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Shop Responsibly: Ultimate Artisan #ShopSmall Gift Guide

Posted by Virginia Fretto on

The rush of holiday gift buying is upon us. It is so easy to get caught up in the deals & offers, lists and to-dos, etc, to really do the research it takes to discover some incredible small brands and artisan businesses to support with your purchasing power. That is why with my years of connecting with other small business owners, I've created a Top 10 Artisan Gift Guide featuring some of my friends' businesses & brands. I hope that you make some new discoveries here and shop small & made with love this holiday season. There's something for everyone!

When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.

- Unknown


Betsy's vivid watercolor textiles are designed right here in Saratoga Springs, NY in her converted horse stables studio - it's amazing check out her feature in HGTV Magazine!  From tea towels to table runners, pillows and aprons and scarves, each of her products features Betsy’s original hand-painted watercolor designs. Join us at our open studio shop on December 2nd, get the details HERE.


The beautiful souls behind SoulKu Jewelry, Elisa & Allison, are on a mission to empower women with their energized stones and mineral jewelry with powerful mantras on their beautiful packaging. They are committed a sustainable business model that employs end empowers stay-at-home moms who handcraft all their lovely pieces. Check out their designs and get inspired. 


The teas at Saratoga Tea & Honey Co. are hands down some of my favorite varieties ever... and that is saying a lot because all I drink is tea! Their mission is to provide their customers with the finest teas and honeys found anywhere in the world. The owner, Hayley's, passion for food and travel - she's trained in the culinary arts - shines through in the incredible quality products she curates in her store. Stop in for a wonderful experience, or shop online.


Owner and spice-expert, Raema, has garlic in her DNA I think! No, really her great-great grandpa, Giuseppe Obbo, emigrated from Sicily to the U.S. in 1914 and was a garlic farmer. Raema was on a mission to find dried garlic that actually tasted like garlic, not full of fillers. All of her spices are 100% pure — that means no fillers, preservatives, flavorings, or additives of any kind. Rockerbox powders are made only from organic U.S.-grown garlic and onions. All of these factors contribute to a very high quality product. Meet her at a show or store near you, or have some shipped from her online shop. 


My absolute favorite line of 100% plant-based cleaning and home fragrance products. Her Signature & Om Sweet Om room scented candles and sprays are divine. Owner, Michelle, uses only the safest, most natural ingredients like pure therapeutic essential oils in all of her products. Hand-crafted in small-batches in our cozy Upstate NY studio and available at a store near you or online. 


Recycled metals, responsibly mined stones, radical designer... this designer is one not to miss! Hailing from Colorado, Heather Ng's brand, Bohemi Jewelry, is committed to sustainability in the jewelry-making process with her soulful designs that helps you connect with your own inherent beauty. She offers one of a kind jewelry, bold stone and sterling designs, and THE COOLEST handcut leather feather earrings. Shop online or in stores, and rock some Bohemi. 


Three generations of women growing, cooking, and perfecting the phenomenally delicious syrups & jams that is Maya's. If you have never tasted one of Maya's syrups this summer in their lemonades at one of the many NY festivals, fear not, you can order their syrups and mix up your own batch (or cocktail, ahem) at home. Their jams are like no other, yes they are awesome on a sandwich, but try them in oatmeal or on cheese and your mind will be blown. My personal favorite flavors are Maya's Pear Lemon jam and the Strawberry Rhubard syrup. Drooling yet? Shop their new flavors on their website. 


If you are looking for a gift that will bring a smile to someone's face...or maybe even make them laugh out loud, Breakout Press Co. has the perfect cozie, print, card, or tote bag for that! Head over to their Etsy site and be prepared to giggle (you're welcome). 

9. JILLIAN'S APOTHECARY (Now Petal & Hive)

A mama on a mission... Jillian's Apothecary handcrafts all of her products in Upstate NY using herbal extracts, natural, organic, and fair trade ingredients. Jillian even grows and harvests her own herbs! Inspired by nature's bounty, these natural skin care products are not only effective, but smell absolutely divine. Perfect for anyone on your list, even you ;-) Order online or visit Jillian at a Saratoga Springs, NY area farmer's market. 


These two eco-friendly brands are revolutionary on their own, but when they combined forces to create these moon phases bags...SWOON! Miakoda NYC's main mission is to create clothing that you can feel comfortable in both physically and mentally - cue organic cottons. And Remember Me Green recycles old NYC billboards into the most incredible handbags, no really you can wear a piece of NYC. How cool are these gals!? This collaboration of two woman owned companies in NY is really upping the game for sustainability and ethics in design. Shop online here: Miakoda NYC + Remember Me Green.


For more eco-friendly, sustainable, Made in America brands, check out these resources: