Oak Park has some of the best small businesses around. They thoughtfully select and sell products ranging from earrings that support an underprivileged village in Africa, to handwoven blankets produced locally and in small quantities. Nothing compares to the feeling of shopping small. When you’re greeted by a shop owner, you can feel their gratitude, and you immediately understand the value they have for each and every customer that walks through their doors.
Shopping small is not small at all, and your local boutiques give back way more than you think. For instance, small businesses pay sales tax in the community, which filters into the school system, public parks, roads and local service workers. Small business owners not only add jobs in the community, but most of them reinvest their profits back into the local economy when their children attend the local ballet studio, sports camps, restaurants, etc. Big online retailers? Not so much.
Shopping local is the ultimate feel-good pastime. Here are my favorite gifts from 10 small businesses to support this year and beyond.
You’ve probably seen Alicia Marie Zyburt’s handlettering around Oak Park and didn’t even realize it. At her shop, Spotted Kettle, she creates and sells the most beautifully handwritten invitations, menus, window art and illustrations for branding and personal use around. For personalized stationery, cards or notepads, she doesn’t just she print your initials, she will sketch an illustration made to look like you (or the gift recipient). Talk about the coolest and most thoughtful gift around.
Buy this: Spotted Kettle’s personalized stationery, 10 illustrated note cards with envelopes.
Retails for: $65 (Get 15 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
I go to Sanem’s every season to stock up on fashionable essentials. Sanem will even come into your home as wardrobe consultant, and leave you resembling a full blown fashion icon.
Buy this: Sanem’s cashmere pom-pom hats. They sell out every year!
Retails for: $78-$88 (Get 20 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
Two Story Farmhouse is one of those shops that leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. You want to pull up a chair and have a hot cocoa while learning about the stories that hide behind each beautiful treasure.
Buy this: Two Story Farmhouse’s Seeko black pebbled leather carry-all bag. It comes in a few colors, and you will probably need each of them.
Retails for: $168 (Get 20 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
16 Suitcases was started as a place for the cool kids, but as more mothers were trying their sweaters, dresses and jeans on, the tide shifted. Mothers and daughters love the hottest trends at price points that make it easy to keep going back for more.
Buy this: 16 Suitcase’s Joules peony print slippers in navy.
Retails for: $33 (Get 20 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
This adorable stationery and gift shop carries some of my favorite products of all time.
Buy this: Fitzgerald’s Shemergency Kit has been a lifesaver for me. These little pouches have everything and you’ll have no idea how it all fits so compactly. From tweezers and Band-Aids to deodorant wipes and breath spray, this thing is capable of divine intervention.
Retails for: $18-$35 (Get 15 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
This French inspired boutique is a trove of treasures. If you like to entertain, find the perfect gift for the pickiest person on your list, or just have a knack for the finer things, Careful Peach will inspire you from the moment you open their shop door.
Buy this: Careful Peach’s handwoven knit blanket will be the first thing you cozy up to before binge watching Netflix on a chilly winter day.
Retails for: $265 (Get 15 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
After I moved from New York, I was sure I was never going to find another jeweler who made and carried jewelry for women who liked their pieces feminine and dainty, yet unique and edgy. Gem is all of that and more, and I can’t get enough of this store.
Buy this: Gem’s 18K kite shaped gemstone earrings.
Retails for: $195 (Get 20 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
This carefully curated collection of treasure is made by independent artists around the world, and features timeless pieces you will truly cherish forever.
Buy this: Opelle shearling pouchette. This wristlet comes in a couple of different colors, and is the perfect size to wear alone or tuck in your larger cary-all as a home for your essentials.
Retails for: $185 (Get 15 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
Jane Boutique is your one stop shop for the perfect winter booty, a faux shearling trim vest, and a pair of Free People jeans. Then you notice the accessories. From clutches to candles, you could knock out almost every woman on your list in this one shop.
Buy this: Gilded Muse Collection candle by Capri Blue
Retails for: Around $39 (Get 20 percent off by mentioning Michelle’s gift guide.)
Lively is known for housing the hottest brands in fitness. The store is Anthropologie meets the side of you that kinda sorta wants to go for a run one day soon. But let’s be honest, how you look during that jog is equally as important as the sweat you break. Pick up some killer gear for yourself, then gift your favorite gal pal something she can set her water bottle (or wine bottle) on.
Buy this: Locally designed and produced Kiku Chicago themed coasters, dishes and magnets.
Retails for: $28-$30
I’ll be posting these local favorites and more on Instagram at @ChicagoMomGoesSuburban. All of these shops are searchable on your favorite social media sites, so follow them and support local as much as you can! Have a very happy holiday season.