Nicole Brown next to mannequin wearing a suit

Nicole Brown uses unique surface designs with striking colors to create a line of distinctive accessories inspired by her grandparents Ruth and Nathan. Nathan was a master tailor and his sharp style and wardrobe is a big influence on Nicole’s business, Ruth Nathan’s. He passed along a deep enthusiasm for helping people look and feel their best.

As part of our Black Creatives to Know series, Small Business Grant recipient Nicole Brown will introduce you to some of her favorite Black-owned businesses. Keep reading to find out how supporting these ten featured entrepreneurs along with businesses in your community can go a long way.

Meet Nicole Brown, owner of Ruth Nathan’s

Nicole Brown

Hello, my name is Nicole Brown, and I am Chief Creator at Ruth Nathan’s. We create joy by helping you express your need for distinctive looks with bow ties, face masks, and more. Focusing on sustainability and original textile designs, we strive to bring dapperness and delight to your days and nights!

Ruth Nathan’s has an eclectic mix of geometry and nature throughout our collections. There is a rhythm to the fabrics I design and my inspiration ranges from shipping containers to botanicals to french Polynesian currency. Spoonflower helps my prints come to life to provide you with one of a kind bow ties, face masks, pocket squares, and lapel flowers.

Two men wearing nice jackets and bowties

I try to buy from black-owned businesses whenever possible because I recognize how hard it is to compete with more well-known brands. Many folks seem to think they should Buy Black for giftable items only, but there’s plenty of companies we can support year-round. From home decor to toilet paper, there’s a black-owned business that makes that!

There are many non-monetary ways to support Black-Owned businesses. Don’t forget to promote them to your network. In what circles do you have authority where people would say, “Hey. Well, if THEY like it, then I’ll love it too!”? To show folks you like the business beyond your network, leave a review on their website or social. You put your money “on the table” and purchased it before and would do it again.

Meet the Featured Small Businesses

Harlem Chocolate Factory

Jessica Spaulding and Asha Dixon

Website Instagram

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“Not only is this the sole chocolate shop in Harlem, but the chocolates also taste as great as they look. There is great care given to these handcrafted delights. One of my favorites is the “Bodega Dreams” bonbon featuring milk chocolate, potato chips, caramel, and cola syrup, but it’s hard to catch in stock!”

A display case of chocolates from Harlem Chocolate Factory

A New Day, A New Dawn NYC


Website  |  Instagram

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“Andrea uses unique items like cruelty-free iridescent beetle wings and fair trade bone beads to create her one of a kind pieces. Each piece of jewelry is designed for the bold and beautiful woman or man, Do yourself a favor and order today!”

Earings and bracelet from A New Day, A New Dawn NYC

Anthony Maxwell

Anthony Maxwell

Website  |  Instagram

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
These hats are simply fabulous. Very sleek and chic. Everyone loves Maxwell’s hats, even Martha Stewart and QVC! My favorite is his tan wool fedora with pheasant trim feathers.”

Woman wearing a pink hat from Anthony Maxwell

Model Atelier

Robin Harris


Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“Robin designs for the vertically inclined woman. Although this is not my plight, I see a great need to serve this market. Her newest collections featuring a combo of a neck gaiter and dress or blouse is pure genius! Very well done.”

Three models wearing dresses from Model Atelier

Chez Bebe Children’s Bedding

Brandi Lilly McLean

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“Brandi’s pieces are adorable. There is so much fun in her products, and I love the fact that she designs with her daughter. One of my favorites is the Mermaid Sleep tail with matching sleep mask.”

Pink and purple Paris themed bedding from Chez Bebe

She’s Got Papers

Tanea Smith

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“I can’t remember how I came across this beautiful brand last year, but I found Tanea at the perfect time! I was determined to write more to my family last Spring as a more personal touch than just texting. Her handcrafted cards were the perfect answer. Her calligraphy is outstanding.”

Greeting card sitting on a table with a vase of flowers

5 Points Art Gallery & Studios

Fatima Laster

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“Fatima is an incredible visionary. She rehabbed a former funeral home and turned it into a world-class art gallery with studios. Along with a dedicated team, Fatima completed the re-construction and interior design for the space and its gallery. The gallery hosts exhibitions featuring original visual artwork and designs by artists of color from across the US and beyond.”

Woman standing in bushes with bright colored fabric

Wow Wow by Wunmi

Wunmi Olaiya

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“Most people think of African fabrics as only the popular Dutch wax prints. I’m enamored with Wunmi’s process. The inspiration behind Wowwow textiles comes from the Adire cloth of the Yoruba culture. Adire is one of the oldest West African textile dying techniques which uses pure indigo dye, similar to the shibori-dying techniques of Japanese culture. We are lucky to have her works available in the US. My favorite piece is the Bustle Back jumpsuit.”

Woman wearing black and white jumpsuit

Sarep + Rose

Robin Sirleaf

Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“I adore a good tote bag! The clean aesthetic of Sarep + Rose is what attracted me to the brand. The mix of East and West is beautiful. My favorite piece is the Maral Fishskin Daily Tote in Black & Green, and they even offer matching sandals.”

Four tote bags

2 goats + 2 acres


Why this small business caught Nicole’s eye:
“I found this brand on The Nile List, as I am a fellow maker listed on the site (an online directory for Black-Owned businesses). I was swept away by the different fragrance combinations Tirzah uses. My personal pick is the Calming bath salt. The lavender oil in it is amazing!”

Bar of soap with pink flower petals