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.

it’s like a new haircut, but more fun

Just like when I get a new haircut (which I did about a month ago, actually), I didn’t mention much about the changes around here.  I like people to notice and comment.

I know.  It’s annoying. Just ask Cort.

I can’t help it.


The lovely Courtney of GCS Design did all this you see here.

She was the genius behind my kick-booty business cards that I took to BlogHer with me.

She also did all the decorations for Eddie’s monkey-themed 2nd birthday party.

I didn’t even shop around when I decided it was time for an updated look.  I went right to Courtney because

1. I know she does awesome work and she is wonderful to work with and

2. I tend to be hugely loyal when I find a small business I love.  And I love GCS Design.  Like whoa.

She did not disappoint!  She brought me a clean, bright, uncluttered look…exactly what I wanted.

I hope you are enjoying it too.

Besides a new look, there are some other new things you may or may not have noticed around here.

For one, I am now with the BlogHer Publishing Network. I am very happy with this change.  Not only do I enjoy working with BlogHer, but it frees me up to have small business ads here too–which is very important to me.  So you will see in the sidebar some of the small businesses that support Sluiter Nation and in turn, Sluiter Nation shows lots of love to.

I encourage you to shop those businesses.  I only accept ads that I know provide quality product and stellar customer service, so you have Sluiter Nation seal of approval on the shops featured on my blog!

(interested in being one of the shops in my side bar?  Contact me!)

Plus it’s cyber Monday and many of them have AWESOME deals going on right now!

I also still do reviews and giveaways over here.  I like to pay it forward to you all for being so loyal, so when a great product or business wants to work with me, you’ll find it here.

Book reviews have slowed down considerably since being pregnant and being back to work, but later this week Katie’s Bookcase will get a shot in the arm with a list of must-buy books for all the people on your Christmas gift list from the toddlers to your dad.

(Have you read a book lately?  Want to share?  Contact me about guest posting on the book blog!)

And finally, last year my posts about where to shop online and great gifts ideas were big hits, and I have gotten requests to do some this year too.  So get ready for some fun gift ideas, some great new shops you might not know about, and more!  All just in time for the holiday.

Because I love to give.

I so do.  It’s my favorite part of the season.

What is your favorite part of the holiday season?  What are some of your fave online shops?  Is your shopping done already?