2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Make your $$ Count

by Debbie Baer November 17, 2017

Instagram likes don't keep small businesses in business. 

Your dollars determine what products, manufacturing processes, and business ethics succeed in this world! If you like unique, well-made & thoughtful things designed and ethically manufactured by passionate people you need to buy them. It's as simple as that! 

So this holiday season let's use our collective power to support the kind of businesses and voices we want to raise up in the world. Here's a list of some of some boss businesses, makers, and yes, companies I like on Instagram to get you started:

  1. The Willary: Wow your favorite gal with our wardrobe of durable, stylish, functional and versatile clothes that fit like a dream. Universally flattering with a forgiving fit, The Easy Skirt makes an easy gift. Or Bundle Up for winter!
  2. Debbie Bean Stained Glass: These make me smile. And it's not just because my name is Debbie and my nickname for my wife is Bean. I want one for my office.
  3. Jennifer Maravillas: I got to meet Jennifer and see her piece 71 Square Miles in person when my wife worked at BRIC Arts Media in New York. We're both fans and every time she puts out a new Protest Bandana my wife gifts me one. You should gift one to someone too!
  4. Siosi: Clean, sleek and beautiful furniture made of sustainably sourced hardwood by two women in Bloomington, IN. I want my growing vinyl collection to live here
  5. Molly Sanyour: I have a hobby. It's wheel throwing. I'm not great but I love it. I follow tons of potters on instagram and my favorite is Molly, who is great. I love the joyful spirit of her work.
  6. Mosswood + Moon: Happy weavings and playful tassel necklaces. Amy's eye for color is unparalleled, and she designs her wares with joy. Wearing her tassel necklaces always brightens my day!
  7. Stitch & Rivet: Hand made bags out of Washington DC. I love how they either re-use, re-purpose or donate their scrap material. Some of it goes to school groups and scout troops. 
  8. Tiro Tiro: I love delicate earrings and these are right up my alley. Lovingly made by a jewelry artist in Portland, OR. 
  9. Mia Beckman: More jewelry! For the food or spice connoisseur in your life, check out her spice collection. I love these little silver cast peppercorn post earrings!
  10. Badass Cross Stitch: Craftivism at its best. Fierce woman quoted in cross stitch. Patterns for sale and a raffle for a really great cross stitch
  11. Fat and the Moon: handcrafted, sustainably sourced, natural body care products by a woman who comes from a line of herbalists and healers. Their lotions smell so good and I'm excited to try their moisturizing lip paints.
  12. Schmidt's Naturals: This is natural deodorant that actually works. And it smells so so good. I'm obsessed and bought some as stocking stuffers for many people this year. When products do what they say they're going to do it's just right to support them!
  13. Kwohtations: Delightful cards and prints that "celebrate the diversity and absurdity of life." Extra points for creating cards that recognize and celebrate same sex couples and non-binary & trans people!  
  14. Project Object: Online (and actual) shop full of a variety of well-designed, expressive gifts with a focus on women, lgbtq + people of color artists and designers. A portion of all proceeds go to a non-profit assisting women affected by domestic violence.
  15. Super Fit Hero: Athletic wear for women from size XS-3XL and made in the USA. Another boss owner I’ve admired from afar. Get it, lady!
  16. Sawako Helmets: For the stylish cyclist or skier on your list. Sawako designs beautiful and playful bike helmets. Some are covered in glitter! And she's delightful and a total boss. 
  17. Kirrin Finch: Got a Dapper Dandy in your life? Check out these gender-defying button downs, bow ties and pocket squares. Co-founders Laura and Kelly have generously offered advice and resources and I love to to see them killing it.
  18. Po Campo: Maria, another smart, savvy and successful business owner, thoughtfully designs excellent bags for active gals.
  19. RYB Denim: For the denim loving cyclist in your life. Owner Chandel is another colleague who is generous with her knowledge and makes quality goods for women.
  20. Patagonia: Okay, so this is a big brand, but talk about a company whose ethic is worth supporting. Last year they donated 100% of their Black Friday sales to environmental causes. They were expecting to make $2 million, they ended up with 10 and donated it all. What an awesome example.

Bonus ideas! 

1. If you're shopping on Amazon sign in using Amazon Smile and choose a charity for your purchases to benefit!

2. Support the arts! Museum memberships & theatre subscriptions are great gifts. If you're in Chicago I recommend a subscription to The House Theatre of Chicago. At the very least go see our Nutcracker. (Fun fact & full disclosure: I was a costume designer for 14 years and am a company member of The House!)

3. Books!: Did you know 75% of the finalists for this year's National Book Awards were women? And women won 3 of the 4 top prizes? Best fiction winner Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing is next on my reading list. I like finding small-press authors to support too, Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett was a recent favorite–charming, funny and touching. And shout out to my cousin Toby's adorably illustrated book of limericks about the misadventures of vegetables–Beware of the Asparagus. Great for kids! Extra points forshopping at your local book store. 

4. I love riding my local bike share (hey hey Indego!) and thought the other day, gee, a yearly pass would be a great holiday gift. Find one near your loved one!

5. Finally, one more plug for The Willary (because this is how we stay in business!) Don't forget we offer gift cards!

Debbie Baer
Debbie Baer


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