate, use linen napkins, because it changes your mood. It’s a mind, body and soul thing.” Easy for her to say, you might be thinking — but for she wants to make it easy for you and your fam, too. Broden’s business, Cooking with Que, offers meal prep packages of healthful meals, with plentiful, but not only, vegan options. “Everybody wants to eat healthy, but no one knows where to start — so give the gift of meal prep,” she said. It’s a gift that makes life easier, keeps folks healthy and also feels like a luxury.
What to gift: Meal prep kits can be ordered for a few days or a few months, with a week’s worth starting at $130. They can be delivered or picked up. You can also find sustainable gifts for foodies — like bamboo cutlery, cheeky aprons and more.
Contributions from Allison Jacobs, Nina Misuraca Ignaczak and Courtney Wise Randolph.