days in between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are the shopping frenzy, when you finally get a chance to grab the Dyson vacuum or laptop you need all year long at a price you can afford. But today is Small Business Saturday, which is less about your benefit, and more about giving back to your local community. We hope you shop on a small and local scale whenever you can, but it’s a good day to show your support for the many small businesses that have been trying to get back on their feet since the pandemic began.
Small-scale shopping doesn’t just mean going to the stores in your city’s downtown area – although you should do that too if you can. You can shop many of them by default. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite small businesses from an online presence, and encourage you to look for other businesses close to home. Remember, it’s nice to have a day dedicated to supporting these stores, but it’s important to shop locally throughout the year.
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How to find what you are looking for
Whether you’re looking for something specific – old records or skateboard earrings, perhaps? Or you just want to browse and check out local events like flea markets. Many cities have an all-in-one event for the day, and since many didn’t do so last year due to the pandemic, people will probably be eager to set a table.
But if you’re not comfortable venturing out into a crowd, your favorite store probably has an online marketplace with some or most of their inventory. You can also find new stores in these ways:
- etsy It is an obvious resource as a marketplace for individual sellers. You can find just about anything there, from custom artwork to vintage trinkets. Plus, Etsy hosts sales, while other small or local stores may not.
- Check your local site chamber of Commerce website. You’ll often list local businesses.
- Search hashtags on Instagram If you are looking for a specific item, for example, vegan jewelry.
- American Express has a file Searchable small business map, but you may have to dig. When I researched my hometown, I got a huge list of restaurants and car washes as well as a few small shops.
- Amazon might be the last place you would consider it a small business (and rightfully so!), but the site now has a small support Section. This is a good resource if you are definitely Should Use Amazon, but we still recommend buying directly from small businesses anytime you can.
- For the rest of the year, check Facebook events For fairs or other local shopping gatherings. Many cities offer days each month (or quarter) where local businesses are invited to set up tables on a street or in a community hall to peruse their wares.
Our Favorite Small Business
WIRED employees live all over the country, and we wanted to highlight some of our favorite small businesses with online marketplaces to shop in. We’ve browsed real shelves and shopped online offerings so you know you’re getting something good.
A little of this, a little of that
- Chaparral studio (Los Angeles, California): Are you looking for original items such as T-shirts, jewelry, crystals and other accessories? You’ll find it at this women’s-owned store in Los Angeles—many of the items are handcrafted in-house, too. We especially love these brass no-logo keychains like Dude, Babe, or our favorite, feminist. In keeping with the mission of this business, a portion of every sale of the Feminist Keychain goes to Planned Parenthood. – Michael Calor
- indigo (Rockford, Illinois): This Latina-owned store spotlights local small women-owned businesses and features everything from art to key chains to jewelry, clothing, and beauty products. The selection is rotated –Follow the store’s Instagram for updated items—The charming downtown storefront always has something new to find. It’s across the street from the Rockford Art Deli, which is also featured in this guide. Founder Evangelina Jimenez – a friend of mine – offers online gift certificates as well as a range of Indigo-branded merchandise. Lauren Strump
- million roses (New York, NY): When my partner said she couldn’t wear jewelry (and didn’t want a ring), I had to think carefully about what I could suggest. Enter a million roses. Started by Lucia Guzmán, a self-taught Bolivian artist, you can order a custom wired sculpture of just about anything – pets, movie characters, and flowers – and in a few weeks, it will have it delivered to your doorstep. I got a custom wired sculpture of my pet and this is what I suggested (she said yes). —Julian Chokato