THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES THIS CHRISTMAS

Updated: 6 days ago

So, we are all feeling the strain of this second lockdown in the UK, but none more than small businesses. The huge corporations are cashing in, Bezos is estimated to have made $48 billion from March to June this year while small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, so we feel it is more important than ever to shop small and shop local.


Each town and city will have their own businesses crying out for help, so make sure to check out those places first. See Facebook or the Nextdoor app to tap into what's going on in your area and ask your friends and neighbours for recommendations and information on what's going on in your community. We have created this guide now to encourage people to start thinking about gifts a little earlier this year, meaning people don't feel forced to turn to Amazon Prime for next day delivery.


It's good to remember the power you have with your voice too. You could do a lot for a small business by simply posting about it or by leaving them a positive review online. Finding their Google reviews or Trustpilot page and writing about your experience with a brand will help other people find that business and probably make the owner's day too.


If you're feeling strapped for cash yourself, remember that homemade presents are often some of the best presents and don't feel you have to spend a lot to show someone you love them. A painting, homemade video, pressed flowers, painted pebble from the beach, homemade coupons for making dinner or doing the washing up - these things can all be just as special as something expensive.


But, if you are buying your loved ones something, here is a whole heap of inspiration and ideas on how you can spend your money in a way that will make a real difference:


BUY THEM SOMETHING TO WEAR


Obviously, there are plenty of wonderful charity shops out there which offer a great selection of pre-loved items that you could gift, the British Heart Foundation has a great store on Ebay with quality items. Other places like Depop can help you find second-hand bargains and directly benefit the seller on the other end, who might need the cash too. But for small business ideas, look no further:


BAMBOO SOCKS FROM ZERO SHOP

Female owned, £20 or under


Buying socks is a classic gift for dad. Zero Shop, based in Nottingham, is a treasure trove of an eco store that has a wonderful selection of products - including these Fairtrade, Bamboo socks. They have a range of designs to choose from- from Sharks to Bicycles - and could really do with your support this winter to help them weather the Covid storm.


Check out the socks and their other items here:

https://shopzero.co.uk





BOW TIES FROM ASIKARA

BIPOC owned business, female owned, £20 or under


Asikara is a brand that takes African influences and fuses them with contemporary British design, they have a range of clothing, masks, headwraps and gorgeous bowties like this one in the picture!


Find them here:

https://www.asikarabylaurajane.co.uk/




SWEATSHIRTS FROM BIG WILD THOUGHT


Big Wild Thought, started in Sheffield, donate 10% of their profits to wildlife charities. They support 10 different wildlife charities, all packaging is recyclable and each order includes information about animal conservation. All of the designs are really adorable and come in a range of colours, what's not to love!


Find them here:

https://www.bigwildthought.co.uk/



JEWELLERY FROM THE WEARER


The Wearer, an independent jewellery boutique, stocks pieces handcrafted by local makers who will, no doubt, have been hit by the aftermath of Covid. The Wearer has a focus on contemporary pieces and most of the designers they work with use recycled materials. You can also ask for bespoke items if you want something extra special! We love these earrings pictured left and may be adding them to our own Christmas list...


Find out more here:

https://www.thewearer.com/



BUY THEM SOMETHING CREATIVE


The arts have been one of the hardest hit sectors this year, with artists, comedians, actors, crew members, filmmakers, those who work in theatre buildings and so many more people being forced into uncertainty. Here are just a few ideas of how, by buying your Christmas presents, you can make a difference:


A COMMISSIONED PORTRAIT FROM MY ART BRIEF


This website gives you a whole selection of artists, you can see their work and get in touch if you want them to commission something for you. Want a portrait of your cat? Or a mosaic of your other half? Then you can work with your chosen artist to create something special for your home


Find them here:

https://www.myartbrief.com/




Other ways to support artists:

  • Attend exhibits and openings online

  • Participate in an online art class- a lot of artists also teach to earn income

  • Directly donate to an artist or gallery in your area



A CINEMA MEMBERSHIP


Buy a loved one the promise of watching some cracking films together when the world opens up again while helping to save your local cinema! Many cinemas are offering memberships to help them generate income - for example, Catford Mews Cinema created membership pledges on a kickstarter campaign where people could get 3 free cinema tickets, popcorn, a drink and more for a monthly fee and the cinema has been able to raise almost £15,000 at the time of writing to pay their rent and bills.


Check out your local cinema or, if you live near Catford, check out their membership here:

https://catford-mews.co.uk/membership/



A THEATRE GIFT VOUCHER


There is nothing quite like live theatre and theatres have been one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. At the Lowry Theatre, near Salford, you can buy a gift voucher or a membership voucher for a loved one, so they can see something special.


Look up your local theatre or find out more about The Lowry Theatre here:

https://tickets.thelowry.com/giftvouchers





A PLAY SUBSCRIPTION


The National Theatre offers a post in the play subscription, where you get sent a beautifully-wrapped play every month for six months or a year, depending on which you'd rather. They also do the same thing but with fiction books, it's so much more fun to not know what you'll be getting every time and not choosing something based on hype or reviews-

but letting it be a surprise!


Find out more here:

https://shop.nationaltheatre.org.uk


Other ways to support theatres and actors:


A PRINT OF YOUR FAVOURITE THEATRE


Peter Hannah is an actor who has hand drawn some of our most loved theatres. These beautiful, intricate prints would love great on your wall so you can get your fix while waiting for the buildings to be able to open up again.


Find Peter's prints here:

https://www.etsy.com/PeterHannah





A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT


Music is a huge source of joy and incredibly therapeutic during difficult times and an instrument would make for an incredible gift. Check your local music store for what options they have to offer!


Duke of Uke is a world famous ukulele store dedicated to selling ukuleles, accessories and songbooks. Ukuleles are one of the easiest instruments for someone to learn from scratch (the very reason why I started learning!)


See the selection of ukuleles from Duke of Uke here:

https://www.dukeofuke.co.uk


Other ways to help:

  • Attend online gigs for musicians and comedians

  • Buy vinyl records from independent record shops, like Dig Vinyl in Liverpool for example.

  • If your loved one has a favourite artist, comedian, musician etc then look to see if they have merch that you can purchase directly from their website.

  • Buy your loved one a set of yoga, painting or cooking classes. Many small businesses are turning to teaching to generate income.


BUY A LOVED ONE SOMETHING TO READ


BUY A BOOK FROM 'BOOKSHOP'

Can be £20 or under


This is a site that aims to support the local, independent bookstores that need our help. The rise of buying books online has left many book shops struggling but, through Bookshop, buyers can buy their favourite books at a slightly discounted rate and profits go back to the bookshops themselves, instead of huge companies like Amazon.


Find them here:

https://uk.bookshop.org/



Other ways you can help:

  • Buy a gift card for a loved one from your local bookshop

  • Join the newsletter of your local bookshop so you can be aware if there is anything you can do for them specifically

  • Pre-order a book by your favourite author to help them generate sales



BUY SOMETHING FOR THE HOME:



A GORGEOUS POT FROM BOOBIEBU POTS

£20 or under

We love these cheeky pots. They're beautifully handcrafted and each pot is made to order. You can request specific moles, freckles or glitter to make your pot extra personalised and even add a donation to your order to support breast cancer, which we love.


Find them here:

https://boobiebu.com/






A CUTE LUNCH-BAG FROM LOVE OUR EARTH

Female owned, £20 or under


This is a shop based in Castle Donington, a small village near Derby, that is family run. It was founded by teenager Lucy and the whole family help her run it! Buy this adorable lunch-bag, made from organic cotton, for £18 - or check out their website for other eco items you can use on the go or in the home.


Find Love Our Earth here:

www.loveourearthshop.co.uk



A JOURNAL FROM MYND MAP

BIPOC owned


These journals are focused around a 12 week plan, so you don't start setting goals in January and abandon them by June. With goal setting, reflection pages, gratitude sections and more, this company is sure to get you right on track for a wonderful 2021.


Find out more here:

https://www.myndmap.co/




HANDWOVEN ROPE BOWLS FROM THE LAZARETTE


For a plastic free gift, check out the range of handcrafted rope products from the Lazarette. Boat crazy, Janette and Paul know everything there is to know about rope and, when they are not making their products, they spend time removing litter from Falmouth Harbour.


Give them some love here:

https://www.thelazarette.co.uk/




ADOPT THEM A TIGER FROM WWF


This would be an exceptional gift for young family members or adults alike! Adopt an animal, like this tiger, for only £3 a month and they will be sent a cuddly toy, personalised adoption certificate, fact sheets and updates throughout the year.


Find out more here:

https://support.wwf.org.uk





A RECYCLED CHESSBOARD FROM UNICEF


Unicef have a website full of unique and bespoke pieces, like this recycled chess set made from scrap metal. You can find gifts, fashion, tableware, sculptures, jewellery and so much more and, obviously, each purchase can help change the life of a child in need.


Unicef's website:

https://market.unicef.org.uk/




BUY THEM A PLANT:


Plants are in huge demand now that everyone is having to spend so much time in their homes. Look to your local plant shop first to see if they have anything, but here are a couple of ideas to inspire you:


PRICK

BIPOC owned business, female owned, can be £20 or under


This is London's first ever cactus shop, based in Dalston in East London. They have a huge selection of unusual and exotic plants and can post to anywhere in the UK. We all know the benefits of having plants in your space and these beauties will last for years!


Find them here:

https://www.prickldn.com/prick-shop


WOODLAND TRUST

£20 or under


Buy your loved one something this different and get them a tree to plant in their garden. We

have done this ourselves and actually have a crab apple growing in our garden as we speak! The tree will last for years and will grow as you do and this crab apple pictures only costs £8.95 - a bargain!


Find them here:

https://shop.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees


And if your loved one doesn't have green fingers?



A SALAD MIX GROWING GIFT FROM GOOD ROOTS BARN:

Female owned, £20 or under


Good Roots Barn provides plastic free alternative gardening supplies. It's surprising how much plastic is used in traditional gardening but here you can buy a selection of pots, kits, labels and more without creating any plastic pollution whatsoever.


Find the salad growing kit here:

https://www.goodrootsbarn.co.uk/




BUY THEM BEAUTY



A HAIRDRESSERS GIFT VOUCHER


Have you got lockdown locks? Ask for a gift voucher for a proper wash, cut & blow-dry for Christmas, you'd look a million dollars and be helping raise a pretty penny for a struggling salon too. Allertons, a salon in Leeds, offers gift vouchers for £25 on its website which can be put towards a haircut, facial, massage, manicure or more! They also offer a range of products on their website.


Check out your local salon or find out more about Allertons here:

https://allertonsonline.com


SOME PROFANITY VANITY SOAP


Tell that dirty b****** that you love them with some of this plastic-free, profanity vanity soap. The Clean Kilo is an eco store in Birmingham that sells it, alongside a huge range of other household items. How rare is it to find a present that is both banter and great for the planet?


Find this soap here:

https://www.thecleankilo.co.uk




JASMINE HAND CREAM FROM BRISTOL MADE

£20 or under


This Bristol based company is zero waste and makes natural, organic and vegan skincare products. The products are packed in glass with aluminium lids (so are fully recyclable), have been handmade in-house and are free from parabens or artificial colours and chemicals. We love the design and look of this jasmine hand cream and are already thinking of people to buy it for...


See Bristol Made's website here:

https://www.bristolmade.co.uk/



A MASSAGE FROM YOUR LOCAL SPA OR SALON


Places like Buff Day in Taunton are missing out on huge amounts of custom during this second lockdown. Buy a massage as a gift - let's face it, we all could do with one - and support a small business at the same time.


Check out your local salon, day spa, or equivalent to see what they can offer. If you live near Taunton, I have been to Buff Day before and would absolutely recommend them!

https://www.buffdayspa.co.uk/




BUY THEM SOMETHING TO CONSUME



SALT MADE FROM TEARS OF LAUGHTER

Can be £20 or under


Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is a shop like no other. Here you can buy werewolf biscuits, fairy dust, fang floss and 'a vague sense of unease.' These hilarious treats would make incredible stocking fillers and the best part is that all profits go to The Ministry of Stories - a creative writing and mentoring charity for young children.


Find Hoxton Street Monster Supplies here:

https://www.monstersupplies.org







SOMETHING SWEET FROM TILLY WONKA

Female owned, can be £20 or under


Tilly Wonka is a company based in Cheshire and each batch of chocolates is made by hand by Tilly herself! With a beautiful selection of chocolates, bonbons, truffles and a range of vegan treats- there really is something for everyone.


Find Tilly's website here:

https://tilly-wonka.co.uk/




A BREW FROM TEA IN THE MOMENT

Female owned, £20 or under


Tea in the moment sells Cacao Tea - tea made from Cacao husks and has a slight taste of dark chocolate. It is naturally 99.5% caffeine free and is made by Jess, who started the company after losing her job. The packaging is beautiful and could be a unique gift for the tea lover in your life.


Find out more here:

https://teainthemoment.co.uk





CANS FROM BREWGOODER.


Want to buy a loved one some trendy beers, while also helping to provide clean water for those who need it? Then look no further. Brewgood is a non-profit that donates 100% of its profits to clean water charities. We love the look of the mango & passionfruit pale ale, but there's a great looking line up and one of their beers was just selected for 'best porter' in the Scottish beer awards 2020.


Find out more here:

https://shop.brewgooder.com/



AN OAT MILK MAKING KIT FROM KITLEYS

Female owned


We couldn't not talk about this kit! Make your own oat milk in less than 15 minutes and save yourself money along the way. It's plastic free, made with UK suppliers and means there are no additives or preservatives used whatsoever. You just need oats, water and a pinch of salt!


Find out more here:

https://www.kitleys.co.uk





Other ways to help:

  • Take your loved one our for dinner as a Christmas gift

  • Buy them a hamper made from food items bought from your local deli. We love The 'Arty Vegan in London for example, which do the most incredible vegan scheeses! They sell Christmas hampers which have everything a vegan could desire over the Christmas period.



FOR MORE LOCAL AND INDEPENDENT SELLERS


Other places where you can find small businesses who need your support:


SHOP AT LOCALLY


Locally is a website which champions small businesses, it was launched a year ago in Oxfordshire and we are so glad that it did! With an ever-growing list ranging from things for children to food and drinks, you are sure to find something to suit your needs and all of the items are from small, independent stores.


See Locally's website here:

https://locallyuk.com/




ETSY


Obviously Etsy has been around for a while, but it really is a great place for all things handcrafted and made with love. There are so many sellers on there who would appreciate your support and it's easy to search for things within your price range too. The candle featured here is from Manchester Candles.


Shop on Etsy here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/




So there we have it! Hopefully, that will get you feeling inspired and ready to make a difference this Christmas.


Is there any small businesses near you that need championing and we could add to this list? Let us know down in the comments and we can keep spreading the word about fantastic small businesses!



xxxxxx

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