Small Business Saturday Gift Guide…
2020 has been a LOT of things. Many of them bad. But there have been so many silver linings, too.
For our family, it’s been a time to really step back…at least 6′ worth of stepping away from some things. But a whole lot more stepping back in a figurative sense from many other things.
In that period of time when we all stepped back from our typical consumer activities, it created a space for us to stop and think about what we buy, and why we buy it. At least that’s how I felt. And perhaps a bit shamefully, I’ll admit that for maybe the first time in my life, I really felt the need to buy things with more of a purpose. To not just go for the easiest or the least expensive solution all of the time.
*This 2020 small business Saturday gift guide was sponsored by our friends at Stihl. Click here to learn about Independent We Stand, an advocacy campaign sponsored by STIHL whose goal is to raise awareness about why shopping local supports communities; the app and website make it easy to search for member businesses to support! All product suggestions and recommendations are 100% made by me. This content contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure policy here.*
I decided that when I felt comfortable spending money again, I wanted to spend with more intention. I wanted to support companies with a mission. And smaller companies. Domestic companies, for sure, and even more niche local companies whenever possible.
Now, it’s not always possible to find a small, domestic, mission-driven product for every product we want or need. But you can usually find a solution that fits at least one of those parameters. And for our family, I now feel it’s an obligation to at least try.
I’ll tell you what. Since I’ve noted this shift in myself, I’m happier making the purchases I make. And I’m guessing that if you haven’t altered your shopping habits yet, if you give this new shopping mindshift a chance, you’ll feel it as well.
So this month, in honor of small business Saturday (which is November 28), I’ve partnered with STIHL to share gift ideas that are one or a combination of the following:
- Made by mission-driven companies/organizations with clear charitable goals
- Created by small, domestic businesses
- Sold by small, independent vendors
- Are environmentally-friendly and lean toward natural and organic ingredients whenever possible
Each of the items listed in this guide are things I personally own, use, love and highly recommend.
Small Business Saturday Gift Guide: 10 Great Companies to Support & Products to Purchase
1. EO hand sanitizer
It’s 2020, so it’s fitting to start with something we’ve all grown quite attached to this year. And definitely something that would have NEVER stood a chance of topping a gift guide in any year that has since passed. Hand sanitizer!
Having tried MANY brands this year, EO is our favorite by a landslide. Best scent while still being effective, and made with organic, natural ingredients as much as possible. The company has a clear mission and supports local businesses as a part of their company outreach.
These small 6-ounce bottles are my favorite product. They are small enough to fit in your purse, glove compartment, even a pocket in a pinch. Plus, they’re the perfect stocking stuffer size!
Coconut lemon is my top choice, but I also really like the lavender and their peppermint citrus scents as well.
Below is a bit of their mission statement.
2. Puracy cleaning products
A cleaner recommendation also seems quite appropriate for this unique year. Our go-to are products by the company, Puracy.
A domestic company created by a duo of Texas best friends, Puracy creates products without harsh chemicals that may be unsafe or unhealthy to use in our homes. None of their formulations is less than 99% natural. Read more about the company and its values here.
The make a whole line of products for your home. The ones our family uses on a consistent basis include:
- Puracy All-Purpose Cleaner
- Multi-Surface Cleaner (for kitchens and bathrooms)
- Foaming Hand Soap – current favorite is the lavender and vanilla. The refills come in large pouches so you can reuse the bottles!
- Liquid Gel Hand Soap– I like all the variations, but my current favorite is the sea salt and citrus
- Organic Lemongrass Dish Soap
3. Good & Well Supply Co.
Candles and bath salts from this small business based in the Pacific Northwest saved my sanity this year.
I have a bit of a nomadic spirit, and when we were all stuck inside for months on end this year, burning their national park candles was one thing that could reliably put a smile on my face. Impossible to describe, but the scents of these candles are so gorgeous and natural.
Not to bag on any candle companies in particular, but some of the super popular companies out there…I just find the scents so manufactured, over the top, and kinda yucky. Good and Well’s products are imaginative but totally grounded, natural, and unlike any other candles I’ve ever owned.
When HGTV interviewed me this year about summer style, I happily touted these amazing candles.
They also make amazing bath salts that come in gorgeous apothecary style jars with bits of flowers and other natural ingredients in them. I couldn’t recommend their products more highly.
While STIHL is an international company, many of its products are manufactured in the United States at its U.S. headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia. And, STIHL’s awesome, reliable tools are sold only by small, independent community dealers and hardware stores. You can’t walk into a big box home store and find your STIHL chainsaw. In a time when so many small, local companies are struggling, it’s the perfect time to find and support your local, independent STIHL dealer.
The STIHL company feels strongly about using independent dealers and supporting small businesses. In fact, they’ve sponsored Independent We Stand, an advocacy campaign to raise awareness about why shopping local supports communities; the app and website also make it easy to search for member businesses to support.
You can find your own local dealer by heading to STIHL.com.
We live just outside the Washington DC metro area, and there are 10 local hardware stores within 15 miles of our home who carry STIHL gear.
What STIHL gear to gift this year? I have a couple awesome recommendations!
First, if you’re looking for a one-and-done landscaping tool system, we’d highly recommend their battery KombiSystem.
We’ve used ours for several years now. There are more than 10 attachments, which you can buy all at once if you have the budget, or accumulate them over time, as your yard tasks grow and change.
Needing more of a stocking stuffer idea? The STIHL brand work gloves are seriously the BEST ones around. Trust me, I have a huge box full of different styles and types, and the STIHL gloves are consistently the ones both Dave and I grab.
They have a whole page full of work glove options online. These are the ones I’d highly recommend.
5. Musee Bath Salts
Taking baths has been my self-care, relaxation time this year. Something I never took time to do in years past. And having awesome bath products has been so key. There are some great, mission-driven bath product companies out there, including Musee.
I was gifted one of their bath products at an influencer event in Manhattan last year. But I didn’t actually open and try it until this spring. Once I did, I was hooked.
Musee is based in Mississippi, and aside from using ethically sourced, natural ingredients, the company works in a very concrete way to support their local community. Here’s a quote:
Musee makes handcrafted, natural bath products in Madison County, Mississippi with the mission of restoring lives by providing dignified work for vulnerable people in our community. We primarily hire women in recovery, people with disabilities, and people who have lived in chronic poverty.
Here’s some more information about their company’s employment mission and outreach programs from the website…
Favorite product? The “Wake Me Up” Bath Soak.
6. Planted Spaces Vertical Garden Walls
Admittedly, I have a brown thumb, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to add some green to our home. Afterall, it’s healthy to have living things in around us in the form of plants. And while I’ve been tempted to go all-faux because gardening just doesn’t come easily to me, I have had a few successes over the years.
These adorable little vertical planting frames are one of those. A small business called “Planted Spaces” makes these frames, and shockingly, even I have been able to keep most of these sweet little succulents alive going on several years now.
7. RV renovating book
If you follow us on Instagram then you may know Dave and I have renovated several travel trailers over the past year and a half.
I know lots of people have taken to RVing and camping during this past year. And I can tell you that one of the best sources of information I found when we were knee-deep in our renovations was my friend, Sarah Lemp, the owner of the website “All Things with Purpose”.
She and her family have renovated many a camper and RV, and she wrote a book to help others who want to do the same! It’s a super helpful resource, but gives information for beginners (and even those like me who’ve been there, done that) in a way that doesn’t overwhelm!
I’m honored to have been a contributor to her book, along with a dozen other camper renovators and restorators. If you’ve wanted to take the plunge into redoing a camper or RV for your family, but weren’t sure how or where to begin, I highly recommend All Things Camper Renovating! You can purchase it on Amazon, here. Or, if you buy it on Sarah’s website, you can get 10% off with the code heatherednest
8. Shibumi shade
So this is one of those brilliant, Shark Tank-esque amazing products that makes you wonder why no one has ever dreamed something like it up before.
When we finally got out of our house in June for a COVID-friendly family vacation, we stayed at an Airbnb on Kiawah Island. When we walked out to the beach, we saw these awesome beach “umbrellas” but they were nothing like anything I’d ever seen before.
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These Shibumi shades are the brainchild of two brothers and their best friend from North Carolina. Unlike bulky, heavy, and sometimes dangerous (I won’t send you news headlines to back this up) beach umbrellas with the traditional break-your-back to carry, and then dig it into the sand and hope it stays type build, these shades are COMPLETELY different, and 1000% better.
Weighing only 3 pounds total, this shade can be put up in about 3 minutes, and offers 3 times the shaded area that a regular beach umbrella does. It is literally PHENOMENAL. I cannot tell you how much I love this freaking thing.
Now, it’s still a very small company, and these things are HARD to come by. When I bought ours, I had to set an alarm for when the sale was going to start, and in under one minute, they had COMPLETELY sold the batch out.
Later in the year, I bought one for a friend, and she had to wait several months for it to arrive. Pain in the neck? Maybe a little, but TOTALLY worth it to support this genius small, domestic company with its amazing product.
I’m telling you, there’s nothing else remotely like this out there.
9. Stella & Dot
Maybe you’ve been to a party…or been invited to several and avoided the invite. But listen, you don’t have to love these home parties to buy Stella & Dot’s awesome jewelry. Trust me, I’m one of those house party avoiders, too.
2020 gave all of us a reprieve from those direct sales house parties. But here’s the thing. Many of these direct sales companies have AWESOME products, AND, they are sold by women we love! Our neighbors, family members, and in the case of Stella & Dot, one of my BF’s and college sorority sisters.
Like the parties because they give you great ideas of what to pair with different items in your closet? They have great style boards online now, like this one…
Even if Amanda didn’t sell S&D, I’d definitely be buying it anyhow. If you have sisters, moms, grandmas, girlfriends on your holiday shopping list, definitely check out their products from the comfort of your couch this year.
Favorite product? These are my wear every-single-day ear climbers. I get tons of comments on them all the time⤵
Last but not least, I want to mention a company that makes awesome products that we discovered this year. Cotopaxi sells outdoor clothing and gear, and their tagline is “gear for good”.
They are a highly mission-driven business, which you can read all about here.
We stumbled across their goods while we were on our fall cross-country COVID-quest trip. We safely traversed 22 states and hit 8 national parks this fall. I know that sounds scary during a pandemic, but we traveled in a very safe way, taking gallons of hand sanitizer and wearing our masks all along the way.
A travel writer interviewed us about the experience, if you’d like to read more about that over on Readymade Travel Plans, and get some tips on safe travel during this time.
You can see both Dave and I sporting our Cotopaxi gear here in Yellowstone. It’s lightweight, and has a fun, colorful retro vibe.
With that, we end this 2020 small business Saturday gift guide. I hope you’ve found a couple great gift ideas, be them for you, or someone you love this holiday season, and beyond!
Being a more thoughtful consumer has been such a powerful lesson for me this year. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn, and purchase more wisely in the coming years. What about you?
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Thanks for introducing these small businesses. I am all for shopping from small businesses this holiday season