I couldn’t believe it when I looked up last week in the store and saw school supplies and back to school signs…IN JULY! I know August is here, but it feels like summer just started! At any rate, I want to make sure all the students, regardless of age, are ready for the first day of school with some of my favorite shops.
I stumbled upon Blended Designs last year while scrolling on Instagram (or maybe Facebook) and instantly fell in love. Each backpack has an affirmation or inspirational message (I Can Do Anything, Think Outside the Box, Color Outside the Lines) or a design celebrating Black achievement and excellence. Depending on the design, the backpacks come in Youth (15”), Standard (17”), or Campus (18.5”) sizes. I bought one (and some other supplies) for my 6 year old niece at the beginning of last school year and was sure I’d have to get her another one by now, but according to her mom:
The best purchase of all is this backpack: the most high-quality backpack my daughter or I have owned, including name brand technology bags…[she has gone] a whole school year and no rips! This backpack has survived…She gets so many compliments and she loves it!
I am not sure that I’ve ever been as excited about a purchase as I have been about buying a lunch box from Soapbox Theory. Each one has a melanated child IN DIFFERENT SHADES AND HAIRSTYLES! Some of the kiddos are in costumes, some are in bright colors, but all of them have an affirmation of a positive characteristic on them. After much (read: multiple weeks of) deliberation, I got myself one that says “Amazing” and my niece one that says “Brilliant”. On the plus side, all the girls (or boys) in all their melanated glory are on the back of each lunchbox. I’ve had mine for almost 3 years and this will be the 2nd year my niece has had hers.
Her lunch box excites hope in her teachers [who] want one for all the students, looking at all the pretty little black girls on it.
*In the last year, I have learned how much I love my planner (which is not from a black-owned company L, but IS from a company owned by a queer woman of color) and how much joy decorating it with stickers and washi tape gives me. The following companies are not the only places I get my stickers, but the ones that have their websites.
Oh So Paper gives me all the options I need to be functional or cute with my planner decorations. I mostly stick to the functional icons, are cute enough to make me less annoyed that I have to pay a bill or do my laundry. The doll stickers come in one of three or four skin tone options, depending on one of three hairstyles, so I can find a doll that’s pretty close to me (or at least what I imagine me to be). There are also mini dolls that are adorable. There is also a digital realm that I have not stepped into, but seems to offer a good number of options as well. The customer service is great AND your order arrives quickly.
I like Naomi Love Designs because there is a huge range of options for stickers. If I was interested in rugby, there’s a sticker for that. If I wanted to check my blood pressure regularly, there’s a sticker for that. There are stickers for coffee lovers, for “me” time, for regular chores, even for fun, season-specific activities. There are also weekly (and mini) kits that work ideally with Erin Condren or Happy Planners (but I have a Passion Planner and I make it work). I tend to order during high-traffic times (I can’t help it, the sales get me!) and I still get my orders within 2 weeks.
I was always really excited for the first day of school, and with products from these companies, I know you will be too!