Three Bentonville friends bring diversity & representation to wrapping paper business

Good News Matters

Part of the fun on Christmas morning is ripping into the wrapping paper as you open your gifts, but three Arkansas women noticed something very important was missing.

They combined their skills and turned their friendship into a business that’s shaking up the gift wrap aisle and bringing joy to all this holiday season.

Madia Willis, J’Aaron “Jae” Merchant and Jasmine Hudson are the creators behind Black Paper Party.

“Jae is our amazing illustrator, I myself have worked in textile design and then Jasmine has been a financial planner and buyer,” Chief Executive Officer Madia Willis said.

Their friendship started in Bentonville and has grown into a successful wrapping paper business.

“We just kind of brainstormed for a long time like, what is a market opportunity that would allow us to combine our skillsets with something that we are all passionate about which is diversity and representation of black families, and we came up with Black Paper Party,” Willis said.

Founded in 2019, the goal of Black Paper Party is to introduce more black representation into wrapping paper imagery. The women leaned on their own experiences as kids, feeling underrepresented during the holiday season.

“We saw a void in the market, but it also kind of just took us back to growing up when our parents would have to decorate their homes during the holidays or when they are trying to gift to us as kids and it was really hard to find decor or wrapping paper or overall just gifting solutions that were representative of their kids and of them,” Chief Merchandising Officer Jasmine Hudson explained.

From black and brown Santas to girls and boys dressed in their Christmas best, the ladies said the paper itself has become a gift to those who open it.

“I love seeing them react to it because they are like, ‘this looks like me’ or ‘this looks like my brother or my cousin.’ They see themselves in the product and that was our biggest goal,” Chief Product Designer J’Aaron “Jae” Merchant said.

They’re not stopping at paper, either. They’ve recently expanded and are now offering gift bags and ornaments on their website.

“The response is everything from, ‘where have you guys been our whole lives?’ to ‘can you do Hannukah paper’ to just like ‘thank you’ to just pure joy!” Willis said.

Black Paper Party is expanding into new occasions and holidays come 2022.

You can find their items on Amazon and on www.BlackPaperParty.com.

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