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BIPOC Student Businesses

Published on
Dec 20, 2020
Written by
Brooke English
Published by
Edited by
Lannii Layke

Through the midst of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement and the global pandemic, unconventional means of expression have resulted in order to pass time exercising building a brand practice activism, Whether you’re taking up baking sourdough bread or being inspired to try new mediums of expression such as pottery, knitting, painting etc; one is continually reminded how valuable time and space is, and that in doing activities that keep them actively engaged and captivated can be an enjoyable way to spend time.

The state of the world has led to an influx in the opening of small, locally owned businesses. To deep-dive into the small businesses that have been conceptualized over the course of the last year amidst the concern and focus of uprooting systemic racism within our communities and beyond them, along with a global pandemic, we wanted to recognize BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) individuals in Toronto. Through supporting them with their independent and collective journeys, we can learn to empathize with others and actively engage in dismantling the embedded constructs of society that have been and continue to further subordinate Black, Indigenous, and people of colour.

In supporting small businesses and individuals, you redirect your spending from larger, corporate companies that take money away from small businesses, due to accessibility, price, and convenience. However, these factors come with a price that is often beyond the consumer’s reach (or view). Lower prices are preferred by a consumer, however what goes on beyond the company’s lower prices is often a factor that many consumers are beginning to turn away from. Through supporting Black communities, Indigenous communities, and people of colour, you can support the journey and prosperity of those who are set further at a disadvantage within Canada.

Drip Creamery // Jordan Gill and Julie Oon // @dripcreamery

Drip Creamery is a modern and impactful ice cream brand designed by Jordan Gill and Julie Oon, with the mission to be the go-to place for artisan ice cream in Toronto. Drip ice cream is carefully handcrafted with every mix-in made in house. They use all-natural ingredients, no artificial flavorings or preservatives. Drip Creamery operates under a pre-order basis of ice cream pints at www.dripcreamery.com every week starting Sunday noon - Tuesday noon. Customers pick up their Drip pints at Milky's Coffee the following Saturday from noon - 5 PM.

Milky’s coffee x Drip Creamery collab
Milky’s coffee x Drip Creamery collab

YOU CAN CALL ME // Matthew Worku // a book // @1matthewworku

Matthew Worku has explored many mediums of expression, from music, poetry, performing, acting, modelling, to spoken word. His fluidity in expression and continual drive to do better than his past self is so inspiring for those around him. He recently published his first poetry novel, that has been in the works for the last year, and is available for purchase on Amazon.

Cover of Matthew Worku’s novel: You Can Call Me
Cover of Matthew Worku’s novel: You Can Call Me
Leche Hope // Founder of Gaudiinc // Black owned // @gaudiinc

Leche Hope started Gaudiinc, as the founder and creative director, using pearl accessories as symbols of empowerment. Pearls are created through pieces of sand or dust that mistakenly make their way into a clam or oyster, and the clams/oysters create the pearl as a defense mechanism. This encompasses the beauty in imperfection, as Leche’s main message she conceptualized her business around. These timeless pieces act as reminder of individual, unique beauty, and act as a symbol of the wisdom you have cultivated through experience.

Tavier Blackstock // Walk-A-Thon Fundraiser for Black Cap // @tav_ier
Tavier set a goal for themself to walk from Brampton, Ontario, to the CN tower downtown Toronto in hopes to raise their goal of $2,500 for Black-CAP. With the donations from peers and the sharing of this activity to increase recognition and raise awareness for the marginalization and ongoing discrimination of black individuals, Tavier accomplished his goal. Tavier walked for a whole day, and ended up raising $6,134.19 for Black-CAP Toronto. This was recognized by Tavier’s friends and family as a huge personal accomplishment, in addition to benefiting the Black community.
Tavier giving his cheque to Black-CAP Toronto.
Tavier giving his cheque to Black-CAP Toronto.
SPORT // Gregory Gordon & Deanna Badi // @spoooooorrtt

SPORT is a black-owned clothing brand, started by Gregory Gordon and Deanna Badu. “Sport is the product of bootleg and ambiguity. It started when me and dee would constantly see things that were branded “Sport” or “sport fashion,” most notably in Chinatown. We’d see bootleg sport versions of Chanel or Prada. We loved the irony of it and decided to use it as the foundation of an ongoing passion project. Since the word sport carries more than one definition,  (as a noun, “c’mon, be a good sport” or as a verb “he’s sporting a brand new pair of boots.” ) With that in mind,  it allows us to freely create in different mediums without worrying if it fits under an overarching design language.” SPORT just released a new capsule of their white carpenter pants, that are each uniquely hand tie-dyed based on the requests of their customers. SPORT believes in organic marketing, as a student-owned business they maintain and grow their following base strictly through word-of-mouth.

Sport’s latest drop: tie-dye carpenter pant capsulePhoto from SPORT’s instagram
Sport’s latest drop: tie-dye carpenter pant capsulePhoto from SPORT’s instagram
Rosie’s Burgers // Dustin Gelman // @rosiesburgers

Rosie’s burgers is a burger shop in Mississauga that opened its first location on Lakeshore in June 2020. Their burgers are delicious, if you’re around the area, definitely stop by to grab a milkshake, burger and fries, to support a small, locally owned business!

Rosie’s classic smash burger
Rosie’s classic smash burger
BULLY Magazine - Bobby Bowen - @bullymag // @bobbybowenn

This black-led collective and magazine amplifies the voices that are left unheard, through differing perspectives in fashion, music, sex and art. BULLY exists for the artists and creatives who have felt denied and excluded from an emerging creative scene, among the systems and powers that are constructed to oppress BIPOC individuals. BULLY Magazine recently collaborated with Vitaly, to make a ‘BULLY’ chain, that comes in silver and gold, intended to be a symbol of black pride.

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Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 1.05.51 PM.png
Image from BULLY magazine editorial, BULLY x Vitaly necklace www.vitalydesign.ca