We all know the importance of shopping small: supporting local entrepreneurs, investing in your local economy and helping to create local jobs.

The movement even has its own hashtags these days! Check out some of the most popular ones on Instagram below. 

#shopsmall

#shoplocal

#shopsmallbusiness

In addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the holiday season (and year). In the past few years, I’ve begun to do most of my shopping locally. Even when I travel, I try to visit the local shops, restaurants and cafes instead of well-known chains. It’s one of the best ways to truly get to know a city!

This year, I’ve decided to take it one step further and do all of my holiday shopping with small businesses! Many of the reasons I love buying from local shops are the same reasons they have the best gifts:

1. Small businesses are unique.

An interesting (somewhat embarrassing) skill of mine is the ability to look at someone’s outfit and more than likely tell you where they bought at least one item. Can you say shopaholic?! But this is also what happens when you buy your clothes from large retailers; everyone looks the same! When you buy from a local boutique, they usually only offer a limited supply of their items. There are pros and cons to this of course. For clothing, this might mean they won’t have your size in an item you fell in love with. But you also don’t have to worry about showing up to a party in the same thing as someone else! When you buy these items as a gift, the receiver is getting a truly special, unique find.

2. Small businesses give back.

Whether it’s the community they are a part of or a cause close to the owner’s heart, a lot of small businesses give back. They might have special nights where a portion of their proceeds go to a local charity or maybe a portion of all sales goes to a special cause. This isn’t true of all small or local businesses but most of my favorites do! A local boutique I once worked at used to do an event once a month where 10% of all sales would be donated locally. Us stylists were able to choose who we wanted to help each month and our causes included battered women, animal shelters and youth programs.

One of my favorite companies, Love Your Melon, gives 50% of net profits to fighting pediatric cancer. While not such a small business anymore, their beginning goes back to an entrepreneurship class at the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota!

3. Small businesses reflect the community.

The aesthetic of boutiques, cafes and shops are typically reflective of the communities they’re located in. This is one of the reasons I love to shop small on trips! Whenever I travel, I will pick up gifts that remind me of friends and family and save them for the holidays. Not only is it a great way to share the experience with loved ones, but it also lets them know they were on your mind during your adventures! Have family or friends that live in a different area than you? Gifts from a local retailer are perfect for giving them perspective on your new neighborhood!

4. Small businesses make their producest with love.

Another great way to support local vendors around the holidays is shopping holiday markets. There are so many varieties, you’re sure to find the type of gifts you’re looking for! My mom adores the craftier ones while I prefer the handmade jewelry and decor found in art markets. The best part is that all items are truly one-of-a-kind. When they’re handmade, no two will ever be exact duplicates and all are made by people passionate about their craft. These are also great places to find homemade food items unique to the area!

No matter who you’re shopping for this season, you’re sure to find a local shop or vendor with the perfect gift. The holidays are a time for giving so why not give gifts that give back to your community as well?

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