Don't know where to start with trying to shop small this festive season? No worries, I'm here to help with a guide to some of my fave small businesses!
I've used each seller's Instagram tag so you can look them up, but the link will also take you straight to their selling site for easier shopping!
Things for the kiddos
I kinda hate just buying the latest hype toys for kids: their parents hate the piles of plastic; it's terrible for the environment; it costs a bloody fortune! I'm all about buying books from your local independent book stores (educational and quiet), but I also love these folks for their not-your-average kid's gifts.
@JoandNicsCrinkly make beautiful newspapers from crinkly cloth for sensory story times. The Nursery Times, which features vibrant illustrations and favourite nursery rhymes, can also be customised for an extra special touch!
@biddyandbear is a local gal to me who makes ace kids clothing for adventuring in. She uses gorgeous patterns for dunagrees, onsies, sweatshirts, t-shirts...I'm particularly fond of the "Happy Eggs" jersey!
@yoyoandflo is your go-to for outrageously beautiful toys for little ones. Everything has a very Scandi/Hygge feel, with neutral tones, polished wood and soft fabrics, and I'm totally in love with this Princess and The Pea inspired Maileg doll and these wooden eggs!
I love gifting (and receiving) a subscription because it's the gift that keeps on giving!
@thehappynewspaper is a quarterly newspaper "to celebrate all that's good in the world". I decided to sign up to this earlier in the year when lockdown was REALLY getting to me and needed to see some positives and honestly, it brings me so much joy when it drops through my letterbox.
I've already bought a subscription for my Mum-in-law, who loved reading my last copy. 32 pages of positive things that have happened in the world: who wouldn't want that sort of joy in their lives?!
@theprocrastinationpaper is another subscription I've already treated myself to. It's a fiver a month and each issue is themed and chock-full of articles on that subject from many contributors. Zabby came up with the idea when she realised how much time she spent scrolling through the 'gram: she wanted to give people a way to procrastinate positively!
@theyaymakers are the ones you want for bright and colourful t-shirts! It's a bi-monthly subscription and each box comes with a t-shirt designed by a fellow small biz person. Kate also has one-off boxes and gift cards too.
Clothing, jewellery, accessories
@hellohellododo are also great for colourful clothing! They love a punny t-shirt (as do I), but also have a whole range of kid's clothing, hoodies, badges & pins, home accessories and more. I'm partial to this Gull Power crop, FYI.
@Helenmaterfield makes the most beautiful ceramic jewellery and hair slides. I love her use of pastel tones mixed with striking gold detail in organic shapes.
@the.jewellery.makers is a collective of British Indie makers, with a focus on hand-crafted silver pieces. There's so many choices of style and design, you'll be hours choosing!
@themoonandthefurrow is your kinda thing if you're after truly stunning printed handkerchiefs (and tea towels, and cards, and prints), that are inspired by folklore and nature. These make great headscarves and neckerchiefs for your vintage-inspired pals.
@Midnight_Alchemy_Designs hand crafts insanely gorgeous jewellery inspired by nature & folklore. Their rings are my favourite things ever!
Prints and Homeware
I'll warn you now, many of these recommendations are plant-focused because I'm a 100% certified crazy plant lady. Soz.
@happy_rose_shop is a Leeds lass and illustrator who takes her inspo from Tv & movies. From Mr Blobby phone cases to a card featuring Queer Eye's Jonathan as Jesus, she's got your back for quirky, retro prints and accessories!
@Elleisdunn is another Leeds illustrator who recently featured my little beer shop in her work! She's got some great posters available but is well up for commission pieces!
@kate_hall_design hand paints lovely botanical things and *bonus* has some beaut Christmas wrapping papers available. She also has some animal prints that would be great in a nursery, for any parents-to-be.
@itsbalderston is an illustrator and homeware designer who does a mean trade in laser-etched bamboo chopping/cheese boards. The designs are quirky and I'd have them all!
@herebemonsteras makes wheel thrown ceramics: from keep cups to hanging plant pots, each piece is just amazing. Brushstrokes and muted tones feature heavily in the collections for a timeless feel.
@Yorkshireknots@knot_and_bloom and @greatwhiteweaves are three sellers that hand-weave gorgeous macrame wall hangings. Yorkshire Knots love a neutral, Knot & Bloom is all about uniquely shaped plant holders and Great White Weaves loves to use texture and contrasting colour.
@hydeparkflowerclub.by.dotties are a Leeds based florist whose dried flower bouquets are to. die. for! Think tonal bouquets of vividly dyed grasses, thistles and palms, all expertly arranged for a display that will last you years! I've got the Budapest Hotel bunch brightening up my hallway and bought my mum-in-law the Raspberry Beret bunch for her birthday earlier in the year. They also deliver letterbox bouquets and have a houseplant subscription service.
@thehappyblossoms are another wonderful florist that also specialise in baked blossoms. I also have one of their bouquets (the Sherbert Macaroon bunch, in case you're interested) and the ybring me so much joy.
@grant.and.blossom make their candles using rapeseed and coconut wax, hand-pour the scents and they're all vegan and eco friendly! They come in dinky little tins with pretty printed patterns created alongside other indie designers. Bonus points if you buy from them because for every candle bought, £1 goes to the Stop Hate UK charity.
@claregetscrafty is a crochet addict who creates colourful plant pots from leftover t-shirts (being eco friendly and actively tackling the fast fashion industry are matters that are close to many indie maker's hearts).
And that concludes a (very short-listed) tour of some my favourite indies! If you want to delve even further into the world of shopping small, you can also use the following online markets and hashtags on Instagram to find even more amazing, talented makers.
Finally, there are also a few ways to support small businesses without spending a penny: like their social media posts, or even better leave a comment (the algorithms like it if anything is over 3 words long and keep us in the feed). Share a photo of anything you've bought and tag them so other people can find them easily. Talk about them to friends and family.
With the latest announcement of a second lockdown, which falls during the busiest period for festive shopping, it's even more important to "vote with your money" and support your smaller, local business where you can. Having to close their physical doors is going to have a massive impact as people automatically reach for the apps of the household conglomerates. But every small business has an online selling platform - you just need to make a conscious choice to look for them!
Whether new to the idea of shopping small, or a seasoned professional, I hope you all enjoy the adventure that is seeking out independent makers who are passionate about their craft. I hope you enjoy the giving of a unique gift that will bring somebody joy.
And I sincerely hope that you all get to spend this Festive Season in a way that's special to you, regardless of Boris and his ever-changing (and two hours late) announcements.