Saturday, February 27, 2021
Feb. 27, 2021

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Oregon’s Black-owned businesses create books, brews, food, candles. Here’s an easy way to find them

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Black-owned companies are spotlighted on the Built Oregon Marketplace in celebration of Black History Month. These makers, who have invented food, books and captivating products, can arrange a pickup at their shop or a delivery to your door.

The builtoregon.shop site also makes it easy to find up-and-coming small businesses by region.

The virtual Built Oregon Marketplace is open to makers across the state and is part of Built, a nonprofit with 150 business experts who volunteer to support the growth of the state’s consumer product industries.

Storyteller, artist and designer Steven Christian participates in the Built Oregon Marketplace and has his portfolio of work displayed at his Iltopia Studios in Northwest Portland.

His Black Superheroes Matter Artbook ($30) has 110 color illustrations to empower and inspire young readers and redefine popular superheroes through the eyes of black children. Each book is handmade, numbered and signed by the artist and includes a coloring book and a mini sticker pack.

Christian also creates comics and cartoons such as the little creature Roscoe, his friend Vanessa and Cadbeary, an escaped circus bear, who seek to stay out of trouble on the island of Iltopia in “Eyelnd Feevr,” a visual art series that uses comics, animation and augmented reality. Shop the entire line of Iltopia Studios products.

Here are more Black-owned companies with interesting products listed on the Built Oregon Marketplace as well as Amazon and Etsy.

Sauces and Spices

Best Damn BBQ Sauce’s West Coast Tang ($40 for four 20-ounce bottles) enhances steaks, tri-tip, chicken, pulled pork, lamb and other meats. The Sweet Lady Love sauce received first place at the 31st annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue Sauce Contest. See more of the Salem company’s barbecue sauces.

Eleni’s Kitchen’s Berbere ($5.95 for 2 ounces) is a blend of medium-hot chilis and other authentic Ethiopian herbs and spices. It can add spicy warmth to sauces, stir fry and stews. Mix with olive oil for an easy dip. See more of the Hillsboro company’s Ethiopian food offerings.

Coffee, Tea, Brews and Mixers

Exilior Coffee’s medium-dark Champion coffee, with beans grown in Kenya and roasted in Oregon ($15 for 8.8 ounces) has notes of blackberry, brown spice and berry fruit. The Dundee company also produces light-medium Savannah coffee with notes of blackberry, sweet orange and honey graham cracker. A portion of the proceeds go to youth scholarship and mentorship programs in Kenya.

Hibisbloom’s Cocktail Mixer and Soda syrup ($15 for 16 ounces) uses premium hibiscus flowers and Savanna cinnamon. See more of the Tigard company’s flower-based drinks and mixers for cocktails and lemonade.

Honeybee Lemonade Syrups’ Jamaican Sorrel Syrup ($14 for 8 ounces) works as a drink mixer or topping. It is free of preservatives, added sugars, gluten and GMOs. See more of the Portland company’s vegan, all-natural syrups made with whole fruit.

Mamancy Tea’s 3-ounce package of Truffle Praline Black Tea is on sale at $17.80. See more of the Beaverton company’s premium loose leaf and full leaf teas along with hand-made chocolates.

Mathilde’s Kitchen’s Hibiscus Flower and Ginger Brew (12-pack for $48, regular price is $60) has West African flowers and seeds, Caribbean spice bark and Asian roots. See more of the Portland company’s Haiti-inspired brews.

Jewelry, Face Masks and Pins

The Baked Clay Studio in Portland offers handcrafted, polymer clay earrings and vintage jewelry on Etsy and at thebakedclaystudio.com.

Crystal Ball Botanicals’ hydrating Elbows, Knees and Toes Balm ($15) is made of calendula-infused oil, shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, caster oil, beeswax and lemongrass essential oil. See more of the Portland-based company’s self-care products.

Big Cat Insignia of Portland sells handmade Black Pride, Black Girl Magic and other buttons, pro-math and other pins, and PDX Airport Carpet stickers and other graphics, starting at $3.25.

Hero Masks Studio of Portland has handcrafted, reusable face masks with a filter pocket ($15).

Home and Yard

Leonard and Andrea (“Dre”) Allen’s EcoVibe shop at 1906 N.E. Alberta St. in Portland has ethically made, sustainable products, from indoor plant pots and home decor to apparel and gifts. They select unique items made by local designers, minority- and family-owned businesses as well as small makers and manufacturers, and they donate to 1% For the Planet to support environmental causes.

Ritual + Fancy’s Apple Spice candle in a glass votive is on sale at $26 (regular price $32). The five-ounce, hand-poured, small-batch candle is made of 100% soy wax and pure aromatherapy-grade essential oils. Each candle has a wood wick and is topped with a pressed floral design. Read more about the Portland company Ritual + Fancy.

R&ARIE’s Intentionally Made Candle ($13.49) is hand-poured and adorned with metaphysical ingredients. The votive or wax melt is unscented unless ordered with vegan fragrance oil. See more of the Portland-based company’s self-care products.

Signs Of Justice in Portland sells yard signs (two for $48) that declare “No Justice No Peace,” “MLK Love,” “Healthcare is a Human Right,” “Protect Kids Not Guns,” “Hate Has No Home Here” and other statements. Bumper stickers start at two for $16.

Books

“African Americans of Portland: Images of America” by Kimberly Stowers Moreland, published in 2013 ($21.99 paperback), includes Black residents enduring hostility and Oregon’s exclusion laws and the tragic Vanport flood.

A Kids Book About series of well-designed, thoughtful books deals with topics such as racism, bullying, voting and white privilege. Learn more about the Portland publishing company at akidsbookabout.com

“Black People In Oregon?” by rapper, music video director, photographer and screenwriter Marlon “Prxscott” Abah focuses on a state with a 3% Black population and Black Life Matters protests.

“Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family” by Mitchell Jackson is a memoir about growing up Black in Oregon.

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