Please Note: None of the businesses or items mentioned in this article are ads; I have not been paid or sponsored to promote them; any items purchased I purchased myself and all of my opinions are my own. I will always disclose any sponsored content; today I am just sharing my appreciation for some talented businesses.
I still have my Halloween decorations up (truthfully, I transition from Halloween to Christmas, Autumn decorations just get blended in), but the moment that November 1st hit, it seems that the world, or transitioned into the start of the “Holiday Season.” Most notable, is Black Friday and how it seems to be permeating into every shopping day until Christmas, this time around. My e-mail and notifications have already been flooded with advertisements for every store possible – many of them doing early Black Friday sales.
Black Friday was always such a special tradition for my family and I while growing up. We were not the type to camp out at 1:00am to wait for the best sale. But, instead, I would wake up and accompany my mom and my grandma to the Mall for a fun day out. We would leave the house around 10:00am and stay until the stores closed. Of course, we did a lot of shopping for Christmas gifts, but we also ate together in the food court, I would whine to my mom that I was tired of carrying my coat, I would get my picture taken with Santa Claus, and it would be a day of exploration, gift hunting, and, most importantly, family tradition and time spent together.
For many reasons, that tradition has slowly tapered in my family – health, new traditions, and different schedules are the main contributors, but I would also argue that the cultural shift surrounding the execution of Black Friday has played a large role.
Black Friday is no longer constrained to a single day. There are more cyber deals than ever, early Black Friday sales, and sales leading all the way until the day before the Holiday. Black Friday no longer feels like a long anticipated singular day – whose singularity created its sense of rarity and specialness. While there is certainly a worthy conversation to have surrounding the consumerism and sustainability of an event such as this, Black Friday was a significant part of United States culture and, to me, always signified something more than being able to purchase gifts, it reflected a tradition.
But, regardless of current thoughts and customs on Black Friday, odds are that many of you, myself included, are still in need of gifts for the upcoming holidays, and will always have future events where you are looking to get a special gift (or maybe even a special treat for yourself).
In the spirit of keeping alive the memory of an old family tradition, with a sustainable, hippie twist, here is my mini guide of
5 Small Businesses to Support this Black Friday
In my original post my opening remark about Unik Dazzels was “Locally, black, and woman owned – what more could you want?” Based out of Ohio, Unik Dazzels is a small business that has impressed me from day one. Their brand is intelligent, intentional, culturally significant, and representative of their mission in every way. All new small businesses will always have a learning curve, but they knocked it out of the ball park since the beginning – staying true to themselves while providing timeless pieces of jewelry and accessories that gives homage to their Ghanian roots. Their prices are super affordable and everything is of a very high quality.
My original purchase were the exquisite outline of Africa earrings – a bold statement that is a beautiful way to show love for another land. Some pieces that I absolutely recommend are:
The Shining Star Necklace, Ahofe Butterfly Earrings, and the Infinity Stacker Rings.
You can visit them at their website.
Julia’s Crochet Crafts
Learning to crochet is on my to-do list, but in the meantime I can support amazing artists such as Julia’s Crochet Crafts . Primarily focusing on Amigurumi style plushies, Julia creates beautiful, adorable, and high quality crochet crafts. Each item that she creates is filled with love for her craft and great attention to detail. My recent favorite from her shop is her Halloween Bat (as of today, there is only one left, maybe it is destined for your home!).
When it comes to small businesses, there are different types, ones such as Julia’s Crochet Crafts that are a single person show, with each item made by hand or made to order, with a small amount of inventory at a time. There are others that may have a small team and their own storefront, with more options. Both types of small businesses are valid and deserve to be celebrated and supported; we shouldn’t abandon smaller small businesses for those businesses that may seem “more like a corporate business.”
Pastures & Pine
Pastures & Pine was one of the first small businesses that I found from scrolling through Instagram. I was first drawn in by their artisan soap bars and then was converted into a fan when I discovered their unique approach of creating natural and sustainable products while incorporating goats milk from their farm animals (did I mention that they own their own farm with goats, chickens, and more?).
Their website states that their holiday restock is November 27th at 8:00am, so mark your calendars!
They have added so many great new products and scents since my initial purchase and review and I am having a hard time picking new favorites! If I didn’t have a small stockpile of soaps in our home right now, I would be rushing to make a new purchase. Ethical living sometimes means waiting to buy really great stuff because you already have enough at home. *sigh*
There is no shortage of amazing small businesses out there – their creativity far outranks any mass produced product that you will find in large stores. As a result, my list of small businesses to support continues to grow, and I just keep adding to the list until I can make a purchase. (Supporting small businesses is a great addition to ethical living, but it also has to be sustainable for you.)
I am a huge fan of handmade, creamy, beautifully artisan soaps. They last just as long, truthfully longer, than most bottles of soap and, depending on the company, have little to no packaging. These are great as gifts or to just fancy up your own household, and the quality is incomparable to most soaps we keep on our countertops.
The next businesses at the top of my list is Fizzy Soaps. I have poured over their Tik Toks and Instagram reels endlessly – their handmade soap creations are beautiful combinations that I have yet to see replicated, and it is evident in their socials that there is so much passion and commitment behind the work that they are producing. Taking the time to make items by hand, even with a good system, takes time, and their quality always seems to be on-point.
What soaps are on my wish list? First and foremost, WandVision! Followed by Lavender Boba Tea and their Succulent with Coffee Grounds.
If the names alone don’t have you convinced, visit their page and see for yourself.
I uncovered Molly’s Suds about 3 years ago, when I was leading Immersion Experiences at the US/Mexico Border in El Paso, Texas. The housing that I stayed in used Molly’s Suds Powdered Detergent for their laundry, and I was intrigued by a more eco-friendly option. Their powder detergent is hyper concentrated, meaning a little goes a long way, uses non-irritating ingredients, and does not contain micro plastics like some common brands of detergent.
The Peppermint Powder Detergent is now the staple in our own home.
Molly’s Suds is a great option if you are looking for easy ways to make some more sustainable swaps in your everyday life. And, if you are in a position to be able to front a little more money on the front end, it ends up being much more cost-effective in the long run (we spend about $25 (with shipping) each time we buy our detergent, but for our family of two it lasts for about 4 months or more because of how concentrated it is.)
This can also be a great option for some creative gift ideas, whether you have an eco-friendly, granola friend, or whether you want to rub off some sustainable influence without imposing – Molly’s Suds has “unpaper towels” and a host of other household items to meet everyone’s needs.
Whether you plan to go on a shopping spree this Black Friday, or whether you need some inspiration of some sustainable places to give your business, these 5 shops are the perfect solution. All share the same commitment to quality, passion, and customer service – with every purchase you can feel good knowing the face that you are supporting and knowing that the product is a positive contribution to your life.
If you are not in a position to make a purchase, if these particular shop items don’t resonate with you, or if purchases do not have a place in your sustainability journey at this time, that’s okay. But I do encourage you to help support our hippie community and hype up these businesses in other ways, with a like on their Instagram account or even sharing with a friend. Let’s continue to work together to build up a more sustainable and ethical world community.
What small businesses are you planning on visiting in the weeks ahead? Share their names below so I can feature them in a future post.