As a busy local business owner, I am an obvious supporter of "shopping local" but I also understand that it can sometimes be difficult; running from store to store isn't always easy (doubly difficult if you have kids in tow), which is why many people land at the malls.
Well, the internet has made it easier than ever to support not just the big-box retailers, but many of local and/or small businesses as well. And if handcrafted is what you're after, I hope most of you have at least heard of etsy, an online marketplace for all things handmade and vintage. Etsy features a search option that allows you to find local businesses selling the gifts you seek. All without leaving the comfort of your home! Sounds grand, doesn't it? (Under "ways to shop," simply click "shop local" and you're on your way!)
A simple search of my local area brought me immediately to some beautiful gift ideas -- all under $50 -- proof that you don't have to break the bank to purchase a thoughtful gift.
Check out this gorgeous glass ornament from Sterling Glassworks! It comes in other beautiful color combinations, too!
And how about this adorable homemade purse?
This beautiful planter looks lovely on its own, don't you think? I can see it on a mantel or as a part of a table centerpiece.
This copper bracelet would look great with jeans and a sweater. A single piece of interesting jewelry like this also looks great with sleeveless tops or dresses!
Here is just one of the many beautiful jewelry pieces featured in Liz Blanchflower's etsy shop. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings -- you'll find them all there!
Going outside of the local area, I hit on some other beautiful finds as well. As many of you know, I'm not one for a hard copy date planner, but I know some of you are! Check out this custom one. That's one of the great things about etsy. Many artisans and crafters accept custom orders. This planner, in fact, currently features fifteen patterns to choose from!
Want a classy clutch to take along to a wedding, social event, or night on the town?
Price: $42And yes, all her bags are handmade!
My friend, Heather, of Olive and Ollie created this adorable set. It's just too cute, isn't it? Heather is becoming a bit of a celebrity and rightfully sew (sorry, couldn't resist being cheeky)! Just this week she was featured on the Gerber Babies Blog in their Holiday Gift Guide and this set below was selected by parents.com for it's holiday gift guide, "Adorable Etsy Gifts for Every Kid." It's pretty easy to see why; her designs are fresh and cheerful. Congrats, Heather!
I love this scarf for its versatility and it's made from eco-friendly fabric. The scarves also come in a range of color combinations, so if you click the link and can't find this one exactly, check out the rest of the shop to find one that suits you!
This upcycled hat had a former life in felted wool sweaters! And check out the arm warmers featured below, too. Also upcycled from sweaters, these accessories are great gift ideas for those who like to make "green" choices and look great doing it!
See? It's not too hard to support small businesses, now is it? So much to choose from that it's a good thing etsy features a "favorites" button once you create an account. And did you know you can add items to your amazon wishlist by installing the universal wish list button? Give your friends and family gift ideas and encourage them to shop small and local for you!
So excited that some of the fabulous shops featured in this post have been uber-generous in offering some prizes to you, our readers! We are so thrilled by and grateful for their participation. We hope you'll visit their etsy shops and show your support. Their work is beautiful and we think you'll agree! (Of course...why else would we have picked them, right?)
Here's what you can win (and huge thanks to these talented folks)!
- Featured purse by Tammy Thorpe
- A $25 shop gift certificate from Heather of olive and ollie
- A day planner from Leah Johnson of The Musing Nerve
- An upcycled hat from Chloe Hennesy of Salvador Salamander
- A business card holder from Tori of Toriska
Enter our giveaway -- it's simple! There are two ways to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me why you love to support local and/or small businesses, or
2. "Like" Storibook Designs on facebook and then leave a note stating why you love to support local and/or small businesses.
Whether you leave a comment here or on the facebook page, please remember to leave your email address so we can contact you if you're the winner! You have until noon eastern standard time on Saturday, December 18, 2010 to enter.
Please share this on facebook, retweet, and email friends to let them know and show your support of these artists!
Winners will be chosen at random! Good luck!