The Gift Guide: Ethical, Small Businesses for Holiday Shopping
As Thanksgiving comes to a close, the doors of holiday shopping swing open. To help you in this effort, I’ve curated my annual gift guide that highlights just a few of the incredible small, family-owned businesses I have come to love.
Note: I do not receive any compensation if you purchase from these businesses. I compile a gift guide every year because it’s something I love to do.
I’ve written about my commitment to fair wages, buying American made products, and shopping small before, but I know that it can often be difficult or expensive to get started with ethical shopping. Despite my commitment, even I don’t fulfill my goal 100% of the time.
Recently, a burst of productivity got my Christmas lights hung, which sparked a discussion about ethically made Christmas decor. Through that discussion, I learned that none of the Christmas lights are made here in the USA - despite the fact that they were invented here. It was disheartening for sure.
I want to make it simple for you to choose ethically-made gifts, because the human beings who make your gifts matter. I’ll show you how easy it is to tackle your holiday shopping with ethical, handmade, and fantastic small businesses - without even leaving your couch (or your pajamas).
Each of these businesses does the best they can with a similar philosophy to that of Janery - there are people behind the businesses, and when we shop with them, we contribute to fair wages, put food on a real family’s table, and strengthen the local economy.
I hope you’ll take a minute to just try to replace one or two big box store purchases with something from a small business, whether it’s from Janery, one of the companies below, or a small boutique in your community.
- The Cat Ball - What do you give that cat who has everything? The Cat Ball, of course! Your cat will figure it out. And love it.
- North Woods Animal Treats - Wholesome baked treats for dogs and horses, along with toys for cats and body products for dogs.
- BullyDog Designs - I know a true pet-loving company when I see one - and they offer great stocking stuffers for the enthusiastic cat or dog parent in your life.
- ZoZo’s Paw - Handmade bow ties and accessories for your pets, including the original snap bow tie! Bonus: they support animal rescue, too.
- Brindle Market - Comfy pet-rescue themed clothing supports animals in needs. Perfection!
- Janery - I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention your best source for ridiculously chic pet beds :)
- Blossom’s Barn - I love that her earth-friendly, farm-made products include a goat’s milk soap gentle enough for my baby’s skin! Second favorite: their face balm, which soothes my winter-weary skin.
- Osmia Organics - Luxury body care that is made by a doctor, from scratch - she even grows and harvests the lavender she uses.
- Handcrafted Honeybee - Deodorant as a stocking stuffer? Yes! Their aluminum-free, safe, and gentle deodorants are top of my list. I’ve even converted my husband! I also love their commitment to providing high quality educational experiences through their SmartGirl Skin Care Kits.
- Mac’s Smack - So many delicious body products, but my absolute favorite is their luscious, tinted lip balm trio.
- Callio Fragrance - Cruelty-free, small-batch fragrances you can wear daily (no need for a special occasion here) that are made right here in the US.
- Burly Stone - Finally, a fab line of body products just for men. Not exclusively for beard enthusiasts, but if you have one in your life, they’ll thank you for this beard oil.
- Cultural Detour Scarves - Sewn from reclaimed vintage kimonos, Cultural Detour’s scarves are fashionable, fabulous and sustainable all at the same time.
- SSD Jewelry on Etsy - I can’t get enough of the jewel toned and patina covered pieces from SSD Jewelry. A perfect combination of ethereal and earthy.
- Melissa Lew Jewelry - This Virginia based small business is rooted in radiant positivity and the reminder to “live life in full bloom”. Bonus: they help animal rescue!
- Conflicted Pixie - Makers of my favorite baby-friendly necklace that looks fabulous and can withstand a beating, thanks to wood and fabric construction.
- Married & Bright - Lingerie handcrafted to make all women feel beautiful, with a focus on handmade, eco-friendly, low waste - and no photoshopped models. Ever.
- Pieces of Starr - Jewelry can be a tricky gift to give, but Pieces of Starr makes it simple. If you’re looking for a unique statement piece that is definitely not from a big box store, this is it.
- Flytrap Clothing - Elegant, botanically inspired clothing, screen-printed by hand with unique art and illustrations. Their scarves are a favorite of mine.
- Better Life Bags - Better Life Bags gives women in Detroit, Michigan an opportunity to better their own lives through skilled trade. I love that you can design your own high quality bag!
- Daisy Faye Designs - Daisy Faye Designs are the perfect mix of fun and feminine women’s accessories. Make sure you check out her gorgeous collection of clutches.
- Awl Snap - Lovely leather goods, designed and responsibly manufactured in Richmond, VA.
- Stitch + Rivet - Artisan vegan and leather bags using American-made supplies, with a focus on zero waste.
- LeahBee Quilts on Etsy - Pouches, pouches, pouches! If you’re looking for a fun and useful stocking stuffer idea, treat the makeup lover in your life to one of LeahBee Quilt’s fab make up bags. They are easy to toss in a bag and go!
- Colleke Creations - Nicole is passionate about helping women stay organized, which is the inspiration behind her super-practical, uber-happy tote bags. They’re overflowing with pockets and function!
- Pure Palette Candles - Fabulous scents for your home, including a perfect fir scent oil diffuser for the holidays!
- Funnelcloud Studio - I have some of these Christmas ornaments hanging in my home, along with her original paintings and her Things That Are Awesome print. I love Rachel’s art and her commitment to supporting important social causes like the Trevor Project and the Outdoor Alliance.
- PaperRose Co - You simply won’t believe these blooms are made of paper! This is the perfect way to gift eco-friendly faux flowers that you can enjoy for years.
- Sydney Hale Candles - It’s no secret that I love Sydney Hale candles. I’ve even chosen them to be part of our #JaneryStyle ComPETition Prize Pack!
- Casey D Sibley art + Design - Gorgeous accessories and bags that are recyclable and biodegradable. Yes please!
- Lauren Sumner Pottery - Whimsical bright colors and textures on fabulously functional pottery, handmade in North Carolina.
- Small Company Artworks - These unique, handmade sculptures make such a meaningful wedding or holiday gift! I especially love the ones celebrating the relationships between people and their pets.
- Hettie Joan - Hettie Joan is a line of well-made, stylish and functional everyday goods that encourages women to embrace living their fast-paced lives in full bloom.
- River Dog Prints - Playful illustrated goods and gifts, handmade with a ferociously eco-friendly mindset. (Also, check out their custom pet portraits!)
- Journals from Gadanke - Katie at Gadanke is passionate about helping families record and share their stories through journaling. I absolutely love how her mother-child journals help children become interested in story catching. Her Pregnancy Journal is my go-to gift for anyone awaiting a birth or adoption.
- Print Therapy - This “feel-good paper apothecary” is my go-to resource for uplifting and downright therapeutic cards for those moments when you need to show you care, but can’t find the words yourself.
- Black Heart Letterpress - Irreverent, quirky, letterpress cards for every occasion. These are a constant favorite for people with a sense of humor!
For more information about how you can shop small this Saturday, November 25th, you can check out Small Business Saturday via Shop Small and find local small businesses in your area.