Brooklyn Made, a retail store selling borough-centered goods on behalf of small business owners, celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a festive party that highlighted seven store vendors on Oct. 12.
The event took place at the Industry City store, which opened in May, with designers, local families and community members gathering for an evening of Puerto Rican cuisine, shopping, and music provided by a Brooklyn-born Nuyorican DJ. The store is operated by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and sells a wide range of merch — from apparel and jewelry to home goods, packaged foods and more.
Gloribelle Perez, who sells her products at the store and was a highlighted creator on the night, takes pride in being able to share her “ethnically authentic” goods in a shop that celebrates culture.
“It’s been a great opportunity because we’re able to connect with customers,” she said. “They don’t just want to support a product that they like either visually or the taste, but they also want to support a product with good corporate citizenship and intention.”
Perez and her husband co-founded Harissa Hot Honey — blending the spicy, flavorful taste of harissa with sweet, locally made honey. The condiment was inspired by Perez’s Dominican background and her husband’s North African culture.
She said that being featured at Brooklyn Made represents both a celebration of her company’s growth and the exposure provided to ethnic shop owners. Brooklyn Made was established to promote designers, makers and entrepreneurs mostly from communities of color.
“When we think about something like Hispanic Heritage Month — when we walk down aisles of some of our favorite supermarkets, we think how many of these brands have co-founders or leadership team of anyone who looks like me,” Perez said. “It’s just such a beautiful thing to get so much love from Brooklyn.”
Another designer, Rebecca Sica, leaned on her Mexican-American heritage when designing her ceramic jewelry brand, called “tinybs.” The necklaces and earrings come in funky New York City-inspired shapes, flowers and other custom designs.
Sica said she often feels she is “not what people typically think of when they think of a Mexican-American artists.” However, she said, the support of her mother and being a part of the store has made her more comfortable with taking her place at the table.
“I’m leaning more into accepting my place and really wanting to be part of the history that I know of,” Sica told Brooklyn Paper.“They have been such a good spot for me and my art. I don’t think my brand exists without Brooklyn.”
The merch store places a heavy focus on putting equity into action, according to Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the driving force behind the shop.
“Brooklyn Made store has become this amazing fixture in Brooklyn,” he said. “What we really want to highlight is just the diversity of all the products that are in the store.”