The Best Ways To Support Small Businesses This Christmas
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
and where you should go to find them!
This festive season it feels like the world has woken up to the joys of buying unique presents from small businesses and handmade gifts straight from the crafter. As you put your market-bought items in your canvas bag, you can imagine the person behind the stall whittling and stirring away at intricate visions of their proudly imperfect products and after hours of browsing the delights of Etsy pages, it leaves a wonderful thrill of anticipation for parcels arriving at the door with hand-crafted labels and still smelling like the home of the artist who made them!
Farmers markets and gift fairs have always been a popular way to add a more bespoke offering to your friends and family's stockings but this year, whether you are celebrating Christmas or not, the dreaded C-word (Yes, covid!) has hit the idea home to even the most modern of gift-buyers.
But are there any ways to better support businesses as they sell there items and where is best to go for some gorgeous sustainable gifts with a style that your loved ones will adore?
READ ON MY FRIENDS!
Where should you buy your handmade gifts?
It feels obvious but as a handmade seller myself, I realise not everyone understands how much of a difference it makes if someone buys directly from a creator than if they shop through other companies... though there are exceptions. Most crafters have their own website or at least a Facebook page where you can contact them. If your friend is selling a gift, ask them about it, as they may even be able to do you a deal with the saving on commissions to benefit you both!
Etsy is also a great site for creators. They charge very low fees to the artists often based on how much income they generate, plus they have options as to whether to pay for ad spend with Etsy or not (which I think is a great bonus in terms of being able to save if a crafter isn't there yet, where other sites would add it in automatically). The person listing also has a huge control over their listings - think Ebay with more style - and the practicality of being able to sell online and reach clients they may not otherwise is probably the biggest pull for most. So, hey, if you buy from someone on Etsy - you can stop worrying that they're being undercut because they really shouldn't be!
The last place I'd suggest looking is on your social media channels; see what your friends are up to and try looking for local 'buy local' pages which are popping up everywhere. They will usually list where local gift markets are too, so go and take a look when they're on - not only is it not just another Amazon purchase but you also get a little day out - and we all know there's bound to be some good food around too!
2. Don't forget the businesses that aren't or haven't been open.
While we all rush off to purchase a hand crafted gift, it's also worth considering buying vouchers from businesses which have been or remain in limbo with their opening status. Many service based businesses including hospitality, theatre and leisure have been hit incredibly hard over the last year. Though many have currently reopened, it doesn't mean they are immediately flourishing and it will be a while until many of them are back on their feet with their usual number of visitors.
You may not yet feel confident or safe to go out for food, for treatments or to workout but businesses such as restaurants, gyms and therapy practises will be well supported if you choose to purchase gift vouchers ready for your 2021 social and self care plans! And as a side-note on this, even the hospitality giants are being heavily effected this year with some of the highest increases of unemployment, so go and show the industry some love as soon as you can for you pre-theatre meal!
3. Which small businesses have caught my eye this season...SO MANY! But here is my mini gift guide including some fabulous offers just for you, reader!
BY JENSON - https://www.etsy.com/shop/ByJenson
Aaron Jenson set up his company to create face masks with a unique design to make them suitable to be used by people and the friends/families/coworkers of people who are hard of hearing or who may need to lip read. His masks feature a clear section, so that the mouth is still visible and he even has a great video on his Instagram newsfeed to show you how to stop it from steaming-up! His handmade items have proved so popular that Aaron has now branched out into other stylish lifestyle designs focusing on cosiness and contentment, such as pillows and even tree decorations. My favourite purchase (aside from the face masks) is the weighted eye pillow - what better way to ensure you get your rest and recoup time!
What's even better is that TruthPie Clients (or any of you wonderful people reading our blog) get 15% off anything in the store. Just use code TRUTHPIE at checkout!
TRUTHPIE (Of Course!) - www.truthpie.net/shop
Yes, we've actually opened a store on the website at last! Every item has been individually selected in line with our sustainable and ethical standards. so the current collection is small but mighty and even includes some items made by our multi-talented practitioners! Take a look and see what's available. OH GO ON THEN - Get 15% off your entire order with code SMALLBIZ until Dec 13th.
OLIVE & FRANK www.oliveandfrank.co.uk
are a growing small business who have recently committed to becoming sustainable in terms of their fashion and packaging. They make quirky, fun and comfortable fashion items and we'll be surprised if you can't find something for one of your gifts here! They are not completely sustainable with their brand yet but many of their fashion items are produced using organic cotton, they are producing in smaller quantities to minimise waste and they are soon to cease all plastic in their packaging. Keep them in mind as they continue to increase the sustainability of their brand.
NUE HOOPS www.nuehoops.com
is a mother and daughter owned business which has a mission for sustainability. Their jewellery items are easily personalised with their fun concept. Charms are sourced from around the world so you can piece together necklaces, earrings and more which are totally suited to your (or your giftee's) style.
ARTEMIS MOON CANDLES @artemismoon_candles https://www.facebook.com/Artemis-moon-candles-106780747928297/
Hand poured, luxury, vegan soy candles with the 'Aromas of Greece'. There really isn't much more to say on these except that they look and smell possibly even more beautiful than a holiday in Greece (and that's looking rather beautiful at the moment). A truly luxurious gift which does not break the bank and makes an individual creator smile - hooray!
London Paperie www.londonpaperie.com
London papery is a design studio specialising in the creation of innovative paper art, greeting cards and gifts. They are a family-run company with a background in the arts, so have some absolutely wonderful cards for anyone looking for press-night/theatre themed cards too! (And every press night should be given 10 times the celebration this year in my opinion!)
Reclaimed For You https://www.instagram.com/reclaimed_foryou/
Does exactly what it says! Reclaiming wood and turning it into great items for homes or gifts including bath boards and shelves. Every item is unique and made to measure and you'll see from the previous makes, the care that goes into each piece.
The Nappy Workshop https://www.thenappyworkshop.co.uk
Danielle who runs The Nappy Workshop is a mum of two boys. She grew up in Surrey but moved to London to follow her dreams and perform in Theatre, TV and Film. Danielle has a strong interest in environmental issues ever since travelling the world in her 20s with her then new-husband (via a sailing boat - sounds lovely right!). This was due to the amount of rubbish she was seeing being swept up on beaches, and even just floating right by. It was shocking and sad how much plastic waste was just being discarded. She quickly moved to cloth nappies when her son was born . Becoming a mum sparked something inside of her. She wanted a world where her little boy would grew up being aware and take action about the way we treat our planet.
When Danielle got into the swing of using cloth she really loved it; money savings, the trash no longer overflowing with nappies, but the journey into cloth nappies is commonly overwhelming for new parents, so Danielle now makes it her mission via The Nappy Workshop website, Facebook groups and in-person gatherings locally to her in East Surrey, to educate and share tips, tricks, styles and more, so others can feel more confident in their cloth nappy journeys!
Flour & Fold https://www.flourandfold.co.uk
Flour and Fold was born out of demand for Jess Howells cakes following some bespoke creations for a family wedding!
She started her delicious business in South East London, and then relocated to Faringdon in early 2020. Now based in Oxfordshire, she is committed to using local produce to carry on serving up delicious goodies to all of her customers, no matter what the occasion. They take orders by request, so we're sure if you were looking for a vegan treat or an allergy-aware recipe then Jess would be helpful and accommodating.
With Coronavirus hitting, the company decided to branch out from home deliveries, and expand to nationwide delivery with our Brownie/Blondie boxes. DEFINITELY worth a try!
My Favourite Is www.myfavouriteis.com
Created during the COVID-19 pandemic by Zoe Birkett, a professional singer and actress for over 20 years. As a working mammy in the entertainment industry, her daughter has always been surrounded by music and creativity, especially during the 2020 lockdown. Zoe believes this has helped her to become an outgoing and confident toddler. As a singer I’m always creating rhyming songs and jingles around our home which has inspired this project, my first children’s book of rhyming poetry. The book is affordably priced and would make a great tree present or stocking filler for any toddler.
Spotty Dog Handmade https://www.spottydoghandmade.co.uk/?
Amanda at Spotty Dog has a passion for saving the planet, so after creating a few crafty businesses, she has now rolled them into one where she handmakes clothing and offers home made decor & gifts out of as many salvaged fabrics & other mediums that she can. From children's accessories to quirky cushions, Amanda has some wonderful ideas of her own for purchase or you can commission your items too.
Sundae Surprise Bespoke Tea Parties http://www.sundaesurprise.co.uk
Here's a gift that's a little bit different for anyone living in or near Sussex (they are based in Brighton), Kent, Surrey, London and the South East, as the company are happy to travel!
Sundae Surprise vintage tea parties are the perfect way to celebrate. They come to you in your home or another venue of your choice, take care of every detail, leaving you free to entertain your guests and to enjoy your special tea party. SSVT specialise in hand-crafted afternoon teas with delicate sandwiches, delicious scones and decadent cakes, served on pretty vintage china and washed down with a choice of the finest teas. Plus they also do fabulous pop up tea shops.
A Girl's Guide To Being Fearless - Suzie Lavington (a super-mummy herself) https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-girls-guide-to-being-fearless/suzie-lavington/andy-cope/9780857088574
THE ULTIMATE SELF-CARE BOOK FOR TEENAGE GIRLS Face up to the world with confidence and higher self-esteem Growing up has become faster, more furious and the pressures more intense. A Girl's Guide to Being Fearless unlocks self-esteem, confidence, wellbeing, resilience and offers an antidote to an overwhelming world of altered photos, filters, and fillers. A Girl's Guide helps parents, girls, and teachers understand that wellbeing is an inside job. As an essential book for our time, this guide reflects the challenging world facing teens. This book will help you find your Brave. Whisper it quietly, but it might even change your life.
Bobbin and Bows www.etsy.com/uk/shop/bobbinandbows
A brand new offering, Bobbin and Bows make a small selection of children's clothing and hair bows in a fun range of colours. The Santa leggings are TOO CUTE!
MooBoo Home https://www.mooboohome.co.uk
MooBoo started making furniture in 2014 when the owners were looking for new shelving units for their living room and couldn't find any they liked in the high street shops or online. The company, who make furniture and home decor from reclaimed and vintage items, was named after their family's: the Moody's and the Bouchard's.
Having begun trading in London, the couple relocated to Torquay in 2018 to start their 'family life' and now run from a local studio which has just reopened post lockdown.
'We believe that timber is beautiful no matter its age or previous use. We try and re-use everything we can in today’s throw away world and hope that we can make a small and beautiful difference to our planet and our homes. We source a lot of our wood from timber recycling project's, their aim is to rescue, re-use and recycle tonnes of wood otherwise destined for landfill.'
Made By Associates www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MadeByAssociates
The velvet rope bracelets made by the company have been produced to show solidarity with the theatre community who have been impacted so heavily during the events of 2020 and 50p from every sale goes to The Theatrical Guild who have been supporting actors and families who have lost their income during this time.
That's my list! ENJOY!
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