Introducing The Bites of Boston Black-Owned Business Gift Box
Here at Bites of Boston Food Tours our mission is to support fellow small, local businesses in our community and in fact, our entire business model is based on a model of mutual support. Covid-19 has had a HUGE impact on all the small local businesses that we work with, and has prohibited our ability to offer our food tours. As the situation surrounding the pandemic developed, we knew we could not just sit back and watch. We wanted to continue to support our fellow small businesses in Boston, and we found a social-distancing friendly way to do just that.
In April, the Bites of Boston Self-Care Box was born. Our first Bites of Boston Box was a huge success and very well received as a creative way to support the local community. Our Bites of Boston "Beantown" Coffee Lovers Box, came next, and provided a similar opportunity to support even more Boston businesses, as well as a way to explore the creative use of coffee in a wide variety of locally-made products. This week, we are very honored to introduce our latest box, the Bites of Boston Black-Owned Boston Business Box.
Inspired and motivated by recent events, we recognized that we could be doing better in terms of supporting and representing local black businesses in our boxes. Our efforts in researching led to the discovery of a number of local, black women-owned businesses, who we have been talking with and learning more about over the past few weeks! We have also been learning about, tasting, and trying their amazing food, bath and self-care products, and in the process, realized we had the makings of another beautiful local gift box! This one is a tribute to our community's Black Lady Bosses, and we couldn't be more excited to share their businesses and products with others by way of this box.
Additionally, we will donating all profits from the first 50 boxes to Future Chefs, a community organization with a mission to prepare high-school age students for success in work and life through the development of culinary skills.
This curated selection of local items is a fantastic way to support 7 local black and women-owned businesses in Boston! Perfect as a gift to yourself or for a loved one, this delightful collection includes a Haitian spice blend, small-batch handmade pineapple chutney, a rejuvenating bath bar, luxurious lip balm, refreshing hand sanitizer, a colorful art piece by a talented local artist, and a Black Owned Bos. sticker! We've also included recipes, and access to a dynamic online listing of black-owned businesses to check out in the Boston area. Plus, all of our gift boxes also incorporate what we do best at Bites of Boston Food Tours - storytelling! We love to share the unique and inspirational stories of the owners and makers in our community, as well as special details about the individual products. We believe the enjoyment of shopping local is greatly enhanced when you know more about the people behind the products. We have included a printed version of these stories so you can learn more about each business and what inspired these artisans to create and share their respective crafts!
The Bites of Boston Black-Owned Business Box includes the following items:
Pineapple Chutney by Lyndigo Spice Founded by Celeste Croxton-Tate
Lyndigo Spice is owned by Roxbury native Celeste Croxton-Tate. From a young age, Celeste would watch cooking videos and fell in love with food. She grew up in a diverse community where she was exposed to various cultures and cuisines. As an adult, Celeste worked as a Boston police officer and when she was home from her shifts, Celeste cooked to destress. Finally, her friends and family suggested she start a catering business, so in 2006 Lyndigo Catering was born.
Celeste’s customer’s loved her food and always asked if they could take home her cooling pineapple chutney. These questions led Celeste to developing a line of chutneys, relishes, spreads, and spice blends for Lyndigo spice in 2014. The flavors of her collection are inspired by Caribbean and Indian food. Each product is made in small batches in Dorchester’s Commonwealth Kitchen. Celeste sources seasonal ingredients from local farms and uses all natural and organic spices from fair trade suppliers. Wanting to serve her own products to her family, Celeste focused on developing products that were low in sugar and sodium.
Lynidgo Spice’s website provides recipe ideas from spice roasted chickpeas to mango shrimp, which utilize Celete’s range of products. Celeste says that most of her recipes are created with zero food waste in mind. One of our favorite flavors is the smokey peach and cherry chutney that took Celeste six months of testing to make sure she got a perfect smokey flavor that wasn’t too bitter. You can buy her chutneys and spice blends on her website or find them at select neighborhood food stores.
Detoxifying Body Bar by Brown and Coconut Founded by Letisha and Zeena Brown
Brown and Coconut was founded by sisters, Letisha and Zeena Brown in Boston, Massachusetts. After years of suffering from severe acne and frustrated by the lack of effectiveness and further damage they experienced with popular skin care products, they embarked on a journey to heal their skin from the inside out. First working to improve what they fueled our bodies with, then overhauling their skin care routines, they eliminated harsh and harmful products that only worsened their skin condition and threatened their overall health by exposing them to dangerous chemicals.
Letisha and Zeena began crafting products powered solely by plant ingredients that were powerful enough to heal and nourish any skin type, yet gentle enough to maintain the skin’s delicate balance. Years of research, development, and testing led them to completely heal their acne — their passion to rid the world of harmful substances while helping others like them, that wanted to care for their skin without risking their health, led to the launch of Brown and Coconut. They continue to share skincare research and advice on the company blog.
Every ingredient that goes into Brown and Coconut products is done so with careful thought and consideration. All Brown and Coconut products are 100% plant-based and non-GMO and the ingredients are organically sourced whenever possible. Nothing is ever added simply because it “smells good” or “sounds fancy”. Each and every ingredient serves an important purpose, working to restore harmony to all types of skin. Brown and Coconut products are made for anyone and everyone whether your desire is to heal or simply maintain healthy, beautiful skin.
Jar of Hatian Dry Spice Blend by thisHaiti Founded by Blonde Beauchamp
thisHaiti was founded by Blonde Beauchamp, a self-taught chef, in 2014 as an ode to her Hatian heritage while she was living in Ireland. Blonde was in Ireland pursuing her MBA and it was her first time living away from home. As a result she found herself yearning for her mother’s home cooking and so she began making Hatian food herself. As it turned out, her friends loved it! She knew from there that she had to share her love and passion for her culture by handcrafting products for people not only to enjoy, but also truly experience a taste of Haiti.
From there she was inspired to launch The Craic & Blonde (craic, meaning “fun,” basically summed up her experience in Ireland, and Blonde, of course, is her name), before rebranding and changing the company name to thisHaiti later on when she was back in Boston. thisHAITI’s mission is to share delicious, authentic, handcrafted Haitian food products using the finest natural and/or organic ingredients. Blonde went full-time with the business in just over a year and really got her start at farmer’s markets in the greater Boston area where she loved the process of interacting with all of her customers and inviting people to try her foods full of bold, Hatian flavors.
In 2015, thisHaiti was featured in the Wall Street Journal’s summer must-have guide and she’s been going strong since then. Blonde offers three unique products: Pikliz pronounced “pick-leez”), a habanero and cabbage slaw that's pickled in vinegar (available in both hot & mild versions), Plantain Chips, and a Haitian dry spice blend made with organic ingredients (garlic and onion powders, dried parsley and thyme, habanero pepper powder, black pepper, sea salt, and other spices). Her signature spice blend allows for the full flavors of a meal that took hours to make in much less time!
Photo Credit: LAYO Handmade[/caption]
Vanilla Fig Lip Balm by LAYO Handmade Founded by Funmi and Richard Olatilu
LAYO is a company created by wife and husband, Funmi and Richard Olatilu, in Boston in 2016. Funmi is an enthusiast who loves to create products using organic food grade plant based ingredients fused with essential oils and herbs. Her passion for skincare products was fueled by the adverse effects of various artificial ingredients in the market. She was driven when her first daughter and later second were diagnosed with allergies to various food and skincare products. She started researching and producing natural skin and hair care products from her kitchen, and LAYO products emerged. Funmi and her husband have two girls who were supportive in making her dream come true, and the company remains family owned and operated.
LAYO products are 100% plant-based and natural. Their products feature various handmade body butters, hair oils, skin oils, and soaps that restore moisture. Popular products include the massage oil, coconut honey lip balm and vanilla fig lip balm, coconut body butter, and lavender body butter. The namesake of the company, LAYO, means “to give joy” in the Yoruba language, which is spoken in West Africa and most prominently in southwestern Nigeria.
Zesty Morning Hand Sanitizer by Organic Bath & Co. Founded by Funmi and Richard Olatilu
Organic Bath Co. is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Gianne Doherty and Jay Weeks. After Gianne had a negative reaction to her favorite conventional beauty product, the couple founded the company in 2014 with the continued mission of using only clean ingredients. Upon discovering that women—and particularly women of color—are marketed toxic personal care products, they made the commitment to creating a straightforward, unisex bath and body line using nothing unnecessary, harmful or synthetic—just what’s essential. Gianne and Jay have become passionate advocates for health, wellness, and accessible, safe skincare over the last six years.
Located in Charlestown, Organic Bath Co. creates products made using the most beneficial and pampering natural ingredients from an ethical supply chain and are 92% certified organic, fair - and direct trade.
Black Owned Bos. Sticker by Black Owned Bos. Founded by Anonymous
Black Owned Bos. started as a instagram account crated by a local black female entrepreneur and design who wanted to shine a light on the black-owned business community in Boston. Though the @blackownedbos account appeared on Instagram in March of 2019, its following has seen a huge increase in recent weeks. As of June 2020, the account now has over 15k followers! In addition to featuring local businesses and business owners in their posts, the account has expanded to include merch (including the stickers featured in our box), a map of business locations in and around Boston, and a comprehensive list of businesses that is ever growing and changing as new submissions to the directory are received. Today, @blackownedbos has become a valuable resource for information regarding what's happening with and how to support local business, especially in this tumultuous time of pandemics and protests.
Janea Doe Art Print by Black Girl Magic Founded by Jae'da Turner
Jae’da Turner or Jae.Apostrophe is a local self-taught creative based in Boston. Both a Dorchester native, and graduate of Northeastern University, her ties to Boston run deep. From crafting, to drawing, to illustrations, she loves to try and experiment with new outlets and creative mediums. She created the brand Black Girl Magic (BGM) where she sells her graphic designs on physical products ranging from clothing to mugs and prints. Her description of the brand is right to the point: "Black Girl Magic is real. Celebrate the magic. Protect the magic. Join the movement." Her piece “Janea Doe” represents the reliability in the seemingly unfamiliar and the uniqueness of the seemingly uniform. You can also see Jae's work on her Instagram account @jae.apostrophe.
As a Marketing Professional by day, Jae’da Turner @jae_apostrophe, understands the value of brand and the power of your personal brand, and she uses her platforms to connect and build community. "We all have a responsibility to show up and be the change we want to see for a better Boston. If not you, then who?”
*Additionally, the purchase of each box supports OUR small, local, food business. And we appreciate your support!
We hope you'll join us in supporting small, local, black-owned businesses here in Boston and purchase a box for yourself or someone else, OR BOTH!