Of all the dedicated shopping days that spring up this time of year, Small Business Saturday® is the hands-down Etsy favorite. After all, Etsy and Small Business Saturday share a mission: nurturing and celebrating independent businesses and creative entrepreneurs across the country. What’s more, you don’t have to choose between supporting local businesses and your go-to Etsy shops, since many Etsy makers’ wares can be found on the shelves of brick-and-mortar shops in neighborhoods like yours. This November 29, we encourage you to hit the streets and see what your local shop owners have in store: you might just spot some familiar objects — or fall in love with some new ones.
To inspire you to #shopsmall, we’re going behind the scenes at three independent boutiques that carry Etsy sellers’ products year-round to learn what shopping small means to them. To find one in your area, visit etsy.me/shopsmall.
With their two (going on three) New York City locations of cafe-slash-design shop Fair Folks & a Goat, Aurora and Anthony Mazzei aren’t just out to get people to shop small — they’re also staging an intimate community experience in the heart of the city. “We consider our shops meeting spaces for creative types. We are all about opening up with the people around you, learning what the person sitting next to you does, and promoting, supporting, or collaborating with each other,” Anthony says.
“There just is no substitute for face-to-face interaction — or for having a place to wander into on a lazy day, or the chance to hold something before purchasing,” says Aurora, who stocks the shop with modern paper goods by Hartland Brooklyn and Quill and Fox and a variety of minimalist jewelry, hand-crafted home goods, and gift-ready accessories. “Our customers come in expecting to find a moment of relaxation or a quick gift for themselves or another, but they usually end up finding more.”
For Emily Blistein, there’s no need to approximate the small-town experience: Middlebury, VT, where she lives and runs her shop Clementine, is home to only 8,000 souls, give or take. “What I love most about the small scale of my town is that one little shift can make a huge difference. In April, I moved Clementine into the larger storefront next door, and soon after, a new coffee shop/design space moved into my old shop. Now the block is just buzzing with energy and excitement,” Emily says.
That energy and excitement are all about the in-person experience. “I am a huge fan of the quick, intense, inspired conversation, so having the chance to meet people and visit with friends daily is a total delight. I’ve also grown very close to many of my vendors, and I love cheerleading for them and their lines,” she says. Susan Dwyer’s small, gold lipped dishes for her line Up in the Air Somewhere and Caru Skincare Co‘s natural soaps, serums, and moisturizers are perennial favorites (with an Etsy presence) that Emily is happy to promote in her shop.
As an independent-shop owner in a town that relies heavily on tourism, John Frechette of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is faced with a unique challenge — and a unique opportunity. “We see thousands of people from all over the world who come to explore our mountains, but somehow find Made along the way,” Frechette says. “I love having the chance to give them something unique, to tell them the story of an amazing artist, and to send them home with something special to brag about,” such as color-splashed jewelry from Son of a Sailor or manly-man grooming products from Whiskey, Ink & Lace.
But Frechette doesn’t just cater to the seasonal ski-trip crowd. “Our little area, Gaslight Alley, is just off the main square and anchored by the local bookstore and a coffee shop. This ensures that during peak seasons, we are still seeing locals coming in to get their newspapers and books, and using us as their go-to gift shop with product that changes so often they need to stop in and take a look,” he says. “Shop small means to be community-oriented, to keep spending in the local economy, and to bring people face to face in a more intimate shopping experience. Shopping small keeps us connected.”
What’s a memorable experience you’ve had with a local store?
Share with #shopsmall and learn more at etsy.me/shopsmall.