Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination. And more than two years later, we are still seeing it happen. In fact, NBC News cited a compilation of hate crime data published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism that found that anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339% last year compared to the year before. And while discrimination isn't exactly a new thing, the recent escalation in anti-Asian racism is alarming and disturbing. And personally, as an Asian American, I'm sad, disheartened, and fearful.
There is a lot you can do to support the AAPI community and take a stand against these acts of violence. You can educate yourself, spread awareness, report instances of racism, amplify AAPI voices, and donate. You can also use your buying power for good by shopping AAPI-owned brands and businesses, right now and always. It not only helps these businesses flourish but can also boost diversity, inclusion, and solidarity.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and it feels more important than ever to support the community. So in celebration of the month, here are some brands in the wellness space (across health, self-care, home, and food) to discover. We'll be continually updating this list, so send us some of your favorite recommendations @thethirty.
Former Wall Street trader turned wellness entrepreneur Shizu Okusa founded Apothékary, a plant-based resource that hopes to be the "farmacy of the future" by offering natural herbal and adaptogen remedies for beauty and wellness. The brand is based on Okusa's Ayurvedic certification and her traditional Japanese upbringing.
Sisters Julie and Connie Kuo founded the sustainable footwear brand AVRE in 2019. With a family history in the footwear industry, they saw the negative effects the fashion industry can have on the environment, so they sought to change that. The shoes are made from repurposed plastic bottles. The brand also uses a "3D Knit-to-Shape" technology to create precise sizes, which eliminates scraps and reduces waste. The packaging is sustainable, too—everything gets shipped in one durable shoebox instead of the usual shoebox-in-a-bigger-box method.
Awkward Essentials is all about destigmatizing taboos in women's health—particularly offering the kind of innovative products we were probably too afraid or embarrassed to ask for. CEO Frances Tang invented the brand's flagship product, the Dripstick, a super-soft, medical-grade sponge that soaks up all the excess after-sex fluids in the vagina. Now, in addition to the Dripstick, the brand offers Mainstream, a pee funnel that helps you pee anywhere, and the Awk Towel, used for after-sex cleanup.
Bala Chai founders and siblings Bharat and Radha Vishnubhotla took the traditional and personal chai recipe they grew up with and put their own spin on it by adding an adaptogenic boost. The result is a sweet, spicy, and bold drink with good-for-you Ayurvedic spices.
Pilates and fitness instructor Cassey Ho posted her first workout video on YouTube back in 2009, and she's been growing her fitness and wellness community ever since. Her Blogilates channel now has over 5.5 million subscribers. In addition to workout videos, you can also find workout calendars, fitness printables, and meal plans on Blogilates.com. And Ho has a line of affordable workout equipment exclusively for Target: the Blogilates Home Gym Collection, plus a line of supplemental powders. Nothing's stopping this fitness entrepreneur.
After becoming a mom, Sarah Paiji Yoo was on a mission to curb her single-use-plastic use. She co-founded Blueland after coming up short when trying to find household products that didn't come packaged in plastic. Blueland's household-product collection consists of reusable and refillable bottles plus cleaning supplies that come in tablet and powder forms (which are packaged in compostable paper). The whole line has products to clean every room in your house.
Listen to Yoo's Second Life podcast episode here.
Cadence makes transporting your personal-care products—skincare and beauty products, supplements and medicines, and even jewelry and small accessories—so easy and sustainable. Founder and CEO Steph Hon developed the magnetic and refillable containers to help you get organized and reduce single-use plastic waste. The capsules are customizable, TSA-compliant, and dishwasher-safe.
Who knew flossing could be so fun? Well, sisters Chrystle (a dentist) and Catherine (an avid flosser) Cu designed Cocofloss to be just that. The floss is infused with coconut oil (a natural antimicrobial) and comes in different aromas (from classic mint to pink mojito and strawberry). And in addition to floss, the brand also offers toothbrushes and bath bombs.
Sana Javeri Kadri founded Diaspora Co. in 2017 with the mission and intention to work toward a radically equitable, sustainable, and modern spice supply chain by fostering integral relationships with farmworkers in India. All of the spices offered are fresh, high-quality, and single-origin. If you want to take your cooking to the next level, start here.
Listen to Kadri's Second Life podcast episode here.
When Lulu Ge went off hormonal birth control and tried to find ways to relieve her cycle symptoms, she was frustrated that the medical advice she received was to go back on birth control. After finding help from her family friend and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner Xia Hongsheng, she got the idea to start Elix. With Elix, consumers take an online health assessment and receive an herbal treatment plan tailored to their specific cycle needs. The ingredients are organic, high-quality, and third-party tested.
Fly by Jing
You've probably seen Fly by Jing's colorful jars of sauces and spices on Instagram—they're so popular. Founder Jing Gao created Fly by Jing after being inspired by the flavors of her hometown of Chengdu in the Sichuan province of China. All of the products are crafted in Chengdu with 100% natural and non-GMO ingredients. If anything, you have to try the signature Sichuan Chili Crisp—you're going to want to put it on everything.
Vanessa Dew co-founded Health-Ade with her best friends with the idea to make the best-tasting and highest-quality kombucha. Today, the brand has its signature and cult-favorite kombucha offerings (I'm partial to the Pink Lady Apple flavor) plus other fun and functional beverages like soda alternatives and mixers.
Nihaar Sinha founded Maiya to authentically represent and honor his South Asian culture. The brand's yoga mat prints feature spiritual symbols and are designed by a Mumbai artist. The mats are unique and really beautiful, so you'll definitely stand out in class. And they're durable and long-lasting, too.
CEO and co-founder Julie Nguyen founded Methodology, the luxury meal-prep service, after she was moved to drastically change her diet after experiencing some health issues. After she found that her new eating habits were making a big difference in how she felt, she wanted to help people figure out a better way to eat, even while juggling busy lives. Now, the company has celebrity fans such as Jessica Alba and Zedd. You can customize your subscription of weekly deliveries by the number of people, days requested, and meals provided (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). Meals range from $18 to $30 and come in glass jars that are picked up for recycling.
Founded by Kaling Lim and CEO Trina Chan, No.8 is a mental wellness company that offers nootropic gummies designed for brain health and vetted by two Stanford University doctors. The brand has gummies that address things like sleep, energy, focus, and stress—and they're vegan, low-sugar, non-GMO, and gluten-free, and they do not contain artificial sweeteners or synthetic fillers.
Parsons-trained designer Carolyn Jang founded Nylora in 2018 to create beautiful, chic pieces that look good at both the gym and outside of a workout. The designs are so stylish and modern—they're a fashion girl's dream.
Sisters and co-founders Vanessa and Kim Pham are bringing authentic and flavorful Asian pantry staples to kitchens everywhere with their company, Omsom. The line is extensive, with starter packs for classic Thai larb, Filipino sisig, Korean bulgogi, and more.
Pink Moon is an online shop founded by Lin Chen that features female-founded self-care, wellness, and lifestyle brands—and many of the brands are founded by women of color. Chen also launched an in-house collection to celebrate her Chinese heritage, with products like a gua sha tool and aromatherapy blends.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Stefanie Walmsley launched Prim Botanicals after a trip to Cebu reminded her of the many natural and effective skincare remedies that exist there. The line features CBD lotions and roll-ons, body scrubs, and body oils.
Founded in 2017 by three women originally from South Korea, Rael offers high-quality, clean, and sustainable feminine-care products—made for all aspects of your cycle. Many of its offerings are powered by South Korean innovation and technology. You’ll find things from pads and tampons to pimple patches, heating pads, and skincare among its products.
Silk + Sonder
Founder and CEO Meha Agrawal created Silk + Sonder after feeling burnt-out, under-fulfilled, and uninspired in the world of tech, consumer products, and entrepreneurship. Her creation is a subscription-based mental wellness journal experience. Subscribers get a journal each month, plus access to the app and community for more inspiration and support.
Sashee Chandran grew up with a Chinese mother and a Sri Lankan father, so tea was always a staple in her house. After being frustrated by the waste and taste of tea bags and the mess of loose-leaf tea, Chandran created Tea Drops, which are sort of like the bath bombs of tea. They dissolve directly in hot water—it's so easy!
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.