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20 brands to support for Asian Heritage Month

Support Asian-owned brands this month and beyond

Credit: ASOM / RIFRUF

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May is historically known as Asian Heritage Month in both Canada. And this year, the Canadian government is outlining a theme of "recognition, resilience, and resolve." The goal is to combat racism and discrimination against Asians and celebrate the country’s diversity and the success stories, strength, and resilience Asians and Asian culture bring to society. That includes wonderful contributions to the economy through Asian-led businesses.

Looking to do your part by supporting an Asian-owned or run business? Here are some great ones, many of which are based in Canada, that offer products and services you're sure to love or would make perfect gifts for someone special.

1. Three Ships Self-Care Kit

Credit: Three Ships

First seen on the Canadian venture capital reality show Dragon's Den, this brand is 100% plant-based, sulphate and paraben-free, and certified cruelty-free and vegan. The kit includes three full-sized bottles to carry out your beauty and rejuvenation routine. There's the Calm Lavender Hydrosol Toner for fighting bacteria and preventing breakouts as well as soothing skin and tightening pores; the Detox Green Tea Antioxidant Clay Mask for deep cleaning your pores and removing blackheads; and the Pina Colada Lip Exfoliator to exfoliate, plump, and condition lips. Not only is the company Canadian, but the products are also made in the Great White North. Get the Three Ships Self-Care Kit from Chapters Indigo for $45

2. Stephanie Cheng Elegant Water Art Print

Credit: Stephanie Cheng

Set this up in your bathroom, foyer, or any room in your home to add a touch of elegance and Canadian pride. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Cheng is a local artist who handmakes each print by request, yet still promises to deliver within 3-5 business days (there may be delays during holidays). Her artwork is inspired by human shapes, popular culture, travel, architecture, and art. She draws from traditional Japanese and Chinese painterly parchment designs to celebrate the beauty and wonder of water. Each four-colour print will look distinct and comes on 100 lb., 16 x 20-inch natural finish smooth card stock. Get the Stephanie Cheng Elegant Water Art Print from Simons for $56

3. Cocofloss Dental Floss

Credit: Cocofloss

Created by sisters Chrystle and Catherine Su, this 100% vegan floss is made from vegan wax and coconut oil. The aromas come from a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients sourced from a fragrance store in Italy. Each spool comes with 30 metres of cruelty-, gluten-, and paraben-free floss. Get the Cocofloss Dental Floss from Chapters Indigo for $12

4. Glow Recipe Avocado Serum

Credit: Glow Recipe

Avocado is good for plenty of things beyond eating, and apparently, that includes creating a shimmering glow and calming effect for your skin. This serum is made from avocado butter, ceramides, and rice milk, making it full of antioxidants. It's a great way to reduce redness, hydrate the skin, and remedy dullness or uneven skin textures. It's cruelty- and fragrance-free, too. Get the Glow Recipe Avocado Serum from Sephora Canada for $56

5. Phamily Customs Black Lives Matter Shirt

Credit: Etsy / Phamily Customs

Grab this shirt with a powerful statement written in small letters on the front. Unisex and available in sizes from extra-small up to extra-large, each T-shirt is handmade of cotton with screen-printed ink for the lettering. Buyers rave about the softness and excellent quality of the shirts along with the classic and simple design. The owner notes that additional text can be added to the shirt if desired. Get the Phamily Customers Black Lives Matter Shirt from Etsy for $23.07

6. TR3LOGY Hand Crafted Crystal Cube Candle

Credit: Etsy / TR3LOGY

These gorgeous vegan and unscented decorative candles are handcrafted and hand poured, making them a beautiful gift or addition to any home. Created by a business owner based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, they are made using high-quality paraffin wax, with no two candles the same. Choose rose gold, gold, or silver, or grab a few to place around the house or alongside one another to create a beautiful centrepiece. Get the TR3LOGY Hand Crafted Crystal Candle from Etsy for $11.99

7. AI Mini Croc Bright Green Bag

Credit: AI Mini

This stylish, sustainable, vegan bag will be the perfect addition to any wardrobe and is versatile enough to be worn during a night out or every day. Designed with a mock croc texture and interior lining, it measures 6.8 x 5 x 2.5 inches and comes with an adjustable and detachable strap. There's a handy interior pocket and magnetic closure. Made in Korea, the brand, pronounced "ah-ee," which means "children/daughters" in Korean, was founded by three sisters. They came up with the idea after visiting family in Seoul following one sister's battle with cancer. Get the AI Mini Croc Bright Green Bag from AI for $150

8. ASOM Earl Grey Duvet

Credit: ASOM

Is it a coat or a duvet? It's both! This clever sweater-jacket, designed by Canadian Mel Ho and manufactured ethically in Bali, is made with Cupro and lined with fleece. It has deep pockets so you can wear it out and about, bringing your essentials with you. But when you're hanging at home and find it getting a bit chilly, you can pop it over your arms for warmth. ASOM, by the way, stands for "A State of Mind." It fits whether your state of mind is trendy chic, out on the town, or cozy at home. Get the ASOM Earl Grey Duvet from ASOM for $250

9. Vessi Women's Cityscape Sneakers

Credit: Vessi

Created to combat the rainy Vancouver weather, Andy Wang, Mikaella Go, and Tony Yu created this brand of 100% waterproof sneakers that not only repel water and prevent sweat but are also comfortable for all-day wear. The shoes employ patented technology developed in Taiwan and include an exterior knit layer that is waterproof, breathable, and regulates temperature. With more than 4,000 reviews, existing owners love these shoes, saying they live up to every promise. Get the Vessi Women's Cityscape Sneakers from Vessi for $135

10. BlueMoon Paper Positive Affirmation Sticker Sheet

Credit: Etsy / BlueMoon Paper

We could all use some positive affirmations and encouragement, and this set of mantra/self-care stickers might just be the pick-me-up you need. With sayings like "give yourself love," "stop and breathe," and "it'll be okay," it's a perfect gift for the stressed out or anxious person, or just someone who has been feeling down. Each set is handmade from a small business in Canada and comes on a 4x6-inch sheet. Stick them on your journal, smartphone case, office desk, computer, or any place you'll notice them each day for a quick mood booster. Get the BlueMoon Paper Positive Affirmation Sticker Sheet from Etsy for $3.75

11. Binu Binu Soap Set

Credit: Binu Binu

Created by Torontonian Karen Kim, this brand translates to "soap soap" from Korean. The soap line is inspired by Korean bathhouse rituals and combines modern understated aesthetics with natural ingredients. This set of soaps is the perfect gift for a loved one and a wide variety of scent and ingredient combinations are available. Get the Binu Binu Soap Set from Ssense for $50

12. Wyld French Pink Clay Konjac Sponge

Credit: Wyld

This pack combines three of this brand's signature sponges designed to be used on all skin types, including those who suffer from eczema, dermatitis, or rosacea. Made from 100% natural Konjac plant, pink clay infusions help purify pores without drying out sensitive skin. The brand, an acronym for "What You Love Doing," was created by Joy Lap, who donates proceeds to ocean conservation, so you can feel good about the purchase as well. Get the Wyld French Pink Clay Konjac Sponge from The Detox Market for $16.90

13. Lezel the Label Copper Mask

Credit: Lezel the Label

This Canadian fashion brand focuses on eco-friendly materials and workwear that is comfortable enough to wear at home but stylish enough to don to the office, too. They offer this antibacterial, breathable, and moisture-wicking mask, available in either black or pink, has an inner layer made from beech tree fabric and proprietary antimicrobial copper yarn (outer layer is made of modal and recycled polyester). Get the Lezel the Label Copper Mask from Lezel the Label for $29

14. Oak + Fort Terracotta Dry Flower Vase

Credit: Oak + Fort

This gorgeous clay-coloured vase is handcrafted by the Prajapati family, descendents of one of of the original potter families in India. Add a Terracotta dry flower or your favourite floral arrangement for a touch of elegance in the home or garden. Known as a leader in Instagram sales, this popular fashion and lifestyle brand is not only an Asian-owned business but it's also Canadian, first launching in Vancouver before spreading throughout North America. Get the Oak + Fort Terracotta Dry Flower Vase from Oak + Fort for $18

15. Milk and Honey Clay The Mercy earrings

Credit: Milk and Honey

This business isn't based in Canada, but owner Jayna is located in Beaverton, Oregon, which sounds like it belongs in the country. The company, which was launched to help raise awareness about human trafficking, offers various handmade jewelry, including these adorable clay earrings. Named after the owner's grandmother Mercedes, they are hypoallergenic, gold-plated stainless steel, polymer clay, and brass and come in a three-tiered design with a trio of different colours that can add a splash to any number of outfits. Get the Milk and Honey Clay the Mercy earrings from Milk and Honey Clay for $25

16. RIFRUF Caesar 1

Credit: RIFRUF

Dubbed the "first design-driven dog shoe brand," dog lovers will flock to these cute booties for their precious pups. Available in three colour options, they’re made from the same types of materials you'll find in human sneakers, offering breathability and protection from rough surfaces via the 100% rubber midsole and outsole. Velcro straps are included so Rocky doesn't have to learn to tie laces. Owners Peter Liu and Jeremy Yoon started the biz after dealing with irritated paws from their furry friends and being unable to find proper paw-wear that could help. They come in seven size options to fit all types of dogs, from cocker spaniels to German Shepherds. Get the RIFRUF Caesar 1 dog shoes from RIFRUF for $65

17. SoultryAffirmations Uplift Each Other T-Shirt

Credit: Etsy / SoultryAffirmations

It's a basic, all-occasion T-shirt with a very, well, uplifting message that promotes kindness and acceptance. Available in sizes as small as youth large and up to adult 3X, opt for crisp white with black lettering, the inverse, or grey with black. Handmade from cotton, they are relaxed fit and unisex. Get the SoultryAffirmations Uplift Each Other T-Shirt from Etsy starting at $25.37

18. GildedCaseAtelier Bali Style Carved Wood Serving Tray Set

Credit: Etsy / GildedCaseAtelier

Add a touch of class and tradition to your home with this gorgeous set that includes a serving tray, storage containers, and trinket box. Measuring 9 x 1 x 9 inches and made from wood, the vintage 1980s set comes complete with the candle. Get the GildedCageAtelier Bali Style Carved Wood Serving Tray Set from Etsy for $69.86

19. Diaspora Co. Masala Dabba

Credit: Diaspora Co.

Build your own selection of fragrant spices and up your cooking game, with pre-orders being taken now for June. Once you make a purchase, you'll get instant access to the quarterly cooking club where the owners, Sana and Asha, teach recipes using these delicious and flavorful spices. Choose from spices like Pragati Turmeric, Nagauri Cumin, and Anamali Nutmeg, or tantalize your taste buds with something spicier like Sivathei Chillies. With 5-star reviews, it's an adventurous cook and spice lovers dream. Get the Diaspora Co. Masala Dabba build-your-own spice set from Diaspora Co. for $200

20. Nguyen Coffee Supply The Original Phin Kit

Credit: Nguyen Coffee Supply

Roasted in Brooklyn, New York, this Vietnamese coffee starter kit includes a bag of fresh-roasted coffee along with a stainless-steel Phin filter (add your own glass) that you can use to have delicious drip coffee within five minutes. Choose from Loyalty, Moxy, or Truegrit whole beans or ground coffee. With a solid 5-star rating, it's clear those who have tried this coffee are all for the java, with one happy customer even calling the brand the "most exciting thing to happen to my coffee in years." Get the Nguyen Coffee Supply The Original Phin Kit for $28

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.