Meet the Brands Participating in the Connect Home & Beauty Market
Beginning this Wednesday, The Folklore Connect will be hosting its first Connect Home & Beauty Market, a virtual trade show to highlight diverse home and beauty brands based in emerging markets with sustainable operations.
For three days from May 17-19, retailers will be able to book virtual appointments with participating brand founders to learn more about their origin stories and the key elements that set their collections apart. From skincare brands offering hydrating beauty products that enhance the skin’s natural glow to tightly woven home goods that serve as the perfect decorative piece, the brands hail from all corners of the world including South Africa, France, and the United States.
The brands featured in the digital trade show have been carefully selected from The Folklore Connect’s roster of wholesale brands for their ethically sourced products, from artisan-made home goods to natural skincare and clean beauty products. By sourcing from these inclusive and ethical brands, retailers can champion the importance of community and sustainability, and cater to a consumer base that values diversity. Get to know them below.
Established in 2015, AAKS was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with goal of introducing the world to the weaving techniques used by the women of Ghana, increasing awareness around ethical production processes and encouraging sustainable consumption in the fashion world. All crafted by hand, AAKS handbags and storage baskets are accentuated with the bright exuberant colours of Africa, and designed to conserve the provenance of weaving as an art form. Each collection silhouette is unique and tells a different story through detail, colour and shape.
Founder and chief chemist Tracey Hicks-Kearse draws from her cultural roots and career background to make the standout Multi-use Bioactive Dry Oil, which seals moisture into the skin, leaving it nourished and glowing. Hicks-Kearse’s African and Pacific Islander ancestry provide her with the knowledge of the best natural ingredients for the skin. As a chemical engineer, she combines those naturally derived bioactive ingredients to balance the microbiome. All of the ingredients used for AcARRE products are ethically sourced and produced in small batches to reduce waste.
The desire to know and have a guarantee of the contents of the products she put on her skin led Loran Wilson to start Address Oasis, by mixing and producing skincare products from scratch. The brand’s handmade body and skincare products are formulated with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, organ oil and shea butter, which are designed to improve overall skin health. Created to encourage a more mindful and intentional approach to skin care, Address Oasis products are based on daily rituals, from bath time to bed time, and named after principles of self-care: calm, haven and oasis. The brand’s body washes, scrubs and serums contain clean ingredients designed to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, hydrate, and smooth out skin for a healthier, youthful-looking glow.
Arami means “my body” in the Yoruba language. Arami Essentials honors this by treating the body as a temple. The non-toxic moisturizing oils, body butters, and balms that are featured in this simple skincare line make self-care a calming process that nourishes the body, mind, and spirit. Founded in 2016 by Ore Lawani, Arami Essentials’ standout products include the Lumi Butter, which enriches the skin and leaves it with a bronze glow, as well as the cold-pressed shea nut Glow Oil, which intensely hydrates the skin. In an effort to also extend wellness to the earth, many products in the brand’s line are available in refillable bags to keep packaging bottles out of the trash.
Established in Cape Town, South Africa in 2015, Cape Island offers a collection of luxury fragrance products that are inspired by the natural beauty of the African continent. With oils and fragrances sourced from some of the world’s leading perfumers, Cape Island takes a considered approach to its scented candles, diffusers and room sprays, which are infused with captivating notes of coconut, vanilla, balsam and fresh lime.
Sharing the handcrafted lifestyle goods made by family-owned businesses, small enterprises, and women artisans with the world is Casa Amarosa. Growing up in Mumbai, India, founder Nirali Guzman was exposed to the effect that one purchase can have on a small business. This served as the impetus behind creating Casa Amarosa, to connect several artisanal stores with a diverse consumer base. All items in its wholesale production are ethically made in small batches with sustainable materials and designed using traditional techniques by artisans around India. The burnt-orange tufted throw blankets, geometric-shaped pillows made using a pit loom, and round mirrors with grass fringe elements provide the perfect accent piece to any space.
Éluwa, which means “market” in the Bakweri language of an ethnic group from the southwest of Cameroon, was founded by entrepreneur Lee Litumbe in 2022. Inspired by unique craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind goods that can only be found at artisanal markets, the brand handcrafts luxury scented candles rendered in artistic shapes and forms inspired by the human body. All of Éluwa’s candles are made from a blend of natural soy and beeswax, which is mixed and poured by hand in the brand’s studio in Dakar, Senegal.
New York-based FOR TMRW brings the spa experience into the home with functional art objects and beauty products rooted in wellness. Founder Maia Alejandro combined her passion for interior design with her background in mental health to create nail polishes grounded in color psychology. These long-lasting, non-toxic, and vegan nail polishes are meant to have a positive impact on overall mood. That good mood is also meant to extend to the packaging, which fuses design and art influences, and comes with a paintbrush to make the nail polish application easier.
Tunisian-American founders Alia Mahmoud and Lamia Hatira created Fouta Harissa to help preserve the artisanal craft of weaving foutas – a multi-use towel that can be used at the beach, to cover entrances, or to blanket couches. These foutas begin as a natural fiber deadstock yarn. From there, the material is hand woven on a manual wooden loom. This process follows an intimate rhythm where the weaver taps their hand and foot in a specific sequence to create the fouta’s pattern. The fouta is then hand finished by knotting, tasseling, and fringing the fabric at its borders. The Fouta Harissa collection explores all the uses this one item can have, which accounts for the different fabrics and prints to make this essential piece stand out.
Founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 2021, cosmetics brand Honey Beauty specializes in high-quality make-up that compliments and celebrates natural beauty. The brand has spent three years developing premium products that are accessible, easy to use and cruelty-free. A direct response to the pressures of so-called “Instagram face”, Honey Beauty products are designed to enhance, not alter, the natural looks of the women that use its range of eyeshadow palettes, mascara, lipglosses and brow pencils.
Ensuring quality and freshness in every pea-sized drop of its products is Kudu Cosmetica, a South African skincare line made with the finest natural ingredients and processed in an ethical way. Sustainability is at the center of everything this brand does. Founder Angelica Wessel sources all of the ingredients from local businesses that cultivate and harvest in an eco-friendly manner. Kudu Cosmetica also skips out on additives in its products and uses packaging made out of recycled materials, as well as eco-friendly ink to line its prints. Some products to look out for include the marula oil to leave the skin with a silky feel, and the rosehip oil to leave skin feeling rejuvenated and glowing.
British-Nigerian designer Victoria Bola-Okerinde created LÁAYO in 2019 to encourage joyful living through timeless and ethically sourced clothing and homeware. The brand empowers women to feel beautiful and prioritize themselves. LÁAYO’s luxurious silk pajama sets, soft linen robes, and ethically sourced cotton aprons help achieve that mission. The pajama sets, available in three different dreamy colors, are tailored from bamboo silk and topped off with a contrast piping detail that provides a subtle layer of sophistication. The relaxed cut of the linen robe is paired with side pockets, a loose linen belt, and fabric buttons that cinch the robe at the waist, providing an elevated look. LÁAYO creates luxury in an effortless way.
Madame Gabriela Beauty
Unable to find a lipstick that met her standards of clean beauty, Madame Gabriela Beauty founder Gabriela Navejas decided to make her own. Navejas also believes that beauty should be transparent, which feeds into the intense screening of the ingredients used in the brand’s lipstick formulas, packaging suppliers, and business partners. The tubes that hold the richly pigmented shades are made with recycled aluminum. The signature romantic red, warm pink, and orangey coral lipstick shades in this collection are packed with moisture and anti-aging skincare benefits. The secret ingredient is what the label refers to as “the nectar of royalty”– Manuka honey. It leaves lips feeling silky soft as it is infused with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and intense hydrating abilities.
High-quality, easy-to-use makeup products made with skincare-style ingredients are the speciality of beauty brand M2U NYC. From colorful eyeshadow palettes to cream blushes and liquid lipsticks, M2U NYC’s products are safely formulated to be vegan, paraben-free and cruelty-free. They are inclusively designed to suit all shades and tones, and are versatile and long-lasting.
Using 100% cotton rope that is braided in Cape Town, South Africa, Mia Mélange brings high-quality interior décor and accessories to your home. The process begins by coiling the rope and tightly stitching it into place. This technique allows artisans to mold the rope into countless shapes that account for their extensive collection ranging from multi-use baskets and bowls to net bags, and tassel earrings. Employing sustainable practices, both through fair working environments, and environmentally friendly fibers is at the heart of Mia Mélange.
Marrying Nigerian textile traditions with whimsical prints is Oya Abeó. Founded by Samiat Salami who spent her early childhood years in Lagos, Nigeria, this brand celebrates daily life with loungewear and home goods that elevate everyday existence. The designs on the cotton robes are hand-drawn and hand-dyed by batik artists. In wanting to honor Nigeria, the cotton is homegrown in the Funtua area of the Katsina state in Nigeria and the prints are drawn from artisans in Osogbo, and the hand-woven fabrics come from the town of Iseyin. These robes in vibrant colors with fun fruit prints provide a cozy companion in tackling everything the day brings.
Pink Root Products
Founded in 2019 by Mariel Mejia, Pink Root Products is a brand aimed at easing the transition from damaged hair to healthy curls. The products in the Pink Root line are meant to promote new growth, shine, and softness with their nutrient-rich formulas made specifically for heat-damaged and chemically treated hair. The products in this hair care brand are derived from different oils, vegetable proteins, and butters to equip your strands with a strong protective layer. Use the creamy Leave-in Conditioner to add shine and increase the volume of your curls. The Pink Root Gel-Creme is made with beeswax, making it the perfect agent for controlling frizz and taming flyaways.
An award-winning haircare brand developed to help revitalize all curl patterns, Shaeri was founded in 2018 by Meryem Benomar to bridge beauty science and French culture with Moroccan beauty traditions. What sets the clean, vegan formulas apart is the use of prickly pear oil, which effectively moisturizes and regenerates hair that is dry or damaged. Some key products to look out for are the Haircare Spray and the Pure Scrub. The spray, made with prickly pear seed oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil helps to soften and liven up curls, while the scrub serves as both a scalp and body cleanser that also detoxifies.
South African brand Shea Botanics’ mission is to leave skin feeling like silk. By linking ancient knowledge with modern techniques, the skincare brand creates a line of oils, soaps, and body butters aimed to hydrate, protect, and heal the skin. Sourcing from the African continent, the main ingredients used in this line are shea, argan, marula, and baobab oils. In being free of toxins, Shea Botanics’ products are meant to care for the skin and the planet with ethically sourced materials and packaging that is recyclable. The amber glass bottles that envelop the droplets of oil, in particular, ensure that the products are made to last by keeping out light and other worldly elements.