Life·9 min read

Our Favorite Finds From AAPI-Founded Brands

AAPI-founded brands to shop from and support
Design: Lindsay Lange, Credit: Etsy
May 13, 2021

It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which means we’re celebrating the AAPI community. (And if you’re not totally up to speed on recent events, we got ya covered. You can learn more about the history of Asian hate in America here.) 

We’re also shining a spotlight on AAPI-owned businesses, especially the smaller ones that can often be overlooked. We rounded up brands that you may not have heard of — but should definitely shop. Plus a couple that are giving back to charitable causes. Show your support and check ‘em out.

A shirt that’s all about mindfulness…

Aimed at raising awareness around mental health in the AAPI community, 100% of proceeds from the first production run of these shirts (and the entire collection) will be donated to the Asian Mental Health Collective. Because everyone deserves the right to help, treatment, and resources. ($35, Haerfest)

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A sleep mask that works to heal your skin overnight…

It’s got hydrating hyaluronic acid, soothing amino acid-rich watermelon extract,  pore-refining AHAs, and pumpkin extract. It works for both dry and oily skin, and may help reduce breakouts, dark spots, and dullness. You can use it as a sleeping mask, or add it to your nighttime routine and keep a thick layer on for about 10 minutes before washing off. Customers rave about how their skin feels in the morning after use. ($45, Glow Recipe)

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A cleaning kit that’ll help you cut down on your plastic waste…

The bottles are refillable, so once you’re out of solution, the tablets will be shipped to you in compostable paper. Pop a tablet into the bottle, fill with water, and presto. A brand-new bottle minus all the waste. In the trio you’ll receive a multi-surface cleaner, a bathroom cleaner, and a glass and mirror cleaner. But don’t worry — the solutions are made without parabens, phosphates, ammonia, or bleach. Three cheers for a sustainable you. ($29, Blueland)

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A necklace made to celebrate essential healthcare workers…

V Coterie is all about shining a light on those who dedicate their time and efforts to helping others. The brand makes pieces to support those who work in medicine, from dentists, to nurses, to vets. During the month of May, they’re donating 30% of proceeds (with a minimum of $1,000) to the Asian Mental Health Collective. So you can shop for the person in your life whose life mission is to heal. ($88, V Coterie)

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A pimple patch that can speed up the healing process…

Breakout got ya down? Not anymore. These patches are made with hydrocolloid, and create a barrier over the pimple — shielding it from things like bacteria and face-picking. So your breakout can heal without any disruptions. Plus the patch is barely visible on your face (and on Zoom calls). It’ll work on cystic acne too. Phew. ($6/42 pack, Soko Glam)

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Kitchen shears made from German stainless steel…

So you can cut through anything and everything. They come apart for cleaning and can even take the place of your knife for meal prep. They’ll cut through boxes, annoying plastic packaging, envelopes, and more. You can run them through the dishwasher and remove the silicone grip if you see dirt lingering there. To avoid cross contamination, we recommend getting two pairs: one for food prep and one for everything else. ($35, Material)

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A loungewear set that’s all about comfort and style…

Now you can show up to meetings looking and feeling your best. The clothes are made from eco-sustainable modal fabric, with an elastic waistband for guaranteed comfort. Plus the pants have pockets. If you’re going for the full look, check out the matching top. A percentage of every purchase goes toward organizations that support women, like Gyrl Wonder. ($95, Pairess)

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A fiddle leaf fig plant that loves bright light…

With big, vibrant green leaves, the sight of this plant in your office or bedroom is pretty much guaranteed to lift your spirits. It needs water every one to two weeks, and prefers stable temperatures. If you’re someone who sports a brown thumb, check out this faux, dried, and preserved collection instead. No shame. ($42, The Sill)

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A smooth and fruity coffee bean that won’t taste acidic…

With notes of wild berries, chocolate, cherry, and honey, you really can’t go wrong with a cup of this coffee. All beans are sourced from organically grown trees on a farm in Vietnam. After a ton of different harvesting processes, they’re shipped to Brooklyn, where they’re roasted fresh every week. ($16, Nguyen Coffee Supply)

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An online grocery store that’ll deliver your favorite Asian foods…

You can shop what you’re craving, from meats, to rice and noodles, to fresh fruits. You’ll find traditional staples, along with items from up-and-coming Asian American–owned brands. Just add things to your shopping cart and get it all shipped to you. Then gather round the table to enjoy. (Prices vary based on shipment, Umamicart)

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A body and hair oil that’ll lock in moisture…

But without that greasy feeling that some oils can leave behind. Your skin will feel smooth; your hair will feel soft. And who doesn’t want that? You can even add a few drops to your bath for a fully relaxing experience.’ll also work wonders on your cuticles. Its blend of oils includes sunflower seed, apricot kernel, ylang ylang flower, and more. ($38, Pink Moon)

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An online marketplace that benefits New York Chinatown businesses…

So you can shop local businesses that were affected by the pandemic. A team of volunteer designers work with the small shops to create custom-branded merchandise. When the items sell, the revenue goes back to those local Chinatown businesses. Having the visibility of the online marketplace increases their sales, giving them a much larger audience to sell to. (Prices vary, Made in Chinatown)

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A vegan leather laptop bag that can double as a stand…

It also comes with a tiny pouch and cord organizers. Aka everything you need for your work-from-home desk setup. When you’re done for the day, you can slip your laptop into the sleeve. And if you decide to work outdoors or in a friend’s backyard, you’ll have the perfect travel accessory. ($49, Multitasky)

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A tote that encourages supporting AAPI communities…

Carry it around town. Use it for your essentials. Whatever it is, the messaging will never go out of style. ($21.75, More Liberation on Etsy)

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A set of stickers that show big love to New York’s Chinatown…

Not to mention all proceeds go back into the neighborhood, with 10% being donated to charitable initiatives working to benefit the AAPI community. You can shop the entire collection too. A little bit goes a long way. ($5, Pearl River Mart)

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PS: These are editorially selected, but if you purchase, theSkimm may get something in return. PPS: If something’s out of stock, oops, it was there when we published (and all prices were accurate too). Thanks.

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