Discover and support this list of AAPI small businesses that are making a big impact. Learn how they are building their brands and contributing to their communities.
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) entrepreneurs are an integral part of the small business community in the United States. Despite facing systemic and cultural barriers, AAPI-owned small businesses are thriving and making significant contributions to the economy. From food and beverages to fashion, these AAPI-owned small businesses offer unique products and services that reflect their rich cultural heritage and diversity. In this blog post, we’ll highlight their stories and share why it’s more important to support them now than ever
The name “Revolutionary Mushroom” derives from the idea that we are all connected by our shared responsibility to dismantle failing systems and create new avenues of growth. Mel Xu is a second-generation Chinese American born in Chinatown and raised in Queens. Mel drew inspiration from the plants, animals and fungi in which she found art He founded Revolutionary Mushrooms to support and better nourish himself, his community and the environment As Mel Xu said, “You are the revolutionary mushroom.”
Find them here and support them for free: Revolutionary mushroom
Jess Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American entrepreneur and founder of Barks & Crafts, a handmade snap-on pet bandana company. Growing up in San Diego, Jess learned the art of sewing from her mother, who worked as a seamstress for over 30 years. Jess combined her entrepreneurial goals with her love of crafts and dogs to launch her small business. With a mission to further contribute to animal shelters and rescues, Jess hopes to inspire others to follow their passions and dreams. Working with her mother strengthened their relationship, creating cherished memories that Jess would carry for the rest of her life.
Find them here and support them for free: barksandcraftsco
Yau-Weeks Studios is a slow fashion and textile company run by Sophia and Isabelle, two mixed-race Chinese-American sisters from Oakland, CA. Coming from a family of artists and craftsmen, their grandmother was a documentarian who photographed everything from family outings to mundane moments while their grandfather was a draftsman and carpenter. Despite the pressure to pursue a more stable path and business, their family’s creativity remains constant. Through their craft, Sophia and Isabelle hope to build community and create beautiful pieces.
Find them here and support them for free: yauweeks.studios
We Are Chimmi is a platform founded by Hoya and Sunny that celebrates the hustle and bustle of immigrants. Hoa’s parents were refugees from Vietnam and Laos while Sunny’s family immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea.They bonded over their cultural pride and love of Asian cuisine, and launched their platform to share their passion for whimsical goods and connect with the community. did They donate a portion of their profits to organizations that support immigrants and marginalized populations, and share inspiring stories from their communities, founders, and the organizations they support. We Are CHIMMI aims to create a positive community that supports each other and celebrates unique cultures.
Find them here and support them for free: wearechimmi
Oateu is a woman-owned granola brand that draws inspiration from traditional Korean flavors to create clean and nutritious breakfast options for those with food sensitivities. The founder started making granola for herself due to struggles with food sensitivities and was inspired by her mother’s health journey to create a mix that appealed to their Korean-American palate. The company is committed to using only premium and clean ingredients and aims to bring together different cultures and build community through food. Find them here and support them for free: oateu_
Founded by three sisters in May 2020, NARY is a fashion brand named after their Cambodian mother Phanary. The brand was inspired by their mother’s extraordinary story of survival during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia in the late 1970s. NARY’s mission is to contribute to the underprivileged nation of their mother’s origins and to showcase the unique Khmer culture that plays a vital role in shaping the sisters’ Khmer-American identity. Using their fashion education and experience from San Francisco and New York City, the sisters strive to create ethical, sustainable and beautiful products.
Find them here and support them for free: naryresort
Dreaming of Clay is a small business created by Filipina JA based in Florida during the pandemic. It all started when a friend gifted her custom-made polymer clay earrings for her graduation. He then bought a clay kit and started making his own clay creations. Zia’s hobby has turned into a business that brings her joy and peace during these challenging times. Dreaming of Clay™ offers a variety of clay earrings, necklaces and hair accessories. The business grew from selling 86 pairs of earrings in the first drop to over 3000 pairs.
Anchovy Studio is an independent clothing and design studio based in Philadelphia inspired by many sources but mostly Korean folk art. Their goal is to create meaningful and thoughtful basics that will stand the test of time. Their inspirations include care of the land, everyday practices of life, pop culture, organic shapes and abstraction. They believe in slow and deliberate fashion that clothing is a means of freedom in our bodies and presentation, and aims to appeal to a wide range of gender expressions. They are committed to cultural exploration, challenging their relationship with nature and consumption, and spreading joy through sharing art and culture.
Find them here and support them for free: anchovy.studio 9. Symmetry
Founded by sister-in-law. Simitri is a small family business that creates sparkling, handcrafted wearable pieces that resemble works of art. Symmetry prides itself on creating the most original designs, sourcing the best quality materials that they thoughtfully craft into their dazzling product line. Each item is handcrafted in India, preserving the blend of culture that their artisans capture for every sequined product with a touch of traditional art and technique for a modern output. And most importantly, Symmetry products are cruelty-free which makes their stunning properties even more valuable. Find them here and support them for free: simitri.shop
Ashley Gee and Heidi Yu, co-founders, childhood friends and daughters of immigrants created Rooted Fare, a business rooted in their Chinese heritage. As Ashley and Heidi began to connect with their perception of minimal access to food and culture, they were inspired to create something that brought value to their Chinese-American heritage. Thus, creating a modern Chinese American pantry staple with their popular and unique Black Sesame Crunchy Butter. As the co-founders define it, “rooted” refers to the roots of their heritage and speaking to each other, while “rented” means the “food” that sustains. Rooted Fair aims to build a brand and community rooted in tradition, togetherness, play and creativity! Find them here and support them for free: rooted.fare
Humbly, Cryss is a Filipino-American-owned small business with a sole founder. He was inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of many Asian Americans. Sincerely, the idea behind Crys is to raise awareness and provide mutual support to other AAPI owners. His mission and vision involves the expansion and promotion of cultural understanding in Filipino-inspired merchandise. The most remarkable aspect of his brand is sharing his creativity with others and connecting with each customer.
Find them here and support them for free: Sincerely Chris
Kits of Food Craft was created by Filipina-American founder Aimee, who was inspired by the rich diversity of New York City that led her to pursue her passion for food, beverage, and arts and crafts creation. With her inspiration and determination, Aimee took on a new initiative to personally share the experience of team-building events that began with paint-and-sip and sushi rolling classes. In three years, Kits by Food has grown to promote cultural awareness in the world by highlighting heritage through craft. Experience food, drink, and arts and crafts including kit delivery. Aimee believes in sharing the gift of experience, which is why each of the Food Craft DIY Kits is thoughtfully designed to provide easy access to creative crafting, self-expression, and a memorable shared experience.
Supporting AAPI-owned small businesses not only helps sustain their livelihoods but also promotes diversity, inclusion and representation in the marketplace. At Kits by Food Craft, we are proud to be a culturally driven, AAPI-owned small business that celebrates diverse cultures and strives to share unique experiences with the world through virtual and in-person food, beverage, and arts and crafts experiences. Every purchase you make can make a difference in improving and empowering small businesses like ours. By choosing to support AAPI-owned small businesses, you not only invest in quality products and services, you help create a more diverse and inclusive economy for everyone.