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The Changemakers: Black Paper Party

The team at Black Paper Party talks about its mission to promote diversity in the seasonal products space.

McKenna Morgan

November 30, 2023

3 Min Read
(From L to R): Jasmine Hudson, Madia Willis and J’Aaron Merchant.
(From L to R): Jasmine Hudson, Madia Willis and J’Aaron Merchant.Black Paper Party

The licensing industry has global influence; consumers flock to buy the products the industry creates, and the revenue driven at retail is a substantial driver in a brand’s power to implement change. Some executives harness the power of their position to become what License Global calls a Changemaker, meaning that to create the change they want to see in the world, they are uncovering licensing’s potential as a catalyst.   

To celebrate the initiatives and individuals behind change, License Global explores how the licensing industry impacts sustainability, diversity and inclusion through a monthly insight column called “Changemakers.” 

For this installment, Madia Willis, chief executive officer, Black Paper Party, is joined by co-founders, J’Aaron Merchant, chief creative officer, and Jasmine Hudson, chief merchant, for this exclusive interview. Black Paper Party, represented in licensing by Brand Central, creates seasonal products that celebrate Black culture. The team at Black Paper Party discussed their mission and how they fit into the licensing industry. 

License Global: For those unfamiliar with Black Paper Party, tell us about the brand and its mission. 

Black Paper Party Team: Black Paper Party is a creation born from recognizing the lack of authentic representation in seasonal celebrations. We embarked on a mission to create the products that celebrated culture and community. Our brand specializes in crafting culturally relevant and inclusive seasonal products, from award-winning illustrations to premium wrapping paper, gift bags, ornaments, greeting cards and décor. Our mission is to bring diversity and authenticity to the forefront of holiday imagery, ensuring every family in the Black Diaspora feels seen, celebrated and represented. 

Related:The Changemakers: Dr. Lisa Williams

Why is the mission of Black Paper Party important? What are you hoping to accomplish with this brand? 

The mission of Black Paper Party is vital as it addresses the need for representation in the holiday space. We aspire to create a world where diverse communities can joyously celebrate their unique traditions and identities during the festive season. Our ultimate goal is to foster inclusivity, belonging and genuine connection through our products. 

The holidays are coming, and your brand is all about the holidays. Tell us about your Walmart holiday initiative. What products can fans of the brand expect through the collaboration? 

Our collaboration with Walmart for the holidays is an exciting endeavor. Fans can anticipate a curated selection of exclusive holiday-themed products that showcase the spirit of Black Paper Party. From our new Home Fragrance line featuring unique scents like sweet potato pie to our festive new Soul Christmas items to a nod to the ’70s – we even have a GoGo boot Christmas stocking. 

What collaborations do you have planned for the future that you can speak about? 

We are eager to expand our reach and partner with retailers who share our values. You can expect a Black History Month program to hit Kohl’s and Dollar General this February. 

What advice would you give those in the licensing industry hoping to increase diverse voices and products in the space? 

Embrace diversity authentically. Actively seek out and collaborate with creators, designers and brands that represent a wide range of perspectives. Genuine connection and a commitment to inclusivity will pave the way for a more enriching and representative landscape in the licensing industry. 

What makes this work worth it to you, and what impact do you hope to create in the future? 

We’re incredibly proud of the heartwarming stories shared by our customers, particularly parents who see their children reflected in our designs. It’s a testament to the impact of representation in the holiday space, and we look forward to continuing our journey of creating memorable moments for families of all backgrounds. 

About the Author(s)

McKenna Morgan

Content Editor, License Global

McKenna Morgan is Content Editor for License Global. Based in the Santa Monica office, McKenna specializes in coverage involving non-profits, beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, new and social media and entertainment licensing.

When McKenna isn’t covering the latest licensing news, she spends her time attending live music shows and finding her next travel destination.

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