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In a world of immediate gratification and Amazon Prime 2-day shipping, it’s hard to find a balance between convenience and anti-fast fashion. I’m constantly hearing “shop small businesses!” but how do I discover these small businesses when all I’m seeing on my feed is Amazon, Shein and Forever 21? Not to worry — I have compiled a list of five small businesses with direct insights from the owners so you can fall in love not only with their products, but with the creators themselves.

Handmade Jewelry - @Madewithlovebyaniela

If your vibe is beautiful, handcrafted gold jewelry, this shop is perfect for you. Check out Madebyaniela for all of your simple yet elegant jewelry needs!

"I’ve been creative my whole life. I paint and draw, but those are outlets and I didn’t want to turn that into a business. I remembered I had beads laying around from my childhood (thanks mom) so I started messing around with beaded bracelets and it took off from there.

I’ve learned so much within the past few months between self-delegating, spending, and small business. What it’s like to start one, what it takes to keep one going, and SO much more.

I have had such amazing support from the very beginning and it led me to where I am today. It introduced me to a community of talented and loving people. I cannot wait to see where madebyaniela takes me in 2021 and I cannot thank everyone enough who has shown support, no matter what form. Shares, likes, comments and tags help my account reach more accounts and other possible opportunities. Leaving a review benefits everyone! All are welcome and ALWAYS appreciated.

Pieces are gold plated and gold-filled, handmade and carefully crafted by me!"

- @madewithlovebyaniela

Art You Can Wear - @Awear_creations

What's better than recycling old pieces into new, trendy art you can wear on a daily basis? Nothing! This small shop focuses on repurposing worn items to create incredible clothing.

"I started Awear because I liked the idea of wearing art. ‘Awear’ is short for ‘Art wear.' I started with traditional art but found it made me feel more complete to wear and utilize the things I was creating, so I moved my art to clothes. I focus on recycled materials and dead stock because I wanted Awear to be AWARE of the effects that fast fashion has on the environment. The process of taking preloved things and using art to make them reloved is art in itself."

- @awear_creations

Stickers and Apparel - @Simplysaharaco

The clothing pieces and stickers made by Simplysaharaco are ideal for the manifestor or Harry Styles-obsessed person in your life. Or, even better — someone who is both!

"I started my Etsy in August. With COVID being a thing and being home all the time, I needed to channel my creative energy somewhere. My business first started with Harry Styles themed stickers. I’ve been a HUGE Harry/1D fan since the beginning of One Direction! I worked on designing these stickers for months. Once I finalized them, I then opened up my shop. Although I love Harry with all my heart, I didn’t want my shop to only be known for selling Harry Styles themed stuff.

That’s when my “brb manifesting” sweatshirt came in. I’m a big believer in manifesting. I’m always trying to manifest good vibes into my life. I found myself saying 'brb manifesting' a lot to my friends, so that’s where the saying came from! I didn’t know if this sweatshirt was going to do well or not because it wasn’t Harry themed, but I’ve been so overwhelmed with all the love and support I’ve gotten from everyone! So many people have been gifting the sweatshirt to their friends and family this holiday season and it makes me so happy! I have a couple of new apparel items and stickers coming in January. Some Harry themed and some not! But I truly think there’s something for everyone in what I’m releasing soon."

- @simplysaharaco

Embroidered Apparel - @Sunflowerdesignco_

As the winter months approach, warmer clothes are a must. Spice up your closet with beautifully embroidered music-inspired crewnecks, hoodies and more!

"When starting my business in July, I never expected it to grow as much as it did and as quickly as it did! I started this business, like many others did, because of my love for music. I love buying merch from multiple artists but I find that the artists' merchandise is sometimes less desirable and does not keep up with the trends as well as fan-based merch. I had some sketches drawn out and decided to go from there and see how people liked them! My aunt teaches embroidery classes for a living so I was lucky enough to have someone help figure out the kinks. Overall though, this business has provided me with so much more than I had ever hoped for. I’ve met some of my closest friends through the small shop community, and the support I have felt from them and my friends and family in real life has been indescribable. I am so grateful for this business and all the support from my customers, and am excited for what’s to come!"

- @sunflowerdesignco_

Magical Home Decor and Jewelry - @Graceeveart

Ever wanted to live out your fairy, crystal dreams? Grace hand makes whimsical geode decor and jewelry that will instantly transport you to a fantasy world. Art became her outlet, especially after being diagnosed with autism. Supporting her not only supports Grace's business, but her passion as well.

"I’m autistic and 'normal' jobs have never worked for me, so working for myself is incredible and being so passionate about what I create feels so fulfilling. I wouldn’t change it for the world, even with the fails and mess-ups!"

- @graceeveart

Supporting small businesses is much more than just buying handmade goods. Throughout 2020, we learned how crucial it is to support one another. Use 2021 to not only buy beautiful goods, but to connect and uplift those who create them!

Anna is currently a senior at UCF studying marketing and psychology. When she isn't writing, she loves all things Fall, astronomy, and Taco Bell. Her dream is to move to Iceland with her pet chameleon.
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