Shop These BIPOC-Owned Brands to Stock Up on Everything You Need for Summer

Get some new gear and support a small business at the same time.

Thrillist/Danielle Hartley

If you’re anything like us, a good chunk of scrolling your phone these days is spent looking for items that will make your summer better, whether it’s the perfect new pair of sandals or a patio umbrella to create an al fresco WFH setup. The past year has taught us both that time outdoors is something to be valued and invested in — and that being conscious about where we shop matters. With that in mind, we rounded up six brands that’ll help you stock up on all the summer essentials you need and support a minority-owned business when you tap “add to cart.”

Revamp your summer hiking wardrobe by checking out this store in Stephenville, Texas, known as the first black-owned outdoor gear shop in the country. It’s owned by Jahmicah Dawes, who founded SPO in 2017 with his wife, Heather, with the goal of making the beauty of the outdoors more accessible and appealing to other men and young families who look like him. SPO is so beloved by its local community, that after sinking into debt due to COVID-19, a GoFundMe raised $172,000 to help keep the shop alive. If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, by all means, pay the store a visit, but otherwise you can shop its website for men’s adventure apparel like baseball hats, tanks and tees, hiking pants & shorts, athletic shoes, and daypacks.

Summertime means beach reads, but there’s no reason warm-weather books have to mean easy-breezy novels. At the Bronx-based Lit. Bar, you can shop a wide range of general interest titles, from books that inspired TV & movie adaptations, to books to inspire your racial justice activism, to YA picks, to — yes — traditional “beach reads,” if that’s your thing. The store’s African American-Puerto Rican proprietress, Noëlle Santos, opened Lit. Bar in 2019 as the Bronx’s only bookstore, so ordering from its online store helps keep its doors open for the borough’s 1.5 million residents. 

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Courtesy Cricket Wireless®

There’s no wrong season to shop around for a new cell phone plan, especially when doing so can help support the local community. Cricket Wireless’ locations are independently owned and operated, which means when you sign up for one of their wireless service plans or pay your monthly bill, you’re helping support your community too. Or, if you’re interested in becoming an authorized retailer yourself, click here to learn more.

To say we’re all ready to get back to traveling again this summer would be an incredible understatement. Though in the past year at home, you may have noticed that your go-to duffel bag is looking a little worse for the wear. Allow Tote & Carry, a minority-owned luxury bag brand founded in Atlanta in 2016, to outfit you with a new one. Its Apollo Duffle is available in a rainbow of summer-ready hues, is made from vegan alligator-print leather, and comes with sporty stripe detailing. Choose from the regular size that’s ready for weekend road trips, or the XL if you’re planning to grab your vaccination card and travel farther afield.

You may have heard we have a small obsession with summertime grilling over here, and while pro pitmasters may balk at the thought, no home-based barbecue is complete without a snappy sauce. For over 30 years, the Jones family has been smoking meats and making their family’s secret BBQ sauce from scratch daily at their restaurant in Kansas City, currently run by sisters Deborah and Mary Jones. With a few clicks, their sweet and tangy barbecue sauce can be at your summer cookout, too, ready to pour or ribs, chicken, pork, or whatever else you can dream up to grill.

Founder Brittany Kozerski, a former fashion editor & stylist, designed this line of swimwear to be multifunctional, so you can wear her suits to swim or layer with jeans for a streetwear look — perfect for spending days at the beach and evenings dining outdoors. (Or for justifying the cost of adding another piece to your wardrobe.) The brand is eco-friendly, too: The majority of their swimwear is made from 100% regenerated nylon, which helps cut down on plastic waste, and you’ll only find solid color suits because pattern printing uses more water to produce.

There’s nothing worse than having an ice cream craving strike, only to find your local scoop shop is closed for the day. Prevent ice cream emergencies by stocking up on pints from this NYC-based brand, founded by Michael “Mikey Cole,” with inventive flavors like Ice Ice Mikey (a triple vanilla made with three different types of vanilla beans) and Dough Boy (his version of chocolate chip cookie dough that adds brownie dough pieces, too). The shop ships 4-pint, 5-pint, or 6-pint packs nationwide, so you never have to be without ice cream again.