Kalamazoo is a city rich in Black culture, heritage and history. A significant piece of that story is rooted in the experiences of the city's Black business owners and entrepreneurs.
It's important for our visitors and locals to hear their stories, support their visions, buy their products and share them with others, so that we can help empower and uplift our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community.
We've highlighted some of Kalamazoo's most creative and innovative Black business owners below that you can support right now!
Start your day with Mamaleelu's Cold Brew Coffee, shop skincare essentials like lip scrub or beard oil at The Perfect Pucker, treat yourself or a friend to a gift from Luxe Boudoir and don't forget to grab your Kalamagonia apparel to rep the one and only Kalamazoo, Michigan!
"Kalamagonia loves Kalamazoo. Kalamagonia was born in Kalamazoo. Kalamagonia is fun."
Michael Beyene is the owner of Kalamagonia. He graduated from Michigan State University's Game Design and Development program and is currently teaching 3D Art at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
When it came to starting Kalamagonia, he took his love of design, branding and Kalamazoo to create designs that are fun to wear and celebrate Kzoo! He aims to dress those who love our city and wants to let the world know, there really is a Kalamazoo.
Luxe Boudoir is owned by mother-daughter due, Yolanda Harris and Pam Coffey, and located downtown Kalamazoo! They carry medium to high-end lingerie, robes, pajamas, candles, perfume and bubble bath. There is no store comparable in the Kalamazoo area!
Maliesha Pullano, the founder of Mamaleelu Cold Brew, won a grant in 2014 to start a food business through the Can-Do Kitchen. She was laid off from work and desperately seeking a way to support her family of three. Later that year, Mamaleelu Cold Brew was born.
Since starting Mamaleelu Cold Brew, Maliesha is often asked to share her journey as an entrepreneur, has won several awards, a pitch competition, and has been interviewed and featured by Thrillist, Midwest Living Magazine and more! She continues to grow her line of products, gain new stores and enter new markets.
For years, Valencia Scott suffered from dry skin on her lips. Her answer to solve the problem? A homemade exfoliant. She took matters into her own hands and developed a simple, yet effective recipe that helped combat her dry skin, without being too abrasive.
Creativity took over, inspiring her to jazz up her recipe by blending in organic oils, testing different formulations and even consulting with pharmaceutical experts. This ultimately yielded her first signature product, The Perfect Pucker Lip Exfoliant. It wasn’t long before customers started requesting additional skincare products.
Since then, The Perfect Pucker has expanded its line to include products for both women and men, including lip balms, hand lotions, beard oils and more! All paraben-free and dye-free and never tested on animals. Even better, everything is handmade in Kalamazoo!
Purchase The Perfect Pucker products directly from her website.