As the holiday season approaches, I often cringe when I walk into these huge mega stores. Don’t get me wrong, I like walking into the huge abysses of retail more than anyone but I also know that my money isn’t well spent here. At least not as well as it would be if I were to shop small business.
As someone who has been a mover and a shaker for the last half a decade with Drinking the Whole Bottle, I understand what it takes to carve your own path and start a business or sell your art. It is a relentless gig that requires more self-discipline, drive, and thick skin than you could imagine. It requires moxie and stamina and comfort in uncertainty – and it isn’t easy. You are creating something where nothing was before. You are working a business on your own with no co-workers (yet) to help carry the load. But I also know that, for people, who decide to leap into the unknown, there is nothing more fulfilling.
So this holiday, when you’re thinking about what to buy and where to start, why not start small and shop small business. Put your money in the pockets of those that are building their empire instead of the empires that have already been built.
A unique prints (limited quantity) made from bamboo, silk, modal, cashmere and wool, this luxury brand handcrafts each scarf in Nepal and debuts new collections twice a year; the prints are limited quantity. Personally, I love all the ways you could wear a Lalu scarf and the bright, bold patterns that founder, Khusbu Adhikari manufactures and imports. Check out more on her site to find how she gives back to the community. ($95-$125)
Think Ariel, all grown up. The Filthy Mermaid is a monthly subscription service for women who love all things mermaid – with an edge. They deliver “got-to-have goods for mermaid gone bad” in their monthly Siren Swag Bags. Members receive 3-5 pieces of siren swag each month (a $30+ retail value in every box!). Also available on their website is their apparel line (shirts, hats, and more) as well as gift cards. ($19.99/month)
A traditional gift but with funky flavor, these handmade Spanish cotton coasters are as colorful as they are unique. There are plenty of funky designs to choose from and artistic flare in every set. This isn’t your grandma’s crochet, you’ll actually want to put them out on your table. Made in the Dominican Republic ($25-$35). For more info contact Raquel at email@example.com and check out m ore designs on her Instagram page.
I mean, duh. Of course I’m going to include this cute stuff that I’ve personally designed.
A friend recently introduced me to Jamberry and to her consultant, Cheryl, and I’m pretty sure I’m screwed. Jamberry nail wraps are thin vinyl sheets that are pressure and heat activated to adhere to your nail. The designs are full of personality; you can mix and match with other wraps or with nail polish (which they also sell). And my favorite (other than the holiday wraps, of course) is the “Mommy & Me” styles! So not only will my nails be looking fly but so will Rafa’s (and Santi’s, if he chooses). There is a basic bundle which includes 4 wraps, an application kit, and the mini heater but you could also just buy wraps separately. They last about two weeks and if you buy 3, you get a free one. It won’t damage your nails, there’s no dry time and smudges and streaks will never again be an issue. Uh… yeah. That’s pretty awesome. (Basic Bundle $58.50, Individual Wraps $15-18)
Diane, American expat in France and blogger at Oui in France has just launched her latest project. Working with a local French artist, the designs were done by hand using pen, charcoal, and watercolors, and then printed in France. Currently, she has 3 designs to choose from and each box is sent directly from Diane with her own unique touch. ($24.99)
Now you don’t have to wait all winter long for some sunshine. You could get it shipped right to your door every month. From the creator of The Filthy Mermaid, The Sunshine Society is also a monthly subscription box for whether you live on an island, or just do in your soul. Members receive 4-6 hand selected island gifts each month (a $70+ retail value in every box!). Boxes are cultivated for women by island women and sent directly from the Virgin Islands. Boxes feature unique themes, varying tropical destinations, and a connection to the fascinating women who call these islands, home. Also available in their online shop is their signature tropical skincare line and gift cards! ($45/month)
Another personal obsession I’ve had for years is through a friend at Scentsy. Though Scentsy has lots of products and gift ideas to choose from (bath buddies for kids, premium laundry products, skin products, etc.) the main product line are the warmers and fragrances. I have 3 warmers myself and usually have to stop myself from buying more and I love the assortment of fragrances and seasonal options that come out. For Christmas, I’ve ordered the Vanilla Buttercream, Iced Pine, and Very Merry Cranberry. Some personal favorites are Honeymoon Hideaway and Camu Camu. Check out the website for their Gift Guide, more beautiful warmers and house-cozying scents, or contact Tracey and tell her DTWB sent you.
About 4 months ago, yours truly (me) became an independent consultant for the fastest growing skincare company in the U.S. market. Now if you know me, you know I’m a terrible liar and an even worse salesperson so you’d know I couldn’t get behind something if I didn’t 120% believe in it. My skin has never felt so good. My confidence has never been better. I leave the house with less makeup no than I did in my 20’s. No matter what concern you have (aging, sun damage, acne, sensitive skin) we have something for you. Want longer, darker looking lashes? We got something for that too. Email me for more info or take 30-seconds (it’s true, I timed it) and use the Solution Tool Consultation to find out where to start. Plus, sign up with me as a Preferred Customer and get 10% off this order and future orders and free shipping. Oh…. and there’s a 60 day, money back, empty bottle guarantee. Don’t love it? Return it. What’s there to lose… except wrinkles?
As someone who has received gifts from Ten Thousand Villages, I could confidently say that I am stoked every time I get a box from them. There are so many ideas to choose from, all “crafted with love using local materials (usually natural or recycled).” Each unique product comes with a story card of where it comes from and the artisan who made it and to sweeten the pot, “every purchase improves the lives of makers by supporting their craft and providing a fair, stable income.” I don’t see a down side here!
A creative online store where you will find hand painted dresses, handbags, clutches, belts, silk shoes, and scarves. Natural cottons and silk blends are transformed into wearable art by combining the art elements of color, line, shape, texture and pattern. To learn more about the upcoming dress collection that will be available in January 2017 where you will be able to order your own unique hand painted garments and accessories email designer and creator, Leticia at firstname.lastname@example.org.