Most Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns haven’t even been kicked to the curb yet, but the mother of all holiday gift guides is already here.
Media mogul and Weight Watches (now WW International
) investor Oprah Winfrey dropped her “Oprah’s Favorite Things List” for 2022 on Tuesday. But this year’s wish list selected by Winfrey and her team is really the gift that keeps on giving to the brands and purveyors who stand to benefit from “the Oprah effect.” That’s the boost in sales that an endorsement from the one-time “Queen of All Media” can bring. After all, Oprah’s Book Club has turned tomes like Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 self-help book “The Secret” into bestsellers. And Winfrey was even accused of sinking beef sales following a 1996 “The Oprah Winfrey Show” episode on mad-cow disease, because she said the subject “stopped me cold from eating another burger.”
So this year, Winfrey has made a point to use her platform to prioritize small businesses on her 2022 favorite things list, particularly those owned by women and people of color. “This year, we’re celebrating small businesses (think family-run, local makers, BIPOC- and woman-founded, and more!)” reads the Oprah’s Favorite Things 2022 landing page. (BIPOC stands fof Black, Indigenous, and people of color.)
And many of them could certainly use Winfrey’s magic touch. The COVID-19 pandemic hit small businesses owned by people of color especially hard, with the number of active Black-owned businesses plummeting 41% from February 2020 to April 2020, according to one study looking at the pandemic’s initial shock wave, compared to a 17% decline for white-owned businesses during the same period. And last year, another 92% of Black-owned businesses in a Federal Reserve Bank survey said they were experiencing financial strain, which was up from 85% in 2019. In comparison, 79% of white-owned businesses reported financial difficulties, up from 65% in 2019.
What’s more, while Black women business owners were the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., according to a 2019 report by American Express, even before the pandemic, they face plenty of hurdles. They’re more likely to rely on credit cards and personal savings, rather than outside investors to start their businesses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. And they are more likely than their white counterparts to be denied a bank loan.
So among Oprah’s Favorite Things this year is the $25 Dadisi Academy Giant 3-Foot Round STEM/STEAM Puzzle from Brown Toy Box, for example. This small business has a mission to cultivate curiosity and ensure that Black children see positive depictions of themselves in their toys.
Or the $88 compressive pocket leggings from Girlfriend Collective, which is run by a husband-and-wife team, comes in an array of inclusive sizes ranging from extra small to a 6XL — and they’re made from recycled materials, to boot.
So what else made this year’s list?
The 104 gift ideas, most of which are also available on Amazon
range from $18 for Maya J Jewelry Bracelet Hair Ties (“cute enough to double as bracelets,” Winfrey writes), to a $900 De’Longhi Magnifica Evo Espresso Machine.
There’s also a $50 eucalyptus sugar scrub set from the Footnanny, aka Gloria Williams, who Winfrey writes “has been caring for my feet for years.” Or she suggests getting a mini version of TheraGun’s massage gun for $199.
And of course, there’s some big-name tech items, too, like Samsung’s $799 Freestyle projector, or the $459 Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset. Check out the full list here.