First, some financial facts: Black-owned businesses are growing, particularly those owned by Black women. “The number of women-owned businesses grew an impressive 58 percent from 2007 to 2018,” according to Forbes. “The number of firms owned by Black women grew by a stunning 164 percent, nearly three times that rate.” Yet at the same time, small Black-owned businesses are getting a fraction of the funding of larger, white-owned businesses. In Oregon, Black-owned businesses receive an ever-declining rate of start-up loans. Plus, federal loans designed to save businesses during the height of the pandemic largely shut out BIPOC-owned businesses. In addition to the Black-owned businesses shopping guide we created, we’ve now compiled an ongoing directory of Black-owned businesses that provide all manners of services, from commercial photography to personal styling to moving companies to wellness to human resource needs. (For our guide to shopping from Black-owned brands, click here.) Scroll on.
The Black Educational Achievement Movement aids Black students in their educational and professional endeavors by connecting them to Black professionals and educational service providers. The Black Student Success Summit, which works with community members to mentor and advocate for the advancement of Black students, offers a variety of programs to prepare students for the future.
Focused on family engagement, the Black Parent Initiative works to assist families in gaining financial, educational, and spiritual success. The aim of BPI is to assist low and middle-income families in support of Black youth in the community. Through programs such as parent coaching, training, and education, BPI helps families remain together and work through challenges they are facing, assisting them in building a stable home life.
One of Portland’s most successful activewear designers, Angela Medlin, runs and operates The FAAS (Functional Apparel & Accessories Studio) Design Collab out of the heart of downtown Portland. FAAS gives students hands on experience in the design of athletic apparel while involving them in day-to-day operations of the fashion industry.
Since Brittany Sierra founded the Sustainable Fashion Forum five years ago in Portland, it has developed into a yearly fashion conference with a global reach. Sierra and her team have been bringing renowned speakers and fashion-focused people together in community to educate and learn since 2017. The SFF facilitates and encourages conversations about social and environmental responsibility to build a more sustainable fashion industry, and even hosts a weekly podcast on the topic called "Crash Course Fashion."
An education conference that’s happened annually for 12 years, Teaching With Purpose brings together teachers, administrators, parents, and students to set up an accountability system under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The conference seeks to strengthen Portland’s network of educators and activate equity-focused policy within the education system. The TWPC also hosts Students With Purpose, a conference held for three years now, which aims to activate student leaders as a means to change the education system.
PHOTOGRAPHERS & CREATIVES
Candace Molatore is a native Oregonian who has built an online following as a body-positivity advocate, branding consultant, and photographer. She’s known for colorful, sun-drenched photos, documenting her life in gorgeous spaces as she, say, models Charlotte Russe looks or creates editorial images for local lines like Minnie & George.
Tolman is a director and cinematographer with years of experience in the video production industry. He works with corporate accounts, private clients, artists, and ad agencies to provide video content for sponsored/branded content, music videos, event recaps, real estate videos, product advertisements, aerial photography, and more.
Intisar Abioto is a movement-based photographer, writer, dancer, and storyteller. She is the mind behind The Black Portlanders, a photo series documenting the everyday lives of African-Americans in the city. Her work has earned her praise in the New York Times and an Oregon Humanities Emerging Journalists Community Stories Fellowship for her continuing body of research on Black artists in Oregon. She is available for photography work, performance, speaking engagements, and interdisciplinary arts projects, and other commissions on a per project basis.
Mia Charnelle is a wardrobe stylist and creative director who uses photography and fashion as a lens to examine gender and Blackness. Their Instagram account, @miacharnelle , is home to a collection of both film and digital photography.
Known for her bright, colorful style and fun personality, Robin Allen offers a wealth of services. When she’s not making TV appearances or social media videos, she’s doing closet overhauls and personal styling for her closets. Nowadays, that even includes tips for how to be camera-ready for a Zoom meeting.
Portland native Sharon Thomas has been doing professional photography and videography for over six years. She’s captured weddings, senior pictures, family photos, maternity shoots, artists and live performances, portraits, and more. She’s also doing a creative project called Black Love PDX, an Instagram photo and video series that features love stories of couples in Portland.
Photographer, filmmaker, digital content producer, strategic thinker, and tenacious problem solver Sika Stanton’s portfolio speaks for itself. Past projects include work for Nike, CLIF Bar, Bank of America, Honda, Yahoo, Basic Rights Oregon, and (oh hey!) Portland Monthly Magazine.
Shawnte Sims is a part-time photographer in the Portland area. He captures concerts, theater performances, events, headshots, and family portraits.
Well known for his event photography in town, and the king of the party photo booth, photographer Tom Cook's client list is long. Now the veteran photographer adds video and live stream production to his long list of services to cater to all the events that moved online in the digital era.
APPAREL AND HOME
This lush home goods store focuses on verdant house plants but also expertly curates a wide selection of earthy, sustainable pots and planters, kitchen and barware, candles, furniture, wall décor, rugs, pillows and more.
The eco-friendly garment production and clothing alteration company has been paving the way for sustainable fashion since 2017. Serving both existing apparel brands and the general public, Hidden Opulence offers small batch alterations, upcycle mendings, vintage repair, in-house production assistance for designers, and batch alterations for boutique garments for established apparel brands.
“I tackle everything,” Jamaican-born Earl A. Marson tells Portland Monthly. The sole owner and operator of the clothing alteration service on NE Killingsworth specializes in sewing, design, alteration, and repair for both men’s and women’s clothing. He'd noted for his exceptional attention to detail and passion for creative problem solving.
An art gallery and boutique, greenHAUS often highlights the work of Black Portland artists and offers a subscription box of goods and gifts from local artisans.
Portland-based artist Silver specializes as a designer, visual artist, spoken word poet, and drummer. As an Afro-Indigenous non-binary person, their work is non-traditional, vibrant, and serves as a means of storytelling through art. They provide a variety of services from prints and murals for purchase to live painting sessions and spoken word performances.
London native and textile artist Tricia Langman works out of her Northwest Portland studio designing beautiful textiles with the Batik technique, which hails from Indonesia. Langman’s work, inspired by African prints and patterns, is used in pieces from companies including Ralph Lauren, Pendleton, Gap, and more. In addition to her work in design, she serves as an instructor at the Portland Fashion Institute and cofounded the international textile print design studio Spoogi.
The nonprofit World Arts Foundation was established in 1978 in Portland to preserve and promote African-American contributions to American culture. World Arts created Oregon’s largest annual salute to Martin Luther King Jr. known as “Keep Alive the Dream,” an event that’s happened every January for the past 35 years. World Arts works year round to support community education through the interface of arts and education.
Activewear industry veteran Bimma Williams is the maker of the Claima Stories, short for Claim a Seat, a podcast about BIPOC professionals working in the sportswear industry with impressive careers at big-name companies. Episodes are available on the Claima Stories website.
Originally created by Courtenay Collins to manage her husband’s standup comedy career, the production company does talent management, public relations, and internet promotions for events, albums, and other projects. They also host the NW Black Comedy Festival, an annual event showcasing POC comedians.
Former bassist for indie rock band The Thermals and current member of Hurry Up (with Thermals drummer Westin Glass and Maggie Vail from Bangs and longtime label manager at Kill Rock Stars,) and Slang (with Janet Weiss from Sleater-Kinney, Drew Grow, and Anita Lee Elliott), songwriter Kathy Foster is part of beloved Portland DJ crew Strange Babes (KM Fizzy, Jen O, and Magic Beans). The group DJs public and private parties and epic dance nights when coronavirus isn’t locking us down.
Minority Retort is Portland’s premier people of color comedy showcase, hosted by Julia Ramos and Jason Lamb. Awarded Best Showcase by this year’s NW Black Comedy Film Festival, the show has regular appearances on XRAY.FM and is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Spotify.
A shining jewel in our city, if you’ve never seen Kevin Cook, aka Poison Waters, perform, you are truly missing out. As Waters, she is the right-hand woman to Darcelle at the longest-running drag cabaret in the country. But beyond the club, Waters emcees the biggest galas in town, hosts hilarious bingo nights at McMenamins, and now performs virtually, too.
Swyft Studios says that they “build software that sits at the intersection of technology and culture.” Their gaming app Squad Up,“a more lit version of charades,” is a game played with friends with categories such as Hip Hop and Black Girl Magic. Their second gaming app, Trivia Black, is “a celebration of Black culture – disguised as a game.”
Tahirah Memory is a jazz and soul singer-songwriter from Portland. After the 2015 release of her debut album PRIDE became a huge hit in the UK, she went on to tour both domestically and internationally as a backup vocalist for k.d. lang and released a second solo album in 2019. Memory performs regularly at smaller venues in the Portland area like Amalfi’s Italian Restaurant.
We Out Here Magazine is an online magazine that tackles all things hip hop in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to highlighting local artists and music releases, We Out Here covers a wide range of social justice issues in the region.
Started in 2018 by Portland vocalist and executive director of BRAVO Youth Orchestra Alonzo Chadwick, Zoulful Muzic connects people to bands for hire for their events. They’re versatile when it comes to styles of music, providing artists that perform funk, blues, gospel, R&B, Motown, and more. Requests can be made via email to [email protected].
Celebrity makeup artist and natural hairstylist Abibat Durosimi boasts a list of clients including Liv Warfield, Esperanza Spalding, and an entire tour with Prince. Durosimi's premiere styling agency, Tabiba Styles, offers services like extensions, braiding, lashes, and more. Bloom Beauty Collective, another Durosimi project, is a boutique talent casting agency that emphasizes diversity in the modeling and production industries.
Owner and head stylist Charlisa Harris opened Chadowboxx Salon in Troutdale in 2010 with the goal of helping women feel more beautiful and confident about their hair. She also has her own line of organic, sustainably made cosmetic products, selling everything from shining serum to anti-breakage butters.
This barber shop, founded in 2008, also served as a school, training students to become hair professionals for three years before going on hiatus in 2020. You can still book appointments for cuts, shaves, and styling at any of their three locations in Portland.
Owned and operated by Barbados-born Katherine Sealy, Event Cosmetics is a one-stop-shop for all professional makeup services. Specializing in bridal makeup, Katherine is frequently featured in Oregon Bride and Portland Bride and Groom magazines.
Personal hair consultant and celebrity hairstylist Mele offers extensions, haircuts, color, blowouts, smoothing treatments, and braiding. She also does consultations for special events, including weddings, fashion shows and photo shoots.
Located in Northeast Portland, the Jayah Rose Salon serves both men and women, providing a range of services that includes braids, color treatments, weaves, and wig styling. Operating since 2008, the salon boasts expertise in working with all types of hair, and is known for on-trend styles and passionate staff.
Established in 1995 by Sharon Maxwell, Bratton Construction LLC. has served Oregon, Washington, Southern California, and Tennessee, providing over 200 jobs, particularly to people of color, and encouraging change in the male-dominated construction industry.
A certified B Corporation, City of Roses Disposal & Recycling is the first entirely Black-owned waste management company in the United States. Converting waste and discarded debris into reusable products, COR serves residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Portland metro area.
Eterne is a family-run business owned by Michael Tunson. After years of general contracting, Eterne is now focused mainly on color consulting and ornamental design in the restoration of older structures.
Gerryn Energy offers economical solutions geared toward sustainability. They focus on electric vehicle charging and energy storage for new installations. Owner Gerry is a top-rated electrician who offers affordable eco-friendly electrical solutions and services.
This custom frame shop builds frames in all shapes and sizes. In addition to providing professional custom framing, the shop also carries greeting cards, figurines, calendars, prints, and posters.
Owned by Dupree and Michelle Carter, this Portland-located junk removal company also works in Milwaukee, Clackamas, Happy Valley and Gresham. Their services ranging from general junk and hoarding situations to evictions and construction debris.
The driver-owned and operated taxi cab company has been in Portland’s transportation business for over 10 years. Started by Somali-born owners, PDX Yellow Cab serves the greater Portland Metro area and is available 24/7, 365 days a year.
Portland Movers Company provides labor and full service moving services. Used by New Seasons and Grubhub alike, the company’s professionally trained movers can help with everything from packing and unpacking boxes to corporate relocations to high rise buildings.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
With a bachelor’s degree in Biological Psychology and a master’s in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, owner Sita Symonette has been practicing acupuncture since January 2010 with a focus on women’s health, fertility, headaches/migraines, acute and chronic pain, and injury rehabilitation. Proudly identifying as Black and queer, her goal is to make acupuncture more accessible to Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and LGBTQIA communities.
Dr. Burton has had a passion for working with children since she was a teenager, and working on a reservation in Oklahoma during college solidified her desire to become a pediatrician. She now practices medicine in NW Portland through Metropolitan Pediatrics. Visit the website to request a meet and greet with Dr. Burton.
Formerly known as Green Hop, the city's first hip-hop themed cannabis dispensary, Green Muse is a Black-owned mom and pop dispensary located in Northeast Portland. Green Muse aims to be a "source of inspiration for art, science, music, sports, and fashion through cannabis." The shop's products are artfully profiled on the shop’s Instagram page through fun, vlog-style video reviews.
Keith Dempsey, a licensed professional counselor, works with individuals, couples and families alike as a Portland-based therapist, along with serving as the Department Chair of the Graduate School of Counseling at George Fox University and volunteering with a handful of organizations. Dr. Dempsey specializes particularly in working with young men of color in addressing racial trauma.
Created by wounded healer Sah'Rah Ma'at Bey and run by a "community of Melanated Women," Ladies of the Light is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, elevate, and enlighten women around the world. The organization accomplishes this through community workshops, wellness retreats, and an online platform of resources.
Montavilla Dental Arts, owned by Dr. Nicole Apollon-Chirouze, has been operating with a focus on strong patient relationships since 2017. Originally from Maryland, Dr. Apollon-Chirouze moved to Oregon and opened her dental office after completing her education. With a focus on family care, the team at Montavilla Dental Arts serves patients of all ages.
Midwife, doula trainer, motivational speaker, and cultural competency trainer, Shafia Monroe does trainings, presentations, and consulting to aid health professionals in developing birthing skills. Monroe has moved her practice online due to the pandemic.
Established in Portland in 2013, Sistahs 4 Life dance studio offers soulful line dancing classes taught by trained instructors. Each year, the studio organizes charitable giving events to support organizations like American Red Cross and Legacy Emmanuel Hospital. Currently, Sistahs 4 Life holds classes on Tuesday from 6-7 at the Lloyd Center Sears location, and starting in March, classes will be held at the Salvation Army.
Co-owners of Tempo Cycling and Pilates studio Kirk and Jenny Whiteman host a variety of workouts and work with clients to help them achieve fitness goals. Kirk teaches high-intensity interval-based training classes and trains cyclists to compete, while Jenny teaches pilates classes. The studio is currently exclusively offering remote, livestream classes.
Bruce Poinsette is a freelance writer and editor with experience in journalism, PR, grant writing, speech writing, editorials, administrative writing, and blog content creation. He’s written articles for Portland publications including The Oregonian, provided editing services for several books, spoken publicly on racism, and conducted workshops and presentations at various K-12 schools and universities.
As a unit, the team at Clarity Content has 40+ years of experience in the journalism, communications, and marketing worlds working with familiar names like ESPN, USA Today, and OHSU. The local Black-owned and woman-owned agency offers a litany of services including content and brand strategy, copywriting, editing, and media outreach. "We believe that inclusive and diverse points of view make for stronger storytelling," they say on their site. "We enjoy working with and amplifying organizations that share our values."
Founded by audio engineer Timothy Greenridge in 1988, the audio design and recording company offers venue audio support, high quality recordings of corporate meetings, concert tours and multimedia exhibits, conferences and special events, and sound mixing. The company also offers engineer training and workshops for organizations’ sound teams.
The full-service creative agency specializes in digital marketing and design. Established in 1999, Inside Source Media has worked with more than 120 brands in the public sector and nonprofits.
Author Valarie Pearce, who’s written four children’s books, also conducts virtual storytimes, school visits, and literacy presentations for parents, schools, and community business organizations. She runs educational workshops on building and maintaining mental health for kids and families during times of stress.
Karvel Digital, a digital marketing consulting agency, works with business owners to improve their WordPress websites and generate more customer-friendly platforms. Founder Kronda Adair is passionate about helping business owners achieve success by improving their digital marketing.
From YouTube campaigns to short films to music videos, Laugh Cry Love Entertainment works with clients to help promote small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. Specializing in video production, its goal is to help clients tell their stories and succeed with video marketing.
Started by Cole and Dana Reed, this POC, woman-owned and operated business has two inclusive community office spaces in Northeast and Northwest Portland for freelancers, artists, and small businesses to get work done. Members have access to the dog-friendly office with free parking, coffee and tea, conference rooms, an art and design library, a boutique photo studio, neighborhood discounts, and more.
Created by Darren Buckner, Workfrom is a remote work platform that allows people to make spontaneous connections with others working remotely. Now with over 115,000 members, Workfrom users can network with one another and “clock in” each day to share what they’re working on. The Workfrom community has also crowdsourced a list of all the best coffee shops and coworking spaces to get work done in real life.
CEO Serilda Summers-McGee has used her last 15 years of experience in Human Resources to create a culturally progressive Human Resource firm where they say their aim to “create measurable change in America’s workplaces.”
Imagine Black (previously known as the Portland African American Leadership Forum) works to build up Black leaders among their communities and bring about revitalization. They offer leadership development programs and various projects for justice.
Mudbone Grown aims to connect Black Oregonians back to the land through land stewardship, food cultivation, and community building. As part of the Black Oregon Land Trust, they encourage the creation of generational wealth and community sovereignty by supporting BIPOC farmers and their businesses. They’ll continue that work with their upcoming nonprofit Feed’em Freedom Foundation.
PDX Women of Color is a group of visionaries that creates events and virtual experiences meant to empower Black and Brown women. Founded by Moniquea Majors, PDX Women of Color hosts holistic health workshops, intention setting seminars, and networking events that bring women together to help one another grow personally and professionally.
In 1981, lifelong Portlander Tony Hopson founded SEI. Forty years later, the hub is a resource for Portland's BIPOC communities, offering a wide array of education and social services directed toward youth and families.
Founded in 2014 by decorated Navy veteran Chad Brown, Soul River Inc connects inner city youth with US veterans for educational deployments focused on environmental conservation. Traveling to some of the world’s most environmentally threatened habitats, veteran mentors provide hands-on learning experiences for young people such as conservation education through fly fishing, outdoor leadership and skill-building, and civic engagement.
With the goal of promoting healthy and productive lifestyles, SoValTi, a culturally responsive social service agency, works with African-American and biracial men in order to provide them with the tools necessary to assist in navigating trauma and recovery from violent engagement. There are male and female providers with which clients can choose to work.
This is an evolving directory. To submit a business, please email [email protected].com.