AAPI Heritage Month starts today! May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrating the culture and diversity within the AAPI community.
The theme of this year’s AAPI month is "Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration." Making it the perfect month to support and uplift brands and companies with AAPI founders. Whether they’re popularizing products rooted in traditional cultures or putting a fresh spin on familiar favorites, there are AAPI founders at the helm of dynamic and diverse companies in every industry.
It’s also important to recognize the effects of AAPI cultures in our everyday lives. Hello, matcha latte lovers and kombucha devotees — your daily drinks started as ancient traditions that you can now buy at your favorite millennial pink coffee shop.
And if you’re a skincare fan, you’d be nothing without the influence of K-Beauty and J-Beauty. I mean, most of the #ThatGirl and #CleanLook products on TikTok are inspired by AAPI cultures — so why not shop at AAPI-founded brands? I guarantee that your gua sha routine will be 10x better if you get a tool that isn’t from Amazon.
And while articles amplifying AAPI brands and their founders will be everywhere this month, we should be supporting AAPI communities all the time. So take this month as an opportunity to discover new brands — then continue to support them all year.
Here are some of the AAPI-founded brands I’m loving right now:
All products featured are independently selected by our editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.
Food and Beverage
Calling all cold brew connoisseurs! Polar Brew's high-quality cold brew concentrate is the best new coffee in town.
Spend too much on coffee? We've all been there. But Polar Brew is making it easy to get your daily, delicious coffee fix at home — without clunky coffee machines or tedious coffee routines. Instead of shelling out your whole paycheck for one $7 iced coffee, one bottle of Polar Brew cold brew concentrate makes it easy for you to fix up a cup of cold coffee at home.
The starter bundle includes one bottle of concentrate (40 servings in one bottle!), plus their signature chalice!
MiLa, meaning honey (mi 蜜) and spice (la 辣) in Chinese, tells the story of their dual cultural heritage of Chinese and American, not either/or. Experience your favorite flavors in quick, freezer-friendly packaging that makes a yummy, flavorful dinner just minutes away.
MiLa’s crave-able (and easy-to-make) offerings include:
- Soup Dumplings – with 50 pieces per bag, MiLa’s soup dumplings are available in Classic Pork, Shrimp & Pork, and Savory Chicken
- Chinese Noodles – spicing things up, MiLa’s Chinese Noodles include a Sichuan Dan Dan Noodle, Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodle, Beijing Zha Jiang Noodle, and a Noodle Variety Box
- Signature Crafted Sauces – the perfect addition to every meal in Ginger & Scallion Umami, Classic Vinegar, Chili Crisp, and for the person (most of us ;)) who wants them all, MiLa offers their Sauce Trio with all three!
- Ice Cream – MiLa’s ice creams offer something for every mood with Milk Candy Peppermint Bark, Jasmine Green Tea, and Rose Lychee
- Bundles include The Full MiLa Experience and MiLa’s Soup Dumpling Experience!!
Switch up your supplement routine with these natural, holistic herbal blends from APOTHÉKARY.
Backed by 5,000 years of holistic medicine and science, their plant-based herbal blends deliver powerful results, naturally. Take them individually or mix them together into your favorite beverage or meal.
Whether you're tired, stressed, or working on your gut health, there are supplement blends for everyone. You can sprinkle them into your morning beverage (see above for said morning beverage) to easily incorporate healing ingredients into your morning routine.
The Matcha Shoppe
Created by Candice Kumai, author of Spirited: A Modern Guide to Ancient Spiritual Wellness & Wisdom and Kintsugi Wellness, the Nikkoko Matcha Beauty Latte Powder is a high-quality way to get your morning caffeine fix. Known as "the golden girl of wellness," Candice is not just a professionally-trained chef and 6x New York Times best-selling author. She is also a leading authority on Japanese food, wellness, culture & matcha.
Her vegan + organic Matcha Beauty Powder is the secret ingredient to a youthful glow. It tastes like a matcha latte and it's rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C + E, with no added sugar! Say hello to radiance and clean focus and energy, without the jitters or the bitter taste of low-quality matcha.
GimMe Seaweed Snacks
Founders, Annie and Steve, recognized an opportunity to adapt a traditional Korean snack for an American audience. Their vision led to the creation of the world's first USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO Project Verified seaweed snacks. Thanks to Annie and Steve, other seaweed manufacturers are following suit; helping to reduce the amount of chemicals in our oceans and increasing the amount of nutrition in our snacks!
Beauty and Skincare
EADEM is a beauty brand centered around women of color and their beauty needs for bare-skin confidence. Together with an industry-leading dermatologist, the EADEM team is pioneering Smart Melanin Beauty: combining science-backed ingredients and heritage botanicals to effectively and gently care for skin of color. Made for the path-forgers, the code switchers, EADEM is redefining beauty standards and challenging the industry to push beyond tokenism.
Alice's Taiwanese heritage is a big inspiration for the line, and the brand's new Cloud Cushion moisturizer even features Snow Mushrooms – an ingredient that was very prominent in her mother's cooking.
The new-gen J-Beauty brand beloved by Sephora from Tokyo that is a true Japanese heritage brand shining a light on Japanese culture in every aspect from design, formulation and community dedication. This brand focuses on slow-beauty with clean, thoughtful formulas following the rich tradition of ancient Japanese beauty rituals. Co-founded by Giselle Go, former EIC of Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore.
Superegg reimagines traditional East Asian egg-based beauty rituals. They aim to match an egg's nutritional value through 100% vegan ingredients with plant-based egg beauty rituals to restore and balance your skin to a smooth radiant complexion. Clean and cruelty-free, Superegg formulas are made with you and our planet in mind.
Tower 28 is a clean brand of playful beauty products designed for sensitive skin and made for all! Founder Amy Liu is really a force of nature, and her emphasis on inclusivity, accessibility, and efficacy is changing the face of the growing non-toxic beauty industry.
For over 15 years, Amy worked as a beauty executive at some of the fastest growing prestige companies, including Smashbox, Kate Somerville and Josie Maran Cosmetics. But as a longtime eczema sufferer, Amy couldn’t even enjoy the best part of working in the beauty industry: trying out all the products! Even the clean alternatives were super expensive or too clinical, like they were coming straight from the doctor’s office. Amy saw this white space as an opportunity, and set out to create Tower 28, a beauty company inclusive of all skin tones, skin types, budgets, and beauty philosophies. Tower 28 is the first beauty brand that’s 100 percent clean, vegan, and free of every known skin irritant. Everything is rigorously dermatologist and allergy tested (formulas adhere strictly to the National Eczema Association’s ingredient guidelines) — plus, it’s all made in the USA
Founded by chemical engineer turned beauty entrepreneur, Sravya Adusumilli, Mango People is an AAPI-founded, multi-functional makeup brand of plant-powered beauty essentials that are inclusive of all skin shades, without compromising on ingredients or performance, and beloved by TikTok. Inspired by her South Asian roots, she struggled to find a brand that was truly clean and inclusive of all skin-tone shades so she began experimenting and researching Ayurvedic rituals and teachings to utilize powerful plants and pigment-rich fruits, flowers, and herbs to heal the body, mind, and spirit. After five years of intensive research and several iterations later, Mango People was born.
KINDIA is the first Gen-Z South Asian-owned beauty brand to launch clean, vegan, biodegradable, and 100% hydrogel masks, featuring non-mica glitter, and inspired by Ayurveda.
KINIDIA (a word combination of Kenya + India) was inspired by the founder, Dharni Patel’s Indian heritage, Kenyan upbringing, and Western influence. While growing up in Kenya, in an Indian household, Patel embarked on her own personal growth journey of finding confidence and embracing her roots, finding inspiration in the natural, readily available ingredients that her mum would use to make DIY masks, which ultimately became the building blocks of KINDIA.
The brand launched in 2019 with its cult-favorite Cosmic Glow Oil, and since then, founder and certified aromatherapist, Melissa Medvedich, has expanded her well-considered skincare line with products inspired by her Chinese heritage. After years of complex, multi-step product regimens and a lot of trial and error of what worked best for her skin, Melissa had transitioned into a more minimal approach to skincare. As face oil had become the most transformative and reached for product in her cabinet, she decided she was going to create the ultimate face oil blend that not only would she be excited to use personally, but that was something she wanted to see out in the world.
With two Engineering degrees and over six years of pharmaceutical work, founder Michelle Ranavat is recognized globally as a pioneer in the Ayurvedic skin and hair care space for developing unparalleled formulations. She fuses her science background with a passion for artisanal tradition, and this care can be seen at every touchpoint of clinically proven products. They not only honor Michelle's South Asian heritage, but each formulation is composed of the highest caliber Ayurvedic ingredients for truly transformative skin and hair care results across all skin and hair types.
iota is the first-ever nutritional body care brand crafted for overall health by targeting the skin microbiome from the neck down. The brand, which launched this September with two hero products, Body Wash and Body Serum, was founded by Monique Meneses, who has been in the beauty industry for 15 years working with brands like Gisou, Peach and Lily and CoverFX, and started developing the product over 2 years ago after seeing first-hand the gap in the market for a brand that addressed skin health. at iota, the skin microbiome is at the core of every single thing they do.
Through ritualistic oral care habits, OJOOK wants to widen Eastern wellness philosophy with long-term view on wellness. In East Asia, maintaining excellent oral health and being able to keep natural teeth well into their 80s and 90s is viewed as key for longevity.
OJOOK is built upon generational knowledge for health and longevity. Their products showcase the steadfast labor and meticulousness of our ingredient masters and were created to inspire daily rituals from everyday health regimens. They believe that the small details of life can elicit joy, which is why each experience with their masterful formulas has the power to orient the mind and set self-improvement on a positive course.
ESW Beauty is co-founded by Elina Wang, who after struggling with stomach ulcers for many years decided to start a cleaner lifestyle. By changing how she approached her food choices, she also began to transition her beauty vanity to clean skincare products. She found that there was no sheet mask line on the market that not only had non-toxic formulas, but also had healthier ingredients and thus she decided to start her own line. The brand launched in 2019 with their Raw Juice Cleanse Mask Collection featuring five sheet masks made with biodegradable material and delicious ingredients with skin benefits to address different concerns.
Home Decor & Lifestyle
LIKHA offers fair trade, ethically sourced, and sustainably-made home décor, and fashion accessories from the Philippines. Their products are crafted from natural, eco-friendly materials including natural straw and plant fiber, coco coir, sustainably-sourced shells, and recycled wood. Designed in collaboration with our artisans, each item is painstakingly made by hand and features a blend of intricate traditional techniques and modern design.
A clean fragrance brand bringing luxury scents without the harsh, synthetic ingredients. Ellis Brooklyn was created by Bee Shapiro, a Williamsburg mom looking for clean and sophisticated fragrance options as well as a beauty columnist for The New York Times. The award-winning fragrance and body care line features sophisticated, multilayered scents crafted with care in small batches. An early adapter of clean tech in perfumery, Ellis Brooklyn's Eau de parfums are phthalates-free, paraben-free, PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free, sustainably sourced, eco-friendly, and utterly luxurious.
As immigrants, co-founder Shiza Shahid and her partner found their Place in America by cooking and sharing food with new friends who became their chosen family. That’s why they started Our Place: to build a bigger table, one that would have room for all of us. In an industry that made everyone feel inadequate, they took a new approach and created products that celebrated the beauty and joy of home cooking (and actually made it easier to cook). Their work is rooted in authenticity and representation — celebrating all food traditions from Nowruz to Nochebuena, Ramadan to Shabbat.
Blueland's founder was horrified to learn that all the plastic she was throwing away as a new mom was contaminating the water supply and generating hundreds of microplastics in the water and food she was feeding her baby. She wanted to do her part to help, but it was impossible to find household products like window cleaner, lotion, and toothpaste that didn’t come packaged in plastic. From there, Blueland was born. Their mission is simple: make it easy to be eco with innovative products in reusable packaging that are convenient, effective, and affordable.
Named for the white, star-shaped orchid that sparked her first scent memory, Aerangis began with a simple mission: to use the power of fragrance to unlock forgotten memories and immortalize moments worth remembering.
Working closely with world-renowned perfumers, they carefully craft each and every fragrance to either recall precious memories or create one that will evoke memories for generations. Their signature scents are inspired by founder Alicia Tsai's most cherished memories, including a secret garden in Taiwan, a ranch and vineyard in upstate New York, and the spirit of New Orleans. While each candle begins with a personal recollection, the scent comes to life the minute you light the wick and make it part of your own unforgettable experience.
For friends (and co-founders) Eunice and Dave, cooking for and eating with the family has carried their Korean and Vietnamese traditions across oceans and into their own homes. They create beautiful kitchenware designed for the discerning home cook.