Since the first November it launched several years ago, even long before we teamed up with partner American Express who is now sponsoring and championing the campaign, we’ve been staunch advocates for Small Business Saturday. And we’re still thrilled to mark on our calendars each year. In fact, supporting small businesses is the whole reason we started Cool Mom Picks in the first place. So this is very dear to our hearts.
While it would be impossible to share every small business we adore (i.e. visit our archives in every single category since the beginning of our site),with the help of our editors, we’ve somehow managed to narrowed it down today to just a few favorite smaller online retailers where we love to do holiday shopping for our own kids, nieces and nephews.
They’re all fantastic companies, with amazing customer service, run by people who just love what they do and it’s our pleasure to support them any way we can, and show them big love today and every day.
We hope you’ll consider supporting a small business today too! (Or any day, really.) You can shop your own neighborhood mom-and-pop stores — whether it’s your local toy store, butcher, book seller, coffee joint or art gallery. You can discover a new one here from us. And you can spread the word by posting a photo on Instagram that honors your favorite indie purchase or small business using the hashtag #ShopSmall.
Who knows, maybe that one little act of kindness can end up yielding big results for a company that can use a boost this holiday season.
-Kristen + Liz
My Sweet Muffin: Shina Kim’s exquisite online shop is always one of our first stops when we’re looking for really beautifully designed children’s gifts of all kinds. This is high quality stuff, a lot of it from smaller European brands that you don’t see everywhere like Maileg, who makes the cute circus tent play set shown here. Think Waldorf dolls, special tea sets, bath toys, all kinds of wooden blocks, plus adorable clothing for kids up to about four-years-old. Fantastic spot for newborn gifts too.
Pink Olive Boutique Founded by Grace Kang, this small shop has an awesome collection of fun gift ideas for kids (and their grownups), including lots of NYC based gifts, and it’s all beautifully curated. There’s definitely a focus on paper goods, but the newborn collection in particular is quite sweet. They now have three local shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn if you ever want to pop in. It’s a nice place to be.
Brooklyn Makers: The site showcases so many cool things that are made in Brooklyn (thus, the name), we need to be careful or this could be the Cool Brooklyn Makers site. Founded in 2012 by local mom, Teresa Lagerman, you’ll find really adorable gifts for kids that you just don’t see everywhere, in an ever changing collection that includes tees, handmade dolls (the superhero dolls above from Mio Mucaro), craft kits and decor.
Sarah + Abraham: Founded by Illinois mom Sara Tams, this is a wonderful shop for finding the sweet personalized gifts from Olliegraphic that we can’t stop ordering for all the kids in our own lives. You’ll find everything from stationery to library totes, kid-safe dishware, Christmas ornaments, and art prints, all of which can be customized to look like your own child.
ROMP Store: Remember actress Kellie Martin from Life Goes On? Well, she’s still Kellie Martin, only now she’s a mom and small business owner with a commitment to small brand, back-to-basic toys in her NY-based shop, ROMP. This is not where you’ll find anything requiring batteries; more like great wooden toys, art kits, fun stocking stuffers, and adorable room decor.
Psychobaby: This Chicago based shop run by moms Marlo and Lisa has evolved from edgy baby and kids gifts to a huge selection edgy personalized baby and kids’ gifts. From tattoo heart onesies to headphone-emblazoned flip-flops to funky wall art, there’s a lot here to like at really good prices.
Babesta: We can safely call Babesta Manhattan’s premier destination for edgy baby and children’s gifts. And wow there’s a lot here! Cool clothes, amazing shoes, funky toys and dolls from indie makers, and lots of baby gear that you just don’t find at big stores. Even baby swaddlers featuring uniquely New York icons like hot pretzels and taxi cab.
Cate & Levi: We’ve watched this nifty little Toronto husband-and-wife company grow from making a few cute stuffed animals from upcycled materials, to offering a great selection from slippers to nursery art to make-your-own craft kits. All with the same eco-smart sensibility of their original creatures.
Books of Wonder is NYC’s premier indie children’s bookstore, packed with special editions, out of print titles, and one-of-a-kind collectibles, plus so many cool events and readings. In fact, we named it one of our favorite places to visit with kids in New York over the holidays. But even if you’re not in the market for a limited edition $750 book or an original poster from your favorite award-winning illustrator, shop around for plenty of our favorite children’s titles.
Shana Logic: If you’ve got tweens to shop for, there is so much to love at this Ann Arbor shop run solely by Shana (the logical one, evidently) and her two assistants. The huge selection entirely hails from indie designers, and you can sort by categories including I ♥ Nerds, I ♥ Cute Things, I ♥ Forest Animals, and I ♥ Dark & Edgy. And you can’t beat a $10 and under category. Fans of our annual holiday gift guide will be no stranger to her wonderful and often humorous gifts.
Stubby Pencil Studio is in so many of our gift guides, because they offer so many wonderful little toys, craft supplies, travel games, sketchbooks and more. Portland mom of twins and owner Kate Rosenthal has a strong commitment to eco-friendly and fair-trade gifts, and was in fact one of the first shops we ever found offering soy crayons and FSC certified wood colored pencils.
Manzanita Kids: The entirely handmade, keepsake-quality, wooden toys from this Seattle shop are just mind-blowingly wonderful. They’re all still made by parents Adrienne and David in their home using eco-friendly processes and materials. The wooden Waldorf dollhouse that we included in our birthday party gift guide is a stunner, as is this modular rocket tower. But you’ll also find puzzles, blocks, toddler toys, decor, and custom ornaments in every price range.
Acorn Toy Shop: This Brooklyn staple features high-end, artful toys and gifts of all kinds, and we love browsing here for finds we just don’t see anywhere else. If you want a keepsake wooden parcheesi set, rainbow blocks that could double as art pieces, exquisite dress-up clothes, or the cutest baby accessories, you’ll find it here.
La La Ling This fantastic kids’ shop is right in the heart of hipster Los Feliz, so no surprise they carry an amazing assortment of products from indie clothing, toy and accessory brands we love — a pink trucker hat for kids featuring a pink cupcake? Sure, why not. There’s a limited selection online right now but if you’re in LA, definitely stop in.
A huge, heartfelt thank you to our partner American Express, sponsors of Small Business Saturday and the entire #ShopSmall campaign. We hope you’ll visit the Small Business Saturday Facebook Page which has lots of great content right now, and that you’ll share your favorite indie finds + shops on Instagram using hashtags #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSaturday.
Hey! Tag us too at @CoolMomPicks and help us discover some new favorites!