Shop Small, Shop Local, Shop from Women

We talk and think a lot about community in Creative Business League - how to build it, how to improve it, how to start it. Community is at the heart of what we do; we draw our support from it, learn from it, are enriched by it and make money from it. We started our businesses here in the Bay Area where local business owners were open, welcoming, and encouraging in our new endeavors. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by fellow kick-ass, passionate, thoughtful and encouraging entrepreneurs who support us, and we want to support them right back. We also love to spend our money conscientiously. To that end, I would like to introduce you to a group of amazing women-owned businesses who support and share these values. These brick and mortar retail stores are owned by a diverse group of women and are strong supporters of the Bay Area arts and maker communities. They are the first to respond with support when their communities are in crisis; they provide income for their employees; they support local artists and makers; they actively create safe spaces in their stores.

Goji Berry and Chocolate Lip Balm at Concept Forty Seven in Temescal

Goji Berry and Chocolate Lip Balm at Concept Forty Seven in Temescal

So why is this list only Brick and Mortar stores? Because part of building community is getting to know the people in your neighborhood; it involves getting to know them as people with thoughts and feelings, and that starts with a little old-fashioned, face-to-face contact. Go in, say hello, introduce yourself, start a conversation and support your local small businesses.

These shops carry a wide variety of art, bath & body care, clothing, jewelry, accessories, home goods, cards and gifts and they carry a wide variety of price points; from $4 cards to incredible works of art, they each have a little something for everyone and every budget. Most of these shops carry work that is under $20 for easy gifting. I’ve linked to some pieces that I think you’ll enjoy, but I encourage you to go and check them out in person.

Rare Device - This shop, owned by Giselle Gyalzen carries some of my favorite gift items including these candles by PF Candle -

Marion and Rose - Owned by Kerri, she curates a cozy collection of home goods and has regular art exhibits and is a champion of independent makers and Made in the USA goods -

Maple Street Denim - owned by the super-rad Julie, she carries an awesome selction of denim and will even special order your size! She also carries great gifts for the holidays -

Show and Tell - owned by Alyah is a concept shop, gallery, and gathering space in downtown Oakland. They carry sustainable and socially responsible apparel, accessories, and gift items - including this cheeky Great Lakes T-shirt -

Concept 47 - Owned by Stevonne, her shop is a desitnation for her own line of skin care products as well as jewelry, aromatherapy, candles and gifts in Temescal in Oakland -

Little Paper Planes - Owned by Kelly, this shop carries her own line of clothing; gifts, art, ceramics and accessories -

Secession - Owned by Eden, this store and gallery hs been an incubator for emerging artists in the Bay and is a great place to start your art collection She also carries a variety of gifts and apparel -

Hawthorn Boutique - owned by Laurie and located in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, her boutique focuses on makers and brands with artistic integrity and a commitment to sustainability -

Viscera - owned by Ari, this shop produces their own line of 3D printed jewelry amazingness, including this bracelet -

A last note: This list is by no means definitive - help us add to it! Leave a note in the comments with your recommendation for a woman-owned business that you love. If you know of a small, woman-owned business in the Bay Area or beyond, remember that they rely on customers like you for your support and your business. Seek them out, buy from them and make a new friend. See where it takes you.

Last Minute Gifts - 2016 Procrastinators Guide

Hey there fellow procrastinators! Don't let your fear of the swiftly approaching holidays force you into ordering gifts for everyone still left on you list from Amazon Prime! There is still time to shop independent, and support your favorite makers and small businesses.

Top tips:

  • Shop brick and mortar - instead of heading to the internet, make the trek out to a shop that stocks the work of local makers. Can't think of any? The "stockists", "stores", or "retailers" page on your favorite designer's website is a great place to start.

  • Attend the last few gift fairs this weekend. In San Francisco, check out the SFMade Holiday Gift Fair on Sunday December 18th. There you will find gifts for everyone, all made locally. 

  • Scan social media for last-minute offers, and Open Studio events. Our own Sharon Zimmerman, along with studio-mates Corey Egan and Christy Natsumi, are hosting extended Open Studio hours Monday, December 19th through Wednesday, December 21st 5pm-8pm. So much more fun to shop while enjoying festive beverages in a gorgeous artist's studio! 

  • Double check shipping deadlines on your favorite websites, and pay for expedited shipping if necessary. Send an email to the artist first to make sure your items will arrive on time, and consider shipping directly to your recipient. Most artists will include a gift note and gift packaging, sometimes for a small fee, and if you request it.

Or, just order one of these still-available favorites from the top of the post, and wrap up your shopping in style: