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10 Asian-Owned Brands to Shop Right Now
Check out some of these Asian-owned brands that sell everything from candles to works of art!
by : ELLE Canada- May 16th, 2022
In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, we thought we’d commemorate it by rounding up 10 Asian-owned brands worth supporting. From fashion to lifestyle, some of the brands featured could either be the missing piece to your outfits of the day, or the centrepiece to your living room you’ve been scouring months for. Whether supporting small businesses is something you do regularly, or you’re genuinely interested in what these brands have to offer, here are the Asian-owned businesses you’ll definitely want to shop at right now.
ai Toronto Seoul
Based in Toronto and is super keen on producing sustainable luxury handbags and accessories, ai Toronto Seoul is run by a fashion-obsessed mama (Hun) and her three daughters (Hannah, Rebekah, and Joanna) in Seoul, Korea. Items have been approved by PETA in small batches. Some of their items like the Worker Bright Green Bag ($195) are actually smug enough to carry a 13” MacBook. Sporting a faux-snakeskin texture, there’s no doubt that this bag and brand are definite contenders for your next few outfits of the day.
Started by Priscilla Tsai, this conscious skincare line is ideal for someone who wants to take care of their skin using calming and gentle ingredients that are good for the environment. With the focus of breaking “the cycle of aspirational beauty,” Cocokind is encouraging their customers to feel safe in their skin and celebrate their natural selves through their products. Try out the brand’s cult-favourite Tumeric Tonic Spot Treatment ($15) or their Texture Smoothing Cream—formulated with a celery seed complex ($26) to kickstart your journey into Tsai’s flourishing line of skincare products.
Hot Pot Variety
Looking for a fun, new hat to wear this summer? Look no further than Hot Pot Variety, started by Toronto-based creative Jess Papp. The brand was created during the pandemic as a hobby, but is now Papp’s full-time gig—fun fact, she still handcrafts all the hats herself! Using locally-produced yarn, Hot Pot Variety is made to “bring the eccentrics together, empowering self-expression through nostalgia vibes,”—which we love. If you’re looking for a neutral, yet fun design, the Checkmate hat ($240) is the way to go. Feeling bold? The Go Shawty, It’s Sherbert Day hat ($240) is perfect.
Three Ships Beauty
Birthed in 2015, business duo Connie Lo and Laura Burget created Three Ships to solve the types of problems they had as consumers with the beauty brands they used at that time. With their products, they thrive on plant-based ingredients, and on top of that, they’re also Leaping Bunny certified! The Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum ($45) is one of the brand’s best-sellers. It replenishes moisture deep in the skin and is also packed in with Kakadu plum, which has more Vitamin C than an orange!
Designed in Canada and manufactured in Bali, ASOM is an independent Canadian small business that benefits those who mostly work from home. These Wearable Duvets are hand quilted, made with luxe fabrics, and are also of lighter weight to cater to one’s workflow momentum. Pieces like the Black Currant Duvet ($250) are made with a buttery Cupro and fleece, functional sleeves that cuff right to your wrist (so it’s no longer in the way), and deep pockets that take jacket practicality to the next level.
Tower 28 Beauty
Named after a lifeguard tower in Santa Monica, California, Tower 28 Beauty is going to be your new favourite clean beauty brand. The company’s founder, Amy Liu, struggled with sensitive skin and eczema for most of her adult life. She grew frustrated with the limited amount of brands she could use, so naturally decided to start her own company after working as a beauty executive for over a decade. Tower 28’s products are designed to be soothing and nourishing, but also feel youthful and fun. If you’re new to the brand, we suggest the ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss ($19) or the SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($36)—you’re bound to love both!
If you’re about to move somewhere new and need a little art on your wall, or you just may be in the mood to jazz up your work desk. mintinishmango Art is sure to do just that. Owned by Jolina, a Toronto-based visual artist, her work is inspired by surrealism and prompted by satire in the past. Drawn freehand with pencil and archival ink pens like the Sleight Art Paint ($50), her work is sure to leave an eclectic accent to any space it’s part of.
Coming into fruition during the pandemic (yay pandemic business baby!), Apothegeri Candles is rooted in the importance of self-care by a Filipino woman and her father. Hence the “Geri” in Apothegeri, each candle is inspired by her dad who’s a big-time candle lover. Apparently, he would light one up after a hard day’s work and even more when he lost his grandmother. Each ingredient in the candles is sourced locally and ethically, like this Halo Halo Soy Candle ($18); named after a beloved Filipino dessert.
Lena’s Floral Designs
If you’ve got a wedding coming up and need some gorgeous centrepieces, Lena’s Floral Designs has got you covered! From Toronto’s west end, Owner and Creative Director, Lena Pham believes fresh flowers can light up any room and life. She’s a pretty big supporter of local growers and fair-trade certified farms abroad as well. Plus, when you order any of her boxes of flowers like the Signature White Linen Box-Garden Mix ($125), you’ll always get a choice to either add some designer greeting cards to it or three handmade lollipops!
Finding a cute hair clip can be such a challenge—most of the time they’re functional but not cute, or cute, but not practical. Chunks’ founder Tiffany Ju, had the exact same issue. After graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York in 2008, Ju worked in accessories for over a decade before launching her brand in 2019. Chunks sell a variety of hair accessories to make your mane look chic—you’ve probably seen their Checker Claw clip ($23) on Instagram. The Dolly Claw clip ($28) is also a favourite, as it can securely hold medium to thick hair. We suggest checking out their website to see what’ll work best for your hair type.
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