Encouraging employees to engage with and shop at local small businesses is an innovative way to celebrate the diversity of communities.
Dallas-Fort Worth has a substantial number of women- and minority-owned businesses that can help consumers shop with purpose. Toward that end, a team of Dallas Innovates contributors created a curated guide (below), featuring businesses with missions ranging from promoting wellness to empowering women from war-torn countries to encouraging young imaginations.
Plano-based AyurRoots offers personal wellness consultations with the intention of improving a client’s health by resolving issues at their root causes. AyurRoots was founded by and is under the direction of Vaidya Meenakshi Gupta, who has a Ph.D. in Ayurveda, which is a natural system of medicine that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. Gupta has practiced Ayurveda for more than 20 years, and has 12 years of teaching experience in the U.S. She also has more than five years’ experience teaching at Ayurveda colleges in India.
BlackLIT, a mobile bookstore and online shop, is “an intentional effort to motivate, highlight, reaffirm, and empower cultures who have been ‘blacklisted’ from the classroom, specializing in making literacy appear relatable and relevant to students in the Black community.” BlackLIT offers apparel, accessories, and monthly subscription boxes, and all proceeds will go toward opening a bookstore in the DFW region highlighting authors of color.
Break Bread, Break Borders (BBBB)
The story of BBBB Founder/CEO Jin-Ya Huang and her kin reads like historical fiction. Her ancestors fled China when it fell to communism, immigrating to Taiwan. After struggling financially, Huang’s family got a call from relatives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they had started a Chinese food franchise that spanned the Southwest. Huang’s parents bought a franchise in Dallas that transformed the lives of the immigrants and refugees who worked there. Huang continued this tradition by launching Break Bread, Break Borders to mentor refugee women with assistance from professional chefs, restaurateurs, and caterers, helping the women obtain food handler permits and food manager license certifications. BBBB’s primary business is catering. It also prepares consumer packaged goods that can be purchased inside the Dallas Farmer’s Market. Their menu is eclectic – spanning from Afghani (red lentil tomato mint soup) to Burmese (crispy prawn noodles) cuisines.
The BABEXperience (Build A Bag Experience) brings a dash of interactive fashion to any party, allowing individuals to design a custom handbag, enjoy treats created by a private chef, and sip on cocktails from a bubble bar while enjoying time with friends.
Five percent of every purchase at Calyan Wax Co. goes toward trusted and vetted nonprofits that advocate for survivors of human trafficking in the United States. The company’s natural soy candles not only offer a clean-burning source of light, but they are a simple way speak up for brave young survivors on their healing journey.
CocoAndré is a Mexican-American family-owned chocolate shop in Oak Cliff. Founders Andrea and Cindy, a mother-daughter team, “are proud to have built a business that represents their heritage, culture, and story as Mexican-American-Texan mothers.” Today CocoAndré has legions of fans across the country that enjoy some of the finest hand-crafted chocolate delights in the world.
Cool Crayations is a Texas-based crayon shop “that’s shaking up the crayon game.” The company creates uniquely shaped crayons – ranging from animal shapes to customized name sets – and even custom crayon party favors. Each crayon is handmade with love, for tiny humans and creative adults alike.
Hari Mari is a footwear company focused on comfortable, unique, durable flip-flops for all kinds of adventures. Hari Mari donates 1% of sales to help pay for medical and treatment costs for children and families battling pediatric cancer.
Inside the Diverse Mind offers one-on-one and group coaching sessions to increase cultural, emotional, and social health. The company’s vision is to work toward an inclusive world that makes mental health a priority, and all profits go toward hosting an annual TEDx event.
Mercado369’s galleries feature one-of-a-kind original fine art, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, textiles and decorative arts from countries ranging from Mexico to Argentina – all selected to reflect the rich culture and history of Latin America. Located in Oak Cliff, Mercado369’s team can help enhance décor and elevate personal style.
Noodle & Co. Apothecary is a small family-owned and operated company that produces high-quality soaps that are infused with pure and environmentally friendly oils and butters that moisturize and nourish the skin. The business also sells sugar scrubs, shower steamers, and more.
The Plant Project, located in Uptown Dallas in an area that once was home to the city’s Freedman’s Town, is a plant shop – but also “a place where love for a diverse community grows.” The company is the first Black woman-owned plant shop in Dallas, and also offers onsite interior plant installations.
Playboxes offers a range of sturdy cardboard playhouses that are eco-friendly, inspire creativity, and can withstand hours of active play.” The company began with an observation by founder Heather Ray that, “almost every time you give a little kid a gift, they will immediately cast it aside and instead choose to play in, under, around, and on the box.” The company also sells activity booklet add-ons and art supplies to keep kids exploring for hours. All team members make a living wage, and the company also partners with other Dallas small businesses committed to treating their workers with dignity and respect.
Editor’s note: These businesses have been highlighted in the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Women’s Business Conference gift guide.