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Aside from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, there’s a special holiday on Saturday, November 25, which celebrates the hard work and dedication of small businesses. This important holiday is known as Small Business Saturday, a day to shop small businesses by browsing, purchasing, and spreading the word about their often handmade, curated, and artisan goods.
This is a great day for early holiday shopping, so you can avoid the stress of purchasing last-minute Christmas gifts. Below are a few of our favorite small businesses to shop from on this important holiday (and every day after!). From natural hair care to tea subscriptions and more, find just what you need ahead of the holidays — whether that means stocking stuffers or gifts for the family.
Starting from humble beginnings, many of these small businesses place great emphasis on giving back to others by donating a percentage of their proceeds to causes ranging from education to housing. Many of these stellar companies are also helmed by diverse groups, including women-owned businesses, Black-owned businesses, Latinx-owned businesses, and AAPI-owned businesses. Now, that’s what we like to see!
For more inspiring content about small businesses and giving back, check out our stories:
Milkhouse Candle Co.
What started as a hobby making candles from canning jars grew into a 20-year-old candle business for founders Eric and Janet Sparrow. All candles and wax melts are made using pure beeswax and natural soy made local from the Midwest. The company has a wide array of scents ranging from fruity florals, such as Cranapple Punch and Tiki Beach Flower, to gourmand sweet treats, such as Brown Butter Pumpkin and Coffee Break, with decadent seasonal scents for the moments in between.
Co-founded by sisters Nicol and Cory, Ocoa was created to celebrate natural hair, and more specifically, curls! As curly-haired Latina women, Nicol and Cory saw a need for clean, natural curl products to encourage women to let their natural locks shine. Ocoa products are made with only a few ingredients from the Dominican Republic, the sisters' homeland. Shop shampoos and conditioners, styling products, and more on their site.
On a quest to try new tea without breaking the bank, Staci founded Sips By, a one-stop shop for all things tea. The company offers teaware, monthly subscription boxes via their Tea Club, and of course, a wide range of teas. When opting in for a subscription, customers take a quiz to find the best tea options for their palate and preferences, so each box is personal. Staci and her partner Melanie hand-pick the included teas from many female-founded, BIPOC-, AAPI-, and LGBTQIA-owned brands for a steaming cup of goodness and inclusivity.
What started as a concept in their small one bedroom apartment turned into an Amazon best-selling card game for co-founders Greg and Dan. SERVD. gamifies everyday concepts and activities, such as chores, picking out an outfit, and curfews, and adds a unique twist. While some cards are good, such as earning a "get out of chores free card," others can be less desirable, such as letting your parents pick your outfit, but all are equally fun! There are packs for couples, kids and parents, friends, and more.
First, came Essie's love of food and various culture's cuisines. Next, came her business, EssieSpice, a female and BIPOC-founded spice and condiment brand. Taste test their best-seller, Coco-for Garlic, a vegetarian, gluten-free, and preservative-free garlic and coconut sauce, made with West-African spices. The brand also prides itself on giving back, as a percentage of all sales go toward supporting a girls school in western Ghana.
Following a fulfilling career in journalism at outlets such as The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Real Simple, Essence, and more, founder and CEO Jackie Monk created a stationery business, JUNEBUG Ink, named after her sister, June. The business is built on a love for hand-written expression and a mission to include all customs, traditions, and celebrations. JUNEBUG Ink has cards for everything from Black History month to Thanksgiving. The company is both female and BIPOC-founded.
Rebel Nell began in 2013 with a mission to provide employment, equitable opportunity, and wraparound support for women with barriers to employment. By repurposing meaningful materials into wearable art, they embolden women to embrace their infinite strength and define their own future. They say, “Our jewelry serves as a reminder that there is power in being ONE OF NO OTHER KIND.” Shop jewelry, home accessories, and collaborations — all with a charity tie-in — making this another great gift option for giving back.
Brown Girl Jane
A self-proclaimed "disruptive, plant-based wellness and beauty collection," Brown Girl Jane sells high-quality, ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and vegan wellness products. The brand focuses on the needs of women of color, who are often left out of the wellness space. Founded by Malaika Jones, Tai Beauchamp, and Nia Jones, the three women combine their backgrounds in investment banking, digital media, and philanthropic management to deliver accessible, inclusive, and luxurious products. If you're looking for a good introduction to Brown Girl Jane, you can never go wrong with one of their best sellers, the Wanderlust Collection Trio.
If you love coffee but are trying to drink less (or none at all) for lifestyle or health reasons, Joe'y's alternative option is the best on the market. College friends Amanda and Brendan were coffee lovers until they found out they had heart conditions that made drinking their favorite caffeinated beverage too risky. After that, they set to work developing "the best-tasting coffee alternative" that has superfoods, adaptogens, and functional mushrooms. They have a helpful page of recipes, so your gift recipient can experiment with their medium roast.
Since 1903, the Stormy Kromer brand has come to embody the independence, wit, and grit of the upper Midwest. It all started with a cap. George “Stormy” Kromer, a semi-pro baseball player and railroad engineer, kept losing his hat on the train. He asked his wife, Ida, to sew an ear band on his favorite ball cap to keep his ears warm while his hat was snug, and it worked! Ida turned a simple wool cap into the cornerstone of a brand that remains fresh and authentic more than a century after Ida’s very first stitch. The brand carries everything from trail caps to plaid bandanas for your pup.
When founder and CEO Denise Woodard's daughter was diagnosed with severe food allergies as an infant, her search for flavorful, healthy snacks that were safe to eat came up short. Frustrated by the lack of options, she left her corporate job and set out to make her own snacks, and thus, Partake was born. Today, you can shop her delicious cookies and breakfast mixes — that are all gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly — at your local grocery store or online.
Aloha & Light
Founded in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2013 by Janel Santa Ana, a mother of four boys, Aloha & Light draws vision from things seen in nature to create island-inspired products for the whole family in the form of baby slings, blankets, swaddles, and accessories such as scrunchies and baby bucket hats. Janel stands firm in the belief that the most beautiful designs and colors occur naturally in our everyday lives, making Mother Nature the ultimate artist. This artistic approach combined with Janel’s ability for hand-dyeing and hand-painting, allows Aloha & Light to create products that are functional, unique, and beautiful. Plus, all Aloha & Light items are eco-friendly, ensuring a happy and healthy experience with every use.
Khandice O’Kelley was burnt out after working a corporate job from home while simultaneously homeschooling her daughter, Taylor, who was struggling to learn remotely during the pandemic. Pre-COVID, their mother/daughter manicures were their bonding time, so Khandice set out to bring back that quality time by launching their very own line of nail polishes. Peruse the website and find an array of shades and collections, as well as nail art tools and tutorials.
Alicia Boateng Designs
Alicia Boateng, a proud Cuban mother, left her career as a wedding planner and teamed up with her husband Edward — who she calls “an outstanding black gentleman” — to turn her glam cup designs into a full-time business. You can purchase from her Original Afro Glam Collection of handmade mugs, as well as her Cure Cancer Collection, and more. Boateng partners with Girl Pride Africa and donates a portion of all cup proceeds to help educate and empower teen moms. With each purchase, you can support a small business and give back.
Pasolivo is a family-owned olive orchard and company, known for its award-winning, tree-to-table olive oils. Using olives that are grown, picked, pressed, and bottled on their 140+ acre property in Paso Robles, CA, each of Pasolivo’s premium extra virgin olive oils and flavored olive oils — from Basil Olive Oil to Red Jalapeño Olive Oil — are expertly crafted by their Master Blender and Level 2 Olive Oil Sommelier. You can even gift a virtual tasting experience (or take it on your own)!
Owner Janette Spiezio is a first-generation American whose father had a large organic garden and whose mother is a professional seamstress who worked for years in a health food store. Janette wanted better home products for her two daughters, so she started pursuing a zero waste, non-toxic lifestyle that ultimately led her to open Sustainable Haus. The company carries more than 50 refillable products, and makes all of their soft goods from organic, recycled, and vintage finds. They’re also plastic-free and package-free!
Owners, Louisa and Nicki, travel the world in search of handcrafted goods that show the individual mark of the artisans who make them. They pride themselves on paying what the artisans ask rather than imposing a low wage that would devalue their work. Whether you buy handmade homewares or elegant earrings made with hand-picked stones, your purchase has an enormous impact on improving the standard of living of the artisans who make them.
Vintage India NYC
Owner Ishwari L. Keller has a background in film, music, advertising, and fashion. She studied Indian spirituality for 35 years, which led her to open Vintage India NYC. Her deep appreciation and understanding of Indian culture and spirituality is apparent from her knowledge and the joy with which she curates the items in her store. You'll find one-of-a-kind products and fine retail sourced from India, including versatile Lehenga sets and woolen Kurtis, perfect for cold weather.
Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday sales tend to dominate the pre-holiday shopping conversation, but there's another important day for retail on the November calendar — and it's one that deserves more love. Yep, we're talking about Small Business Saturday.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a reminder to consumers to give back to their local communities by shopping small. It's also a great opportunity to discover new women-owned businesses, Black-owned businesses, and Latinx businesses, or to stop by your favorite local spots.
When is Small Business Saturday This Year?
Small Business Saturday takes place annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on November 27, 2021.
Where to Shop on Small Business Saturday
Whether you prefer to shop small businesses online due to the ongoing pandemic, or you want to visit local shops in person (while adhering to the state's current COVID-19 precautions, of course), we've rounded up a list of some of the best small businesses to shop for holiday gifts this season. We've got picks from across the country — many of which have virtual shops — so no matter where you live, you can feel good about where your dollars are going. By supporting members of a community, be it yours or one around the world, you're doing your part to help small businesses stay afloat as they recover from the pandemic. Plus, many of these one-of-a-kind businesses curate super unique products and amazing gifts that will wow your difficult-to-shop for family members, friends, and coworkers. Talk about a win-win.
Of course, Small Business Saturday is far from the only day you can or should buy from local business owners. We suggest shopping local all year 'round, whether it's from these or other stores.
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