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Celebrate Women’s History Month with these Indie Women-Owned Businesses In L.A.

Celebrate women all year round with this list of goods in the 'hood, from a punk-owned vinyl shop in the South Bay, handmade sexy chainmaille bras in South Central, an affordable Salvi-owned facial shop in Koreatown, and more.

3:01 PM PST on March 8, 2024

    It’s Women’s History Month with International Women’s Day taking place today, and what better way to celebrate the women of L.A. than by highlighting some of the best women-owned businesses in the county? Below are several gems that started at the bottom and have succeeded in their distinct industries. Many featured businesses have DIY roots, with the shops selling handmade products you can’t find anywhere else.

    Celebrate women all year round with this list of goods in the 'hood.

    Kiwi Martinez. Photo courtesy of Under the Radar Records.

    Under the Radar Records

    Step into Under the Radar Records in Lawndale, and you’ll be greeted by walls plastered with artwork of old-school punk flyers and a giant stencil portrait of Selena Quintanilla—the shop is an eclectic mix of punk rock and Latinx culture. Kiwi Martinez, the drummer of South Central’s Generación Suicida, co-owns this record store along with G.S. vocalist Tony Abarca. Under the Radar Records primarily sells vinyl, including shirts, accessories, and other music formats like cassettes and CDs. If you visit on a Sunday, chances are you’ll get to watch explosive live sets from touring and local bands. Find their vinyl online as well.

    16129 Hawthorne Blvd Ste C, Lawndale, CA 90260. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 40 - "Hawthorne/162nd."

    Angie Sotomayor. Photo courtesy of Heart of Steel Jewelry.

    Heart of Steel Jewelry

    Chainmaille jewelry has been a hot trend over the past few years, and no one else in L.A. is doing it better than Heart of Steel Jewelry. Angie Sotomayor’s handmade creations range from sexy chainmaille bras to intricate belts. Chainmaille isn’t all she specializes in either, as she recently debuted a collection of rings with large protruding spiked hearts, spiked spiders, and gimps. The ancient Celtics in Ireland and Scotland invented chainmaille as a form of armor, and now thousands of years later, it’s an accessory you can find in South Central by way of Heart of Steel. Find her online shop here.

    Rosa Castillo. Photo via Bare Minimum Facial Bar.

    Bare Minimum Facial Bar

    Forget overpriced beauty spas that charge $300+ for a facial because at this Salvadorian-owned facial bar, you can revive and refresh your face at an affordable price, with their 30-minute special only costing $55. Rosa Castillo, the owner of this Koreatown gem, opened her business partly as an homage to her mother, who fled El Salvador amid a civil war. With five years of experience as an esthetician, Castillo provides in-depth consultations, high-end custom facials, and exfoliating peels to give your skin the help you can’t get from your regular face wash. Find their website here.

    1134 S Western Ave B4, Los Angeles, CA 90006. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 207 - "Western/11th", Bus Line 30 - "Pico/Western", or Bus Line 28 - "Olympic/Western."

    COURTESY XICALI
    Chelly Xicali. Photo by Xicali Products.

    XiCali Products

    For CBD and natural remedies focused on pain, stress, skincare, and women’s health, Xicali Products is your wellness one-stop shop, breaking ground in this traditionally white industry. In 2016, Chelly XiCali started making natural remedies for her mom, who was going through a medical crisis and not receiving adequate care from the healthcare system. XiCali’s herbal solutions successfully eliminated her mother’s pain, which motivated XiCali to share these products with the public. XiCali’s goods include CBD tinctures, pain oils/rubs, teas, serums, and specialized kits for ailments like headaches. The Dolor de Cabeza (headache) kit consists of a tea pack, an aromatherapy inhaler, and a pain rub for your temples, which makes a fantastic alternative to pharmaceutical products. Find their online shop here.

    Lindsey Shaver. Photo via DeadRockers.

    DeadRockers

    Long Beach is a hub for punk rock shows, so it makes sense that a store like DeadRockers exists there because where else are punks supposed to get their gear? Since 2005, Lindsay Shaver has been running DeadRockers as a central location in the scene for clothes, shoes, accessories, merchandise, and music. In the mid-2000s, Shaver sold goods through her old MySpace business page, but she shifted to a brick-and-mortar store in 2010, and the rest is history. With cute décor like leopard print walls, DeadRockers is a great place to get items like APE leather belts, Doc Martens, band t-shirts, Straight to Hell jackets, and more. Find their online shop here.

    1090 E Wardlow Rd, Long Beach, CA 90807. Closest transit lines and stop: Long Beach Transit Line 131 - "Wardlow/California" or Long Beach Transit Line 71 - "Orange/Wardlow."

    Photo via Bella Doña.

    Bella Doña

    When it comes to celebrating L.A.’s unique Chicano community, Bella Doña has the most iconic and emblematic items to represent this unique culture. Best friends LaLa Romero and Natalia Durazo created their '90s-inspired streetwear and accessories through inspiration from Chicano iconography with emblems like lowriders, old English font, and big gold hoops. Bella Doña started in the 'hood, and they’re achieving massive success with Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom now selling their clothes. Bella Doña’s collection “Las Dramáticas Club” is so popular that Reneé Rapp wore it during a scene in the new musical "Mean Girls." Find their online shop here.

    Lara Adekoya. Photo via Fleurs et Sel.

    Fleurs et Sel

    When L.A. shut everything down during the pandemic in March 2020, Lara Adekoya craved joy and started baking cookies and doing drop-offs for her friends. This gesture evolved into Fleurs et Sel, which became so big that celebrities like Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and Jennifer Love Hewitt would line up around the block for Adekoya’s cookie drops. Media entities like HBO, Netflix, and Sony are just some of Fleurs et Sel’s clientele now. After years of doing online orders for cookie drops, the Nigerian/Japanese American baker is opening her first brick-and-mortar store in West Adams in late March. Find their online shop here.

    Photo via Bellatrix.
    Luna Salvaje. Photo via Bellatrix.

    Bellatrix Armor

    Metal heads, punks, and leather lovers from all walks of life have made Bellatrix Armor their supplier of choice for studded leather belts, bootstraps, chokers, cuffs, and other accessories. Luna Salvaje’s designs vary regarding the types of studs and chains used on the leather, and the styles are so diverse that there’s something for everyone. Bellatrix Armor can be customized to size, and products take 4-6 weeks to create because Salvaje makes them all by hand, and the results are immaculate. Bellatrix Armor can be ordered online or purchased at Rockin Vintage Alhambra and Goods on Orange in Long Beach. 

    Rockin Vintage: 1340 W Main St Alhambra, California. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 78 - "Main/Curtis" or Bus Line 260 - "Atlantic/Main."

    Goods on Orange: 3414 Orange Ave Long Beach, California. Closest transit lines and stop: Long Beach Transit Lines 71 and 131 - "Orange/Wardlow."

    Leah Guerrero of Brujita Skincare. Photo courtesy of Brujita.

    Brujita Skincare

    Leah Guerrero was inspired to create a holistic skincare line after her travels to Mexico City, and in 2017, she started Brujita Skincare. With over 15 years of experience as an esthetician, Guerrero uses her expertise to source key ingredients from Mexico City that are sustainable, raw, organic, and unrefined. The result is nothing short of magic, as her products use the wisdom of Indigenous technique to treat your skin with that bruja influence. Brujita Skincare includes makeup, cleansers, face masks, soaps, serums, and more. Find their online shop here

    Photo via Xipiteca.
    Photo via Xipiteca.

    Xipiteca

    Frustrated by the lack of cultural representation in the clothing industry, sisters Adriana Serrato and Gabriela Serrato created Xipiteca in 2017 as a Latina jewelry and couture streetwear apparel brand. Xipiteca celebrates all body types while focusing on the beauty of women of color, especially brown women with tops that say “Brown pride.” Many of Xipiteca’s designs also display bold sociopolitical messages like “Abolish Ice” and “Abolish Systemic Racism.” This brand merges feminism, culture, and social justice without sacrificing stylish looks. Find their online shop here.

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