It’s no secret: I hate to shop! Nothing seems to fit my body, I never seem to find exactly what I’m looking for, I’d rather spend my money on travel. The exception? Shopping small!
I LOVE to support my friends’ businesses whenever and however I can. I LOVE supporting businesses that do good in the world and make a difference. And I LOVE finding products that are actually made in America! So I decided to take a day to honor and highlight my favorite small businesses that I believe in, feel passionately about, and love to support.
So here are some brands and designers I’m totally crushing on, especially while I’m not able to travel. Check them out below, visit their websites, support them in their Herculean efforts as businesswomen, and comment with your favorite small businesses as well!
*No part of this post is sponsored, and I am receiving no compensation for writing this post. These are brands and products that I truly love and would always recommend! I never recommend products that I don’t or would not use or own myself.
Jennifer Lake at Sail to Sable X Style Charade
When I met Jennifer Lake and her sweet husband Bob on a sailing excursion on Nantucket three years ago, I didn’t know who she was. We discovered we are both bloggers, and she mentioned wanting to add some travel blogging in with her fashion blogging. I told her we should totally follow each other and reference each other in our blog posts about Nantucket. I thought it would be great for both of us to support each other that way.
Then I went to follow her on Instagram and saw that she is legit Instafamous. At that point, she had something like 140,000 followers (it’s more now). Compare that to my paltry following of around 230 people, and I’m sure you could imagine I was totally embarrassed! But you know, I’m okay with that. She could have totally put me in my place about how small I am as a business and how famous she is, but she is far too kind for that.
She is so down-to-earth, so friendly, so professional, and not at all condescending. I’ve met some other bloggers and influencers (with fewer followers than Jenn), and they all seemed pretty eager to put me in my place. Not Jennifer Lake. She deserves every good thing that comes to her, including the gorgeous capsule collection she designed with fellow small business Sail to Sable!
To be totally transparent, I have been trying extra hard this year to buy American-made. But when Jenn announced her line with Sail to Sable, I wanted this palm print trapeze dress in the worst way! So I messaged her to ask where the clothes are made, and she graciously replied to let me know that the pieces are ethically made in China and Indonesia. All I needed was the “ethically made” detail, and I was sold. She said that was an important part of the process for her, and I was not surprised.
I got the “Charlotte” dress in palm from her collection, and I’m glad I snagged one for myself—it sold out completely within hours! More are on the way, though, so you can pre-order one for yourself. It’s fully lined, incredibly comfortable, travel-ready, and quite forgiving, if you know what I mean. That’s something I think we can all appreciate after three months in various stages of quarantine!
Follow her on Instagram @JenniferLake and @StyleCharade
This is one person about whom I can say, “I knew her when!” Her older sister was one of my best friends growing up, and we all went to church together. She went to the renown SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), designed jewelry for Lilly Pulitzer, and then moved back to Nashville to create her own American-made jewelry empire!
She designs all her pieces, hand-sets every stone (sometimes with the help of her sweet mom!), and I love that she sources rare, antique elements whenever she can find them. I’ve bought several things from her over the years, including a bracelet and earrings named for her sister and my friend, Lyndsey!
Lillian has worked hard to build her business over the years, and I have loved watching it unfold for her. But the best is yet to come. Her next chapter is about to involve a baby girl!
Give her a follow on Instagram @LilliDokken!
I actually know Kristen through Lillian. The pearl popped off of my engagement ring just a few months after I got married, and my sweet husband Steve was generous enough to let me try again for the “ring of my dreams.” You may have already guessed, since my original engagement ring was a pearl, that I like to be a little bit unique. Kristen was able to think outside the box with me and pull my likes, interests, and ideas together to create the most beautiful sapphire engagement ring! I get compliments on it everywhere I go because the stone color and ring design are truly one-of-a-kind.
Kristen’s jewelry has been featured on Oprah, won awards for best jewelry store and best jewelry designer in Savannah (where SCAD is located, by the way), won grants, and spent time as Artist in Residence in Lacoste, France. I love that her pieces are unique and inspired by nature, and she often incorporates gorgeous pops of color in her designs, too!
I recently commissioned another piece from Kristen to create one heirloom piece out of several family jewelry items that I’ve been given over the years. I’ve already seen the rough sketches, and I know it’s going to be incredibly special! If you need a jewelry re-design or special gift for someone in your life, I can definitely recommend Kristen!
Follow her on Instagram @kristenbairdjewelry!
If you’ve followed me for more than a week or two, you’ve definitely seen me recommending Truly-Life! My friend Mellenie started this company out of her home in 2008, and she still makes every item herself. As far as saving the planet, she is the most committed person I know, and she still manages to create products that actually work! Her soaps are amazing, but there is more to her business than that. She has also created natural deodorant, a shampoo and conditioner bars, a liquid hand soap kit, gift sets, and so much more.
Another thing I admire about her business is that she actually grows some of her own ingredients for her products, like lavender, which is no small feat in an urban garden in the D.C. area! I also love that she works with other local artisans and small businesses in the area. She gets the coffee grounds for her coffee soap from a local roaster. She has used pomace from a local winery to make a lavender wine soap. She works with a local potter to include soap dishes and shaving bowls with some of her gift sets. I love it all, and I know you will, too!
Give them a follow @trulylife2008!
This is one of the most life-changing, far-reaching companies in the world. My friend Jillian, who has worked in international business consulting for over 10 years, created Marie Mae Company as a side hustle to fund a business school for women in Rwanda. Nearly six years later, she’s using her business to provide business training for victims of human trafficking. For every item purchased, she personally donates an hour of business training to a woman who needs it to live her best life.
Not only does Jillian at Marie Mae Company sell beautiful, ethically-made office products, she makes sure they are sourced either from companies in the USA, or ethically made in places like Haiti, Rwanda, Peru, and more. During the pandemic, however, many of her sources were shut down. She was facing an actual increase in demand with no way to restock! So she thought outside the box and pivoted in a big way: sourcing from other woman-owned small businesses around the country. She worked with an essential oil maker, a textile company creating masks, and even Truly-Life! I love seeing small businesses helping other small businesses.
Jillian also recently started an incredible podcast about doing good in business. It’s called The Good Office Podcast, and I look forward to it every week!
Follow them @MarieMaeCompany and @TheGoodOfficePodcast!
It’s your turn! Who are your favorite small business owners, and what are your favorite small business products? Comment to tell us all below!
For more about products I love and reccommend, check out my Shop Page!
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