It’s Small Business Saturday tomorrow. And it’s nearly Christmas. And, at Christmas, you tell the truth (as Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually so weirdly told us) And the truth is…. Running a small business at Christmas is really bloody hard. The discounting pressures, the last post pressures, the running out of stuff, the underestimating, the overestimating, the not enough time or hands.
But it’s also the most exhilarating time… Our marshmallows are mostly bought as gifts. Which makes me actually well up with pride- you chose us to say your 'thank you’s' and your 'I love you’s' or even your...'I wasn’t really sure what to get you's'. This means we spend a lot of time thinking about gifting. We like to think of our marshmallows as the perfect pressie- quirky, stylish, bold, and different. When you send a gift from us you're really making an effort. But we're also realistic and know you can't give marshmallows *all* of the time. Which is why I thought we'd share our most lusted after gifts from our favourite small businesses. Those unique gifts that make the most thoughtful of Secret Santa’s or of creative stocking fillers.
So, shop small and give BIG this weekend and you’ll find that ‘love, actually, is all around’ ( look, this is the only Christmas film I’ve had time to watch this year...I’m busy)
Disco Tree Topper- WA GREEN- £32.00
This beautiful boutique of homewares in Shoreditch describes itself as ‘dopamine for the home’. And they’re not messing around. It’s the most enviable riot of neon, colour pops and metallic flashes. They specialise in these kitsch handpainted decorations of pop icons to palm trees. You’ll obviously want to buy everything for yourself but if you have to choose one thing for someone else then what about this neon star tree topper. It’s a bit spendy and a lot luxey. The perfect pressie.
This independent gift and homeware shop in Lemington Spa is stunningly curated. So many different things and yet they all seem to work so well together. So well, in fact, that they needed to get themselves a bigger shop. They documented their shop move and refit on instagram, they are warm, personable, The kind of shop that knows your mum’s birthday is coming up and has put something to one side for you. (I imagine) Anyway. They sell our marshmallows. Obviously. But they also sell these light pink Moroccan babouche slippers. And they are gorgeous.
Jesus Wept will you look at this new packaging from Ocelot?. I’m struggling to get over it, it’s perfect. Created by Scottish Couple Matt and Ish- this is an ultra smooth dark chocolate, infused with sweet, tangy, blood orange. But I think we’re all here for that bold illustration and the colour ways. As well as crafting all the chocolate, they also design all their own packaging and they’re a living wage employer. I think they deserve a big round of applause (and for all of us to be buying their chocolate)
Winter Warmers- Choose Love-£15.00
Look, maybe we should just be buying all our gifts from here, ok? It’s almost impossible to visit their site and not break down in tears over the absolute shitty devastation of it all. But pull yourself together, get out your card and buy something, anything. Choose Love is the world’s first store where you can buy real gifts for refugees from tents, nappies, and sleeping bags to coats. Every item in their online store represents a similar product that they send directly to support centres around the world. I’ve just bought these.
This is a souvenir shop with a difference. It’s more of a love letter to the vibrancy, creativity and voice of modern of London. You won’t find union jack pencil cases or teddy bear beefeaters but instead it’s packed with one off gifts by local artists and artisans. We whipped them up an exclusive Earl Grey Marshmallow which was delicious But this is my pick from their shop- a fridge magnet by graphic artist Supermundane as part of his ‘London is for all’ colab.
When we knew we wanted to launch our new flavours Dark Cocoa and Spiced Gingerbread this winter- we wanted packaging that was a little different to those trad Christmas colours. So, we went for these neon pantone pastels. Bright, cheery and no need to even tie a ribbon on them. We’ve popped them in our festive collection alongside Baileys. 3 boxes of our seasonal favourites, the ones we go back to each year for serving alongside a glass of fizz or for melting into a hot chocolate. They make the ideal selection for gifting or just keeping for yourself- yum.
This is a shit gift. No, it actually is. Pigeon Shit to be precise. Designed in the UK this broach is just one of the thoughtful and stylish pieces picked out by Rachael from Object Store. We did a podcast together in the summer where we had to chat about whether craft was something that worked well online. She’s a lovely woman who has a shop full of lovely things and genuinely wants to build a community of makers and creators. I haven’t visited her shop yet but I’m always nosying online and this is my favourite piece for a little splat of irreverence!
We came across this store whilst setting up for an event in Glasgow- it was a cosy, coffee serving welcoming hub that sold beautiful things. We promptly got in touch and asked if they would stock us…and guess what reader? They did.
I currently love a lot of their bits but I’m going through a ‘plastic free’ bathroom transition so this would be my choice of gift to influence loved ones to do the same. The Fraise Soap Bar- A luxury handcrafted soap from Provence. A pure vegetable soap using only the finest natural and organic ingredients and adding the most welcomingly festive pop of colour to my bathroom.
The Hambledon has reached institution level status as one of the best independent stores in the UK and we’re head over heels for it. Having recently celebrated its 20th Birthday (with a series of enviable colabs, a book and a gorgeous film) it’s rightly admired for picking beautiful things and doing stuff well (you should see their recent colour block merchandising 'shelfie' ) I love this Rainbow Risograph print. Simple yet super pleasing! Lovingly hand printed by Petra Boase using soy based inks, with some fluorescent accent colours. I would pop this in a simple black frame for a unique piece of art for a bedroom or office. Art as a gift is the fanciest.
This. Woman. Floors. Me. These earrings are designed and made by silversmith Kelly Seymore from her East London home. She’s single handedly running a company, raising her son, writing poetry, packing up orders whilst everyone else has gone to bed, going to the post office between school pick ups AND opening a new shop. She manages to do all this and share her creativity, work , dreams and the struggles of running a small business from her instagram stories. Her new shop opens in Hackney this week and from what she has shared of the inside it looks as inspirational as she is. Pop in. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Buy Some Jewellery, Tell your friends.