ALL THINGS ASIAN OWNED
May is a special month for two reasons: it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mother’s Day is around the corner as well. It is important to uplift brands that are minority owned to acknowledge the hardships that come with being a person of color. It is much more difficult for Asian owned brands to break into the market when starting out with less resources and funding. When we support minority owned brands, we support our community.
Consider shopping with an Asian owned brand for those upcoming summer looks! Or, perhaps, take mom to a local dinner spot for Mother’s Day. Minority owned brands to support now and forever. A list of Asian brands to support from sustainable clothing labels, jewelry brands, skincare, accessories, ceramics, to restaurants:
An airy, effortless brand known for their puffy sleeves details and silk slip dresses. Esther Lee, the founder, creates pieces inspired by ballerina’s leotards, wedding dresses, and more. The brand releases their collection in small batches and only produces based on demand. Designed and produced in New York from reputable factories that are sustainable and socially responsible. Discover more on their Instagram.
This ultimate cool girl brand features one of a kind pieces ranging from exposed bra knit tops to mini dresses to deadstock faux fur trim tops. Inspired by Taehee Park‘s love for vintage clothing and athleisure. Designed and made in New York. Discover more on their Instagram.
In search of feminine casual wear? Look no further, this Bay Area brand has all your date night looks covered. Founder, Janice Guo, was inspired by the florals in Paris and the many Haussmann buildings when creating the small brand. Discover more on their Instagram.
Heidi Baker was deeply inspired by nature’s textures and color palette when creating the brand. OZMA carries all your wardrobe basics as well as the comfiest cardigans. Their collection is designed and made in California. Discover more on their Instagram.
Alyssa Lau created New Classics as a community focused market to make slow fashion accessible. The Canadian based online market offers numerous sustainable brands ranging from clothing, accessories, beauty, shoes, home goods, and even a section for baby+toddler. Check out their website here.
Wing Yao first launched WWAKE in 2013 and the brand has continued to grow ever since. The fine jewelry brand uses low-impact materials and methods. Their ethos is based on: opportunities for women, local production, transparency, low impact stones and metals, and responsible mining models. Discover more on their Instagram.
Jennie Kwon was a classical violinist and later a corporate lawyer. Upon the birth of her twins, her creative spirit was sparked and the fine jewelry brand was born. Jennie’s studio continues to lead in example as a diverse, all woman operated team. All of their jewelry is made locally within the jewelry district of Los Angeles using conflict free stones and fairmined+fairtrade gold. Check out their bespoke work on Instagram for more.
Kinn was founded by Jennie Yoon to replace her family heirloom jewelry after a home robbery. The brand is based in Los Angeles and specializes in everyday fine pieces. In addition, Kinn offers The Vow for bespoke engagement designs and KinnCycle for those interested in recycling their old 14K gold. Discover more on their Instagram.
Ten years ago Charlotte and David Cho created Soko Glam to become the best source for Korean skincare and makeup products. Charlotte is an esthetician who applies Western and Korean practices. In 2018, Charlotte launched the in-house line Then I Met You with the Korean concept of jeong, “a deep connection that encourages empathy and generosity, while creating a sense of belonging.” Discover K-Beauty female founded brands here and more on their Instagram.
Jenny Lei is redefining what luxury means. FREJA NEW YORK represents thoughtfully designed handbags made from vegan leather, made in small batches by a medium sized family factory, and has a deep connection to her community. It is more than your everyday purse on the market. Discover more on their Instagram.
Allison Wong took one ceramic course for fun and never stopped creating since. The artist creates out of a Los Angeles ceramic studio. She makes everyday essentials like bowls, plates, matcha cups, to vases. Discover more of her work on Instagram and TikTok.
Alaina Thai is a ceramic artist based in Los Angeles. The artist partners with local small businesses to showcase her work as well. Her work can be found at Chunky Paper, a small business focused on highlighting Asian design and creativity, based in Chinatown, LA. Discover her mugs, matcha bowls and tea sets here and here.
Located at the heart of Japantown in San Francisco, SF76 was first started by three Japanese founders. For the past 45 years, the corner store was known as Sanko before rebranding as SF76 in July 2021. The local store sources from various Japanese brands to create the best selection of ceramics, lighting, jewelry, soaps, to tiny trinkets. Find them at 1758 Buchanan St, San Francisco
Elisa Sunga is a Bay Area based Filipina baker and activist. Each month Elisa releases a pastry box with these requirements: “(1) only include things I am jump-with-joy excited about, (2) only include things that aren’t normally found or purchased anywhere else, (3) limit it to a reasonable amount - for my sanity and sleep, and (4) donate a percentage of proceeds to antiracism and social justice efforts.” For May, Elisa has collaborated with The Borrowed Garden to create a gift kit featuring a cake and a bouquet of seasonal mid-spring flowers. Discover more on her Instagram.
Christine Liu is one of many things. She is the author of Sustainable Home, a sustainable lifestyle blogger, as well as an amazing baker focused on repairing the damage from traditional food systems. Christine’s cookies are baked using local, organic ingredients from California. Their vision is rooted in greater transparency and appreciation for our local food sources. Christine’s Cookies Co. is known for their black sesame oreo, lemon earl grey, chocolate walnut, and more! The San Jose based company ships nationwide and can be found at local Bay Area pop-ups all year long. Follow along here.
Previously owned and founded by Eijiro Tsukada. Stonemill Matcha carries the highest quality of matcha sourced from Kyoto, the birthplace of matcha. Their matcha is specially curated by a traditional master to create the perfect blend. Stonemill Matcha is located in the Mission district of San Francisco. Discover their light Japanese bites as well here. 561 Valencia St, San Francisco
Dumpling Alley serves some of the best fresh dumplings in San Francisco — located in Outer Richmond. You can’t go wrong with their classic pork and chives dumplings. Their seasonal fish and chive dumpling wrapped in squid ink wrappers are a must have! But they do much more than dumplings. They also serve beef noodle soup, scallion pancakes, to yummy deep-fried steam buns with condensed milk. Check out their yelp here. 2512 Clement St, San Francisco
Right on Alameda’s busiest street is the best hand pulled noodle shop. Wild Ginger offers spicy street food from the western regions of China. Their bestseller cold noodle Liang Pi is often sold out before the day is over. Another must have is their spicy cumin lamb hand pulled noodle soup! Discover more on their website and on Yelp. 1239 Park St, Alameda
West Oakland is very lucky to have Koichi Ishii, the founder of Soba Ichi. There are few artisans that can grind their own flour as well as produce handmade soba. In the early mornings, Koichi makes fresh soba by hand. By noon there are lines past the courtyard with wait times longer than an hour. Soba Ichi is a local gem— truly an experience to taste such art. Their soba cha gelato (buckwheat tea flavored gelato) is a one of a kind dessert. Discover more on their Yelp. 2311A Magnolia St, Oakland
Right in my hometown, San Leandro, is one of the best sushi spots! This bustling restaurant is always filled with customers and ringing with online orders. Best of all, it’s woman owned by Minami Sang. Stop by for incredibly fresh sushi and tasty udon! Discover more on their Yelp. 699 Lewelling Blvd #142, San Leandro
Note: All brands listed above are businesses that I personally do reach for! With this list in mind, please continue to shop mindfully and sustainably. Slow down and question all purchases with a long view in mind. All blog posts are written with the local - Bay Area, California - community in mind.