15 Small Businesses to Shop for Gifts This Year

published Oct 29, 2020
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Credit: Duet Postscriptum/Stocksy

It’s been a tough year for everyone, but small businesses in particular are struggling, thanks to lighter foot traffic, shipping slowdowns, and other economic factors. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to let your holiday gifting do double-good this year by buying from small brands, and particularly BIPOC-owned businesses. We rounded up 15 of our favorite small businesses that have pretty much everything you need for everyone on your list—and plenty of stuff for yourself, too. Check them out, then get to gifting! 

The unusual meets the artistic at this eclectic gift and home accessories site. Areaware specializes in selling regular things—candles, puzzles, wall hooks, kitchen tools, etc.—with a very unique twist. There are candles shaped like blobs, mini puzzles shaped like food, wall hooks shaped like hands, and lots more. All are designed in collaboration with independent designers to showcase their new and creative ideas. 

You’ll never get bored with furniture and accessories shop Coming Soon. They work directly with artists to curate and create beautiful, creative pieces for your home, whether that’s an abstract porcelain mug made with colored clay, an artistic rug unlike any you’ll find at a big-name shop, or a Fringe Wall Sconce that’s sure to add some playfulness to your space. The newly-released Tushy Bath Mat is perfect for your friend who loves to make a bold statement. Bonus: All purchases come gift-wrapped! 

Some brands focus on the new and emerging. MINNA focuses on the old, aiming to preserve traditional craftsmanship by working with master artisans in Central and South America to create its products. Those “old” methods of creation mingle with modern colors and styles to bring a layered look to any home. The brand’s home products are stunning enough to sell you on them, but as a bonus, all products are ethically made and help create jobs in the regions where they’re crafted. Plus, you can read all about where and how each product is made on its product page. It’s a perfect place to get a cozy throw blanket to give your friend who already has everything.

If you have someone in your life who loves candles (who doesn’t?), they’ll love one of the hand-poured coconut wax candles from Outdoor Fellow. The brand is known for its array of nature-inspired scents, from Coastal Forest to Spring Meadow and a whole lot more. Unsure which one to choose? We recommend Pepper + Orange, a zesty scent that works all year long. Even better? Five percent of all proceeds go to support The Trust for Public Land, which is like a second gift for your outdoor enthusiast friend. 

Another shop focused on curating unique home goods from independent artists and designers, Yowie has a little bit of everything—tableware and drinkware, planters, artistic prints, candles, rugs, towels, greeting cards, coffee table books, and more. Some of it is full of personality, like the Torso Bath Mat, and some of it is “neutral and nonjudgmental,” like the 6” Ridged Planter. It’s all stuff you won’t likely find in your neighbor’s home. 

Baggu is all about bags—specifically, “delightful bags that make life easier and more enjoyable.” They’ve got a bag for pretty much any purpose, whether that’s a donut-patterned reusable tote for your groceries, a trendy fanny pack for your day-to-day outings, or a stylish leopard-print backpack for a day in the city. Their popular Duck Bag is a great everyday tote, with a roomy interior large enough to hold a 15-inch laptop and two zip pockets that keep all your essentials easily accessible. All bags are designed to hold up to heavy use (even if that means carrying a large haul of groceries home!). 

This online boutique focuses on luxurious home goods that are unique, well-made, and fashionable. Their drinkware will make your regular table setting a work of art, their baskets will add instant interest to your living room, and their pendant lamps give IKEA’s SINNERLIG lamp a run for its money. If you’re looking for a small but well-curated selection of upscale home goods, this is a good place to have on your radar—and if you’re looking for a gift, we recommend this set of sophisticated cheese tools.

East Fork makes a few things very, very well. Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the company sells a small collection handmade, thoughtfully designed home goods that are made to be used every day. You only have to look at the collections of bowls, plates, and cups to know that’s true—they’re simple, stunning, and built to last. Want to get a deal you can feel good about? Check out the “Seconds” section, where you can buy imperfect products that don’t pass the high standards to be sold at full price.

Give the gift of everyday affirmations this year with help from Rayo & Honey. The small shop sells pennants, totes, pins, bookmarks, and more, all printed with words and phrases meant to empower and inspire—things like “Joy is an act of resistance,” “You are magic,” and “Lift every voice.” The phrases come from many origins—the shop’s owner, literature, Black pop-culture references. All are meant to bring positivity to your life and home. 

Health is as much about what you put into your body as what you put on it, and Follain specializes in the latter. Its own line of clean beauty products is completely toxin-free, and it curates dozens of other clean beauty products from other brands. That means no matter what you’re after—moisturizers, masks, makeup, soap, deodorant, conditioner, etc.—you’ll find a good-for-you version of it here. 

Cultiver wants the textiles you touch every day to be the best they can be, so they’ve focused on creating well-made bedding, bath towels, kitchen linens, and more. Their specialty is linen, and it’s immediately clear that they’re committed to sourcing the best linen out there (we’ve even featured their linen sheets on our Best List). I have their Duvet Cover Set, which is made of 100 percent linen, and I can confirm it brings me joy every single time I crawl into bed at night. (Heck, I get a small jolt of joy every time I look at it!)

The home of beautiful boho finds, Jungalow is your one-stop shop for “creative, colorful, modern goods” from both Jungalow founder Justina Blakeney and designers around the globe. There’s a huge selection of home goods, like bedding, wallpaper, lighting, and shower curtains—some in bright colors and bold patterns, some in easy-going, natural neutrals. All are made to bring good vibes into your home. For gifting, check out these fun coasters, which are a total upgrade from more boring housewarming gifts.

Calling all travelers: You may not be able to roam the world right now, but you can be prepared for when the time comes with Paravel, an eco-friendly luggage company. They believe you should explore the world without hurting it, so their luggage, bags, organizers, and other travel accessories are all made with recycled parts—zippers, plastic bottles, aluminum, and more. Their popular Aviator Carry-On saves 15 recycled bottles from ending up in the ocean, and the brand offsets all of the emissions that result from building and shipping the product to make it carbon-neutral. 

On-the-go eating should be good for the Earth—and beautiful. W&P sells the stuff you need to make eating, drinking, and cooking a more positive experience. They’re best-known for their Porter line, which features glass bottles, ceramic bowls, and other reusable pieces meant to make packing a lunch easier and more sustainable, but they also have ice trays, spice grinders, cocktail kits, and plenty more. 

Give the gift of green (the plant kind) this season while supporting a small business! Bloomscape ships plants directly from the greenhouse to your door, potted and ready to go. Choose from an array of indoor plants, or make it easy and pick a set catered to your recipient’s specific needs, like a collection of pet-friendly or easy-care plants. Need some help deciding? Check out our own collection, curated by AT editors and complete with helpful styling tips.