I am Thankful for Small & Local Businesses

Did you know that for every $100 you spend at a small business, $68 stay in the local economy? And that shifting 10% of your purchases from chains can create new jobs?*

I think it’s pretty clear that supporting local and small businesses are important.

But even without researched facts, I love to and would much rather shop small and/or local shops.

While I can’t deny that I’ve had ok customer service and great deals at the big chain stores, I have never built a relationship with a big box store like I have with small shops.

Small shop owners have become my friends.  They have swapped life stories with me.  They have checked in with me.  They have collaborated with me to create truly unique and personal gifts.

In short: They are approachable.

In celebration of the fact that tomorrow is Black Friday, Saturday is Small Biz Saturday, & Monday is cyber Monday, I have compiled a list of small and/or local businesses that I would encourage you to support this weekend.  The list is pretty diverse, so there should be something there for many on your holiday shopping lists…

Flawed Perfection Jewelry: pretty and affordable…such a sweet gift for any girly girl in your life.  I have this necklace and every time I wear it I get loads of compliments.

Changing the Universe: super cute handmade coasters and pillow covers.  She even has Christmas-themed ones in the shop right now…just right to add that holiday touch to your decor.

Lichterman Law, PLC: this practice is local to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  Remember my post about the Priceless Conversation and our estate planning/will creating experience?  This was the lawyer we worked with.  If you are local to me and have been thinking about getting your ducks in a row, Mike is your guy.  I mean, he even linked to me in a blog post.

R&L Design: This is my newest obsession favorite shop. I have already gotten three pairs of earrings and a necklace just for myself because her stuff is so incredibly cute and affordable.  I have a feeling I will be shopping for friends and family here too (I can’t stop myself)!

Bella Joy Pottery: Ah another local gal.  That just makes my heart happy.  As does her AMAZING pottery pieces! I cannot think of a more special and unique piece to get someone on your holiday list than something from Bella Joy Pottery. I already have my eye on something for someone on my list…but I can’t tell!

GCS Design & Print: If you’ve been around these parts for any amount of time, you know my heart has been sold to Courtney of GCS Design for over a year now.  She makes designs from birthday party favors and invites to my biz cards to this very blog…they all fit my personality and tastes perfectly.  It’s a very special relationship once you have found a design artist who “gets” you.  I have found mine. ::cue happy sighs::

Coconut Robot: When my heart needed her most, Kacia was introduced to me via twitter.  Not only has she been a rock and an inspiration to me spiritually, but she made Charlie a pair of booties that will forever be part of my heart.  When he is a big, hulking teenage boy someday, I will be able to look at those booties with his name on the leather soles and remember my baby bird.

Naptime Diaries: This is a new shop to me (introduced to me by Kacia) and I have fallen hard for it.  Cort and I have poured over the products trying to decide on a few as gifts. I can’t wait to start making those holiday purchases.

Stitched Simplicity: Oh Erika. One of my longest shop loves. I have been ordering baby blankets from Erika for years now.  she makes the most lovely (and baby-friendly/durable) products. Her bibs and blankets have a unique backing that I have yet to find elsewhere.  Bonus? She is the crafty hand behind Charlie’s stocking. It’s good to have crafty friends!

Sew Curly: I am sure you all read my swoony post about Kristina earlier this week, so you KNOW she makes this list! And guess what?  Good through cyber Monday she has a 15% discount code for you. YES YOU! Enter THANKFUL at checkout to receive the discount. I got excited about this discount too since again, I have a whole list of nieces and nephew who will be getting things from her shop for Christmas.

mL photography: Missy is my photographer. My ONLY photographer.  She makes this world beautiful.  Not just with her photos, but with her heart and her smile.  She is local to me too, so if you’re in the area and are looking for a great deal on gorgeous photos, you need to contact her. Want proof?  Look at my about section, her work is all over that.  As is my head shot up there. She exudes awesome.

Papersalt: Gifts from Papersalt make the best stocking stuffers.  Their products are family-oriented and focus on positive characteristics like giving and making time for family. We have a few of their books and just love them.  And bonus for you?  From Black Friday through Cyber Monday you can get 40% off all orders of $50 or more!

babEblessings: If you follow me on instagram (ksluiter) you have probably seen my daily #SheReadsTruth posts.  The journal I use is from babEblessings. I love it. LOVE IT.  We also have some prints by Jacqueline posted around our house and my classroom.  They are wonderful reminders of all the wonderful blessings in our life.

Gussy Sews: She needs no help getting exposure, but I would be remiss not to mention her.  I adore her product, but I also love Ms. Maggie to the moon.  She was a local girl…until she ran across the country with her man and put a baby in her oven. I will always consider her local though.

 Local Lustre: Lindsey makes two seemingly unrelated products: kidswear and home decor.  Specifically you can get your state made out of burlap as a cute door hanger. And guess what? She has a 15% discount for you this weekend!  Just enter SBSTHANKS at check out!

addyeB: Have an art-lovers on your list? Then this is the shop for you.  Beautiful pieces of modern art that will add a total SHA-ZAM of color to any room!

Junky Brilliance: This is THE shop for ugly holiday sweaters.  No seriously.  She thrifts them so you don’t have to.  Have an ugly sweater party coming up?  Browse in the comfort of your own home instead of schlepping through thrift shop bins. You’re welcome.

Imagine Toys: This is another business local to me (Battle Creek, Mi), and one for whom I contribute a monthly blog post.  Not only do they have awesome products at great prices for the kiddos on your list, but they are busy doing good this weekend as well.  Check it out:

click on the picture to go directly to their fb page and “like”

There are many, MANY more I could mention…but I think this is a great list to get your shopping started.

What small or local businesses do you love?

Where will you be giving your business this holiday season?

*Thank to Guilty Squid for the small biz facts. Love ya, girlie.

Top Ten Tuesday: small business love

Lately I have noticed that I have a bit of an addiction to shopping online, specifically small businesses.  Even more specifically, handmade products.

I think it’s because with my crazy schedule, I don’t get out to do any shopping anymore.  I used to at least do the grocery shopping once a week and get to throw in a fun pen or notepad or cookies.  But now?  I don’t even do that anymore.

So I have turned to the internet.

I will admit that I may have a bit of a problem (although none of the shop owners have complained about it).

This week I am sharing with you my favorite shops to stalk shop.  There are in no particular order…I love them ALL!

10. Sarah Bee Creations:

mmm...smells so yummy!

Sarah of Sarah Bee Creations is one of Sluiter Nation’s sponsors (see her pretty soaps over there on the right?) because not only is she an awesome person?  But she makes some of the richest, creamiest soaps ever!  I have her French Vanilla soap in the shower right now, and her lemongrass is on deck making my bathroom drawer smell delicious.   I cannot get over how soft my skin is after using this.  Horribly dry elbows?  Totally gone!

9. Pink Bow Bath Boutique:

pampering in a jar

Along with Sarah’s soaps?  I have become completely addicted to Amy’s body butters from Pink Bow Bath Boutique. I won a tiny jar from a giveaway and I was HOOKED!  I have never smelled so yummy in all my life.  Really.  Right now I am loving the buttercream frosting and the strawberry cream, but the pear vanilla is way tasty smelling too.  The body butter is thick, but not too thick, and the body frosting is silky and a bit lighter–can’t wait to get that for the summer!

8. The Vintage Pearl:

personalized lovliness

I don’t think there are many people out there who DON’T know about Erin at The Vintage Pearl. I have the “you are my sunshine” necklace and I have given quite a few gifts from TVP–and they are ALWAYS loved.  I think it’s the personalization and uniqueness that makes these pieces so special.

7. Peggy Ann Design:

the cutest frame in my house

Another one of my lovely sponsors, Hannah of Peggy Ann Designs, makes a variety of some of the loveliest items on the internet.  I have one of her cute frames, but I have my eye on her unique cuffs.  I think one would look super cute with my work shirts that are 3/4 length.  (See…I have a problem).  Also how cute would those mini-poms look in little girl hair?  Adorable!  And Hannah is the sweetest friend ever.  I think that makes the addiction worse.  Not only do these shop-owners sell the best stuff, but they are so nice and wonderful…I make up reasons I need their product!

6. The Sunshine Stitch:

self portrait...you get the cuteness of the hat though

This is my newest find.  Alysha of The Sunshine Stitch made that SUPER cute hat for me (because of COURSE I needed a new hat.  Duh.), but mostly she makes the sweetest little baby hats and booties I have ever seen.  Is it bad that after seeing her stuff I told Cort I thought we needed a baby?  Cuz he gave me the side-eye.  Huh.  It’s a good thing I have friends who are pregnant, so I can justify some serious spending here…SOON!

5. Gussy:

all gussy-ed up!

Who doesn’t love Maggie aka Gussy?  Her stuff is legendary out there in online shopping fame.  Those ruffles?  Forget it.  I have a laptop bag, a small pouch for my Droid, and a medium pouch for all the little stuff in my purse.  I showed you two of those things in my vlog a few weeks ago. So you think I would be set, right?  Oh no.  Now that I am going to BlogHer?  I really want a tote or a market bag as my carry on for the plane ride.

4. Bird E Studios

diaper clutch for mom to look good; bib for Eddie to look good!

Erika of Bird E Studios is another lovely friend of mine and an awesome shop owner AND another sponsor here on the old blog.  Erika has been the craftiness behind many of Eddie’s cute goodies…and is working on a little project for me right now for a lovely friend who has twin girls in her belly.  She also makes the cutest dog collars!  All four of my puppy nieces got pretty new “necklaces” from Erika for Christmas this past year.  She is another reason my uterus twitches for a baby…bibs and burp clothes!

3. Funky Mama Bird:

pretty an unique

Betsy of Funky Mama Bird is one of my favorite jewelry shops. Her stuff is so unique; I constantly get compliments on my bracelet.  Right now I have my eye on her birds nest earrings and I LOVE her birds next necklaces too.  Seriously, so cute.

2. Twenty Five Design:

my obession

Anyone who sees me regularly knows about my obsession love of all things Twenty Five Design by the lovely Torie.  My friendship with Torie began when she saved my hair style for a wedding by custom-making my very first Twenty Five Design headband.  Since then? I can’t stop myself!  Currently on my wish list from Torie’s crafty hands is the Spring is Here headband, the Chloe hairclip, and Carol cuff bracelet.  And yes, I already have three headbands, three hair pins, a necklace, and a ring.  What?

1. Eleri Designs

{Ok, I don’t have a picture of this…yet!  It’s on it’s way!}

Stacey of Eleri Designs is another new love of mine.  I came across Stacey’s shop through Miranda (of not super…just mom).  I entered a giveaway, but did not win.  Her shop was on my mind ever since.  Recently I decided it was time I retired my old Pittsburgh Steelers throw to the basement family room and got myself something cozy and girly for my big brown chair upstairs.  Immediately I contacted Stacey to find out if she did custom “adult size” blankets.  She does!  I am so excited to put on my jammies and curl up under my new blanket!  And I might just have my eye on her super cute coffee cozies next…

Now don’t get me wrong…these are not the only shops where I spend all my allowance frequent, but they are the ones I have currently stalked stared at the most in the past couple weeks.

And of course I HAVE to know…what are your favorite shops?  Do you have online favorites too, or do you frequent local small businesses in your area?  Where do you spend your “fun” money?

Don’t forget to vote every 24 hours for Sluiter Nation to win the Mom Central grant!

And don’t forget to shop my Thirty-One party!  Ends this week! (go to “my events” and shop my party–Katie Sluiter).