‘Tis the season to shop for loved ones…and maybe even yourself for weathering 2020.
When choosing where to shop from for the holidays (and always), the convenience of Amazon is nice, but it’s also an easy out.
During the holidays (and all year long) it’s really important to think about all the shop owners, creators, and entrepreneurs who work tirelessly around the clock to keep their small businesses open and their passions and dreams thriving. Not just surviving.
It can be that easy to help your community as well as the folks who share their arts, creations, and talents in curating fabulous inventory that light us all up on the inside.
Here are some incredible small businesses, some local, some not, some women-owned, some black women-owned…all exceptional options for finding the perfect gift for someone you love.
It’s a long list, but worth the scroll.
Let’s dive in!
And tell ’em The Sister Project sent ya.
La Grange, IL (Our home town!) Small Businesses
A La Grange, IL staple. Whether you need a small gift, seasonal home decor, or an entire outfit, you truly cannot go wrong with Vintage Charm. You will get lost with wonder at all of the little delights.
This adorable boutique located in the heart of La Grange is extra cozy. Mixed with new and vintage pieces, owners Heidi and Scott focus on the home and hospitality. When stepping into Whisper Me Home, it’s like stepping into the home of a friend. It’s warm, welcoming, and you kind of don’t want to leave.
You will find some worldly and Scandinavian treasures at SO. Think Nordic houseware and stunning fashion along with unique accessories. You’ll feel like you’re walking into a quaint little shop right off the streets in Sweden.
New to La Grange, run do not walk, for some of Malek’s loose tea. This is THE perfect gift for the tea lover in your life. We are currently addicted to the Green Chili Lime (with a hint of coconut) green tea. Heads up, it has a kick and is delicious when hot, but comes highly recommended to try over ice.
Jen Del Guidice, owner and creator of LUXXE HONOR, creates some of the most beautiful all-natural, non-toxic household cleaners on top of a stunning line of all-natural skincare. Two things to look out for: The All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner and her all-natural candles.
Designer and Owner, Kim Lesher’s floral arrangements will knock your socks straight off of your feet. I mean, just look at that design below. Go see Kim for the perfect plant to gift a loved one or send flowers to a loved one you won’t be able to see this holiday season. She sells Tatine candles as well! Some of the best in the biz.
This store is a trip! It carries such adorable, cheeky, and fun gifts. The Darling Shop is the perfect small business to grab a gift for your pre-teen niece. Such a great addition to the neighborhood!
Chicago Gift Shops
I love this shop for finding the perfect gift for that ambitious, butt-kicking, motivated woman friend in my life. Owner, D’Cher, has perfectly curated her South Loop store with cute mugs, fun totes, and reminders that YOU ARE ENOUGH. Black-women owned and just down the way from Chicago French Press. One of my favorite coffee shops in the South Loop and also Black-women-owned.
First of all, this is my favorite gift to get sisters and girlfriends. Mashallah’s very own, Evil Eye bracelet. It comes in teal and light pink as well. Perfect gift for a mom-to-be or anyone trying to keep away bad juju. Stop inside her Pilsen shop for worldly and beautiful finds. Just like Mashallah herself.
If you’re looking for a gift that will make the recipient giggle upon opening, head to Fig Tree in the West Loop. Shop owner, Ann Hoover Sinclair, has had me cracking up for years with her cheeky, political presents and inspiring me with her Women Are The Future type vibe.
This shop is packed with gifts created by other local artisans and small businesses and it gives me all the feels. The hardest part about shopping at Humboldt House is that you’re going to want one of everything.
I get the luxurious feels when I jaunt into Smitten Boutique. There are beautiful colors, patterns, and textures – you just kind of want to touch everything. A great spot for a beautiful baby gift and a small, but splendid selection of cookbooks and coffee table books. Puzzles too and cute baby gifts!
NOMAD – for the wandering soul looking for absolutely stunning, natural skincare and worldly finds that make you feel like your traveling. Creative Director and friend, Erika Nolan and her team have created a space filled with incredible products and items along with a vibe. You don’t just go into NOMAD, you feel it upon entry.
With two locations in Chicago (Wicker Park & West Loop), Asrai offers exquisite floral arrangements, luxurious fine jewelry, and magical curiosities. And boy do they deliver. The collection of items compliments the mood of the shop which is both sexy and mysterious.
Cards and Stationery
Founder, Jennifer Larkin, designs and letterpresses her greeting cards to make these truly a one of a kind, handmade, snail mail experience. Not only does her online shop have cards, but also gift wrap, gift bottle bags (super cute ones!), pencils, and stickers. I am particularly fond of her “Women Empower Women” sticker I have on my Mac.
Coming in hot (and relaxing) from Bandon, OR, Nourish + Co. delivers high quality and extensively researched plant-based creations by founder, Kristin Nilsen. Trust me when I tell you this: whoever you gift The Cozy Set to, will be singing your praises for months to come. Her products are a delight!
Use our code: TSP15 for 15% off of your first order.
This is the most unboring soap you will ever lather all over your body. Cellardoor is handmade from scratch using plant-based oils and shea butter. These unique bars of vegan soap will have your loved one thinking of you every time they wash their…oh nevermind. OH! And check out their candles as well!
Food + Drink
For the mixologist in your life, get them a bottle of Strongwater Bitters coming out of Denver, CO. We’re particularly fond of their Golden bitters.
One of Michigan’s truest gems…The American Spoon shops. The perfect gift to send to those you may not be able to spend time with this holiday season. Perhaps some artisanal jams, salsas, and sauces will help soothe the holiday heart. We think yes.
A perfect stocking stuffer for the health nut in your life. They go famously with smoothies and granola. It’s all about the crunch!
Speaking of granola, here’s an absolutely delicious option from a high school friend of mine, Madeline McCarthy. Madeline brings a whole new level of flavor and texture to her locally made good for you granola.
Fashion + Accessories
After having a clutch and a cardholder that I have used for years, I can tell you that not only is this a functionally fashionable gift, it lasts! They add the perfect pop to any outfit. For the little fashionista in your life.
Go to Una Mae’s for the great inventory of fashion for both men and women…stay for her incredible apothecary for both men and women. A couple things to note: great sale items upstairs, excellent vintage option downstairs, and a solid selection of incense.
I recently discovered this adorable boutique on Division Street. In fact, this here sweatshirt pulled me in right through the window. I am obsessed with it and so is everyone that sees it. The owner, Sam, has a great selection to peruse and also, mask chains for $10. Stop in and say hi!
Based out of California, the cute couple who founded Vaalbara specializes in environmentally conscious handbags…did I mention that the handbags are freaking cute too?!
A portion of every sale goes to SurfRider Foundation to help keep our beaches and oceans clean. I have the print below in a fold-over clutch I bought many moons ago at The Renegade Fest here in Chicago. I still worship it and use it very often to this day!
Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, Alice & Wonder is the shop to stop in for a cute Zoomsgiving outfit and White Elephant gift for your girlfriends.
The owner, Ali, left her corporate gig to create something much more fulfilling and fun! She followed her dreams and opened one of the cutest boutiques in Chicago.
Do you have a friend that loves black and white? Well, look no further. Check out Franca out of NYC for creative expressions in the form of mugs, vases, and pots for plants.
If you know someone who loves sunsets, sunrises, and all the phases of the moon…Callahan Ceramic mugs are for them. They will stare into the sky with mug in hand. How beautiful!
Keep your home bar classy with one of Reclamation Etchworks spirits bottles. They’re old-school, sustainable, and customizable. Small family business owned, I’ve seen them many times in person and trust me, they are stunning. A lovely gift for that special someone that loves a good cocktail.
Chicago’s only black-women owned bookstore came to be after the owner, Danielle, one day noticed a space for rent while out on a summer walk. But now, it is so much more.
“It has now grown into a movement to change the narrative of what Black book-buying AND bookselling looks like!”
Can’t wait to read Obama’s book.
Located in the west loop, Madison Street Books has a wonderful selection of books as well as puzzles! You can’t get more hygge than those two things. A truly beautiful selection.
CBD + Cannabis (aka self-care)
Women-owned and local, Equilibria is part of our every day to help manage stress and take in something good for our body AND our mind. This holiday season, they created four stunning and intentional gift sets with self-care in mind.
2020 brought it, it’s up to us to manage how we deal with it and the truth is, CBD is the gift that keeps on giving.
Use our code: THESISTERPROJECT, to receive 15% off your first order. Keep an eye out for Black Friday sales as well, they’re coming.
For the cannabis enthusiast in your life, consider handmade, ergonomically correct smoke ware. For on the go, at home, or simply for display, these pipes coming out of Portland, OR are definitely mini masterpieces.
Thank you for supporting small businesses this holiday season, including our own.
Please tune into our podcast, Cozy Conversations with The Sister Project, for a round of laughs and maybe cocktails.
Happy Holidays! xo