One major trend we’re seeing this holiday season is the increased appetite of shoppers to support small businesses — both locally and online. In fact, a new survey from Intuit QuickBooks found that 93% of U.S. consumers said that supporting small businesses this holiday season is more important than ever because of the pandemic.
If you’re one of the 9 in 10 Americans looking to shop small this year, you’re in luck! That’s because shopping small doesn’t just mean going to Main Street anymore — there are now millions of businesses just waiting to be discovered online with unique holiday gifts that will be just perfect for even the toughest to shop for person on your list.
Here are three ways you can shop online, finding cool small businesses with bespoke gifts this holiday season (and all year round!).
Gift Guides Are Your Friend
One thing I’ve loved this holiday season is seeing how everyone from large companies to celebrities and media publications are making it easier to shop small through gift guides. Recently, I partnered with QuickBooks to help with its curated Holiday Small Business Shopping Guide, featuring creative, handpicked gifts exclusively from small businesses. From stylish earrings by Black, woman-owned business Hoop Mobb based in Michigan, decadent handmade chocolates from woman-owned CocoTutti in California or organic hand-baked pet treats from Einstein Pets in Florida, QuickBooks was able to gather small businesses with both unique products and amazing stories.
Another example would be Facebook’s #BuyBlack Friday campaign, back for its second year featuring Black-owned businesses from around the country. As a part of the campaign, Facebook worked with celebrities like Ciara and Daymond John to spotlight their favorite small businesses in gift guides under the Shop Tab directly in Facebook and Instagram.
When you’re stuck, turn to these guides for ideas! You’ll undoubtedly see something cool (like check out TrashAmps, a small business that makes Bluetooth speakers from repurposed materials!). The great thing is, even if you don’t find the right gift, you’ve learned about businesses you can bookmark for the future or thought of an item that wasn’t even on your radar. Even better, if you do find the perfect gift, in addition to delighting your loved one, you also get the feel-good buzz of supporting a small business during the crucial holiday season.
Look for Small Businesses on Big Platforms
More than ever, large companies are making room for the little guys. This is crucial, as small businesses have learned selling online only on their own website puts them at a disadvantage — they need to meet customers where they are! Of course, platforms like Etsy dedicated to makers are a great place to start. Another example would be on Bookshop.org, where you can specify if you want to support a specific independent bookstore — like City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco or Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago.
Many may be surprised to learn that you can also shop small on Amazon. They launched their Support Small Storefront to make it easier for shoppers to find small businesses and independent brands on the platform. In fact, small businesses from some of the gift guides I already mentioned can be found on Amazon, like Einstein Pets, or Barred Wood, a maple syrup company, also featured in the QuickBooks guide.
Whether scrolling through Instagram, browsing Pinterest, watching TikToks or tuning in to a creator’s Livestream, there is no shortage of great gift ideas to be found on social media. Facebook and Instagram now even have Shop tabs, highlighting “Holiday Picks” and other curated lists, making it easier than ever to find and buy unique gifts. Explore hashtags or check out small businesses you know you like and see if you can get inspired! And, don’t be afraid to pay it forward by shouting out a great experience you had shopping online with a small business — your word of mouth support can go a long way!
Never before has it been easier or more important to support small businesses. By using these three hacks, you’ll be able to find awesome gifts all while helping small businesses owners in the process. Remember this win-win strategy as you shop for holiday gifts and well into 2022!
Carmen Ordonez is a leading on-air lifestyle and travel expert, TV Host, and founder behind Viva Fashion. She has appeared in outlets including The New York Times, The TODAY Show, Univision, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, CNN, Telemundo, and InStyle Magazine to name a few. She is currently the host of “ION Style” on the ION Television Network and shares her practical lifestyle advice on various TV shows including Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Dia and Univision’s Despierta America. Prior to launching Viva Fashion, Carmen worked as an entertainment and fashion reporter in Miami, Florida.
Holiday small business stock image by Pressmaster/Shutterstock