Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month 2023 by checking out some of our favorite AAPI-owned businesses to shop this month and beyond.
May is finally here, and the start of this month isn't just an end to April showers — it's also the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month!
Aside from celebrating with your friends, donating to important causes and educating yourself on AAPI history through books and documentaries, one of the best ways to commemorate AAPI Heritage Month is by supporting Asian and Pacific Islander-owned businesses.
To help guide your shopping, we've rounded up some of our favorite AAPI-led brands to check out this month and beyond. From the TikTok-famous kitchenware brand Our Place (AKA the Always Pan) to up-and-coming beauty from Tower 28 and celeb-approved purses at JW Pei, so many of the brands we already know and love are AAPI-owned.
Whether you're looking to add some new products to your skincare routine, freshen up your wardrobe for summer or invest in quality cookware, there's no shortage of innovative AAPI-owned businesses to shop from.
Even after AAPI Heritage Month 2023 comes to an end, you'll want to keep shopping these Asian American and Pacific Islander-led brands. Below, check out our favorite AAPI-owned businesses to support this month and always.
Odds are, if you've been in a trendy boutique as of late, you've probably seen a Boy Smells candle. What started off as a kitchen experiment between Matthew Herman and David Kien ending up becoming one of the top indie brands in the fragrance world — even leading to a collaboration with Kacey Musgraves. The brand has also ventured into fine fragrances if you're in the market for a new perfume.
Whether you're in search of a signature scent for your home or a luxe gift that won't break the bank, Boy Smells has you covered with a range of innovative fragrances for the home and body.
Boy Smells Gardener Scented Candle
Tomatoes may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of typical candle scents, but ripe, juicy vine fruits mixed with white tea and honeysuckle makes this the perfect candle to burn for summer.
Just because you have sensitive skin doesn't mean you can't have fun with your skincare and makeup products.
Founder Amy Liu sought to do exactly that with her brand, Tower28, after her difficulty with finding eczema-friendly beauty. Tower28 is the only brand on the market that follows 100% of the National Eczema Association's ingredient guidelines, and its array of products is safe for all skin types from oily and acne-prone to dry and sensitive.
Tower 28 Beauty SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Foundation
Get plenty of buildable coverage while protecting your skin from the sun's rays with this tinted sunscreen foundation.
If you've been anywhere on cooking TikTok as of late, you've likely seen the sculptural stovetop beauty that is the Always Pan. This cult-favorite cooking utensil, a 10-in-1 nonstick pan, is without a doubt Our Place's hero product, but the brand carries a variety of kitchen essentials from cast iron skillets and steamer baskets to chef's knives and dinnerware sets.
Our Place Always Pan 2.0
Adding two extra functions with it's upgraded technology, the Always Pan 2.0 basically does it all: steaming, searing, braising, frying and more. Just as gorgeous as the original, you can get the new pan in eight different colors.
While Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowki and Megan Fox are often spotted carrying the most high-end bags money can buy, they also love a good deal — all three celebs were spotted carrying the Gabbi purse from AAPI-owned label JW Pei.
Founded by husband and wife duo Yang Pei and Stephanie Li, JW Pei offers a variety of affordable and stylish purses. Not only are their bags a steal with many styles under $100, but they're also made in part with sustainable materials such as recycled water bottles.
JW PEI Gabbi Ruched Hobo Handbag
Loved for its distinct minimalist ’90s vibe, the croissant-shaped hobo bag was trending on social media for being seen on Gigi Hadid, Hailey Bieber, Emily Ratajkowski, Irina Shayk and Megan Fox.
If you love the idea of perfumes but hate the way they react with your sensitive skin, think of SKYLAR as your #1 fragrance destination. First-generation American Cat Chen founded SKYLAR back in 2017 after realizing her infant daughter was having allergic reactions to Chen's everyday perfume.
Carrying everything from mouthwatering gourmands to aromatic woodsy blends, SKYLAR's hypoallergenic perfumes go above and beyond the global regulatory standards for fragrance formulation to create the safest scents possible.
SKYLAR Vanilla Sky Eau de Parfum
One of SKYLAR's most popular fragrances, Vanilla Sky is a comforting blend of cappuccino, cedarwood and pure vanilla that smells equal parts sweet and sophisticated.
Whether you're packing for a weekend trip or just a trip to the farmer's market, consider all your travel needs covered with Dagne Dover.
Founded by Deepa Gandhi, Jessy Dover and Melissa Shin Mash, the Instagram-famous luggage brand is beloved for its sleek look, durability and sustainability — many products are packaged and made with recycled materials. Celebs such as Justin Timberlake and Busy Phillips are fans of the brand, and we bet you will be too.
Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag
Go from the office to the gym with ease with this mid-size bag, featuring a laptop sleeve and shoe bag.
When Priscilla Tsai founded cocokind, her goal was to break the cycle of “aspirational beauty" — the false narratives that beauty companies use to make people feel insecure enough to buy their products. Her skincare brand aims to prioritize inclusivity above all else, ensuring that its customers feel that they have a safe place within the beauty industry.
Made with quality formulas at approachable price points, cocokind's array of toners, sun protection, moisturizers and more are designed to support the skin's barrier while delivering ample hydration.
cocokind AHA Jelly Cleanser
If you struggle with breakouts and clogged pores once summer rolls around, consider adding this gently exfoliating cleanser to your skincare routine.
Even if you don't live in New York City, Sandy Liang's array of bold yet uncomplicated clothing and accessories makes the "downtown cool" look accessible. Inspired by her Chinese grandmother's eclectic style — think mismatched prints, oversized silhouettes and an emphasis on comfort — Liang quickly became one of the top emerging designers to watch during NYFW. Her brand makes everything from the viral flower hair scrunchie to ready-to-wear apparel and bridal pieces.
Sandy Liang Flower Power 2.0
Sandy Liang's flower scrunchie went viral during NYFW Fall/Winter 2023, and with good reason — it elevates even the most simple outfits.
Another noteworthy clean fragrance brand, Ellis Brooklyn's founder Bee Shapiro cut her teeth as a New York Times beauty writer before branching out to start her own perfume line.
"I have always loved fragrance—it's a powerful, invisible language that can tell a story or conjure a keen memory in one concise sniff," she said in her brand's philosophy statement. "Especially in our world of non-stop, intense visual imagery, fragrance reconnects us to our sense of smell but also to a present state of mind."
Whether you prefer the crisp, refreshing ocean air scent of SALT or ripe, juicy notes of SUN FRUIT, a mini gift set allows you to sample each fragrance for a great value.
Ellis Brooklyn Mini CHAPTERS Perfume Coffret Set
Mini bottles of fig and pear SUN FRUIT, aquatic floral SALT, cozy sweet VANILLA MILK and your-skin-but-better MYTH are included in this gift set.
Finding a bra that actually fits properly can be a massive pain, which is why Natori is dedicated to designing bras that feel as good as they look. Filipino-American designer Josie Cruz Natori, the brand's founder and CEO, left a prestigious job as the first female Vice President of Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch to pursue her designs. Since her start in 1977, Natori has cemented her company as one of the top lingerie brands on the market — as well as received a Fashion Group International's Humanitarian Award.
Natori Feathers Underwire Contour Bra
Small band, big bust ladies rejoice: this feminine lace t-shirt bra from Natori goes up to a size G cup with bands as small as 30.
When entrepreneur Divya Gugnani teamed up with supermodel Lindsay Ellingson teamed up to find a solution to their beauty product woes, it was a match made in heaven. The power duo founded Wander Beauty with their busy lifestyles in mind, creating a line of multitasking skincare and makeup products designed to take up less space in your beauty bag. From two-sided cheek sticks to hydrating eye masks, Wander Beauty is here to streamline your beauty routine.
Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush & Illuminator
"This is a really convenient multi-tasker to keep in your purse since it comes with a blush and highlighter and its perfect for quick touch ups," wrote one five-star reviewer. "The creamy formulas are easy to apply directly on skin and blend with your fingers so no brushes needed. This is truly made for busy people on the go or those who just want less products cluttering up their vanity."
Many afternoons spent gardening rare orchids with her grandfather gave Alicia Tsai an obsession with scent and its ability to connect us to memories. Her candle company Aerangis, named for a star-shaped orchid variety with a poignant aroma, are inspired by Tsai's most cherished memories. From Manhattan on a rainy day to a lush garden in Taiwan, Tsai hopes her fragrances will help customers reconnect with their own special moments.
Aerangis No. 7 Seven Miles
Perfumed with creamy orange jasmine, ylang ylang and violet, this candle evokes humid summer evenings in Taiwan.