9 Small Brands We Can’t Wait to See More of in 2020
Let me preface this by saying that there’s nothing wrong with shopping at big box stores. Prices are low, the inventory is massive, and there are fewer surprises. But while all that may be true, there’s something genuinely special about finding a smaller, under-the-radar brand that you immediately connect with. You might have to pay a little more and have fewer options to choose from, but what you get instead is a totally different experience; one that is grounded in thoughtfulness and connection rather than an impersonal transaction.
Since it’s a new year and we’re searching for fresh inspiration and creative ideas, we rounded up just a few of the many small brands we’re most excited about in 2020. There are plenty that aren’t featured here, so let us know your favorites in the comments!
The direct-to-consumer cookware brand launched in the fall of 2018 with just one product: a minimalist Dutch oven. Unlike the offerings from bigger brands, Milo’s 5.5-qt. Dutch oven costs just $110. (For comparison, Staub’s costs $324.95 on Sur La Table and Le Creuset’s costs $350.) Our friends at Kitchn tested it themselves and found that the Milo Dutch oven works just as well as the more expensive options—in fact, pretty much every Kitchn editor asked for one as a holiday gift this year. Aside from the Dutch oven that put them on the map, Milo also sells a mini Dutch oven ($75) and a skillet (which is currently sold out). Looking ahead to 2020, we hope the brand restocks the skillet and the Dutch oven in all the colors (right now it’s only available in green), and adds some new cookware to their collection.
It seems like we’re hitting peak candles, and personally I couldn’t be happier. One of the newer brands I’m most excited about is Otherland, which launched at the end of 2017 and has quickly made its mark as a go-to source for unique candles. Everything from the scent combinations to the candle art is thoughtfully designed, and each candle feels more like a piece of decor rather than an insignificant add-on. All the core scents are fantastic (like Rattan, featured above), and the entire winter collection is decidedly…sexy?
Here’s the thing: I hate top sheets. They get tangled and turn the simple task of making one’s bed into a process. And yet, they’re convenient and make washing your sheets a whole lot easier (no washing the duvet every week). What’s a woman who values both hygiene and the freedom of less fabric to do? The answer: Shop at Primary Goods. The bedding brand developed a top sheet that buttons onto the duvet, so there’s no sheet twisting. It’s a game changer—and aside from that, the sheets just feel really good. I have the linen sheets (which I wrote about here) and can confirm that they’re soft, well-made, and durable. In 2020, we’re hoping they restock sold out colors—and we can’t wait to try out the brand’s comforter and pillow, too.
The ceramics company has been around for 10 years, but in 2019 they saw major growth in both their customer base and operations, including moving headquarters to a much larger space. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, East Fork is known for their kitchen and tabletop goods, and in particular their pottery. Their best-selling mug (known simply as The Mug) is an AT reader favorite that is currently sold out but will certainly come back in stock. With the company poised to grow in every way this year, we’re excited for new products and our favorites coming back (and staying!) in stock.
Luggage is really having a moment, as proven by all the up-and-coming brands popping up. Paravel is one of our favorites, with a range of suitcases, bags, and duffles that are downright gorgeous. (No surprise there—one of the founders comes from the fashion industry.) The brand started in 2016 with a focus on well-made, durable travel goods beyond suitcases, including packing cubes and travel kits. In fact, Paravel’s first piece of luggage, a carry-on called the Aviator, wasn’t launched until November 2019. Now that it’s here, we can’t wait to see what the brand comes up with next (but we’re hoping it’s a full-size suitcase to complement the carry-on).
Is it possible to get excited about a cutting board? If you’re familiar with Material, then the answer is yes. The direct-to-consumer kitchen company sells a range of tasteful (and beautiful) kitchenware, including a cutting board that Kitchn editors love. (It’s also now available at West Elm in exclusive colors.) Aside from that, the brand also sells knives, copper-infused cookware, and tools. The key is curation: Material only sells the essentials, and they’re all well made and well designed. In 2020, we’re hoping they add a few more to their roster—perhaps some more cookware?
Do you believe bedding that’s soft, inexpensive, and sustainable is impossible to find? Think again. Ettitude, which launched on Kickstarter in 2017, sells bedding made from eco-friendly bamboo that’s even softer and cooler than cotton. Our Home Director Danielle Blundell has a pair of pillowcases from the brand and can confirm their softness and durability. Ettitude sells the whole range of bedding, from basics like duvets and mattress protectors to sheets and duvet covers. Beyond bedding, they also sell bath, clothing, and even accessories, all crafted from lyocell made from bamboo.
Founded in 2017, Year & Day is committed to getting people around the dinner table and actually engaging with one another. Created for those who love to entertain, the brand has dinnerware you’ll actually be excited to use, from flatware and plates to glasses and serving pieces. All the products are pared down to their basic form (it’s pretty much the antithesis of Anthro’s brightly patterned kitchenware), with simple colorways and no frills. The entire line is influenced by the brand’s California roots, although every product is made in Europe by legacy crafters. The result? Gorgeous, minimalist kitchen essentials that you’ll use for years.
Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ll definitely recognize Cold Picnic‘s iconic Boob Bathmat. The bathmat, which has since sold out on their site (although you can still buy it in brown at ban.do, in pink at Nordstrom, and in cream at Need Supply Co.), is part of the brand’s Private Parts collection (which we profiled here). Aside from boobs, the line carries other NSFW bathmats and pillows—including the popular Torso Bathmat, which you can also buy in a colorful version at ban.do. And if nudity isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other patterns and colors to shop, including some gorgeous statement-making rugs we can’t get enough of. Here’s to hoping the entire Private Parts collection is restocked in 2020 (along with other new collections).