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10 Columbus Black-owned businesses you can support this holiday season – The Columbus Dispatch

Why stand in line at big box stores or order from Amazon when you can support local, diverse businesses this holiday season?
Black-owned businesses are making some of the most creative gifts and treats in the Columbus region.
In fact, you’ll have the opportunity to shop at some of them at Zora’s House‘s annual WoCO (Women of Color Owned) Holiday Market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 11 at Gravity in Franklinton.
“I was seeing all these different craft fairs and markets,” said Zora’s House Founder and CEO LC Johnson, 33, of Weinland Park. “Some of them had some diversity, but a lot of them were not incredibly diverse. We wanted to specifically highlight women of color and gender non-conforming folks of color and give them a space to showcase the stuff that they were doing.”
Black businesses:We asked for your favorite Black-owned businesses. Here’s what you said.
Columbus business news:30 Black-owned businesses to gain free membership in Columbus Chamber of Commerce
Over the past several years, Zora’s House markets (also held in the summer) have generated tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for local women of color. Read on to learn more about some of the vendors who will be at the event, as well as other Black-owned businesses in the Columbus area.
Westerville brothers Talan and Taron Taylor have become a hit at makers markets with their line of beard balms, beard oils, mustache wax and soaps. The branding may be a play on the snake-oil salesmen, or “hucksters” of yesteryear, but there is nothing devious about their inventory. 
The products are crafted to prevent dryness, itchiness and frizz while stimulating hair growth and shine. The items include natural ingredients and pleasant scents like citrus and pome, linen and lime, and pine and leaf. 
While some family members argue too much to work together, the Taylors said it’s mostly smooth sailing for them.  
“We have that strong bond,” Taron said. “We’re not just brothers, we’re friends.” 
Grooming:Westerville siblings’ grooming line is a hit at makers markets
At Mmelo, the sweet treats and pastries are almost too beautiful to eat. Owner Michelle Allen is passionate about crafting unique and flavorful desserts that everyone can enjoy, including those who are looking for vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free options. We recommend trying the decadent teacakes. 
Beyond selling beautiful hand-crafted jewelry and original artwork, Whimsical Black Girl is dedicated to centering Black women through the creative process and building community. Owned by Spencer Stultz, the boutique is participating in a pop-up at Easton Town Center through the Christmas. 
The pop-up is hosted by the Columbus Fashion Alliance and includes four other local brands. The fashion collective also is dedicated to supporting Black community members; it recently partnered with My Brother’s Keeper on a summer internship program for Black teens interested in fashion
More:Fashion internship program helps Black teens design collection, create pop-up store
If you have to travel, you might as well do it in style with handmade leather travel bags and accessories from Columbus College of Art & Design graduate Jovanna Robinson. She creates colorful and durable tote bags, duffels, laptop bags, wallets and more. She has clutches and cosmetic bags that are enhanced with African Ankara prints — sourced from the continent — and others that are adorned with calf hair. 
When she’s not shopping at the leather store or creating her products, she is providing sewing lessons to kids in her studio. She not only wants to make her mark in the fashion world, but pour into the generation while she’s at it.  
Fashion retail:CCAD graduate Jovanna Robinson gets creative with Tonē Bekka leather travel bags
Salai Kamara is passionate about sharing the beauty of African culture through her brand, The African Accent. Born in Sierra Leone, Kamara offers everything from gorgeous beaded earrings and handwoven throws to clutches and whipped shea hair butter. 
The African Accent will be a featured vendor at the Zora’s House WoCO (Women of Color Owned) Holiday Market. 
Folks who are gluten-free can still satisfy their sweet tooth with Bake Me Happy, which has locations in Merion Village and Dublin (North Market Bridge Park, 6750 Longshore Dr.). In addition to offering heavenly treats like Oatmeal Creme Clouds, the beloved bakery has become a community center, advocating for small and minority-owned businesses. 
Co-owner Letha Pugh is a local ambassador for Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women initiative, which will invest $10 billion to support Black women across the country. Bake Me Happy also recently hosted a discussion with Rep. Joyce Beatty about challenges for small businesses. 
More:Small business owners share capital concerns, other challenges with Rep. Joyce Beatty
Cheryl Williams named 86 & Norman after the year she was born and the street where she spent time with family growing up. To say she is passionate about helping women with their personal style is an understatement. The bold prints on her hip bags, wallets and plant pots will most certainly attract attention.
86 & Norman will be a featured vendor at the Zora’s House WoCO (Women of Color Owned) Holiday Market. 
Sisters Dasha Tate and Deanna Jones made a splash when they opened one of very few Black-owned hair and beauty supply stores on East Main Street in Olde Towne East in February 2019. However, like many small businesses during the pandemic, they were forced to pivot to online sales only.
But that hasn’t diminished the women’s passion for providing natural hair care products for the community.
More:Black-owned businesses missed out on Paycheck Protection loans
The name says it all; Deez Cookies is one of the most whimsical businesses around. Founded by Khadija Adams, the shop offers at least one monthly box set of cookies centered on a theme. For example, last month, the #HispanicHeritageMonth Box highlighted the stories of Afro-Latinx people, and featured flavors from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. 
This month’s Giving Thanks Box features Sweet Potato Whoopie Pies, Cranberry Orange Cookies and more. 
Deez Cookies will be a featured vendor at the Zora’s House WoCO (Women of Color Owned) Holiday Market. 
The Little Light Collective might be the most charming shop in the city. The majority women-owned co-op features vintage items from multiple vendors, including Splendor Revival.
Curator Katya Philmore puts love and passion into everything she makes, including caftans, jewelry and even perfume! 
“We believe that every woman has a regal goddess within,” Philmore says in her manifesto. “We’ve learned grace and glamour aren’t all that complicated and there’s magic in small details.” 
[email protected] 
@miss_ethompson  

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