Eight Asian-American businesses to support during AAPI month and beyond


Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month is in full swing, with May honouring the Asian cultural backgrounds that shape the US.

Since 1992, the month of May has recognised the history and achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the country. Multiple organisations are celebrating different generations of Asian and Pacific Islands this year, including The Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and the National Gallery of Art in New York.

There are a variety of ways to honour AAPI month, such as by learning more about the history of Asian groups who arrived in the US during the 1500s and 1600s.

You can also celebrate and support brands created by the Asian American community. From skincare lines to jewellery brands, many Asian Americans have incorporated aspects of their heritage into their businesses. Many of those companies have gone on to reach immense success, giving Asian Americans a space in the thriving business world within the United States.

Here are eight different brands that you can support not only during AAPI month, but beyond it.

Nunchi

The New York City-based jewellery company, Nunchi, was founded by Korean-American Jane Dua, who has worked with luxury jewellery brands for more than 12 years, as noted on the brand’s website. One of the main things that Nunchi advocates for is representation, with the company working specifically with “immigrant and family owned businesses of craftsmen in New York City and Seoul, South Korea”.

Some of the Korean-American jewellery being sold ranges from a gold ear cuff with a silver star on it to a pair of silver scallop hoop earrings. The prices for the jewellery tends to range, with the brand’s Eye Mugunghwa Signet Ring costing $160, while one large diamond cut gold ring costs $2,000.

Faith Cao

The art company was founded by a small business owner of the same name, Faith Cao, who is a Vietnamese, Teochew, Cantonese American based in Oakland, California, as noted on her company’s page. She has also hosted different exhibitions that are linked to her heritage, including her own Lunar New Year Art show in 2023.

Some of Faith Cao’s products range from prints to stickers to cards, including a “Thank You” card written in four different languages: Vietnamese, Cantonese, Teochew, and English, which retails for $6. Many of the prints are not only very colourful, but they also refer back to Cao’s heritage. For example, the artist sells one print called “Vietnamese Risograph,” which illustrates “a girl wearing traditional Vietnamese clothing” and “traditional Vietnamese hat,” which is called a “Nón Ba tàm”. The pink and blue artwork is currently being sold for $25.

Fusion Jerky

In 2014, Taiwanese-American KaiYen Mai officially launched her brand, Fusion Jerky, which has its own ties to her family traditions. As noted by Fusion Jerky’s site, Mai “was born into a family passionate about the delicate art of creating traditional Asian jerky by cultivating,” which was one of the inspirations behind her business.

Some of the products sold by the family-owned business – based in California – include a Sweet Beef jerky, a Chipotle Lime jerky, a Japanese Barbeque jerky, and a Garlic Jalapeno jerky, with the cost of each bag ranging from $4 to $8.

CHO Wines

After learning about the making of wine at local wineries in Southern California, Korean-American Dave Cho made his way to Oregon and started his own business, CHO Wines, as noted on the business official website. He founded his company alongside his wife – Lois Cho – who is also the founder of Oregon AAPI Food and Wine, which highlights AAPI representation in the food and beverage industry. In Dayton, Oregon on Saturday and Sunday (18 May and 19 May), Lois’s non-profit will be hosting its second annual AAPI Food and Wine Fest.

Some of the wines sold by Dave and Lois’ company include a 2023 Rose City Rosé, a 2021 Pinot Noir Luvi Vineyard, and a 2018 Blanc de Norris. Prices for each bottle tend to range, with the 2018 white wine retailing for $95 and the 2023 rosé being sold for $36.

Noona’s Ice Cream

In 2016, Korean-American Hannah Bee, who’s based in New York City, founded Noona’s Ice Cream. The name itself has a special tie to Bee’s heritage and family, as Noona means “big sister” in Korean, and Bee herself has two brothers, one older and one younger. As noted on the brand’s website, some of the ice cream flavours are “based on classic Asian recipes”.

Some goodies that Noona’s Ice Cream is selling include “Toasted Rice,” “Matcha Green Tea,” and “Black Sesame”, with each pint costing up to $15.

Tower 28

After more than 15 years working in the beauty industry, Chinese-American Amy Liu founded makeup and skincare company Tower 28, as noted on the brand’s website. She explained that after using brands for her “chronic eczema” that didn’t help her condition, she “wanted to create accessible, irritant-free, high-performance, fun products designed for all skin types”. Liu’s company also has a special tie to her heritage, as she told Very Good Light in 2020 that “as a second-generation Chinese-American entrepreneur, it’s important that [she’s] building a brand truly based on inclusivity”.

Regarding products, some of her company’s best selling ones include the MakeWaves Mascara for $20 and the ShineOn Lip Jelly – a non-sticky lip gloss – for $16. Tower 28 also sells at SOS Rescue Spray, – “a soothing, purifying, and renewing toner treatment for fast angry skin relief” that prevents “redness and irritation” – for $28.

Mason Dixie

Mason Dixie – which offers baked goods and snacks – was founded by Korean-American Ayeshah Abelhiga, who’s based in Baltimore, Maryland. In an essay for Baltimore Together, she wrote about her mother’s heritage, noting that while her mother was Korean, she “became a master fryer” who could “throw down on some soul food”, which helped inspire Abelhiga’s company.

Some of Mason Dixie’s iconic products – which can be found at your local supermarket – range from biscuits made with real butter, maple liège waffles, and apple cinnamon liège waffles.

Mally Beauty

In 2005, makeup artist Melissa “Mally” Hernandez Roncal, who is a Filipino-American, first founded her own makeup line – Mally Beauty. The brand has since gone on to be a success, as Roncal has worked as a makeup artist for multiple celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna.

Some of the best sellers on the site include the “Evercolor Shadow Stick,” the “Dark Circle Corrector,” and “The Plus Pen Brightening Concealer,” all of which are currently sold out.



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