Holiday Gift Guide: Support Small and Women-Owned

I’m SO pumped to kick off this holiday gift guide series with some of my favorite brands. There’s no denying that small businesses took a hard hit this year. Small business owners are easily some of the most passionate, driven, hardworking people– the thread that holds our communities together. The holiday season is a time to reflect and give back, offering the perfect opportunity to shop small for holiday gifts. No matter where you are or what you’re looking for, close the Amazon tab and head directly to a little brand’s website. Here, I did some of the work for you, and they’re all female-owned businesses. BAM.

The ONA Boutique

Operation Not Alone is a Wisconsin-based non-profit supporting both United States veterans and active-duty military. ONA works year-round to organize military care packages with thoughtful necessities and personalized requests, shipped worldwide. They also coordinate nursing home visits over the holidays and send Cheer Packages to retired military members on Veterans Day. Empowering communities to give back and make an impact is what fuels this small non-profit, and you can rep their mission too. Shop the ONA Boutique for cute empowerment-focused jewelry and clothing (like the adorable tee I’m wearing here) and enter code JESSICA10 for 10% off your order. Another to-do…head straight to their main website to make a donation and check out what they’re up to!

Como Cookie Company

Everyone needs a cookie or two, or maybe a dozen? Consider gifting a sweet treat to someone on your list this year. Como Cookie Company is a Wisconsin-based woman-owned bakery with the most DELICIOUS cookies. Think 1/2 pound of gooey, stuffed goodness. They will open for the next batch of orders on December 1st at 8:00am CST. You’ll want to hurry, the order window is open for only THREE days to allow time for baking and shipping of their exclusive flavors before the holidays– Sugar Cookie Crunch, Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Irish Cream Hot Cocoa, and Baklava Lovin’. Mark your calendars and stay tuned on Instagram for updates! Skipping the sweets? You’re crazy. They also have a Black Friday apparel sale starting on Thanksgiving morning and running through Sunday, November 29th.

Johnny’s Girl Boutique

Okay, this Midwest woman-owned boutique has the sweetest story. You’ve got to hear it. Sophia was inspired to create her business as a leap of faith, the same leap of faith her Grandpa John took when starting his photography business generations ago, which landed some of his work in the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Today, she runs a small boutique full of super cute clothing, accessories, and home decor at an affordable price. On Black Friday, the first 5 shoppers will get a free gift with purchase, and all customers benefit from 20% off EVERYTHING, 25% off $100+ and 30% off $250. Sales begin at noon on Thanksgiving Day and run all the way through Shop Small Saturday (November 28th, 2021). Find some style inspiration on their Instagram and shop around!

CocoVaa Chocolatier

If Santa came down the chimney and handed me gourmet chocolate, I’d be set. CocoVaa is another Madison, Wisconsin-based business, owned by an incredibly talented Black chocolatier named Syovata Edari. Her award-winning micro-batch artisanal fine chocolates and other confections would be the PERFECT gift for me someone with a sweet tooth on your list this year. Stop into the store in Madison for the full experience or check out the online store to have some treats shipped nationwide. Stay up to date on the latest products on the CocoVaa Facebook and Instagram pages.

Photo: @cocovaa

Old Flames Candle Co.

Ever wish you could just forget about a past relationship and watch it go up in flames? Allow Old Flames Candle Co. to make that dream come true. Handmade artisan candles never had this much personality. Seriously, each one is named after someone you can probably relate to and you can set them on fire and watch them burn. Owner Jude Maboné hand delivers in the D.C. area and ships nationwide! The Cuffing Season collection is available now, so follow along on Instagram for updates and check out the current scents on the Old Flames Candle Co. website. Hint: gift cards are also available!

Theia by Maria

Jewelry is one of the sweetest gifts and Theia by Maria is no exception. Maria is a Wisconsin native, currently studying at the University of Wisconsin. Her brand specializes in fashion jewelry inspired by Greek mythology. Named after Greek goddess, Theia, known for adorning gold and silver with their luster, Theia by Maria carries high-quality gold-plated, stainless steel and 625 sterling silver pieces. Let me tell you, every piece is STUNNING. Shop here and follow along on Instagram for more styling inspiration.

Marie Hunter Cosmetics

Founder KéNisha Ruff began her beauty career as a licensed cosmetologist in Madison, WI. Her passion for skincare and cosmetics led her through a professional journey in retail cosmetics, then to high end salons and spas, and now to her current role as a Professional Makeup Artist and Creative Director of Marie Hunter Beauty. KéNisha is an expert in the entire process of cosmetics formulation – from product development to package design. This brand has such beautiful, luxurious products. Some of my favorites are the Lustrous Lipsticks, many of which are named after Madison area locations. Just sayin…would be a killer stocking stuffer. They also have skincare, products for men, and candles—like these holiday candle bundles. Don’t forget to follow along on the ‘gram.

Assembly Shop

You guessed it, another Wisconsin-based business! This time we’re heading north to Stevens Point. If you’re local, you know this is the cutest boutique you’ll ever see. It’s a BEAUTIFUL, inspiring space filled with hand-selected, transitional items. If you’re not in the area, shipping is a thing, so really no excuse NOT to shop Assembly, right? As a UWSP alum, their Point gear is my favorite, but there are a ton of other super chic items to see, like sweaters, dresses, accessories and more. Owner Quyen Hom is also big on giving back, which is why she offers a scholarship to non-traditional students at UWSP. Yeah, you can support that, too. Assembly is celebrating Shop Small Week starting November 22nd with 20% off in-store and online, and baseball caps are all $15. Keep an eye out on Instagram for updates throughout the season!

Have more favorite small businesses you’re planning to purchase from this holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

Happy holidays and love always,

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