There’s nothing that can be said about the escalation of hate crimes against the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in the last few years — except that it’s unacceptable. According to an analysis from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino, reports of anti-Asian hate crimes increased nearly 150 percent in 2020 in 16 of America’s biggest cities.
Education and aid are of the utmost importance and several organizations are leading the way. Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Asian Pacific Fund COVID-19 Recovery Fund, Stop AAPI Hate, and They Can’t Burn Us All are among some resources you can leverage to show your support for these communities. Supporting AAPI-owned businesses is another way to show up and make an impact as well.
Here are eight consumer brands to help you get started, ranging from beauty and skincare to food, beverages, pets, and CBD products.
Necessity is mother of invention, and that’s exactly how nutpods got its start. While pregnant and on vacation, founder Madeline Haydon couldn’t find a dairy-free creamer she desired — sans the additives but full of taste — so she made one herself. The company’s coconut and almond-based creamer was funded by a Kickstarter campaign in 2013. Today, it’s ranked the No. 1 dairy creamer on Amazon and is also available across the U.S. in more than 13,000 retail stores.
As daughters of Vietnamese refugees, keeping it in the “pham-ily” is what Omsom is all about. Founded by sisters Kim and Vanessa Pham, who spent their youth observing their mother cook many meals from scratch, their starter sets enable Asian food lovers to cook restaurant-quality dishes in less than 30 minutes at home. Each kit features specific recipes along with sauces and seasonings, so all you have to do is add your protein and vegetables.
3. Live Tinted
After gaining fame on YouTube for a viral video where she concealed dark circles under her eyes with red lipstick, Deepica Mutyala turned a terrific hack in a highly successful business and major brand movement with the launch of Live Tinted. Founded as a digital community that celebrated inclusivity and focused on diversity in beauty, the #TintFam evolved from honest conversations about culture and its audience’s concerns to discussions about — and ultimately the development of — products to suit their needs.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way — and Priscilla Tsai is a testament to that phrase. With the creation of Cocokind, she launched the skincare line she needed for her acne-prone, sensitive skin. Made with high-quality ingredients that are sustainably-focused, the brand is renowned for its affordability and transparency. For example, packaging labels feature “sustainability facts” that track each product’s life cycle, addressing things like carbon emissions and ethical labor practices during its production process as well as its recyclability.
5. Heed Foods
If the pandemic has proven one thing positive, it’s that we love our pets — and we’ll do anything to keep them healthy. That was the mission of dog lovers Rei Kawano Suliawan and Melanie Han when they founded Heed Foods. Joining forces with animal nutritionists and canine microbiologists, they sought transparency to take the mystery out of what’s in your pup’s bowl. By developing a line of real high-quality and healthy kibble made from domestic sources, they found the solution.
6. Yobo Soju
Creating a premium spirit that pays homage to your roots and is enjoyable to drink isn’t as easy as it sounds, but Korean American Carolyn Kim has achieved that and more with her launch of Yobo Soju. The award-winning, handcrafted spirit is produced in small batches hailing from the Finger Lakes region of New York. Locally sourced and sustainably farmed, it offers a clean taste, 23 percent ABV, and is gluten and sugar-free. It’s also low in calories, is keto-friendly, and lacks additives and preservatives.
In a year that’s challenged us all to remain calm, it’s nice to know that quality CBD products are available to help us achieve it — and Potli is providing plenty of premium food options to help foster wellness. Founded by Christine Yi and Felicity Chen, this brand’s line of CBD-infused products include a range of pantry staples such as honey, olive, and chili oils, and apple cider vinegar. They are also THC-free and third-party tested. All of the high-quality ingredients are homegrown in Northern California and support local farms as well.
8. Dang Foods
Founded in 2012, Dang Foods is the leading Asian-American snack brand. Founder Vincent Kitirattragarn shares on the brand’s website that the idea for Dang, named after his mother, was inspired by her Thai lettuce wraps that he served in his pop-up restaurant in New York City. The recipe called for toasted coconut, which, at the time, he couldn’t find in the store. He decided to make it from scratch, shaving thick strips of fresh coconut meat and then lightly toasting them to perfection. “I knew in that moment that I had to start a snack food company … My brother Andrew joined in and since then we’ve used inspiration from our Thai-American heritage to create Asian-American snacks so delicious you’ll say…’Dang, that’s good!'”