Be Rooted is the first Black-owned stationery brand to be sold at target.
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Be Rooted x Melissa Koby Holiday Launch
Credit: Be Rooted

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, odds are that the thought of a shopping list has crossed your mind. And if you're already thinking about what to get your loved ones this year, you might want to add Be Rooted to that gift list, stat.

Launched in June 2020 by Jasmin Foster, Be Rooted quickly made history earlier this year by becoming the first Black-owned stationery brand to be sold at Target. And now, the company is making waves once again by partnering with Jamaican-born illustrator Melissa Koby on a limited holiday collection that aims to encourage shoppers to live boldly — all while staying true to Foster's mission of inspiring Black and brown women to feel "heard, seen, and believed in." (While you're here, check out these other Black-owned wellness brands to shop for gifts and all year, too.)

"When launching a stationery brand, one of the pillars I really wanted for our brand is to work with other BIPOC creatives — whether ones that are well-known, like Melissa Koby, or ones that are emerging," Foster tells Shape, also noting that she hopes to "help bring their artwork to life in a way that hasn't been seen before and hopefully, to retail shelves as well."

Be Rooted launched exclusively with journals, but the holiday collection includes memo pads constructed with vegan leather (Buy It, $10, berootedco.com) and glittery ballpoint pens (Buy It, $20 for two, berootedco.com). Shoppers can also snatch up the Be Rooted x Mkoby Live Boldly Slim Travel journal set (Buy It, $22, berootedco.com) — three, lightweight notebooks that can easily be tossed into any bag for on-the-go chronicling — and the Be Rooted x Mkoby Daily Undated Planner (Buy It, $22, berootedco.com) — which includes 160 guided undated planner pages to kick off your new year.

Whether you opt for a set of soft-cover journals or just snag a few pens to have on hand, there's no denying that Koby's artwork adds a gorgeous touch to even the most quotidian of paper goods. And if anyone recognizes this, it's Foster, who remains in awe of her collaborator's talents. "When I look at Melissa's work, it always brings me so much joy — it's always so beautiful — so I thought she'd be the perfect partner for a collection about living boldly," she says.

Living boldly is at the core of Be Rooted, which Foster not only launched during the COVID-19 pandemic but as protests against racial injustice took place around the world. Foster says that the timing was "beautiful because it allowed for us to broaden our audience a bit to people who were maybe not always looking for diverse brands to support diverse artwork to explore their options." (See: Powerful Moments of Peace, Unity, and Hope from Black Lives Matter Protests)

"Our brand and this collection is really to uplift and celebrate women of color and everything we do is centered around that goal. I would hope that when people see this collection, it will make them think of a friend, or a mother, or a sister, or a cousin that they want to give this positive messaging to as we move into 2022. That was really the goal and intent of designing it, to inspire people and allow them to inspire others if they give it as a gift," she continues.

By now, you're likely well aware that journaling is a tried and true form of self-care. Putting pen to paper can help you clear your thoughts and manifest your visions and goals for the future as well as serve as a private outlet to express your creativity. But if keeping a journal feels like just another task to check off on your never-ending to-do list, Foster wants to encourage you (and other shoppers) to look at journaling from a different perspective.

"I'm probably the only stationery founder that will say 'stop making journaling so difficult,'" says Foster. "It doesn't have to be this thing you pick up every single day or have a prompt that you're stuck to. It can be as easy as taking down a note or holding yourself accountable to a goal by writing it down on paper. As a Virgo, I constantly have my mind going, so being able to write it down makes it real but it also stops my wheels from turning, so that's why it's super cathartic to me to use paper as a way to express myself. Journaling can be two words or telling your whole life story, but it doesn't have to be complicated." (Related: All the Ways a Worry Journal Could Make Your Life Better)

And while her products are so stunning that they'd make a fabulous gift for anyone, it's the support of fellow women of color that propels Foster (and, in turn, her brand) into the future. "To be able to see Black and brown women send me messages to say they feel so uplifted, they feel so much joy, and they get so inspired by being able to see people who look like them — to have that reflection — especially at a big mass retailer like Target, it just reminds me every day of why I am doing this," she shares. "So it's been bigger than me. It's about the fact that representation is there that allows other women of color to be heard, seen, and believed in." (Self-care is the gift that keeps on giving, so check out Shape's Self-Care Gift Guide for more inspo.)