SHOP TALK: Why I'm Saying NO To The Malls & YES To Small Businesses

Photo source: Daily Delights

I don't know how this happened, but it's almost December, y'all. It feels like I JUST put away my summer clothes in favour of my fall jacket, and soon I'll be scrounging around for my winter coat.

December for me means snow, family time, food, celebration, and reflection on the year gone by. However with the holiday season, I always seem to get swept up into the madness of gift purchases and exchange. I'll admit, I love getting gifts - but I adore the feeling I get when I gift someone with an amazing present. It could be something they truly wanted, or it could be an unexpected gift that fits their personality to a tee. Either way, the satisfaction I get from friend's and family's happiness will forever keep me in the gift-giving cycle - however, I plan on doing things differently this year.

Unless I know that a friend/family member wants a specific gift that I can find at the mall, I'm avoiding traditional shopping altogether this holiday season. I plan to support as many small businesses as I can - especially Black businesses that are just starting to forge their way to success. Let me explain why.

  1. I cannot STAND the insanity of malls and shopping centres. I have no patience for fighting for parking spaces, plowing through crowds, lining up in ridiculous lines, none of it.
  2. I want to purchase gifts that are as unique as the people I'm giving them to. Like I said earlier - if a cousin wants a specific toy, or a friend wants a specific sweater, I'll brave the malls to satisfy them. However, I'm leaning more towards giving gifts that are more personalized and one-of-a-kind.
  3. I'm much more comfortable with online shopping now. Many small businesses are online, which speaks to point #1, and allows me to shop from the comfort of my own home. As always, ensure that if you shop online, you do so from reputable and protected sites.
  4. I want to support people who are doing amazing things. My favourite small businesses are people who are offering products of impeccable quality, and do so out of sheer passion for their work. I want to support that. I'm also a major proponent of supporting Black businesses in order to circulate money in our community and to help provide financial stability. Dropping bands to make the owners of Old Navy and Toys R Us dance doesn't quite fit with those intentions.

Photo source: Feature Pics 

Though I already celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada last month, the awareness of the US Thanksgiving - and subsequent Black Friday sales - is apparent. This Saturday is known as Small Business Saturday, and is set up as a day for small businesses to get some shine during this heightened shopping time. This weekend might be a good time to investigate and start making some purchases for the special people in your life, while supporting hard-working entrepreneurs at the same time.

Looking for some awesome small businesses to check out? I got you!

If you know someone who's into hair and skin care, check out Ixora Botanical Beauty and Whipped Body Goods. I follow both of these amazing entrepreneurs on Twitter, and the incredible handmade products they sell have been getting rave reviews all over the cyber world. Check out some of Ixora's testimonials, and this Black Enterprise feature on Whipped!

Looking for jewelry and accessories for men and women? Hit up Absynia, who I've featured right here on this site. GORGEOUS pieces with incredible prices. For some local Toronto entrepreneurs on the jewelry scene, you've got to check out Glass Hearts and The Diana Tracy Collection. Gifting from one of these small businesses will ensure that your recipient will likely never be wearing the same tired accessories as everyone else - and even better, personalized customizations may be available!

Need some unique threads for that special somebody? Why not take a peek at Afrodelik? I also featured this Toronto-based business a while back, and I adore their designs. Two other amazing lines are Mina Danielle and Kaela-Kay Collections. Both of these lines take African-inspired designs and find unique ways to merge them with street style and high fashion. Guaranteed - if you get one of these pieces, you'll never walk into an event wearing the same thing as someone else.

For hair fanatics, you can support by purchasing products and gift sets from start-up lines like Earthtones Naturals or Shea Radiance. Get your friend a gift certificate to a local salon or barber, or pick up a gift card for a local store like Honey Fig (where you can shop online or in-store in Toronto)!

When it comes to gift-giving, think outside of the box! Books, art, even services - there are small businesses catering to almost any and every need you can think of. Take some time to research and seek out local or online businesses that can give you something of quality that no one else can - and support them!

If you're in Toronto, Dwayne Morgan of Up From The Roots will be hosting a Pop-up Shop on December 8th! If you're in the city and looking to support local small businesses, you've GOT to come out!

Are you gearing up for holiday shopping this year? Have you considered supporting small businesses? If you have others that you think we should know about, share them in the comments section! And a BIG happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!


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