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6 Small Businesses to Support This Holiday Season

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

When it comes to the holiday season, one of my favorite activities is to pretend I’m not poor and buy gifts for all my friends. We all know the feeling of walking through the doors of Target with an open mind…and walking out with a maxed-out credit card. Then disappointment sets in when you realize everyone’s stockings will be filled with the same adorable products from the dollar spot and capitalist America wins again.

Now I’m not saying that shopping at Target is bad, and I love Opalhouse just as much as the next girl – but it’s frustrating to pick out a gift for someone only to know they might have already purchased it for themselves. This holiday season, I challenge you to seek out the more unique and original gifts for your friends, because originality always prevails.

This season, I’m taking the challenge to shop small for all my friends and family’s gifts. In a world where you can find anything online, I decided to seek out some amazing small businesses to act as Santa’s little helpers in order to perfect my gift-giving regimen. Not only will you find the most unique gift for everyone on your wish list, but shopping small supports dreamers like you and me. When someone opens a business, they are pouring their heart and soul into their products – and a lot of the time it’s a one-man job. Gifts are handmade and from the heart, and you can really see it in the owner’s eyes and the quality of their work.

New to shopping small? No worries! I’ve hand-selected some of my favorite small businesses that I’ve been scouting out to find the perfect gifts for my loved ones. The best part? They’re all run by badass girl bosses! If you like what you see, be sure to toss them a follow and check out more of their products. A compliment goes a long way in this competitive industry.

Whateva Lola

Whateva Lola has become one of my latest obsessions to find the perfect gift for friends. Run by @natlovesthat, Whateva Lola specializes in pom-pom earrings, boho graphic tees and the sweetest rotating line of assorted craft goods, such as rainbow pillows, tassels and buttons. My personal favorite thing about this brand is that it’s a dynamic duo of Natalie and her boyfriend. She makes the designs and he screen prints them all – no middleman involved!

The Fem Em

The Fem Em is the perfect shop if you’re looking to show off your empowered self. As a woman, it’s important to stick together in this world, and these designs show off our true selves. Started by @kbousq, these shirts show off your true feminine spirit with a fun retro twist.

Zenspire Designs

What do you possibly get your one BFF whose laptop and water bottle are constantly covered in stickers? More stickers of course! Pittsburgh artist Brita Thompson is the mastermind behind Zenspire Designs. Her claim to fame? Winning the Starbucks white cup contest in 2014, which led to her launching her own business that offers hundreds of stickers for every personality type.

Bloomwolf Studio

Bloomwolf Studio is the perfect shop to find gifts for your loved ones all over the world. Specializing in city prints, Bloomwolf Studio creates greeting cards, posters, calendars and more, all inspired by your favorite landmarks. I try to buy a card for each city that I’ve traveled to, and these make the perfect present for any of your friends from out of town. Don’t see the city or state you’re looking for? They do custom orders as well!

Twenty Seven

Twenty Seven is a brand local to Florida run by a recent college grad. Jenna designed her brand from the ground up, and even has a brick and mortar store in Lakeland where she sells all her products. Talk about a girl boss hustling to make dreams come true, huh? Twenty Seven is a go-to brand for all your stationery needs, along with plenty of trinkets, too! If you’re shopping for someone big on mental health or enneagrams, definitely check out Twenty Seven to find the perfect gift!

My Oh My Supply Co

I think we all know a pop-culture junkie looking for a shirt to represent their niche market. Luckily, My Oh My Supply Co (MOMSCo for short) has created designs for virtually every band, show and movie we 20-somethings have grown to love. From classic Disney fairytales to Lizzie McGuire and Home Alone, you’re sure to find an apparel item unique to this company.

Shopping small has made me so excited to hopefully launch my own business someday, and it makes me feel so warm inside knowing that I’m helping make someone’s dreams become a reality. I encourage you all to consider shopping small for holidays, birthdays and celebrations in the future, and if spending money isn’t an option, help your sisters out by sharing their shops with someone who might fall in love with their products just as much as I have.

Hero image provided by the author.

Lena is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida and very emotional about it. She serves as HCUCF's President and Campus Correspondent and is studying hospitality in hopes of making her childhood dreams of getting paid to travel the world come true. She is head over heels in love with all things aesthetically pleasing, so what could be better than working a job that will result in cute photos? While she's not in school or checking out the tacky tourist attractions around Orlando, you can find her spending more money than she has on concerts, clothes, and crappy coffee. She is a low-key movie addict and a high-key Instagram addict. If you want to see what she's up to when she's not hiding behind her laptop screen, you can follow her on Instagram @lena.daniels