From crochet wear to handmade jewelry: Meet Stanford’s BIPOC student businesses

Feb. 7, 2023, 5:56 p.m.

Starting a small business as a full-time student requires one to find a delicate balance with academic pressures. For BIPOC students, however, business and craft become a medium for them to celebrate their own cultural heritage, from ancestral homelands to connections with nature.

Stanford provides student-run small businesses with various opportunities to display and market their crafts. You can support BIPOC student small businesses by attending the FashionX Winter Quarter Flea Market on March 11 or stopping by White Plaza on Fridays between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Below are five BIPOC-owned small businesses expressing creativity on or around campus.

Virgo Wig Co. 

Linda Denso '23 wears the Virgo Wig against a lilac purple background next to the Virgo Wigco logo.
Linda Denson ’23 wears the Virgo Wig. Each wig in this collection is created based on a sun sign. (Photo courtesy of Linda Denson) 

Virgo Wig Co. is a luxury custom wigs and hair extensions business owned by Linda Denson ’23. Denson told the Daily that their work was inspired by their passion for astrology, with their wigs “handmade under the guidance of the stars.” Their first collection, titled Sun Sign, features wigs “based on the energy of each star sign.” The thematically named products include the Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius wigs. 

All wigs and hair extensions are handmade by Denson. Virgo Wig Co. offers three options: ready-to-ship products with no customizations, made-to-order units with customizable aspects and custom units.

Instagram: virgowigco


The Moonphase by Nighttval logo (left) displays an illustrated woman with stars in her hair. Earring's made of gold wire and green beads are set against a grey background (right).
The Moonphase by Nighttval logo (left) and the brand’s 7 SEAS earrings (right). (Photo courtesy of Valeria Sawers Murillo)

Moonphase is a jewelry small-business owned by alumnus Valeria Sawers Murillo ’21. Sawers said that her jewelry is inspired by nature and homelands. She creates handcrafted earrings, rings and bracelets made with tarnish resistant wire. 

Moonphase offers a variety of jewelry styles, from the statement designs Brown Nipple Supremacy and Death of Adonis to smaller designs like Candy Quartz and Kirby Hoops. Buyers can customize the majority of the products by choosing their preferred wire color and beads from 165 options. Moonphase recently launched a Valentine’s collection and is currently offering free shipping on orders over $60.

Instagram: nighttval

Ruffle n Stitch

Three crochet beanies in brown, white and green lay against a rug.
Three handmade Ruffle n Stitch crochet beanies. Roberts’ other headware creations feature ruffle and cat ear shapes. (Photo courtesy of Tyah-Amoy Roberts)

Ruffle n Stitch is a wearable art small-business owned by Tyah-Amoy Roberts ’23. 

The shop sells handmade crochet clothing and accessories with a goal to “showcase the potential of slow-fashion and wearable art, especially by a queer Black creative,” according to Roberts. 

At the end of the past fall quarter, Roberts participated in the San Francisco TrapxArt Runway show with their designs. The show featured pieces such as the Ruffle Hat and the Tulum Blu Set, some of which can be purchased through their website. Others, like the mesh sleeves and mesh mini skirt, can be commissioned through their Instagram account. 

Instagram: rufflenstitch

Waukela Works

Waukela Works earrings made of bone-like material and topaz stone sit on a rock.
The Ancestral Lines design from Waukela Works River Collection. Kinney’s designs take inspiration from natural beauty and ancestral knowledge. (Photo courtesy of Jasmine Waukela Kinney)

Waukela Works is a handmade Indigenous small-business owned by Jasmine Kinney ’24. Her designs are inspired by the nature and beauty of the Yurok reservation.

Waukela Works allows Kinney to express herself creatively while staying connected to her culture. “While growing up on the Yurok reservation, I was always surrounded by the ocean, mountains, rivers and redwood forests,” Kinney wrote in correspondence with the Daily. “My business and the art that comes out of it is a direct continuation of ancestral knowledge from gathering, crafting, communicating and learning.” 

Instagram: waukelaworks

Empowered Codes

empowered codes' blue stone triangle earrings hang from a branch (left). the empowered codes logo with a purple tree is circles by a purple ring (center). empowered codes' red and black tree earring hang from a branch (right).
From left to right: An image of the Git Inspired Triangle Crystal Earrings, Empowered Codes logo, and an image of the Red-Black Tree Earrings. (Photo courtesy of Patricia Wei

Empowered Codes is a jewelry small-business owned by Patricia Wei ’23. Her handmade jewelry is inspired by STEM, education, justice and storytelling. Wei said that 50% of her proceeds are donated to Incarceration to College (ITC), a program that supports youth in Bay Area juvenile halls on their path to college. Wei’s designs continue to be inspired by her work with ITC in hosting “Coding Gang,” a computer science course based on Stanford’s CS 106A curriculum. 

“This work is really from my heart and is so much more than just jewelry to me,” said Wei. “It is about giving back to the community and believing in the power of youth and education.”

Ximena Sanchez Martinez '23 is a writer for the Arts & Life section. Contact The Daily’s Arts & Life section at arts ‘at’

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