Shop Small // A Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are upon us, my friends! Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? As holiday shopping begins to ramp up, and Black Friday approaches, I’ve found myself searching for ways to give back to this small business community I’m so honored to be a part of. As I’ve mentioned before, it is my goal to support as many small businesses as possible with my holiday shopping. But, as many shops begin to promote Small Business Saturday, and the hashtag #shopsmall goes viral, you might be wondering, “what’s the big deal about small businesses?” Well, let me explain…

According to the Small Business Administration, since 1990, big businesses eliminated 4 million jobs, while small businesses added 8 million jobs. In fact, since 1995, 66% of all new jobs in the U.S. were generated by small businesses.  Additionally, shopping small is a benefit to your community because taxes are paid to the city and county where the business is located, and, according to Civic Economics, contributes to 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses being recirculated locally, as compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores. If that isn’t reason enough to shop small, I don’t know what is!

Now, I know it will be impossible to get away without including some beloved Target items, because, let’s be honest – I’m there at least once a week. But when it comes to finding something personal and unique for my friends and family, nothing compares to the options provided by small shops, and the joy it brings me to know that my purchase will directly benefit individuals and families who pour their heart and soul into their craft.

This is why I have compiled for you a list of 10 small businesses who offer great gift options for your friends and family this holiday season:

1. Hexagon Marble Coasters – The Mojave Moon

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These gorgeous coasters, by maker Reanna Dembitsky in Buffalo, New York, are crafted from a beautiful white marble, and are sure to match the decor of any home. Measuring 4 inches, from point to point, they are the perfect size for just about any drinking glasses.

I first began working with Reanna as a supplier for marble, which is an increasingly often request from brides these days. I was immediately impressed by her professionalism, great customer service, and willingness to work within my needs. She is truly a gem in the Etsy marketplace, and I’m proud to call her a friend of mine!

2. The Anything Pouch – Live Styled

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Created by a mama, for mamas (and those that love all things organization), The Anything Pouch is the ultimate tool for living an organized life. Each pouch is handmade, measures roughly 9″ x 8″, and is completely customizable. The pouches are made from a 100% cotton material, and are lined to provide extra reinforcement.

Live Styled is a shop based in Orange County, California, created by Ashley Houston. Ashley has long been one of the most creative people I know, and just so happens to be my sister-in-law! When she came up with the idea for The Anything Pouch, while packing for a family trip, I immediately knew she was onto something. I just love that these pouches keep my diaper bag organized (because it can get a little scary in there!) — but the great thing is, they can be customized if you’re not buying a gift for a mom.  Whether you’re shopping for a student, traveling professional, mother, or someone who just likes everything to have its place – the anything pouch is the perfect gift.

3. Macrame Wall Hanging – Lark & Arrow

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Grace Gulley, the artist behind Lark & Arrow, specializes in hand crafted macrame wall hangings and plant holders. Additionally, Grace has a genuine love for others and helping them in their own creative journeys. She is the founder of CYL Collective – a creative community for women to find inspiration, support, and community — beautiful, right?!

With one glance at her work, it is easy to see the time and care that goes into each piece. If you’re searching for a unique gift for a creative, or perhaps a new statement piece for your own home, look no further. Each piece truly is a work of art, and is sure to be enjoyed for a lifetime.

4. Custom Family Recipe Tea Towel – The Gift of Today

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Tarayn Comer, the maker behind The Gift of Today, is on a mission to provide personalized products that will bring you joy. Specializing in unique and custom gifts, Tarayn offers a wide variety of beautiful gift ideas, including a custom family recipe tea towel.

When searching for something special to memorialize my Great Grandmother, who recently passed, I stumbled upon this tea towel and knew it would be the perfect gift for a family member this year. To have your own custom tea towel created, all you have to do is send a good quality photo of the recipe you would like to be used, and Tarayn takes it all from there! There is virtually no work required on your part, and you are certain to end up with a gift that is as special as it is unique.

*If you’d like to purchase your own custom tea towel, Tarayn is offering free shipping with the code: MERRYCHRISTMAS, from now until December 31st, 2016.

5. White Marble Phone Case – Skinit

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This next item was an exciting find for me. As a mama to a toddler, iPhone drops are not a question… they’re inevitable. So when searching for a phone case to protect my new iPhone 7, I was discouraged by the lack of options that were both chic AND protective – until I found Skinit. Up until this point, it seemed that every case I wanted barely covered the back of the phone, and certainly did not provide any sort of screen protection on the front. With Skinit, every case design comes with the option of a lite case, cargo case, and pro case. I, of course, went with the pro case so I can ensure the most possible protection from my energetic little girl, and I am loving everything about it!

If you’re shopping for someone with a new phone case on their wish list, or can’t quite seem to find the right gift for that special someone, look no further than Skinit. With hundreds of phone and computer cases, and even the option to create your own custom design, you’re certain to find the perfect gift.

*For 20% off your purchase, use the code: ariapaperie20, from now until December 31, 2016. (Excludes gift cards, e-cards & shipping.)

6. Wax Seal – Get Marked

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The next item on my list comes from Get Marked, an Etsy shop specializing in wax seal stamps made from high quality gold plated brass, complete with a wooden handle. Get Marked is successfully leading the charge in bringing back the wax seal stamp in a more modern and functional way.

I first came across the beautiful products from Get Marked through Instagram, and was quickly drawn to their wide selection, as well as diverse options for customization. I often look for gifts that will provide more of a unique and personal touch, and I couldn’t imagine something more unique and personal than a monogram wax seal. Can’t you just picture it? A newly married couple, or that friend of yours who LOVES to send “snail mail” as often as possible… with a monogram wax seal? It doesn’t get much more fun than that, in my opinion. Each wax seal stamp comes beautifully packaged in a small drawstring bag, which makes giving this as a gift even more fun. Every order also comes with complete instructions so you can start stamping right away!

7. Laser Cut Wood Sign – Happily Ever Etched

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Happily Ever Etched is a one-stop-shop for personalized event decor and gifts. With a presence on Etsy, as well as a store front in Buena Park, California, the husband and wife team behind this shop have one clear vision: To inspire individuals to give gifts with meaning. With one visit to their gorgeous shop, you can quickly see the passion and care behind their business. But if you aren’t local to Orange County, the good news is you can still order any of their custom pieces online!

If you find yourself still in search of that perfect, creative gift for someone special, a laser cut wood sign from Happily Ever Etched is sure to deliver. From family names and inspiring quotes, to business logos and statement pieces, you’ll make anyone happy with their own custom laser cut wood sign!

8. Copitas Cups – Julie Cloutier Ceramics

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Julie Cloutier is an artist living and working in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco. Her ceramic work focuses both on functional wares and sculptural installations. She draws upon her architectural background to inform her minimalist lines and quotidien investigations. You can see her installation Useful Irrationalities at Irving Street Projects where she is in residence through the end of the year.
I first came across Julie’s beautiful work when shopping for watercolor supplies at Case for Making, in San Francisco. (Which, as a side note: you must check out the beautiful watercolor dishes she creates exclusively for this shop!)  But when I saw the Copitas cups, made exclusively for Quitokeeto, I knew they had to be included in this gift guide. These small stoneware sipping cups are unique, each hand thrown on the wheel. Available in 3 glaze colorways; soft lemon, flecked gray, and espresso, these handmade cups are each a unique work of art that will serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose in any home.

9. Tassel Keychain – Stitch & Shutter

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Stitch & Shutter offers a line of leather goods made by hand in Denver, Colorado. The collection includes a range of items from jewelry and handbags to wallets and key accessories. Every piece, handmade by owner, Megan, is hand cut, hand dyed, hand stitched, and then burnished with beeswax from the owner’s father’s bees. Megan’s goal is to combine traditional craftsmanship with modern yet timeless designs, and she more than achieves this goal with her beautiful work.

When I first found Stitch & Shutter through Instagram, I was immediately drawn to these gorgeous keychains. I mean, who wouldn’t want a gold-dipped, black leather tassel to adorn their keys? But even more, each keychain has the option of adding a small initial charm, which is perfect for customizing as a gift – while maintaining the minimalist look. Check out their website for more color customization options, and to get your own lovely keychain!

10. Gift Wrap – Kawaii Goodies

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Now that you’ve found all the perfect gifts for your favorite people, it’s time to move on to the fun part — gift wrap! Kawaii Goodies, by shop owner and maker, Soury, is your one-stop-shop for all things holiday gift wrap. I don’t know about you, but I love making each gift into it’s own little piece of art through unique gift wrap.

Kawaii Goodies offers a wide variety of wrapping paper, twine, labels, stickers, stamps, and more. Soury designs many of the labels and stickers herself, but one of my favorite aspects of her shop is that she also pulls from the creative community for collaborations. Many of the designs you find in her shop were hand-lettered or illustrated by other artists, which is such a fun way to encourage community over competition, all while supporting another small business.

So there you have it – my 2016 Holiday Gift Guide! Hopefully you were introduced to some new businesses, and perhaps even able to cross a few gift purchases off your list! As you can see, there are so many wonderful artists and makers out there (and this post doesn’t even scratch the surface.)

Do yourself, and the small business community, a favor, and #shopsmall this holiday season!

Happy Holidays,

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