Of all years, it’s more important than ever that we consider small businesses for our holiday gift purchases (or some retail therapy for yourself… no judgment!). The companies that have made it this far through the pandemic may be barely hanging on by a thread, so any dollars we can spend with small businesses can have a huge impact! Plus, it provides the opportunity to find more unique and even one-of-a-kind items to give to our friends and families. I reached out to my network via Instagram stories to get suggestions for great small businesses to support, and I wanted to share them! I’ve also added some of my favorites. It’s obviously skewed toward Atlanta (as well as my home state of North Carolina), but most products are available for purchase online.
You may be thinking, “but Kenan, it’s October…” True, but I love planning ahead for holiday gift shopping for several reasons: One, it’s less stressful than trying to scramble at the last minute. Two, it’s easier to budget when you spread out the spending over a couple months. And three, small shops mostly can’t afford free, two-day shipping and many of them need some lead time for making, packaging, and shipping items because they don’t have a warehouse crew doing it for them. So, everyone’s happier and less stressed if you’re able to plan ahead!
The vast majority of the businesses listed below are woman-owned and operated, and many of them are owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), which I’ve noted. None of these are sponsored, and while I haven’t personally tried all of the products yet, I feel good about what I’ve seen online (and trust the recommendations I received). If you have any other suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments below!
Lastly, if you buy or receive products from small businesses, don’t forget to share (through word-of-mouth and social media) and tag them. Any positive endorsement is helpful, even if you have 28 followers, and it costs you nothing but a little time.
Beautifully textured, Japanese-inspired stoneware pieces like plates, bowls, mugs, and planters. Wheel-thrown in a small studio in Atlanta. BIPOC-owned. The natural basaltic (matte black) pieces are particularly stunning! The next online shop update is 11/11.
What I plan to order: the Mini Dimple Tumbler ($25)
Contemporary porcelain pieces with gold details for tabletop and decor, slip cast from handmade molds in a small studio in Atlanta.
A values-driven pottery company based in Asheville, North Carolina (with showrooms in Asheville and Atlanta). They make dishwasher-safe kitchen and tabletop pieces with seasonal glazes. They’ve recently moved to a pre-order / made-to-order system, so plan accordingly. The next round of availability starts later in November–the online pre-orders usually sell out super quickly, so head to a showroom if you’re able.
Wheel-thrown ceramics for the home, including mugs, vases, and planters. Hand-carved details and neutral glazes make these pieces unique yet broadly appealing.
Keep an eye out for Kara’s next shop update for her one-of-a-kind pieces.
A Durham-based, family-run candle business with a mission to share positive narratives about Blackness. Their candles are made with natural waxes, are housed in chic matte black jars, and have custom-blended scents inspired by places that honor the Black diaspora. BIPOC-owned.
I’ll be ordering: the Paris candle ($28) with notes of peony, gardenia, and crème brûlée… yes, please!
Hand-poured, vegan, soy-based candles in seasonal scent collections. Their goal is to deliver sustainable luxury at affordable prices. BIPOC-owned.
Small batch, nature-inspired soy candles. A meal is donated for each candle sold. Available online and at Ponce City Market in Atlanta (in Citizen Supply).
The perfect kitchen candle: citrus paradisi (from $18)
Coconut and soy wax blend in USA-made glass tumblers with artful labels. Scents come in the year-round Core Collection, as well as seasonal collections (currently the Manor House Weekend Collection). Available online and from Nordstrom.
If you’re tired of pumpkin spice scents, try: the dappled wood candle ($36)
Food-inspired soy candles and room sprays from food blogger Erica Key of Eating with Erica. BIPOC-owned.
Freshen up your powder room with: the lemongrass candle ($36.50)
Small batch chocolate made with ethically sourced cacao and organic cane sugar, no fillers. Single origin bars highlight unique flavor profiles, and flavor inclusion bars have fun add-ins, like crunchy cacao nibs, jerk spices, or creamy coconut milk. Available online and in their Krog Street Market microfactory in Atlanta.
Award-winning, bean-to-bar chocolate made into a variety of bars, truffles, and confections. The nuanced flavors are the brainchild of two former restaurant culinary professionals. Available for pickup only at their downtown Raleigh storefront, and a limited selection is available online for shipping. BIPOC-owned.
I want: dulce de leche cardamom truffles ($1.95/each)
Another fantastic bean-to-bar company who champions fairly sourced cacao. Their products range from chocolate bars to truffles to drinking chocolate. They also offer ice cream and pastries in their Asheville locations.
It’s hard to go wrong with: the signature collection of chocolate truffles (from $19)
The name says it all: bomb biscuits. Erica Council is a biscuit ninja with a lifetime of experience, thanks to her family restaurant, Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill. You can now have her amazing biscuits and seasonal jams delivered to your doorstep (or a loved one’s doorstep)… as long as you live in Atlanta. This isn’t a traditional gift, but it would be a great thank you for a party host or non-contact way to send a treat to family. Biscuit box delivery to ITP Atlanta, Fridays and Saturdays. BIPOC-owned.
See the latest offerings here (from $15)
Look no further for adorably decorated sugar cookies! Shelly’s offerings include seasonal designs, custom orders (currently booked through early January), and DIY cookie decorating kits. Available for local pickup in Dunwoody, GA or available online for shipping.
Currently loving: the Harry Potter boxed set for Halloween ($30)
Multipurpose pantry staples made for home cooks. Made with lots of veggies and no junk. Recipe cards are included with the products. They’ve released their inaugural product, not just pasta sauce, but have more in the works!
I’m planning to try: the not just pasta sauce ($27 for 3 jars)
Chef-crafted, vegan jams that are low in sugar and packed with flavor. BIPOC-owned.
Try the sour cherry ginger jam ($13) for holiday cocktails
Pepper jellies and preserves based on a family recipe. Great for a classic pepper jelly and cream cheese appetizer, as well as cocktail mixers and cheese plate accompaniments. (Think pineapple jalapeno jelly in spicy margs!)
Organic, fair-trade teas and tea powders. The company focuses on health and well-being, as well as sustainable sourcing and partnerships with tea growers.
Thoughtfully blended teas that are “fancy without the fuss.” Available at their tea room on the Atlanta Beltline and through their online tea shop. BIPOC-owned.
Creative salt blends, flavored sugars, and fancy sprinkles. This whimsical dry goods company doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Cheerful and colorful jewelry, including their namesake–handmade tassels–as well as bright, beaded options. Available in the forthcoming downtown Charleston storefront and online. BIPOC-owned.
Handmade, customizable jewelry at a variety of price points. Started as an Etsy shop in the kitchen of a single mom, now a sustainable business empowering artisans.
Perfect for a bride or new mom: the Frankie heart necklace (from $34)
A family-run company selling homegoods with an eye for sustainability–think cloth napkins, kitchen cleaning tools, reusable straws. Available at their Brunswick, GA store (near St. Simons Island and Sea Island) and online.
Heirloom-quality home goods and curated vintage items. They’re known for their luxe aprons (formerly known as IceMilk Aprons), and they excel at all things Southern and vintage-inspired. Of course, you can get almost anything monogrammed.
A boutique for the lover of craft and artistically-made items. From jewelry to fragrance to cards to accessories, the owners carefully select items from independent makers. Visit their storefront in the Poncey-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta, or purchase online. Locally-sourced flower arrangements are also available in-store!
Authentic Morrocan rugs and home decor imported by an interior designer and her Morrocan husband. BIPOC-owned.
A rural mother-daughter letterpress studio making high quality paper goods, such as cards, art prints, and their yearly calendar.
Custom photo edits, cut out stickers, and magnets that take out the background noise and focus on your loved one’s face. Custom products include the option for adding graphic elements—think birthday hats, bows, or bow ties.
I just ordered: custom stickers for Griffin’s first birthday (from $25)
Health & Beauty
Sustainable, small batch skincare in plastic-free, recyclable packaging. The organic ingredients are all carefully sourced with fair pay in mind, and 10% of profits go to clean water initiatives.
A boutique that takes the guesswork out of clean beauty. Peruse their curated selection of makeup, skincare, and haircare with peace of mind, knowing they won’t have harmful chemicals in them. Shop their Poncey-Highland store in Atlanta (in the same block at Young Blood Boutique, above!) or online.
A plant-based skincare line founded by sisters seeking clean, affordable products for their sensitive and acne-prone skin. BIPOC-owned.
For some self care: try the healing kale mask ($28)
Services & Education
This coaching service was born out of a desire to stop glorifying busyness and live a balanced life (hence the name!). Offerings include 10 person online Masterclasses, workshop facilitating, speaking engagements, a podcast, and a blog. BIPOC-owned.
For yourself or a friend: online Masterclass with 1:1 followup ($35 each or $100 for 4)
A non-profit learning collective based in Chattanooga with affordable in-person and online classes and workshops for adults. The diverse offerings include everything from how to hand letter your Thanksgiving place cards to the basics of crowdfunding to holiday cocktails. BIPOC-founded.
Treat yourself to: the Thanksgiving cocktails class ($15 class only or $30 with supplies shipped)
Whisked Away Atlanta, Atlanta
A local Atlanta meal delivery service featuring locally-sourced, seasonal dishes made from scratch. The high quality, affordable meals are sold by the serving with no subscription necessary.
Keep an eye out for: the nutella chocolate chip cookies and any pasta dish!
Brave + Kind Bookshop, Atlanta
An independent bookstore with a selection of diverse and artful books for children. Book and author events are offered (virtually) and monthly book subscriptions are available. The Decatur location is currently closed for in-shop browsing but porch pickup can be arranged for local pickup. BIPOC-owned.
For the new baby: a farmers market book & crochet carrot gift bundle ($23)
For young children: a story book bundle (from $50)
Treehouse Kid & Craft, Atlanta & Athens, GA
A kids’ shop full of arts, crafts, books, and toys made by independent makers. They have brick and mortar locations in Athens and Decatur, Georgia, and online shopping is available; you can even sort by age.
Adding to Griffin’s wishlist: this toddler vegetable basket ($22.50)
Not sure what to pick? Let them choose a box of happy for you (from $30)
Seed Factory, Atlanta
A children’s boutique with a thoughtful selection of clothes, toys, and books for newborns through age 8. Shop at their store in West Midtown or online.
For the new babe: Blabla kids mermaid rattle ($26)
For the toddler: Raduga Grez wooden tea set ($56)
Flowers & Gardening
3 Porch Farm, Comer, GA
A solar-powered flower farm sustainably run by a wife and husband team. Under normal circumstances, you can find their organically-grown flowers at Atlanta-area and Athens farmers markets, but this year, you can get a limited selection shipped to your house. They sell seeds and other farm products through their online store as well. They also have amazing yearly plant sales (both edible plants and ornamental)–they are pickup only this year at their Comer, Georgia farm, near Athens.
For an eco-friendly party: flower confetti ($24)
For the gardener: Formosa lily seeds ($12)
Plant Good Seed, Ojai, CA
Unique vegetable, flower, and herb seeds cultivated in Ojai, California. They include many organic and/or heirloom varieties, and none are genetically engineered or treated.
Easy to grow (and so delicious): organic arugula seeds ($3.99)
Great for hot climates: cosmos flower seeds ($3.99)