As you know, TeamEV are big fans of #smallbiz and love to find ways to support small businesses. This year has seen incredibly passionate and hard-working founders step into the spotlight, with the pandemic showing us all the importance of shopping local and supporting small.
This week kicks off what should be the busiest time for retailers – both on and offline – with Black Friday and Cyber Monday starting that busy ‘Christmas rush’. But, with England still in lockdown and retailers facing daily challenges to adhere to guidelines, are we all doing enough to ensure that we keep these amazing businesses and brands into 2021 and beyond?
Someone who shares our love of #smallbiz is retail expert and TV personality Mary Portas, who’s recently been championing a Dublin-born initiative called ‘Adopt A Shop’, by Tim Carey. The idea is super simple; everyone chooses three local independent stores to buy from and champion online, helping them spread their message and get their tills ringing at a time when they need it most.
This is one of the brilliant ways to support small businesses, so we’ve put together our very own Small Business Gift Guide, with each member of TeamEV choosing three awesome indies to buy from this Christmas, as well as an overall guide to our top picks from hand-picked retailers.
Hampers from The Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon
Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I’m at The Farm at least once a week; it’s my local (ish) farm shop and just my absolute ‘happy place’. The team is amazing, produce is next level and their homewares mezzanine makes me want to move house so that I have more rooms to fill. They are without a doubt my first choice for adopt-a-shop, and this year they’ve got some amazing Christmas hampers that you can pick up in store or order online. From the full works to sustainable living, and even one perfect for the man in your life who you never know what to buy for.
Self care gift box from Our Lovely Goods
An awesome family-run business that I found this year, Our Lovely Goods is a must-visit e-tailer this Christmas. They create and curate things that are “good for you, your home and the environment” so I’m totally on board with that. I love their candles and their Self Care Gift Boxes are the perfect present for anyone who enjoys cosying up at home. You choose what goes in your box, including an Our Lovely Goods candle, hot chocolate from Bare Bones Chocolate and the softest looking Alpaca bed socks from Tom Lane.
Travel prints from I Heart Travel Art
One thing we’re all craving this year is a holiday, but rather than be down about it, celebrate your favourite destinations with a gorgeous print from I Heart Travel Art. They have over 200 destinations (just ask if you don’t see what you want online) and their new framing service makes it a perfect present for someone who loves to see the world.
‘Love’ DIY embroidery kit from NellyMakes
This one is for my fellow DIYers, who have already painted every spare corner of the house. Throughout lockdown, I tried my hand at approximately 7million different craft exercises – terracotta pot painting, cross-stitching, flower arranging, crocheting… you name it, I tried it. The one that emerged my favourite though was this embroidery kit by NellyMakes. Complete with all the equipment you need to make your very own masterpiece (not to mention a how-to-guide and an all-important practice hoop!), there are other words and designs too, including ‘bloom’, ‘hope’ and ‘inspire’. This is the gift of tranquillity for the person who needs a minute or two of ‘creative therapy’… or as I like to think of it, ‘proactive peace’. Not only is it calming, but you can proudly display your final piece on a wall of your choice and tell every visitor ‘I made that!’… it never gets old, I promise.
You can order your embroidery kit here.
‘Birmingham Illustrated Map’ print by Katherine Tromans
There’s nothing I love more than seeing the ways that the incredible artists in this city bring Brum to life through their craft, and Katherine Tromans is one of the best of the bunch. Her stunning watercolour maps of Birmingham are the perfect addition to that ever-growing gallery wall, featuring all the faves that you’re missing in lockdown: from the Bullring bull and the Custard Factory; to the Ikon Gallery and Southside’s Chinese Lanterns. My personal MVP – the BT Tower – of course takes pride of place too.
You can buy one for your bab here.
‘Gin Inspired Letterbox Gift’ by Ooh Mama Makes
My favourite sound of lockdown has without a doubt been the daily knock on the door from the plethora of Birmingham’s delivery drivers, because as we all know, one of life’s greatest joys as an adult is receiving post that isn’t a bill. This letterbox gift from Ooh Mama Makes (incidentally the small business that my very talented mum and sister have co-built, together with my sister’s friend) is a literal hug in a box. Featuring G&T treats – from a wax melt bar that smells of heaven to a lollipop that tastes like Happy Hour – and handmade scrunchies in a design of your choice, these mini-treats are a perfect pick-me-up for the person you miss the most.
Pick your combo here.
Tableware from Wild One Interiors
Before working at EV. I had various part-time jobs throughout my time at university, two of which were in a china shop and a glass shop. After spending many weekends polishing the glasses and rearranging dinner sets, tableware is something that I’ve really grown to appreciate! When I came across Wild One Interiors on Instagram, I instantly fell in love with the eclectic homeware and tableware. From glasses and cutlery, to vases and candlesticks, there are plenty of beautiful pieces to compliment every home. There’s nothing better than receiving a new set of glasses to enjoy your favourite Christmas tipple!
Shop the range here.
T-shirts from The Feel Good Club
I absolutely love this brand, and think that right now, everyone deserves to be in the Feel Good Club! I was introduced to the brand by Hattie, after she fashioned one of the T-shirts to a Zoom meeting. I then, in true EV. style, had to order it too because I loved what they stood for and thought the design was super-fun. Behind the club are Manchester-based wives, Keira and Aimie, who together want to empower people to put themselves first and ultimately, feel good.
Prints from Yellowstone Art Boutique
Trentham Gardens Shopping Village is always one of my favourite places at Christmas and is a great place to #shopsmall. One of my favourites to pop into when I’m back in my hometown is Yellowstone Art Boutique. They stock a range of art and beautifully designed homeware, from a range of different creators, that all make the best gifts for any occasion.
You can shop the collection here.
Bubble tea home kits from Meecha
Regardless of how long someone has known me, they will probably know that I am a huge fan of all things bubble tea. My favourite place to get it in Birmingham is Meecha, which is a family-run business located in the Bullring shopping centre. Instantly recognisable thanks to its distinctive panda logo, Meecha has been my go-to for all things fruity over the past 9 years! Its home delivery kits are super easy to use (they contain either 6 or 12 servings) and can be fully customised to suit your tastebuds with 25 flavours available to choose from, including: blueberry, strawberry, passionfruit, taro and more.
You can order your bubble tea kit online and give them a follow on Instagram too!
Resin jewellery and home décor from Oh Honey
Resin jewellery is one of the biggest accessory trends to emerge in the past 12 months, and Oh Honey’s designs are some of my favourites I’ve seen on the market. Having previously purchased several pairs for my friends as gifts, I’m eyeing up a couple for myself this Christmas! If earrings aren’t your thing, you can also choose from a range of hair accessories, rings, necklaces, jewellery trays and more.
You can browse all things resin here and make sure to follow Oh Honey on Instagram too!
Freshwater pearl jewellery from Madison Young
This might be a shameless plug for my own sister, but her pearl jewellery is truly exquisite and extremely affordable. Starting up her side hustle just 5 months ago after taking over my Depop page, Madison has over 70 five-star reviews from happy customers and can fully customise your jewellery by colour, length and pearl type. Plus, she is well-known for including extra surprises in her packages, which are guaranteed to make you smile!
TeamEV’s top choices
Cocktail making kits from Asterley Bros
Leading British cocktail brand, Asterley Bros, is giving the nation a reason to be merry, with the return of its limited edition ‘Three Kings’ Christmas cocktail collection. Providing seasonal twists for three classic serves, the ready-mixed cocktails are ready and waiting to bring festive cheer direct to your door. Infused with all the favourite flavours of the festive season, the trio of cocktails are all hand-crafted and prepared in South London by Asterley Bros’ founders, mixologist brothers Rob and Jim Berry.
Each one has been designed by the duo to offer a refined taste of Christmas: from the Myrrh Negroni boasting deeply spiced and fragrant flavours; to the Frankincense Manhattan, which makes the perfect pairing to a mince pie; and last – but by no means least – the Gold Martini embodying sophisticated opulence, with flecks of 23 carat gold leaf.
You can order your first cocktail kit here and be sure to give them a follow on Instagram!
Art work from Castle Fine Art
Since opening its first gallery over two decades ago, Castle Fine Art has always worked hard to unite our collectors with their perfect artworks. From hiring knowledgeable staff to working with some of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists, it’s been a journey the company is incredibly passionate about.
With one goal in mind, to make fantastic art accessible to all, Castle Fine Art is regarded as the industry’s leading art retailer with a network of galleries across the UK: remaining as committed as ever to its motto, ‘Your world, our art’.
With recent collections available from the likes of Bob Dylan and Illuminati Neon, each piece of artwork is mounted, glazed or framed by hand; so you can rest assured that both the quality and integrity of the artwork remains intact.
See their latest collections and choose your show-stopper here and follow them on Instagram too!
CBD products from CHOICE CBD
Following a successful start in the e-commerce world earlier this year, CHOICE CBD has recently expanded its core product range of 6 CBD oils and terpenes to now included vitamins with added CBD and was recently awarded ‘Best CBD Distributor’ at the Cannavist Magazine Awards. Certified vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free and using organically grown hemp from the USA, CHOICE’s premium CBD oils and CBD-infused products are high in quality and value and aim to help you live a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Discover your perfect #CHOICE online and you can find them on Instagram too!
Creative affirmation cards from Gita Joshi
Gita Joshi is an independent curator, an award-winning art dealer, writer and host of The Curator’s Salon podcast, is set to launch her Artpreneur Affirmation cards. Alongside Firefly coaching, Gita has created 51 cards to help keep artists focused on the positive things whilst also encouraging them to step up and become a successful artpreneur.
The cards can be pre-ordered from Gita’s website here and you can check out her Instagram here.
E-cigarette products from The Zeus Group
The Zeus Group is the Midlands’ most successful independent manufacturers of e-liquids, having achieved several notable awards and accolades; having most recently won ‘Best Branding and Marketing’ and placing second in the category of ‘Best Menthol’, for its bestselling Black Reloaded juice, in the Vapouround Magazine Awards.
Promising to be at least 50% cheaper than its leading competitors, its newest launch of the ‘Proper Vape’ range is set to launch on December 1st and is a new-budget friendly alternative to traditional smoking that doesn’t compromise on flavour or quality; allowing you to get a jumpstart on your new year’s resolution to quit smoking!
You can order your first Zeus Juice product via its website and you can find them on Instagram too!
We hope this helps you find some awesome new businesses to support, but remember that our independents are for life, not just for Christmas, so let’s keep on shopping local and supporting small way beyond this festive season.
If you’re one of the brave and bold indies we’re talking about, don’t forget to check out our #smallbiz initiative, Pocket Sized PR. Head on over to our dedicated page where you’ll find a host of free tips, templates and how to guides, as well as some PR and Social Media packages tailored to #smallbiz budgets.
So, who’s up for adopting a shop? Give us a shout on social (@eastvillagepr) and tell us your must-visit independents. If you have other ways to support small businesses, let us know!