I am SO excited to be sharing this post with you today! There are so many amazing small businesses out there, and this season, I really want you to encourage to shop small. Below are ten amazing businesses that all offer products that have been designed or created to make life more organized, adventurous, pretty, or just plain fun, and they all make fantastic gifts for people in your life. There is such a wide variety that I am hoping you will find something for someone on your list (and perhaps even something for yourself)!
The official "Shop Small" movement began in 2010, and this year, Shop Small Saturday is officially on November 29th. It is a fantastic way that you can show your support to businesses that you love, or discover some new ones along the way that you want to encourage to grow. However, that doesn't mean that you can only shop at a small business that day - in order for small businesses to succeed, they need to focus on developing amazing products, have an amazing online or retail location experience, and have the support of people around them. This is becoming one of the biggest small business shopping days of the year, and it always comes the day after Black Friday.
I personally do not like shopping on Black Friday - there is something about dealing with massive crowds, long lines, and running around town that just takes away from the happy and calm spirit of giving for me. The best part about this, if you're like me and hate crowds when shopping, is that the majority of small businesses that I have come to know in the last couple of years has mostly been through social media - almost every small business has an online presence, either with their website or through other shopping locations like Etsy, which you will see below a lot of shops use for their items. Etsy is the route that my small business has gone as well, and I have found that it is filled with people whose hearts and souls are in their businesses, creating and crafting items that they love to make just as much as people love to receive them. The items that I have designed and sell aren't included in the post below, but if you want to see what I make, feel free to click on the "shop" section in my website menu bar above, or visit my Etsy shop here.
Below are ten amazing businesses who all have their hearts and souls as a part of their businesses. Some of them design prints and stationery, some offer amazing items to make your house into a home, and all of them are unique in their own ways. Above each photo is a small introduction to each business, and below are links to their websites to purchase their items if you'd like to. All of the items shown range from $4 to $25 as well, so every single one is absolutely affordable this holiday season.
If you know of a business that creates amazing items (and even if it's your own!) please leave a comment with how to find them and what they sell so that people can have as many options as they would like to to shop small this season.
The first item I want to share with you are these amazing Keepsake Christmas Planners by One Swell Studio. It's designed by Cara and she is a sweetheart! When I asked her why she loved it, her answer answered so many prayers for all of us around this holiday season ... "I love this little planner because it helps to keep me sane during a very insane time of year. In past years, I've ended up in tears over forgotten presents, lost decorations & misplaced receipts. With the Keepsake Christmas Planner, everything holiday related is in one spot. Budgeting, addresses, menu planning & recipes, gift & stocking stuffer ideas & more. It's all there. I keep it in my purse on trips to the store & if I see something that catches my eye as a gift idea, I jot it down. When an idea for an appetizer pops in my head throughout the day, I pull out my planner & write it down in the meal planning pages. I decided to design this planner because I had a feeling that there were others out there like me-- busy women on the verge of becoming a holiday-hot-messes. And I knew if it worked for me, it could probably help someone else too. My absolute favorite section has to be the daily pages. There's a spot for a to-do list, notes, & memories from that day. I'm looking forward to digging this little book out in a few years to reminisce about what life was like for us in December 2014. Where were we going? Who were we with? How did we celebrate in big & little ways? What traditions did we start? It will be really interesting (and probably a little bit tear-jerking!) to look back & remember what we were all like during this season of our lives."
The Transforming Beauty Shop is no ordinary shop - it is run by Michelle who is an amazing person herself! She created this business based on this quote: “If ever there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of all mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.” I felt in my spirit that this was what God was calling to me to do - to create a tool/resource/community where women could come together for all mankind to create a force, a revolution." Her business donates 15% of all sales to a variety of missions they are passionate about - including investing in families, individuals, and communities around the globe. There are so many amazing items listed on their website, you have got to see what all they have to offer.
Also, if you enter the code "GRACE" on their website, you will receive free shipping with your purchase!
The next shop is Wild Weka Designs, and it is owned by Esta. She creates pencil rolls, iPhone and Kindle cases and luggage tags - the best part? They're all created from clothing and scrap fabric, so she is repurposing items that other people no longer want. She strives to create modern, functional and stylish products from old, unwanted or just plain ugly clothes - all destined for the landfill, but instead, she creates beautiful items for you to use in a new way.
Gather and Dwell is a shop that I have known of for a while, and I have to admit that they are one of my favorites. A friend of mine told me about them a while back and everything that they have is just plain good for the soul. It is run by a photographer named Rachel and a designer named Jenn. At Gather & Dwell, their main goal is to encourage women to create an intentional and memorable life. They want their products to encourage women to deepen community, celebrate relationships, have pride in the home and/or inspire travel and exploration. "Our Traditions Calendar is actually the birth of Gather & Dwell and our most-loved and heartfelt product we sell. All the other products were offspring of this calendar. Both Rachael and I were newlyweds several years ago and looking to start new traditions in our family and after numerous discussions, the Traditions Calendar was born. This calendar features photos, stories and traditions from our lives, and friends and family that we think others would like to integrate into their everday lives and special events like holidays. The 2015 calendar is different in that it features stories and traditions from creatives that we admire (Emily Ley, Josh Solar, and Anna Watson Carl from The Yellow Table). It's so exciting to be able to collaborate with creatives that share the same heartbeat for togetherness and an intentional lifestyle."
Gather and Dwell designs so many different items that I decided to include their cards, prints, and magnets below as well. When I saw the "I Love You More than Bacon" card, I knew it had to be included. And yes, there are other foods as well for you foodies out there! The prints shown below all have different stories behind them as well: "The Today is Wild print is a part of our Adventure Series that encourages folks to get off the couch and explore the outdoors. Our Winter Bucket List is a part of our Bucket List series that encourages action and togetherness during the different seasons. Our Fight for You print is a part of our Bible Verse print series that seeks to offer comfort during trying times. Our I Love You Because print seeks to celebrate relationships and is dear to our hearts because you slide it in a frame and write little nuggets about what you love about each other. I always look forward to going to my friend's houses to see what is written on the lists, I've learned that one of my best friends makes a mean pumpkin pie and laughs entirely too hard at her husband's corny jokes just by looking at these prints."
Shop the Homestead is a brand new business that just launched in the summer of 2014! It is run by husband and wife Matt and Whitney to fulfill their dream of working full time together, and they have created products for you to use in your home. Including candles, screenprinted cedar wood signs, market totes, and prints, you are bound to find something you'll love. When I asked Whitney to describe her new venture, she replied, "We value the process of making our house feel like a home and want to help people do the same with their houses. We have a wide variety of products (with many more to come) that are all handmade by us that we think contribute to our vision while staying within our buyer's budget. Candles will always remind me of home. I love how simple they are but how much impact they can have in a space. I chose these first two scents because they are my favorite and they smell so clean."
Oh Deer Creative. Just the name is intriguing, isn't it? I stumbled upon owner Emily's Instagram one day, discovered that we were both wedding planners, and then suddenly these gorgeous hangers appeared. I have loved seeing her shop grow! Recently, I was chatting with one of my brides, showed her a picture of these, and when she saw these hangers, she teared up because they are so different and unique, and perfect for what she was looking for. When I received the hanger in the mail, I couldn't believe how well made they are - they are perfection for the something special you have that you want to definitely give the ooh-la-la factor to. Emily also designs koozies for your favorite college team (Go Florida State!) and abstract art prints. Here is what Emily has to say about her shop:
"My heart and my business are centered around this desire to encourage others and inspire hope through my sparkly treasures and cheerful designs. The shop has evolved in incredible ways since we first opened, but the heart of what we do remains the same. I love love love sharing my heart and passion with my customers through this little shop. Every purchase is still a celebration for me, and I love that my items bring joy and smiles and sparkles and silliness to so many. The hangers are items that have been in my shop from the beginning, and is one of the few original pieces that you see left. I first made these glittery treasures as gifts for my bridesmaids for my own wedding. I am crazy obsessed with gorgeous details in weddings, and I just loved the idea of my wedding dress hanging from a sparkly gold hanger to make it even more special as our photographer took pictures of it. Today, our fancy hangers are still our most popular item in the shop and are available in more than 10 colors!"
Michelle Lea is a photographer who also designs adorable paper goods and has amazing photographs to adorn your walls at home. She also has Oklahoma items so that you can show your love for your state! Her love for creativity is strong and her photos capture details beautifully. I am in love with her "To Do List" and "Notes from School" notepads and know that they were definitely designed with making life easier for you in mind! "This grew out of an extreme passion for capturing the simplicity and beauty of life through photography and graphic design. I have obtaining my undergrad and graduate degrees, but in the end my true passion has always been photography and design. I want to provide my clients with beautiful and simple pieces of their own, whether it's through photos, a simple notepad, or an art print for their home. That's what makes me the happiest, seeing people smile because of something creative I have worked on for them.
My freckles print is truly special for me. I have had freckles my whole life and I have passed that onto my beautiful little girl, who is now nine and thinking that they aren't the coolest thing to have. I sat down to design some new prints and searched deep for quotes that meant something. This design is for my daughter and all the women who have struggled with being ok with hearing people say "aww your freckles are so cute". At a recent market event, I watched countless mothers and daughters walk up and quietly nudge each other and smile at the print. One mom picked it up and started crying when she handed it to her grown daughter. I, of course, was in tears watching them. I felt that the design had actually spoken what I had intended and that was amazing to witness."
I "met" Deb with Olive Paper after the Pursuit 31 Conference this year. Although I followed her on Instagram and had liked her business on Facebook, I didn't realize that she was there until the day that we left. I kick myself for that missed opportunity to chat with her in person, but now I am so glad that we are able to keep up via Social Media! I love her heart and eye for design and think that the items she is designing are all beautiful! Although there are only a few shown below, there are many more amazing items she has designed (including some amazing holiday cards!) that you need to see in her shop.
"Coming from a family of business owners and designers, it’s no surprise that Olive Paper has grown from an idea to a fill-blown stationery and design business. I am super passionate about each one of my clients and treasure my relationships with others in the event community. My goal is to always put my all into creating the perfect paper product for you! Bringing my client’s visions to life makes my heart so very happy! That is why I love doing what I do. The “Hands” print is so special to me because it’s the epitome of my relationship with God. I think I forget how big my God is. These few little words puts it all into perspective. The “Coco” print is one of my favorite quotes from quite possibly the most iconic person in fashion. Possessions (clothing) was what she was all about - but yet she realized how insignificant that was and that relationship with “each other” far outweighs anything we have. The “pug” is a huge hit in Olive Paper Shop’s line. It’s also available in most any dog shape for all those other puppy lovers!"
Taylor is the owner of Letters of Grace Calligraphy, and her heart is so full of love for what she does. Every single print that she sells is handwritten one at a time. She is one of the sweetest people that I have discovered on Instagram and I know that her business is going to grow tremendously in the years to come. When I saw the "Oceans" print below, I instantly wanted to include her in today's post. That song has so much meaning for me and so many other people ... and she has written it, and all of her other prints, beautifully.
"After a really tragic event that sort of turned my world and my life upside down, I picked up calligraphy again, really for myself. It allowed me to relax, be closer with Jesus, and create things that made me happy, and things that meant something. People started encouraging me to share, and I did! And it just kind of evolved into the business I have today. And I'm just incredibly thankful for that."
When I asked about the design behind the Whatever is Lovely print, this is what she had to say: "In our lives it is all too easy to focus on the negative, the comparisons, the feelings of inadequacy or jealousy. And that stuff isn't real and it's not of Jesus. When we focus on the lovely, the right, the TRUE, that's when we see Jesus as Himself, the author of ALL good things, and all lovely things! I don't think we can get enough of this truth in our lives. And each time this print is ordered, as I make it, I pray this it would bless the hearts of the people in the home it hangs in, and that they would be encouraged to remember the lovely."
I am pretty sure that's the way we all should feel ... don't you think?
Rounding out the group of businesses is the fantastic Ashley of Ashley Shelly Creative. Ashley and I are in a Facebook group together from a class we took this past spring with Emily Ley, and the minute that she posted these little beauties to share them, they needed to be shared with the world. So many times we try and budget, set monetary goals, pay off debts, and do so much with the money that we have - and Ashley has designed a great asset to help to actually achieve those goals.
"I created my design business and shop to use my creative talents for good. I love knowing that I can design something to make people smile, make their event more special, or help make their lives a little easier. I design invitations as well as notebooks, and I have gotten the chance to work with so many amazing clients. I love design and I am hoping to grow my business enough to be able to stay home when I have children in the future, setting an example for them that you CAN do what you love if you work hard!
I created the Budget Notebook for myself originally, drawn out by hand every single payday in a lined notebook! Then, it clicked to me that the way I was doing this every 2 weeks was working perfectly for me, and I bet it would help so many women organize their money as well. It has sections for a basic budget every payday, but also has Dept Repayment planning spaces, a Savings section, and fun things like a Purchase Wish List so we can all plan how to buy those items without stressing or feeling guilty afterwards. Budgeting is such a weight lifted off the shoulders of women who have so much to worry about already. It is SO worth the little time it takes to write it down!"
So there you have it! I realize that these are only a few out of thousands of businesses, but I truly feel that every one above is a fabulous example of why we need to support those of us that are considered small businesses. We all have big dreams, goals, and at the core of it all, every single one of us wants to design things for people because we want to make life easier, happier, more organized, and more intentional. I would love to say that purchasing someone a gift from a "Big Box Store" gives you the same feeling as purchasing something that has been designed or made with so much heart in it, but I think you would agree with me that it isn't nearly the same experience. This year, and as much as possible in the future, shop the small shops.
I would love to hear from you if you know of a shop that should be featured, because this will be a monthly post beginning in 2015! And also, please leave a comment below if you plan on supporting small businesses this holiday season, and if there were any included in this post above that you can't wait to purchase for yourself or for someone in your life.
Have an amazing Holiday Season lovelies, and happy shopping!