Raise your hand if you shopped small over the holiday season. I know you can’t actually see me but I’m waving both hands vigorously in the air. I purchased several items for various family members from some of my favourite small business over Christmas and my goal for this year is to try and continue to support as many small businesses as I can. Whether it be for Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthdays, or a ‘just because’ gift; I want to help these shops thrive and meet their 2018 goals. These shops consist of regular people like you and me trying to support their own families while pursuing their dream. Instead of buying from a big corporation all the time, why not try and support the ‘little guy’?
If you missed December’s small business post, you can find it here, otherwise continue to read below for this month’s featured shops!
I promise you’re going to love them as much as I do!!
*Photo property of myself and Hilary Spencer Creative Photography*
Last Mother’s Day, my sister gifted me a beautiful handmade, rustic sign that read “A woman with sons will be surrounded by handsome men for the rest of her life”. It was made by a friend of hers who had just started her her own sign making business. Since then, I have been obsessed with Out of the Woods Designs! Karen creates some of the most stunning signs I’ve ever seen. Anyone who’s anyone knows that rustic or ‘farmhouse chic’ signs are all the rage right now but what sets OotWD a part from other sign makers on the market right now is the fact that Karen does not use stencils! All her signs are done by hand which takes times, patience, and practice. Each one can be slightly different to due variations in the wood, paint, stain, or font which makes them all unique and one-of-a-kind. From signs like the one pictured, to love quotes, to nursery decor pieces, to custom orders; Karen can do it all it seems! I can honestly say there has never been a piece she has posted that I didn’t 100% love and want for my own home. She is also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! I had the pleasure along with my mom and sister of attending a DIY and Desserts fund raiser that Karen was hosting for her cousin who has Muscular Dystrophy. We all paid the admission fee and Karen along with her family members, guided us through how to create our own signs. While they may not be perfect like hers, the entire event was filled with smiles, laughs, sweet treats, and a sense of knowing we were helping support something that is so near and dear to her heart. She is honestly one of the best accounts to follow and one of my most favourite businesses. You can find her on Facebook as well as her swoon worthy Instagram account!
There are so many small clothing businesses out there that sometimes it’s hard to find a way to stand out, yet that’s exactly what Little Canuck Clothing has done. A sister duo, these ladies have found a way to burst out of the ‘small business bubble’. They create stylish and trendy pieces of clothing that, to quote their website, “will become staples in your kiddo’s wardrobe”. But that’s not all they do! No, they also create amazing adult pieces that you’ll for sure want in your own wardrobe at home. From hoodies to various styles of tee’s, all their items are sure to catch your eye! And the best part!? Four dollars from every ‘Chari-Tee’ sold is given to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society which is a non-profit organization that provides Down Syndrome advocacy and family support throughout Canada. How amazing is that? I love when these little shops go above and beyond to support a good cause! Be sure to check this badass sister duo out on their website, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
If you’re a family member of mine, you probably remember how obsessed with stuffed animals I was *cough still am cough*. I still have a bag (more like bags) of stuffed animals in my basement that I cannot for the life of me throw out or donate. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve donated TONS of my old stuffed animals over the years but the remaining ones are sentimental to me. Some are from my childhood given to me by my parents or knitted by my two nanas, others Kurt gave me as gifts when we first started dating, and a few are from my late grand-dad who lived in Ireland and passed away before I ever got the chance to meet him. So it should come as no surprise to many of you that I am obsessed with small business who make stuffies! It doesn’t matter if they’re knit, crochet, a combo, or something completely different; I love them all and Hilo and Lana are definitely one of my favs! This shop creates some of the most adorable stuffed friends for your little one to love on and each one is just as beautiful as the next. From deer, to dogs, to colourful monkeys; I’m not sure there isn’t anything this shop can’t make. I love them all and when I’m bored on Instagram or looking for a little something to make me smile, I always head on over to their page and scroll through. And, not only do they make these beautiful stuffed animals but they also create some adorable hats and booties for your little one too!! You can find Hilo and Lana on Facebook and Instagram and don’t forget to check out their Etsy page!
Based out of my home town here in Ontario, Frosted Flour Co is a small store front business that creates stunning edible pieces of art. And I mean when I say these creations are works of art! Honestly, I felt kind of bad letting my son eat these cookies at Christmas because they were just so pretty but they tasted amazing so then I didn’t feel so bad any more!! From sugar cookies, to cakes, to other yummy baked goods; Frosted Flour Co has it all! I’m so on board with this sugar cookie art trend that’s started circulating lately. Every time I come across a bakery that’s making these items, I’m completely impressed. How is it possible that someone can make something so gorgeous out of a sugar cookie!? Frosted Flour seriously blows my mind when I’m scrolling through their feed or popping into their store. Not only are the cookies amazing but the owner is just as sweet as the creations her whipping up! She also take custom orders and I absolutely love seeing what she’s been asked to make. I feel like she’s stepping up her game with everything she posts! I’ve actually been meaning to stop in and pick up a few more cookies for me – I mean Nate!!- this week. You can drool over Frosted Flour Co on Instagram and Facebook!
Oh be still my romper loving heart! How can you not LOVE a good romper? Seriously, they are adorable and Wee and Wild makes some of the best ones I’ve ever seen! One of the things about small businesses, especially children apparel ones, is the fact that you often see repeats of the same fabrics over and over again. One shop uses it for one thing, another shop uses it for something else but you still feel like you’re just seeing the same piece of fabric continuously. That is 100% not the case with Wee and Wild! I can honestly say that MANY of the fabrics and combinations that Lauren uses, I have not seen from other small businesses. From bold animal pattern prints, to more subdued and monochrome looks, Wee and Wild stands out with their line of rompers, hooded sweaters, leggings, and beanies. This is one of those shops that I wish I had known about sooner but feel like if I had, I would have gone broke by now. I actually have an on-going mental list of items I want for Eli and it just keeps getting longer and longer. Although the shop is currently closed for orders, Lauren will be at an upcoming pop-up shop at Gather on January 27th and until then why not check out her Facebook and Instagram accounts to make up your own ‘wants’ mental list!
Every now and then I’ll come across a small business that I instantly become obsessed with but in a good way, not like a super creepy, stalkerish type way! All it takes is one photo, The Photo, if you will and I know I’m going to be hooked on this shop forever. That’s exactly what happened the first time I came across Sarita Baby online. I’m so disppointed that when Nate was a baby I didn’t have any of these bandana bibs or patchwork bibs for him because they are all SO CUTE! Instead, we had the generic stuff from like Walmart and Carter’s which yes, they’re affordable and cute but everyone who’s everyone has them and I love having unique and different articles of clothing for my boys. Sarita Baby creates amazing pieces from some of the most gorgeous fabrics I’ve ever seen! I mean, just look at that floral print!! From bandana bibs, to to baby bibs, to wash cloths, to snack bags, to adult cowl scarves; the possibilities are endless! When I was pregnant with Eli, my sister bought him a cute little outdoorsy print bib from this shop and let me tell you, to this day it is still my favourite bib of his! The fabric pattern is so adorable and the minkey fabric on the opposite side is soft and absorbs so much drool it’s unbelievable! Her Etsy shop is FILLED with beautifully styled pictures and would make any baby and parent swoon! I say all the time how I LOVE being a boy mom but sometimes when Sarita Baby posts a new “girly” fabric on her page, my brain starts thinking about how adorable my imaginary little girl would look in it. Thankfully, however; for every beautiful floral fabric, there’s an equally stunning monochrome or “boyish” pattern that follows. Seriously, you NEED to check Sarita Baby out on Instagram and Facebook!
The Maker’s Hub of Durham is one of the coolest new “store fronts” in Durham Region, if you ask me. Cheryl, the owner and fellow maker herself, wanted there to be a space or centralized location for customers to pick up their purchases from small businesses. Did you know that you actually need extra insurance on your home to protect you if someone was injured on your property while picking up an item they bought from you? No? Well, you’re not alone. Many maker’s aren’t aware of the dangers they put themselves in by having porch pick ups, especially during the winter. Are you home all day long to ensure your driveway and walkway are thoroughly shoveled and salted because I know I’m not. The Maker’s Hub offers small businesses the ability to have customers pick up their items from here instead of the maker’s home. This eliminates that worry about personal injury, and also gives you the privacy of your home back. I mean, how many of us want strangers knowing where we live, what cars we drive, when we’re home or at work right? I know I don’t and I’ve never liked the idea of someone coming to my house to pick something up when I’m actually home alone. Call me paranoid but I don’t trust anyone in this day and age! Thankfully, there is this amazing space where everyone feels safe entering. But that’s not all The “Hub” provides! Cheryl also graciously rents out her space for workshops as well as pop-up markets. I had the privilege of attending the first workshop there and although there is a lot of people present, it didn’t feel super crowded or overwhelming. I’m so excited to see what’s on the books in terms of workshops for 2018 and guess what!? I will be doing my VERY FIRST vendor show here on Feb. 4th!! How exciting is that!? Another fabulous thing about this place are those cubes in the picture above. Maker’s are able to rent out a cube space for four weeks to promote their business. This allows maker’s who aren’t central to Durham Region (like myself) a way to get their name out there to more people. If you’re a maker or you just love buying local but don’t necessarily, want to go to someone’s house to pick up, you definitely need to check this space out on Facebook and Instagram! You won’t be disappointed!
Remember in the first Harry Potter movie when the sweets trolley comes around and Harry says “We’ll take the lot!”? Well, that’s exactly how I feel whenever I see a new post from Pink Lemon Decor. Amber creates some of the most visually stunning farmhouse signs I have ever seen. Seriously. They are all gorgeous! I’m always amazed at what people are able to create because I swear I can barely draw a dog and don’t even ask me to attempt a horse… But Amber has some AMAZING talent! Whether you’re looking for something to add to your gallery wall, or a beautiful quote to hang in your nursery, or just something to add a little Farmhouse Charm to your kitchen, you will not be disappointed! And if that’s not enough, when you follow her on Instagram, you get a peek into her STUNNING home! Honestly, I’m obsessed and you should be too! I have come across so many shops (whether they’re local or not) who don’t have even a quarter of the talent that she does. If someone else could pay my credit card bill, I would literally own one of everything. No lie. Make sure you check out her website, Instagram, and Facebook page!
And lastly on January’s small business post, we have Coffee Public. Representing my home town yet again, this adorable coffee shop is one of my favourite downtown stores here. From the rustic interior to the yummy baked goods and delicious lattes, you can’t not like this place! Opening just over eight months ago, Coffee Public has already gained quite the following. Not only have they always paid their employees higher than the set minimum wage, they also are huge advocates for supporting local and sourcing their products from suppliers who also value their employees. They are also committed to supporting small business and vendors in the area. Just this past Christmas, they held their first ever 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Market where they had vendors set up their items for sale in the upstairs loft space and from the pictures that were shared, it looks like it was a huge hit. I, myself, have also been here a time or two, or three, or four… and I must say, their cookies and chocolate brownies might be up there with some of the GREATEST cookies and brownies I have ever eaten. It might sound cheesy but you can taste the love and dedication they pour into their coffee and baked goods! If you’re looking for a cool little place to catch up with an old friend, enjoy a good quality cup of Joe, or just get a little reading down, you need to come and see this place! You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram!
I’m so excited for this series of blog posts. Lately, I have felt like I’ve hit a snag with my blog and haven’t really been inspired by anything (besides my kids) that I’ve wanted to post but supporting small businesses is something I’m so passionate about that I’ve already lined up next month’s features! Even if you’re not local to my general area, I beg you to look into the small businesses around you! For every small business you support, you’re helping a family put food on their table or send their kids to camp or allow them to afford sports/extracurricular activities! It’s SO important to invest in your local economy!!
Thanks for reading along and stay tuned for next month’s shops!