Small Biz Loves
Beauty Gift Sets: Waste or Worth it?
Well, shopping season is upon us and while I’m confident you are coming across a pile of Gift Guides, I hope to offer you something a little bit different.
As a former small business owner (I used to co-own Elisabeth Ashlie Jewelry with my sister), I’m a huge supporter of makers who are committed to using their talents to provide both fantastic and high quality items to the world.
As a blogger, I’m grateful to often be on the receiving end of goods from small businesses in an effort to spread the word about their products. And while I could easily have listed a ton more stores, I spent some time thinking about my absolute favorite things from small businesses. I thought to myself, “If I have to buy a gift for someone, where is the first place I’ll look?”
Before I get into it, know that this isn’t sponsored in any way. I e-mailed the shop owners to let them know I was including them on my list, and some kindly offered promo codes as a ‘thank you’, but otherwise this is a completely genuine list of my favorite shops!
A few of my favorites:
1. Allisa Jacobs. I remember coming across Allisa’s etsy shop years and years ago. Maybe 4 years ago? I love her fabric choices, and her quality cannot be beat. Other than having a few bags of hers, I also have her Portfolio Organizer, which fits an iPad Mini perfectly! Use promo code “smallthings10” to go $10 off your order of $30 or more until 11/29.
2. Fotostrap. When Jordan and I hosted Type and Click in the spring, we had the pleasure of working with Fotostrap on providing a swanky giveaway for one of the attendees! Fotostrap kindly offered Jordan and I a strap as well. It is very strong and durable, and it was nearly impossible to choose which color I wanted. They offer monograming as well! On top of creating a quality camera strap, they also donate 10% to Fotolanthropy from each purchase! A camera strap is one of those things that may be hard for a friend or family member to justify (since a DSLR often comes with one), but it’s such a nice personal touch that I’m sure the recipient would love.
3. Better Life Bags. Rebecca, the founder of BLB, has become a friend of mine and the only thing I really dislike about her is how far away she lives. We both love Sour Patch Kids and if that fact alone doesn’t foster a life long friendship, I don’t know what does. I own 3 BLB’s, and I have to say my latest diaper bag is my favorite! The bags are fantastic quality, customizable, and the heart of why she does what she does makes it even more special. If you want to order a custom bag for Christmas, the deadline is Friday 11/28!
4. The Dotted Poppy. I couldn’t write about my favorite shops without including my mom’s shop in the mix! After developing a love for making jewelry after helping my sister and I with a busy holiday season, we encouraged her to start her own shop! It’s fun to see her grow and develop her business, and she always pays close attention to quality and style of her jewelry. Use promo code “15OFFST” for 15% off your order until 12/5!
5. ThimblePress. I found ThimblePress on Instagram after drooling over the National Stationary Show hashtag several months ago. I have a notepad obsession, and love the creativity and uniqueness of her products. I often fill my cart with products from Thimblepress, but then see that I already have about 10 notebooks that need to be used up before I can justify buying more. I basically use 1 sheet of paper per note though so it won’t be long before I need new ones! Use promo code “small things” to get 15% off your order total until 12/31/14
6. Latchy Catchy. I found latchy catchy on Etsy a long time ago, and bought one to put on a closet door to the room where the cats’ litter box is. And then I had David and I found that I wanted one for a few more doors in my house. They are one of those products that was created to fulfill a specific need, and you don’t even realize how perfect they are until you have the need for one. I’ve learned that David is a pretty light sleeper, so the simple clicking of the door in the latch would wake him but the latchy catchy now allows me access without disturbing his sleep! Use promo code “sweetdreams” for 10% off today only!
7. Elisabeth Ashlie. My former business partner, and sister, has done exceptionally well with growing the brand and expanding it into something bigger than I could have imagined! It’s not unusual for her to get a list of earrings that I want her to bring the next time she visits! If time allowed, I would so love to have continued to be a part of it, but watching her take it and run with it is fulfilling in and of itself. Use promo code “smallthings10” to get 10% off your order today only!
Love the bag! 😀
After how much you raved about Better Life Bags, I purchased the Molly last spring and loved using it as my summer purse. I got so many compliments, and loved that fact that my purchase went to a very good cause. I’ve also purchased nesting pouches for myself, as well as for my sister as a present to her for being my maid of honor in my wedding last month. I’m debating my next bag…
I’ve also made purchases from your mom and sisters store… just so great! I love Etsy shops, in general, because I like the fact that someone personally made my item, and it helps their own business. I will definitely be checking out the others you mentioned!
Love to hear this! Rebecca will as well! It’s such a cool company AND they are great quality bags. You can’t go wrong.
Wow, love the clutches on the Allisa Jacobs etsy shop! Definitely going to pick up a couple for my sisters-in-law for Christmas! They’ll be great to stash some goodies inside!
Quick question about the latchie catchie: Does it being on David’s bedroom door allow the cats to get in his room? My daughter (who is now 4) is still the same way with jerking awake at the sound of the door. But I don’t want our 2 cats to be able to get in her room and wake her up either…
I suppose our cats could really push hard to get the door open, but they never do. I guess it depends on the cats!
Just an FYI, the promo code for your mom’s shop doesn’t appear to be work.
Thank you! I’ll let her know!
Okay for some reason that code was broken. It’s now “15OFFST” for 15 % off!
Great ideas. I always enjoying seeing what people are buying from Etsy stores etc. I would much prefer to support small businesses that offer great quality and service. Great post!
Wow this is so cool! Thanks Kate!!! 😀
Wait a sec.. does your mom create earrings on that website?
Yes, she makes the jewelry in her shop
Oh cool! I will have to check that out, thanks!! And Happy early Thnksgiving! 🙂
Sorry to keep commenting but i wanted to say i checked out your sister’s jewelry and i love it! Its very creative and beautiful.. 🙂
I tried using the code for Latchy Catchy and it said it was expired?
Ah same with your sister’s store!
Same!!!! I’ve been eyeing latchy catchy so I would love the code!
oh man, sorry about this! Working on getting an updated code!
okay it should be fixed!
It should be updated now. Sorry for the hassle!
Thanks so much for the shoutout, Kate! We loved working with you and Jordan for Type & Click. Thanks again!
HI, the latchy catchy is a great idea! I went to go purchase one and the coupon is expired 🙁 Do you have a different one?
oh man, sorry about this! Working on getting an updated code!
The coupon should be updated! Sorry for the issue!
Thanks – it worked 🙂
Does your mom make all the jewelry on her site?
The reason I asked if she makes all her jewelry is because that is how you present it. Yet it looks exactly like things I have seen in multiple stores around here, which are resold, mass-produced pieces. It is perfectly fine if that is what she is doing, but stating it as all hand-made by her is false advertising and not exactly ethical. I noticed you did not reply to the previous reader’s comment who had essentially the same concern. The jewelry is fine, we just want to know who made it and that seems a fair question.
She hand makes her jewelry. I’m not interested in lying to or misleading to my readers so I would never falsely advertise something like that, I’m disappointed that you would question that about me in the first place. Perhaps she buys her supplies from similar places that other stores purchase from, but her jewelry is handmade.
Kate – It was not my intention to offend you and I am genuinely sorry if you feel that way. However, I feel this was an honest question as I have visited the sites that offer the exact same volume sold/super inexpensive jewelry your sister has been questioned about reselling. When things appear suspicious and people are being asked to spend their money, please don’t act as if you are above providing a simple answer. You have offended me, as well.
I don’t dispel it was an honest question, and I was happy to provide an answer! I guess what surprised me is the insinuation that I would describe a shop as handmade when it, in fact, isn’t. I wouldn’t do that! I owned a handmade biz for awhile so I know how important that distinction is. Like I said, the handmade jewelry market is quite saturated, and there’s a good chance these other sites you are seeing are using similar suppliers for their beads/gems/findings. It was not my intention to offend you, I just wanted to provide a clear answer and express my disappointment in my ethics being questioned. Perhaps I replied to hastily, but-again-after working in the handmade world for a bit I’m sensitive to this stuff and simply wanted to reply with intensity that I would never describe something as handmade if it is not.
Let me clear up a note of confusion based on your last reply: My sister (Elisabeth Ashlie Jewelry) sells handmade AND wholesale jewelry. That is clearly stated on her website. My mom, The Dotted Poppy, does not sell any wholesale jewelry. Hers is all handmade. Your initial comment referenced my mom’s shop, which is handmade only.
Perhaps we have been talking about the wrong shop this whole time. I apologize for any misunderstanding.
OK, Kate, I have given you the benefit of the doubt up until now, but your mom was recently selling 5 cent wholesale charms strung up on 2 cent chains and calling them “handmade” much like your sister does. So yes, you are indeed misleading your readers.
How does a potential customer asking questions before spending her hard-earned money offend you? I’ll be unsubscribing from your blog now. I like to support people who are polite and respectful. I’d suggest you come back down to earth and learn some manners.
I agree with the previous poster’s comment and Sharyn’s original question. I’m a long time reader and used to LOVE this blog. I looked forward to reading it every day. However, recently the changes that I’ve been seeing, I’m not talking about content necessarily, but just a change in Kate’s overall attitude and demeanor towards readers has been very disappointing. I totally understand that blogging is a very personal thing, however, when it becomes a business (and that’s fine there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) it is important to not take things so personally and remain professional. I do not think that previous posters intended to accuse Kate of being a bad person but rather wanted clarification to a very valid question. It’s important to remember that not everyone knows all about the Small Things Blog or Kate’s background in handmade shops and her very curt response to Sharyn’s question turned away at least a few readers and potential customers (including myself).
OK, I am probably one of your “oldest” blog readers at 57, and I have never seen the latchey catchey! We have a door to the basement that has to stay open for our Kitty to go to her litter box, I was so excited to see this little gem 🙂 Thanks for teaching this “old” gal a new trick!
great! glad to hear it!
A great list! I’m a small business owner and my husband is the director of our local small business center, so shopping small means a lot to us. We have made a pact to shop small for all our Christmas gifts this year! Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
Great post, Kate! I LOVE small businesses, as I have friends (and even my husband) who have small businesses. These items are great inspiration. I may have to go purchase some jewelry items for my friends or..ahem…myself…which keeps happening every time I try to Christmas shop.
Mmm Sour Patch Kids…. One of my faves too! You’re never too old for those right? : )
I am actually in need of a photostrap as I’ve lost the one that came with my camera! I’d much rather purchase from a small business and support them. Thanks for sharing, and Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!
Jenny // Mish Mosh Makeup
This is all very helpful, but I miss David Wednesdays 🙁
ah, me too! It’s been a busy few weeks, but I’m planning on getting back to the regular routine soon!
This gift guide is great, I think you have definitely offered something a little different. It’s great buying from big stores but purchasing from smaller businesses, you know that a lot of care and effort has gone into everything. Great picks, I will be checking out these sites in the hope I can find something for my friends 🙂
All of these stores look like places I’d love to get and give gifts from. It’s nice to know where to get something different and high quality, while at the same time supporting small business. I’m going to pin this list for later reference. Thanks!
What a great list! I love giving gifts from small businesses. They seem so much more personal and thought out. I recently purchased a pair of beautiful gold earrings from your mom’s store and LOVE them! They are my go-to gold earrings! I now need to go check out your sister’s store. So much jewelry, so little time, lol! Happy Thanksgiving!
I love everything at Allisa Jacobs! Now I have to decided what I want to pick up. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve ordered from your mom before and she was super helpful and so courteous. I can’t wait to order from her again!
love these so cute
check out my newest post
This is a very nice helpful list- honestly I have not heard of most of them and I am gonna check them all out now! Thanks!
Hey Kate! I’ve been trying to narrow down which BLB purse I want to get for a couple months now and I can’t friggin’ decide! I’m constantly creating new purses on their site! Which ones do you have? The Linda looks adorable as a diaper bag, but I already have a diaper bag that I like so I probably want a small/medium sized purse. I was just curious which ones you have and that would be awesome if you could share a picture of them all in the future! 🙂 I wish they had a Black Friday deal because I would have been allll over it!
I ordered some earrings from your mothers store for my mother in law for Christmas and I boomarked/pinned your sisters site to purchase jewelry in the future. I also bookmarked Better Life Bags because I loved the black and white striped purse to pieces 😀
i think i just spent a good hour perusing your mom’s shop! love it!!