7 Creative Woman-Owned Black Businesses in L.A.You Need to Know
As a lover of style, art and design I’ve discovered some incredibly creative, woman-owned Black businesses in the L.A. area over the years, and I’m going to share them with you in honor of Black History Month! I believe in supporting small businesses. And if they are owned by women, or better yet, women of color, then I am all in!
When I mention Runway Boutique, hopefully what springs to mind is the dope shop and community created by Fatima Dodson. Dodson, who has owned her boutique for over 13 years, recently relocated from mid-Wilshire to Adams Blvd. in South LA. And I ain’t got no complaints because now she’s only ten minutes away from me. HOORAY for weekly visits!
I met Fatima about five years ago or so and was instantly mesmerized by her aesthetic. In her splendid shop she curates the best of vintage style, African fashion and some of the dopest accessories I’ve ever seen in one place. She also carries plus sizes, which is a major bonus because so few boutiques offer the opportunity for girlfriends of different sizes to shop together.
Fatima is also the genius behind Headwraps in the Park, an annual event with vendors, music, food, panels, and good vibes. Held every year in September, the festival is Afro-Punk meets LA. Runway Boutique curates events all the time and if you follow them on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll be in the know.
Finally, I want to underscore that Fatima is an amazing business woman who seeks to lift up designers and creators of color, emphasizing that there is room for all of us. We’ve collaborated on quite a few projects, and it’s been an insanely inspiring process. In fact, it’s through her that I came to know nearly all of the businesses I mention below.
I first met Myisha Croom-Turner through a dear friend years ago. I loved her boho vibe instantly! This woman is exemplifies entrepreneurship at its best. She started off making and selling jewelry online, created the Heritage Farmer’s Markets with her husband, and co-created a paint and sip business. Now this brilliant boheme has launched yet another business - Bohemian Blooms, a floral design company that puts together some of the loveliest arrangements I’ve seen. Whether it’s an exquisite bouquet, an artisanal gift box or a smudge stick for clearing negative energy, her eye for detail will blow you away. Myisha is no stranger to hard work and the commitment it takes to build something from the ground up. I tell her all the time that she inspires me with her creativity and her willingness to follow her dreams no matter what. Also, her IG feed gives me life!
HI IQ CREATIONS
Six years ago I met Quida Thornton at an event that I co-created with my bestie, Michelle of Glitter in the Dirt. When our plus size sisters were repping at New York Fashion week, we decided to throw our own event - Curvy Cocktails! That’s when I met this fashionista with the bubbly personality and warm disposition. We stayed in touch and about 18 months ago she quit her job to focus on her line of kimonos and kaftans. Now if you know me, you know I LOVE a kaftan. Quida’s designs are influenced by looks worn by celebs off the runways of NY and Paris. The colors and patterns she works with are for women who are full of style and love taking fashion risks. I haven’t seen quality caftans like hers for plus size women that are this chic. Wearing them make you feel royal and shit. Her designs reveal both my inner and outer goddess!
NEVA MARIE DESIGNS
If you’ve ever wanted to twirl in a dress that makes you wanna yell from the rooftops, then do yourself a favor and check out Neva Marie Designs. This curvy designer makes pieces that will bring your wardrobe to life. Forget basics, Neva is serving looks that will make people do a triple-take! She’s no stranger to using bold prints and bright colors, because no matter what size you are, you deserve to be seen and worshiped. I’ve purchased several pieces from her and they are standouts in my wardrobe. She also does custom work, so if you have a special occasion coming up, or just like having one of a kind pieces, make sure to hit her up. Thank you, Neva, for making a thick sista feel fine!
NITZ BY NAT
When I think of Natalie Fletcher, I think hustle! This badass bonita has been designing for nearly 15 years. She began her design journey crocheting and later fabric wrapping that pays homage to her Ghanaian roots. Her Afrocentric jewelry will make you look and feel like a Queen - YASSSSSS IT WILL! I’ve bought many pieces from her and every time I wear them I get tons of compliments because well, they are gorgeous! From earrings to bangles to necklaces, her pieces are unique and made by hand. You will find her at events all over town cuz she’s a hustla baby, I want you to know (sorry, I just had to do it). Follow her IG for a peek at her colorful creations and to find out where she is vending next. Go. Buy. Now!
As a former interior designer, my love of furnishings and home goods never did leave. I still get asked to design spaces for friends and family. I met Amber Brown a few months ago at Runway Boutique when she was shopping for herself. Based on what she was wearing, I knew that she breathed style just like I do. We connected and began chatting when I discovered that she sells “fun, funky and favored vintage items.” Amber has been a lover of vintage since the 80’s and had home based business that sold shabby chic home goods. As a lover of vintage design I was drawn to her pieces. She sells barware, planters, dishes, art and more. Check out her etsy shop for a unique vintage shopping experience. Amber also vends at events across L.A.
Zoe began selling clothing from her home and at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles fifteen years ago. She now has an enchanting storefront in mid-city. The boutique has become a place where you can shop for one-of-a-kind pieces of vintage and unique modern clothing that she Zoe curates herself. She also carries plus sizes -- woohoo!! My acquisitions from this delightful diva include a pleated pleather midi skirt and a bright green beaded necklace that sparks joy every time wear it! You can shop online or stop by the shop to peruse the fabulous collection and chat with Zoe herself. She will make you feel like the sexy woman you are.
I hope you’ve been inspired by these brilliant business owners and that you’ll consider supporting them. Shopping with a conscious is always a good thing!