A Small Business Holiday Shopping Guide
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
If you too have screamed internally at the latest Instagram interface update, I’d like to offer you this consolation: you might actually find some new favorite small businesses when you accidentally tap the shopping button. I’ve been following independent creators and shops on IG for a long time, and if you set aside the nefarious capitalism behind the notification button’s recent move, it is kind of nice to be able to see the businesses you follow all in one place.
This year, more than ever, it’s important to shop small. A lot of people are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with giving their money to billionaires who don’t give anything back to the community. If you’re one of those uncomfy consumers (and you should be), try to be conscious of who you’re giving your money to this holiday season. An argument I hear a lot is that ordering online from places like Walmart and Amazon are easier or faster. That is simply bullshit.
One side effect of everyone working from home is that small business owners are incredibly likely to see your order come through at their desk, package it up right there, send you a tracking number, and walk it out to the mailbox minutes after you place it. I’m speaking from experience on both sides here. If your business is run out of your home, and you’re always home, order fulfillment is easy breezy. Not to mention, small businesses usually have WAY cuter packaging. You can send a gift straight to your loved one knowing they’ll get to open a nice package. That beats a giant Amazon box filled with bubble wrap.
Now that I’m done lecturing, here’s a list with a bunch of small businesses that I have personally ordered from and really love. There are a few here that I have not purchased from yet, so in the name of full disclosure, those are marked with **. If you have suggestions for small businesses to shop from, please add them in the comments under this post!
Quirky Hair Clips for Kids and Weirdly Tall, Old Kids (AKA Adults)
Here’s a pic of me with Chunks’s truly unique, colorful hair clips. The packaging is some of the cutest I’ve seen, and the creator who makes these is super sweet and amazing with customer service. These clips are heavy duty and have not broken like a lot of my drug store ones have. I wear clips like this genuinely every day, so I know what I’m talking about.
BONUS: They’re also doing a collab with GENTLE THRILLS this season!
Vintage Tees Urban Outfitters’ Knock Off Department Could Only Dream Of
To me, the whole point of wearing something branded is that it’s authentic and has some history behind it. It’s why I hoard band merch like a very emo dragon. There’s a group of merchants on Instagram who are really good at finding nerdy vintage tshirts and selling them via DMs and Venmo exchanges. I bought my utterly iconic Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith promo tee from one of them, and I can’t recommend this process enough. It’s so cool to get something sent to you from someone who worked really hard to find it. There’s a legacy behind these pieces. Here are the peeps I follow:
@bones.vtg (original home of my ROTS tee)
BONUS: Not to generalize, but if you wear vintage tees, you probably have a pair of Converse or Vans. *FEEL YOUR SOUL* makes inserts to make them more comfy.
A Surefire Method To Make Any Denim Jacket Significantly Heavier
I’m very obsessed with collecting pins of my favorite things. I don’t usually wear them all together like this, but for editorial purpose, now you get to see all the nerdy things I like. Some of these pins were purchased at comic book shops or from conventions. The raven one is literally from the Tower of London gift shop. However, most of them are from creators you can find online. I’ve linked those shops here:
GALLERY NUCLEUS — pins designed by pro comic artists, illustrators, and animators
@pintakupins — horror movies and Furbies
@veestoriashoppe — all your childhood anime faves
@megzieco — Pokémon, cute animals, and the legendary sparkly Xenomorph
@patabot - Sailor Moon, Overwatch
@cosmicmermaidpins - gamer stuff and more Pokémon
BONUS: I’m obviously a pin person, but for you patch people, here are three cool vendors who hand make their patches — *PATCH YA LATER* — *MOON DEVIL THREADS* — *DIE TRYING*
Things To Make You Smile When You Sit At Your Desk At Home All Day
Personally, I’ve been impulse buying toys all year. My desk is currently overflowing with Lego figures who all bow down to the mighty Baby Yoda Bop It that sits next to my computer monitor. But if you actually use your desk as a desk and not just a place to play video games and draw, here are some lovely, adult, very not from the toy section of Target things for your home office.
planters for cool plant moms
that‘s right, it’s a plant subscription service
all the practical stuff like pens and paper, but cute versions
*JUNO BIRCH* — *FEMALE ALCHEMY* — NAOMI ANDERSON SUBRYAN
These three artists make adorable, one of a kind sculptures, but they sell out quickly. I recommend following them on social media so that you know when they’re restocking their shops. I am lucky to have a sassy little pumpkin from Naomi on my desk.
A No Waste, Vegan Approach to Self Love and Wearing The Rainbow
Elizabeth Whibley is truly a doll. Her Instagram is a delight, with colorful posts and uplifting discussions about being kind to each other and the environment. She made the head-turning earrings pictured here. They’re super light weight, and you can get them as clip-ons too, for those of us who did not have an intimate consultation with a teenager at Claire’s as a child. She also sells art prints, and other wares that are just as cheery. Packaging is important to me, so I’m going to keep mentioning it; her’s is very very adorable.
Makeup Brands That Are Not At Ulta and Sephora
I absolutely love shopping indie makeup companies. Some of these can be found at places that specialize in independent brands (Riley Rose) or professional supplies (Alcone), but the idea here is that you’re buying directly from the brands’ sites, circumventing the bigger corporations. A lot of the companies I’ve purchased from sell glitter, and I’m not going to apologize for that.
very dramatic false lashes & lipsticks and glitters in dark colors
lipsticks, glosses, and glitters in bright Barbie inspired colors
the best glitter paste you will ever use
Skip their pressed eyeshadows; the insane neon pigments are why they’re on this list.
I straight up linked you right to the sample pack, because that’s what you want, I promise.
My Controversial Take: Everyone Is A Gamer
You cannot deny that an escape from reality has sounded pretty nice almost every second of 2020. Whether you play video games, card games, or board games, there’s something for everyone on this list. To be highly specific: if your family Zoom calls are getting particularly mundane, Jackbox will add the zest back in.
an absolutely gorgeous Loteria set (similar to Bingo) & a very quirky selection of smoking accessories if you like your gaming with a side of green
The Modern Witch Tarot Journal (I bought two of these—one for me, and one for a lucky friend)
As someone who also hoards old Gameboys, I would scream if someone bought me new parts from this shop.
It feels like an extra little adventure to play a game you played as a kid but in the original language.
Everyone probably has one of these by now, but if not, it’s a fun gift you can send via email and play on Zoom!
Last But Not Least - A List of Really Cool Candles
I got my mom one of these for her bday this year. Very good for friends who have Co-Star.
Idk if this counts as shopping small but...for your film nerd friends
for your cynical friends
for all the girls in your coven