It’s the most wonderful time of the year ???? After the 2020 we’ve had, I think we’re all leaning into the holiday spirit this year. Here’s a friendly reminder, though, that the Walmarts and Targets of the world will be just fine amid the global pandemic. Amazon will not hurt much this year at all – in fact, these stores are likely doing better than ever.
Small businesses need your help now more than ever.
There are so many reasons to shop with a small, local business this year. You’ll get a more unique gift, you’ll help the local economy, you’ll help your community members who are the ones running those businesses, and so much more. There are hundreds of small businesses in Charlotte you should check out, but we want to take this opportunity to share some potential gift ideas from the peeps who make up our #hyggefam. We’d love it if you think about supporting them over the holiday season as you prepare to shop!
Scarf & Blazer
Scarf & Blazer is a locally owned business by two badass women, one of whom helps run things from our hygge hill street location. Tara and Kristin want to empower everyone through their apparel and lifestyle brand, and we’re so proud to know them.
Any of their unisex t-shirts, with sassy sayings and empowering messages, make great gifts this year. These shirts are so darn soft and don’t shrink at all in the wash. They have a full line of kids clothing (including super cute onesies) as well as adult sizes up to 3XL. They also have some of the coziest sweatshirts we’ve ever had the pleasure of touching and some awesome jean jackets they just released. Tara and Kristin are always trying to give back and do things that empower others – if you purchase on of their Let’s Get Lost t-shirts, $5 goes toward local nonprofit Promising Pages.
If you’re shopping before Small Business Saturday, check out their small business gift box perfect for someone who loves to read in your life. They’ve partnered with That’s Novel Books to offer a “Oh, They’re Reading Again” tote bag, a blind date with a used book in a genre you get to choose, a “BookishAF” mask and a cute mug with their ampersand logo on it.
Look, comfy socks are a darn good gift for anyone, especially for the professional guy in your life. (Seriously, do you know often guys go through socks?) They’re an even better gift when you’re getting them from a small business that prioritizes building other small businesses up at every opportunity they can.
“We’re all about local everything,” says Boardroom Socks CEO Nathan James. “All of our socks are made here. The actual gift box the socks come in, we found someone in Hickory who makes those, so that’s made locally. Our shipping labels we get from a small family business. Everything we do we try to keep it small, keep it local, and that’s what we’re all about.”
Boardroom Socks doesn’t only offer incredibly comfortable, long-lasting dress socks in a ton of different lengths. They also have cozy pairs of casual socks that are perfect for just chillin’ at home – something we’ve all been doing more of lately. Check out their holiday gift guide by clicking here.
The Artsy Box
There is literally a gift box for everyone on The Artsy Box’s website. This Charlotte small business started a few years ago when Lekha Shah wanted to give her husband a box full of presents he’d love for the holidays. It was such a hit, she decided to make pre-curated boxes for others who might want to do the same thing.
Boxes include anything and everything from journals and notepads, coffee mugs, high quality tea and coffee, chocolates, snacks, throw blankets and so much more. There’s a box for pretty much any occasion you could imagine, and they make great gifts for family members, Secret Santa and White Elephant games, client thank you’s, employee holiday gifts, a new couple celebrating their first Christmas together… did we mention there’s literally a gift box for everyone? Because we were serious.
“Just as every other small business has been hit very hard this year, we have also been struggling in our own ways,” Lekha says. “I’m very thankful for the skills to pivot things and have that confidence in myself. Sometimes you can lose everything having this big of a crisis, so I’m grateful that I’ve learned so much over the years.”
You can ship these gifts directly to the person you’re buying for (aka perfect for those socially distant holiday celebrations we’ll all be having this year) or send them to yourself to give someone in person. All the boxes come beautifully wrapped, so your work is easy! Just go pick out a box – we suggest checking out their holiday options here to get started – or you can build your own.
Bold Music Lessons
The gift of music is one that never leaves. That’s what George Ramsay, founder of Bold Music Lessons, believes, and we totally agree. “Gifting music lessons is fantastic, and it’s super popular over the holidays,” he says. “It’s a lifelong thing. If you gift someone music lessons, that’s something they can enjoy for the rest of their life and share with other people. It can become a habit and we’ve noticed over the pandemic music has been a good outlet for people.”
Bold Music Lessons offers in-person and virtual one-on-one music lessons for folks of all ages for pretty much any instrument you could think of. They teach everything from guitar, bass, ukulele, sax, violin, clarinet, voice and others as well as songwriting and music production classes. And currently they’re running a Small Business Saturday special where if you sign up for lessons to learn any instrument, you get a free ukulele. Cool, right?
The small business works with nearly 40 local musicians to teach their lessons. They’re located right here in Charlotte, but they’ve recently expanded to the Raleigh market as well. You can sign a loved one up for a subscription to their lessons, which would continue on in perpetuity, or you can sign them up for two months of lessons. Just send Bold Music Lessons a message online and they’ll get you a gift certificate you could give to anyone this year.
Calvin’s Craft Cookies
They might be exploiting this adorable dog (named River) just to get us to buy their treats, but we are totally sold ???? Don’t worry, River is not actually being exploited by Calvin’s Craft Cookies, a local business that takes a portion of what breweries can’t use and creates dog treats and dog beer (yup, you read that right) out of it. We’ll let founder Eric Westerduin explain it all:
“We looked at Charlotte and there’s all these craft breweries that are making a lot of great beer, but the interesting thing that not a lot of people know is that making beer, there’s a lye product called spent grains, which is basically the barley that gets soaked in the water,” Eric explains. “They soak barley in hot water, and that extracts the sugars. Then that sugary water goes on to become water, and they add yeast to that sugar water, the yeast eats the sugar and makes alcohol. The wet barley that now has no sugar in it just gets thrown away.”
Easy, right? Not so fast: “These breweries actually have a big problem with just throwing it away because they can’t just throw it in the trash because it ferments and it’s bad for the waste system. So they have to get rid of it a special way, or they have farmers that come pick it up. Long story short, there’s way more breweries than there are outlets for this stuff, so they’re always looking to get rid of it and do something with it. I came up with this idea to make these sustainable dog treats using that as the base ingredient. It’s kind of nice because we upcycle something that would otherwise be thrown away.”
You’ve probably heard about Calvin’s Craft Cookies because they’re the super cool dog beer that’s on tap at Skiptown, which just opened up this year. In fact, they believe they’re the only dog beer on tap anywhere in the nation, which gives them total bragging rights. The cool part is you can purchase their dog treats, which come in peanut butter and apple and cheese flavors, as well as their dog beer, and have it shipped right to your front door for free. AND 15% of the proceeds goes toward animal rescue groups. Basically, this is the perfect gift for any dog owner you know.
Charlotte Black Owned
Alright, we’ll admit these folks aren’t exactly a small business, but they do all the work to support them. Charlotte Black Owned started in the midst of the pandemic this year to give a voice to Charlotte’s Black-owned small businesses that were hurting at an even greater rate than others. With almost 30K followers on Instagram, they highlight a different business in the area every dang day in hopes of spreading the word about some local spots you might not know about.
Located in our jay street location in the Not Just Coffee space, Jen Falcon with Quad Espresso Jewelry hand makes the daintiest, most gorgeous pieces of jewelry that you’ll want to wear every single day. From rings to earrings, chokers to bracelets, her creations are absolutely stunning.
Quad Espresso’s stackable rings are super affordable and allow you to get a few different pieces for someone you’re buying for. Meanwhile, the birthstone rings are great for anyone with kiddos or who just happens to think their birthstone is gorgeous. If you’re not sure what type of jewelry someone would like but they have a lot of it already, there’s also a really great jewelry case that’s perfect for traveling and keeping all different pieces organized.
That’s Novel Books
A joint venture between hygge’s founder, Garrett Tichy, and director of marketing, Alyssa Pressler, That’s Novel Books is a public-facing used bookstore located in our camp north end location. The store is full of incredible finds, and used books make some really great (and cheap!) gifts for any reader.
It’s a great spot to stock up on DIY books for someone who’s looking to start a new hobby, or brand new books by local Charlotte authors for someone who’s new to the area or just wants to read more local stuff. You can also purchase tote bags, bookmarks pins and blind dates with a used book (that’s where the book is wrapped with a short description – you purchase it without knowing exactly what it is).
Not sure what to get a bookworm you love? You can purchase a digital gift card on their website so they can pick out their own gift. You can also preorder the Small Business Saturday gift package we mentioned above that That’s Novel Books is partnering with Scarf & Blazer to create. Each package includes a “Oh, They’re Reading Again” tote bag, a blind date with a book in a genre of your choice, a “BookishAF” mask and a super cute Scarf & Blazer mug. You’ll be able to pick up the packages on Small Business Saturday (11/28) or you can pay to have them shipped right to you.
Our hygge coffee partners
If you’re new around here, then there’s one big thing you should know: we love coffee. In particular, we love local coffee brewed and served by people just as passionate about it as we are. Enter in our coffee partners: Enderly Coffee Co., HEX Coffee, Not Just Coffee and Pure Intentions Coffee.
You can get some incredible gifts this season for a coffee lover at any of their locations. Each has bagged coffee you can buy, but Enderly Coffee Co. also has dope mugs and shirts, HEX Coffee has this instant coffee mix that is absolutely delicious, Not Just Coffee has these to-go cups that will keep your drink hot or cold for hours and Pure Intentions a great holiday gift box!
Head to their websites above to see what each offers!