It’s no secret that our city has become a focal point of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world. Rallies and peaceful protests occur every day and night, and the Marcus David Peters Circle surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue has become a hub of equality, hope, and change. 

In honor of this movement and my belief that #BlackLivesMatter, I wanted to share some of the local, black-owned businesses and makers I love. 

Sun & Selene by Brittanny DeRaffele: I met Brittanny about 3 years ago and I’ve been in awe of her ever since. She creates the most intricate, small batch jewelry inspired by astrology, mythology, and nature. All of her pieces are handmade, using natural gemstones. In 2017, she also created The Brunch Market, which is a monthly market showcasing local artisans and delicious brunch by Lunch. Supper! 

Cloth & Paper by Ashley Reynolds: Ashley is my aesthetic soulmate. Cloth & Paper is a minimalistic planner and stationery brand with beautiful, high quality products. I’ve purchased my favorite pens, notepads, and sticky notes from them, and I enjoy the planner organization tips and tricks they share on Instagram.

Little Nomad by Anthony and Nora Bryant: I’m probably one of the only non-parents who love this children’s store, and the day they released their adult size “RVA All Day” tees I was one of the first in line to snag one. Their brick and mortar store sells environmentally and socially conscious clothing, toys, and more. They also host community focused events, one of my favorites being Drag Queen Story Time. This brand embodies the open-minded, conscientious lifestyle I hope to instill in my own children someday. 

Urban Hang Suite by Kelly Lemon: This list would be incomplete without mentioning the queen of Richmond. I’ve been a huge fan of Kelly’s ever since I started listening to her podcast Coffee with Strangers many years ago, did my own five minute mock podcast interview with her on #InternationalCoffeeDay at Ellwood Thompson’s, and watched her Instagram delivering free coffee to local businesses during the beginning of COVID-19. Kelly is an inspirational and integral member of this community, and it’s exciting that she’s created a space for important social conversations over coffee (our agreed upon favorite beverage, which we both happen to take the same way – a little bit of coffee and a lot of creamer). 

These four businesses only scratch the surface of the many black-owned businesses in Richmond, and as our world works to become more active advocates and allies for BIPOC, I hope we’ll continue to see even more.