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18 Asian American–owned brands you'll want to recommend to your friends ASAP

From Astrology skin care to plant root-based hair care, these AAPI-owned brands might quickly become your go-to shops for daily essentials.

During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, TODAY is sharing the community’s history, pain, joy and what’s next for the AAPImovement. We will be publishing personal essays, stories, videos and specials throughout the entire month of May.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month (AAPI) and in honor of celebrating the community's traditions and triumphs, we're highlighting Asian American-owned brands that you'll want to know about.

To help you get started, lifestyle expert Amy E. Goodman stopped by the 3rd hour of TODAY to share some of her favorite AAPI-owned brands across different categories, from travel to home to beauty. Below you can shop travel essentials inspired by the Hawaiian Islands and Astrology-based skin care that might make the perfect gift for your horoscope-loving friends.

Read on for a rundown of 18 Asian American–owned companies that you can support all year long.

Asian American-created products seen on TODAY

The Aloha Collection

The Aloha Collection was founded by two native Hawaiian women, Heather Aiu and Rachael Leina'ala Soares, who had a dream of starting a business. According to the company, the brand started with a single bag and grew into a thriving business of travel essentials. Goodman loves the bags for their functionality, water resistance and fun prints. The newest collection, "May Day," is inspired by the Hawaiian tradition of Lei Day and features patterns that represent each of the Hawaiian islands, says Goodman.

Aloha Collection Lanaʻi Kaunaʻoa Reversible Tote

This tote bag is inspired by the island of Lana'i and features the native vine that grows near the coast, says the brand. Whether you're packing for a beach day or looking for an everyday tote, this reversible bag comes with an interior pocket and will hold all of your essentials.

Aloha Collection He'e Dopp Kit

The men's collection also features a variety of options, from small pouches to duffle bags to this toiletry organizer. Featuring a nautical theme print, the brand says this dopp kit is perfect to store all of your travel essentials and will keep anything from leaking onto your other belongings.

Gr8nola

Former US Olympic Trial swimmer, "ex-techie-turned-food-entrepreneur" and Asian-American Erica Liu Williams founded this superfood business because she says she was passionate about finding the balance between health and fitness and eating delicious food.

Gr8nola The Original Superfood Granola

According to the brand, Gr8nola offers different flavors of all-natural-made granola, from original to peanut butter to cinnamon chai. And they say all of the ingredients are 100 percent natural and made with coconut oil, ground flaxseed and omega-3s to support digestion, heart health and more.

Material

Goodman says this Korean and Vietnamese friend duo, Eunice Byun and David Nguyen, founded this modern kitchen accessory company that can be used for any occasion. And according to the brand, they wanted to bring their cultural and family traditions of cooking for and eating with family into their own homes.

Material The reBoard

Coming in five colors to choose from, Goodman says this cutting board is one of their standout products, plus it's BPA-free and made of recycled plastic and renewable sugar cane. It even comes with a non-slip option and a smaller version that's perfect for smaller fruits or cheeses.

Simitri

The sister-in-law duo, Simran Kaur and Gayatri Chopra launched this accessory brand, which features playful handmade bags, clutches, and hair accessories that are inspired by their Indian heritage. Goodman says the pair live between the United States and India, which is a huge part of their design process.

Simitri Headbands

Goodman loves these beautiful headbands as a statement piece to your outfit, which come in tons of options including sequins, beaded designs and embroidery. According to the brand, it's meant to have a light fit on your head so you won't feel any discomfort.

Pink Moon

Pink Moon founder Lin Chen has worked in the sustainable beauty and wellness industry for nearly a decade and grew up with the ancient practices of Traditional Chineses Medicine and astrology. When founding Pink Moon, Goodman says she wanted to incorporate her passion for sustainable and 100 percent plant-based products and ancient holistic rituals.

Astrology Skin Care Collection

According to the brand, the Once in a Pink Moon Astrology Collection was developed with an expert Astrologer and is meant to be a way to align your skin care regimen with your personality. The collection features hydrating cleansers, essences and moisturizers for each star sign, which in our opinion, will make a great gift for that friend who is always reading their horoscope.

And right now, you can score 25% off on the Astrology Skin Care Collection with the TODAY exclusive code TODAYMOON.

Fable & Mane

This AAPI-owned brand is founded by sisters Nikita and Akash Mehta, who created this hair care brand, which is inspired by cultural roots in ancient Indian beauty fables and rituals. The products are made with plant root ingredients to help boost healing in the hair roots, and it happens to be a top-selling product at Sephora, says Goodman.

HoliRoots Hair Oil

According to the brand, this hair oil can be used weekly and is meant to promote healthy hair roots and scalp circulation with ashwagandha, dashmool and castor oil. And using it is easy, the brand says to apply a few drops to a dry scalp, gently massage using a circular motion and leave on overnight or for five minutes as a pre-wash treatment.

SahaScalp Amla Soothing Serum

According to the brand, this scalp serum is formulated with ancient Indian super berry Amla, vitamin C and Bakuchi, which can help relieve a dry and itchy scalp.

HoliRoots Hair Mask

If your hair needs an extra boost, the brand says this hair mask is for you. It has a creamy texture and is suitable for all hair types. Formulated with coconut cream and banana, it can have your dry and damaged hair feeling moisturized in no time.

SahaScalp Wild Ginger Purifying Scrub

This scalp scrub is a gentle exfoliant that's meant to help remove product build-up and relieve a dry and flaky scalp, says the brand. Goodman says it contains the ancient healing ingredient Neem, which she says contains antifungal properties.

More Asian American-created brands to shop

From the world’s first low-carb, high-protein instant ramen to bras designed for smaller chests to exceptional stationery straight from Taiwan, these are the small businesses that are defining markets, improving our lives and that we’ve been recommended over and over.

Kulfi

Priyanka Ganjoo created Kulfi because she was tired of waiting for a brand that centered South Asians in its narrative. “Kulfi Beauty puts the South Asian community at the forefront: our skin tones, undertones, and skin concerns,” said Ganjoo.

Kulfi’s feature product is their eyeliner, whose formula draws from the original Kajal (Kohl) made by burning almonds and mixing them with ghee — and whose colors complement the undertones of South Asians. “Most black liners can appear gray when applied to tan and deep skin tones. That's why I formulated our black, Nazar No More, to be more warm-toned and highly pigmented," Ganjoo said. For many of us who’ve been struggling with ill-fitting makeup tones, Kulfi is a small product that’ll make a huge difference.

Lovefool Clothing

Trixie Encomienda and Lalene Leav’s clothing brand began with a survey entitled, “Do u love or hate getting dressed? LOL” sent out to a hundred friends and family members. The answers confirmed what they’d been envisioning: that Lovefool should only showcase versatile, high-quality pieces sold at an accessible price and with inclusive sizing. “Yes it costs us more to be size-inclusive, but we felt strongly that this should have already been an industry standard,” Encomienda and Leav said.

Just like their name, their pieces are a playful mix of nostalgic and romantic, inspired by community feedback. Take a look, for example, at their Button Party Cardi, which features two middle buttons that are sewn down, to “prevent boob gaps.” (They just know!)

Pepper

Inspired by her personal experiences with “#smallboobproblems,” Pepper CEO Jaclyn Fu set out to create a lingerie brand that would help people “embrace the 'flat' in flattering” and address the misconception that “if you're small-chested, you're petite,” said Fu.

Pepper’s bras seek to address a hole in the market for people who have AA, A, and B cups, and represent the whole spectrum of bra-wearers, including trans women, athletes, grandmothers, people with disabilities and beyond. One of their most popular fits, the Classic All You Bra eliminates gaps, uncomfortable push-up padding and “feeling like your body’s not enough.”

Heritage & Bloom

Founder Allison Song, a second-generation Korean American, created Heritage & Bloom to inspire women to embrace their story and cultural background through thoughtful accessories.

Obangseak Mobile Earrings

These fun earrings are inspired by "Obangseak" earrings, which means the Korean color spectrum, according to the brand. They're made with stainless steal posts and hang three inches long.

Blueland

Blueland is the brainchild of Sarah Paiji Yoo, whose research while transitioning from breast milk to formula led her to some harrowing discoveries about microplastics in tap water. She channeled her new knowledge into creating Blueland, whose household products seek to eliminate single-use plastic packaging.

And as an added bonus, Blueland’s products pair superb cleaning agents — such as hand soap tablets and powder dish soap that work just as well as the industry-leading stuff — with calming, pastel-hued glass bottles that you’ll be proud to show off all around your home. Their bestselling Hand Soap Starter Set will last you well beyond the pandemic.

Yoseka Stationery

Based out of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, this quaint stationery shop does the big job of stocking the finest stationery from Taiwan and Japan. “Our goal is to introduce and work with independent artists to feature their work in our shop,” says Daisy, who owns Yoseka with her husband, Neil.

From traveler’s notebook made with washable paper to the most beautiful fountain pens out there, you get the feeling that Daisy and Neil have done a superb job of seeking out stationery with a story — that is, products made for the romantic in each of us.

Wing on Wo & Co.

As the oldest continuously operating store in Manhattan’s Chinatown with a five-generation long ownership legacy, Wing on Wo & Co. is equal parts purveyor of ceramic ware and cultural institution. Their inventory reflects this binary and is sourced from local markets in Jingdezhen, China’s porcelain capital (personally combed through by owner Mei Lum and Director of Product Nate Brown), and made locally with the help of small workshops and factories.

The site is full of one-of-a-kind pieces, like their bestselling handpainted plates sourced in Hong Kong in the '80s. The store also hosts the W.O.W. Project, “a community initiative amplifying community voices through arts, culture, and activism in a time of rapid neighborhood change.”

Three Gems

In an industry as archaic and confusing as the wine industry, Three Gems Tea aims to make tea good, simple and fun — even if you’re new to the world of loose-leaf brewing. In designing an accessible space, co-founders Diana Zheng and Ayumi Takahashi drew inspiration from the unfussy tea breaks they’d enjoy with family on return visits to China or Japan, where tea appreciation is woven into the fabric of daily life. “In tea-obsessed regions like Chaozhou, everyone drinks tea all day long, and you can easily pick up knowledge just from sipping tea together and chatting,” Zheng said.

In that same vein, you’ll notice the site is extremely easy to navigate and make decisions off of. But if you’re still unsure of where to start, try out their bestselling Duck Shit Oolong, known for its “juicy, fruity flavor, counterbalanced with a little bit of bassy funk.”

Umamicart

Anyone who’s been through the “ethnic” aisle of their local American grocery store knows how limiting most Asian selections of ingredients can be. Enter Umamicart, which launched in March 2021 to make Asian cooking more accessible to anyone with an internet connection. To shop, browse through seven food categories that carry familiar items, such as Chinese sweet sausage, lotus root, white dragonfruit and all the snacks you ever loved as a child.

Their most popular items are included in occasion-specific kits for cooking activities like DIY sushi night and hot pot — as if shopping your favorite items could get any easier. (They currently only deliver to NY, NJ, CT, PA, VA, MC, DE, and Washington, DC — but they hope to expand shipping nationwide sooner rather than later!)

immi

Co-founders Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan started immi to pay homage to their favorite Asian American food, reworking it with high-quality ingredients and added nutrition. The result? The world's first low-carb, high-protein instant ramen that’s retained all the convenience of your favorite cup ramen.

Each packet comes with one serving of shelf-stable noodles and a flavor-packed packet of soup powder you’ll want to tap every single particle of into your bowl. Pro tip: Check out their bestselling black garlic “chicken” flavor.

Kitazawa Seed

If, like many others during the pandemic, you’ve developed a green thumb, then you might want to check out the oldest American seed company specializing in Asian vegetable seeds — also known as Kitazawa Seed. In operation since 1917, Kitazawa Seed sells over 800 varieties of seeds from all over the world (it was the first American company to import Asian seeds!).

And despite the retro feel of the site — it’s easy shop each of its seeds, including their popular Korean Perilla seeds, in small packets or quarter-pound, one pound and five pound quantities.

Diaspora Co.

When turmeric-spiced things started gaining popularity a few years back, founder Sana Javeri Kadri noticed one thing: “Most of the turmeric sold in the United States was labeled as ‘Alleppey’ turmeric, but it wasn’t actually a varietal. It was simply a name for all turmeric that met a certain size and shade,” said Kadri. So in 2017 she created Diaspora Co. with the goal of reintroducing heirloom varietals and “putting the power back in the hands of Indian farmers.” Diaspora Co. does this by cutting out the middleman and paying their farm partners, on average, six times the commodity price.

And those intimate relationships pay off: The 16 spices she sells on her site are guaranteed same-year harvest to ensure the highest potency and freshness. Check out their bestselling heirloom Pragati Turmeric and taste the difference for yourself.