As I’m currently on furlough, I’ve been getting my research on early to find the perfect presents for my loved ones this Christmas and general little pick-me-up gifts to bring a bit of joy to these dark days.
I’m sure this won’t be the first time that you’ve heard this, but small independent businesses need our support now more than ever.
The spread of the global pandemic has undoubtedly affected the economy. While we can’t stop this, we can make a choice with where we spend our money this Christmas so let’s give small businesses a fighting chance to rebound.
Admittedly, you might not find everything you’re looking for when shopping small but please do consider giving them a go first or even buying just one present from a small business – it will mean the world to them!
So what does it mean if you shop small?
- It means that you are supporting an individual who is trying to live their dream of having their creativity appreciated, loved and shared.
- To support people who may have lost their full times jobs and are now relying on their talent to support themselves.
- An opportunity to give a gift that is lovingly made and possibly customised.
- You can often deal directly with the business owner themselves, build a relationship with them and get advice and recommendations when needed.
- Every small business that I’ve shopped with has also included a lovely hand-written note and/or an extra little gift too, so you feel that your purchase has really made someone’s day, as opposed to supporting a big corporation.
I couldn’t find the exact quote, but I read a brilliant tweet a while ago that went along the lines of:
“Do you want to support someone’s dream or help a multi-millionaire to buy another speedboat?”
I’d initially planned to do a list featuring all types of gifts but came across so many brilliant independent businesses selling incredible art prints, stationery and cards that I didn’t want to miss any of them out.
So, without further ado, here is my list of small businesses to support this Christmas (or any other time of the year) with a few of my personal favourites from each store thrown in for luck!
I’ve been following Janice on Instagram for years and she’s one of my favourite artists on there. Last year, James very kindly bought me one of her prints.
It’s great quality, came with a personalised note and some beautiful free mini prints too which I loved.
Her site features prints, postcards, stickers and a calendar.
If you live in the UK, I’d recommend ordering a little earlier if you’re planning for a Christmas gift; it takes a few weeks to arrive as she’s based in Canada, but it’s totally worth it!
Polly is the illustrator behind Sighh. ‘When I’m not hot-desking at coffee shops, I operate out of a sometimes-tidy studio in Manchester, designing feel-good products that are equal parts pretty and practical.’
If you’re a fan of positive and motivational millennial pink art prints, keyrings, stationary, tote bags, mirror decals and more, go and check them out!
“These prints don’t just look good – they’re also kind to our planet! Each art print is made entirely out of recycled coffee cups. It’s the circle of life – the coffee that once fuelled you is now a gorgeous piece of wall art, ready to energise you on slow, sleepy days.”
I met the wonderful Luci at work when she came to help us out with a photoshoot and took part in our craft week embroidery.
Now she has her own business as an independent artist living in London, with a background in Graphic Design and Illustration. All of her work is inspired by her day to day life and internal thoughts and dreams, from a place of experimentation, love and humour.
Her shop includes art prints, bags, candles, cards and gift cards.
I discovered Elizabeth’s page through the Zoella X Etsy collaboration.
I love the positive vibes of her art prints and I’m a sucker for a motivational quote.
Another great discovery through the Zoella X Etsy collaboration.
The muted watercolours are gorgeous, and I especially love this line art breakfast print and the simple red and pink combo.
The perfect prints for your music-lovin’ pals with lots of different colour combinations that you can choose from too.
‘Sooshichacha is a cutting edge, award winning British design studio who create beautiful contemporary designs for stationery, art prints, home interiors and gifts.
All artwork is hand painted by one of their highly talented designers. The signature look of the company is led by the founder of the company; Lucie Chadderton. Lucie has a fine art degree and has worked for a number of design houses. She set up Sooshichacha 7 years ago along with her husband Philip.
The studio is also home to a couple of doggies; Woody and Pablo. They are being taught to paint and eat leftover pies.’
I’ve bought fun cards for friends by Sooshichacha and recently purchased two of their candles. They smell great and came with a little handwritten Christmas card. Speaking of which, they do personalised Christmas cards too!
Move over, Amazon.
‘A modern stationery, party accessories and homewares studio run by me, Katie. I specialise in beautiful, personal, thoughtful products that champion positivity and kindness, and are sentimental without being saccharine. Or, as a loyal customer wonderfully described recently ‘feel good, down to earth, a twist of ‘fancy’ without being wanky’ – I am VERY happy with this description!’
Katie’s branding is right up my street with the ‘sentimental without being saccharine’ vibes.
She also creates personalised gifts which, quite frankly, beats a Boots gift set doesn’t it?
‘Claudia Lam (aka The Forest Mori) specializes in designing and creating cheeky apparel, artworks and handmade accessories. The Forest Mori makes the best out of various mediums in her artworks including clay, resin and acrylic paint. Currently based in Perth, The Forest Mori sells worldwide and is stocked internationally in artistic gift shops.’
I’ve been following The Forest Mori on Instagram for quite a few years now and I find her work so joyful and fun! As well as art prints and cards, she also makes ceramic bowls, stickers, accessories and pins which are all adorable.
However, if you’re ordering from the UK, get on it as the delivery will take a little longer.
‘The whole thing began as a very small idea in the whirlwind brain of designer and illustrator Emily Coxhead. At just 22-year-old she began to realise the negative effect that the news was having whilst going through a difficult time herself. The Happy News, along with Emily’s colourful, quirky greeting cards, products and books were all created from Emily’s bedroom in a tiny village in Lancashire. Five years later, Emily continues her mission to ‘sprinkle a tiny bit of happiness all over the planet’ as The Happy News is read by over 20,000 subscribers in 33 different countries each quarter. Emily also enjoys taking photos, making cookies, drinking cups of tea and spending time by the sea.’
While some of the products are a little sugary, bright and twee for my personal taste, some of her motivational prints are lovely! I also love The Happy Newspaper which is a great present idea for a friend as they provide an annual gift subscription for an extra dose of positivity every 3 months!
‘The Completist was founded in January, 2018 by husband and wife duo Marko and Jana and is run from their colourful studio in Peckham, London.
Inspired by art, fashion and history and united by their love of good design, The Completist is well-known for their unique combinations of print, colour and beautiful products. From cards for every occasion to their popular lay-flat notebooks, they have something for every design-conscious stationery lover.
They go the extra mile to make sure The Completist ‘experience’ is as sustainable as possible – all their paper goods are made from FSC certified paper and come in biodegradable film bags. The rest of the packaging is made from FSC certified card or recycled paper.’
Sustainable and run by a husband and wife duo in London? Sign me up.
I especially like the look of their washi tape, calendar and wall planner, as someone who likes being able to see their plans for the year at a single glance; I actually had something similar, but less aesthetically pleasing, during uni and it helped me to stay reasonably organised.
I discovered Georgie’s work through Instagram a few months ago and fell in love. As a fellow British Born Chinese gal to Hong Kong immigrant parents, I’m a big fan of her relatable ‘fun and playful ‘flash tattoo’ style illustrations, colourful nods to Asian diaspora and light-hearted interpretations of everyday life.’
As a one-woman-band, she has very limited stock on her site so keep an eye out for when she restocks!
The style and colours of these Hong Kong inspired prints are my absolute favourite.
Sha’an d’Anthes (aka furrylittlepeach) is an illustrator, artist & author based in Sydney, Australia.
I’ve been following Sha’an on Instagram for around 7 years now and love her colourful and playful work. I bought one of her gorgeous prints a few years ago and it contained a handwritten note and a bonus vinyl sticker which was just the cutest.
Her store is currently closed but do follow her on her social media platforms to find out when she’ll be restocking.
She currently has 2 beautifully illustrated children’s books out and her store usually has lots of colourful prints.
I recently discovered these hand illustrate bookmarks of cult classics through Nikki and it may possibly be my new favourite thing.
I read a lot but always use a paperclip as a bookmark, but I’d definitely be more tempted to use one of these bad boys.
Brilliant quotes on posters, totes, stickers and tops!
This next section contains shops with collaborative collections and shares the work of talented creatives through a slightly larger platform.
‘Sidonie set up Papersmiths in 2012 as a space to celebrate and inspire creative pursuits. Her mission is to curate the very best stationery and paper goods and she’s travelled to Europe, North America and Australia in search of new designs.’
Having visited their beautiful shop in Brighton and the great selection in Wolf and Badger in Kings Cross, you can see the care that’s gone into the presentation of the shops with pens, cards and books displayed in aesthetically pleasing colour blocks.
Everything in there is such high quality so I’d definitely recommend checking them out online and give this lovely article a read: why coronavirus won’t be the end of Papersmiths.
I’m an especially big fan of their greeting card range.
‘In 2014, London was named the most visited city on the planet. Also being home to one of the most acclaimed creative communities in the world – we thought it was high time that souvenirs reflected the true creativity of the capital!
Our solution is to bring together London-inspired goods from artists, designers and makers, living and working in the city. We offer visitors from across the globe (along with London locals!) the chance to take home a unique and lasting piece of the city, whilst supporting London’s creative community at the same time.’
Whenever I’m in Carnaby Street, I always pay a visit to this brilliant shop and love the art prints, stationary, homeware, accessories and cards on offer!
‘The Daily Pennants are contemporary London flag makers working in print, hand painting, fabric, applique and anything else that looks interesting.’
I recently came across these gorgeous prints on my lunch break when I came across the ‘They Made This’ stall at the Lower Stable Street Christmas Market which I’d thoroughly recommend checking out! The owner was really friendly and the brand have collaborated with lots of brilliant artists but I absolutely fell in love with these simple prints by ‘The Daily Pennants.’
‘Not so long ago we found ourselves let down by the lack of creativity, diversity and poor quality of the online greeting card offering. The high street wasn’t much better, and we could see people settling for cards that would ‘just do’ rather than thinking ‘this is a beautiful card that sums up my feelings for the recipient’. We’re striving to offer the best card shopping experience with the ability to find the perfect greeting card quickly (and not one that’ll just do!).
Thortful is a creative card marketplace supporting a community of designers, illustrators and photographers who create beautiful, unique greeting cards (most of which you won’t find on the high street!). We believe that our creators should be appropriately rewarded for their creative talents, so we pay them an industry-leading royalty rate too – they deserve nothing less!’
I discovered Thortful during the first lockdown and loved their diverse range of cards and, if you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of cards and always have a big stash of them at home. As it wasn’t as safe to pop to the post office to send off a card, I sent a few to friends on Thortful with personalised messages for a bit of a pick-me-up. You can also add flowers, chocolates or socks to recipients in the UK!
There’s an option to get ahead of the game and schedule card deliveries for the future too, so no excuses.
It’s a great online platform to help support a wide range of creatives who you may not have otherwise discovered!
‘When we started in London in 2015 with personalised greeting cards and stationery, our aim was to inspire people to connect with each other more often and in more meaningful ways. Since then, we’ve added pieces of Papier to help you share and capture the big and little life moments with your personal touch. From wedding invitations to birth announcements, family photo albums to whatever we come up with next, we’re here for you to put your life on beautifully designed paper.’
I don’t think Papier actually counts as a small business, but I wanted to pop them in here at the end because I’ve received and sent gifts from their website and love them!
My favourites are the photo books which Nikki first introduced me to a few Christmases ago and I’ve made a couple for friends’ birthdays since and they always go down well.
You can also create personalised notebooks (which I’ve also been very lucky to have received from friends), cards, calendars and more!
It’s all great quality and who doesn’t love a personalised gift?!
I hope this post has helped you to discover a small business to support this Christmas, or at any other time of the year.
Let me know if you have any recommendations and hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend!