Black history month is winding down, but everyone over at the Inventory wanted to expose you all to a couple of products that were made or developed by Black people. Like Ignacia mentioned in her introductory post, about 40% of Black-owned businesses might not actually make it through the pandemic. Given actual structural things that prevent Black entrepreneurs from even starting their own store—brick-and-mortar or online—it’s important to celebrate the innovations that come out of these endeavors.
So, without further ado, here are a few highlights.
Even though a ton of Briogeo’s products are great for all kinds of hair, natural hair health is absolutely a priority. Specifically, Briogeo’s Be Gentle, Be Kind cleansing conditioner is one of my (many) favorite hair products. It’s made with avocado and quinoa, both of which soothe and moisturize your scalp while it’s cleansing your hair. It also helps to detangle—that was especially helpful for me as my curls tend to knot after a good, deep, wash. It’s $32, which isn’t so bad compared to other, higher-end natural hair products.
The $80 Moisture Love bundle comes with shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, hair oil, and styling cream. They all smell like baked goods, an absolute plus in my opinion, and the large size has enough product to last you months. (Speaking of which, I should probably buy another set, as I’m quickly running out.) It’s totally vegan, too, so it doesn’t have all the sulfates or silicones other, bigger-named brands sneak into their formulas over time that really and truly fuck with your hair’s health. I wrote a more in-depth review here, so be sure to check it out if you’d to know more.
-Ignacia Fulcher, Beauty & Lifestyle Editor
Swimsanity! is a 2D underwater shooter that lives up to its name. The colorful indie is a wildly fun ride filled with aquatic robots, power-ups, and more lasers than a rave. Created by Decoy Studios, run by the brotherly duo of Ahmed and Khalil Abdullah, the game is an especially delightful and chaotic multiplayer experience that’s perfect for friends who just want to yell at each other and laugh over a video game. Decoy Games itself is a new developer to watch. The Abdullah brothers had no professional game development history prior to founding it, and went on to win multiple indie festival awards with Swimsanty! The studio is driven by a love of games and a desire to innovate, making it a positive force in an industry that can feel overwhelming at times.
-Giovanni Colantonio, Associate Gaming Editor
If you’re prone to indecisiveness when selecting your next page-turner, a well-curated subscription box can lend a helping hand. Cratejoy has lots to choose from, like this reader-friendly option from BLACKLit. For about $33 per month, you’ll get a new box shipped to you every month, complete with one new book by an author of color, up to five products from Black-owned businesses, and up to five discussion questions to spark a thoughtful conversation. There are even a few options to choose from: fiction, non-fiction, men, and faith.
-Jordan McMahon, Tech Editor
Whether or not you’ve been inadvertently exposed to its clever social media marketing campaign, Ray J’s Raycon true wireless headphone brand is quickly joining the ranks of more budget-friendly tech companies like Aukey and Anker.
Stylish, IPX4-certified for water and sweat resistance, and complete with five sets of well-cushioned silicone gel tips, his latest E25 earbuds start at just $80—that’s about $50 less than Apple’s entry-level AirPods WHEN THEY’RE ON SALE and have to suck less too considering the customizable fit. Bluetooth 5.0 ensures a steady connection even at high ranges up to 33 feet, and they use standard USB-C for charging, so you don’t have to worry about lugging around an additional proprietary cable when you’re sitting at your desk with a laptop or iPad Air/Pro. Raycon also sells over-ear cans, though none appear to be in stock.
The E25 buds boast a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon out of 1,573 reviews, indicating positive reception among customers. Just don’t tell Kanye.
-Gabe Carey, Head of Content & Strategy