When shopping for unique products on Etsy, you can now also support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, thanks to the company's new initiative that launched for AAPI Heritage Month this month.
The online marketplace, which connects creative entrepreneurs to customers around the globe, has debuted a curated page of AAPI-owned stores. The highlighted shops include Cheryl Costantini and Mikio Matsumoto's Nichibei Potters (for items like sake sets), Kimberly Huestis' Porcelain and Stone (for nautically inspired jewelry), and Teresa Tonai's Little Trees Studio (for letterpress greeting cards and stationery with a touch of class).
In addition to featuring the products, Etsy is also highlighting some of the shop owners' stories, like that of Taiwanese immigrant Alicia Tsai, who sells candles with scents from the island nation through her shop Aerangis, named after a type of orchid her grandfather gave her when she was nine years old. That scent is now captured in the No. 1 The Beginning candle. Meanwhile, the No. 51 Secret Garden is a nod to the island nation's culture, with an aroma of oolong tea mingling with notes of incense. "I value the culture, history, and beauty of the island, and I endeavor to honor the country through my work," she says, adding that her candles are in jars made from a historic kiln in Taiwan.
Another is the mother-daughter duo who runs Seoul Shop, which offers homemade Korean delicacies, including mochi rice cakes, kimchi sauce, and sesame brittle. "Each item is an extension of our identity and how it translated to life in America," mother Keum Oak Kim explains. "Our shop is deeper than a means for our livelihood. It's a proud example of our heritage, lineage, and passion." Daughter Minji adds, "I felt so self-conscious growing up about our 'weird food,' but as I got older, all of this changed. I gained a deeper respect and appreciation for what our food means and the history it carries."
Likewise, Krisa Tailor-Arora grew up with a cultural gap. "Like so many children of immigrants, I grew up caught between two worlds," she explains. "And while I proudly create products that celebrate my South Asian American identity, I didn't always wear it as proudly. As I grew older, however, I realized the little things about my culture that I had been ashamed of were actually the most special things about me." Now, she's created Pyarful, a line of greetings cards that celebrate South Asian culture, often playing off of food items like chia and daal.
Etsy has long stood by the AAPI community, with its CEO Josh Silverman writing in a blog post after the tragic Atlanta shootings in March that they have no tolerance for hate. "We have long-standing policies and rigorous enforcement processes in place to protect our community and prohibit items that promote hate or violence on our marketplace," he wrote.
Additionally, the company is pledging donations totaling $500,000 to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Silverman wrote, "Together, every one of us has the power to build a better tomorrow."
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