NiLu gift shop Harlem is putting the “Black” in Black Friday and wants shoppers to buy Black this holiday season.
NiLu, an online lifestyle brand with a brick-and-mortar flagship store in Harlem, has products ranging from crafted accessories, thoughtful gifts, and home goods. Available both in-store and online, NiLu proudly features an extensive selection of merchandise from Black and women-owned businesses, including Sheila Bridges, Adjourn Teahouse, Harlem Candle Company, Lomar Farms, Healthmade, and Frederick Benjamin.
Founded in 2015 by Katrina Parris, NiLu (named after her sons Nigel and Luke) serves as a hub for small Black businesses who would otherwise not have a physical location to sell their items and thrive. In turn, the shop serves as an in-person shopping experience for consumers looking to find Afrocentric gifts and support multiple Black-owned businesses.
“NiLu is a platform for makers of color from Harlem and beyond,” Parris told the AmNews. “We deal with a lot of up-and-coming makers and artists. We offer things that you didn’t even know that you needed. We have gifts for him, her, [and] baby—everything from coffee table books to earrings to greetings cards to scarves. There’s a little bit of everything.”
Creators interested in being part of NiLu’s selection can go to the company’s website, review the criteria, and be established and ready for wholesale.
Spotlighting small Black businesses, NiLu hosts a weekly live Instagram show (@shopnilu) from the store called “NiLu at Night” where makers, creators, and thought leaders are featured. The show streams on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. There is a special episode streaming Monday, Nov. 20 featuring NBA legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
Parris said NiLu is fully ready for the busy holiday shopping season.
“Every Friday is Black Friday as far as we’re concerned,” she said. “We’ve got the gift items ready. We offer online as well so we do shipping all across the country.”
NiLu has several upcoming events at its shop including a Black Friday event on Nov. 24 and a Kwanzaa shopping experience in December.
“We have to stop thinking about shopping Black just during the holidays or in just February or in June,” said Parris. “It’s all year-round. Our goal is to show and provide a platform for makers and artists. We know what we’re capable of as people of color. There just aren’t platforms that show enough of people of color and all of the different mirrored varieties of products that should be available.”