As the concept of ‘Black Friday’ sales really takes hold in the UK, we think it is important to really champion smaller, independent businesses; those of us who don’t buy or produce in massive bulk, and who don’t build obsolescence or excess into our business model. Whilst we all love a bargain, we know that there is a hidden cost to our high turnover, consumerist lifestyle.
Small Business Saturday (Saturday 25th November in the US and Saturday 2nd December for those of us in the UK) aims to champion the smaller voices in the marketplace, so here is Jen’s personal Christmas gift guide, featuring some companies that she just really likes and want to share with you!
We may as well start with ourselves eh?! Our scarves make excellent gifts, even for non-babywearers, (after all, it would be hard to go to any high street store and buy limited run, locally and ethically woven scarves- these are truly something unique) They are versatile to wear. They also work really nicely as doll slings.
2. Oak Wren
Oak Wren is a sister company to the fabulous Baie slings and they make ponchos, cloaks and capes out of wrap fabric.
They offer both in stock options and also a make-to-order service where they can transform your wrap into something that you can keep on enjoying long after your babywearing days are over.
What better way to fasten your new cloak than with a bespoke made pennanular brooch?! Inspired by nature and ancient British adornments/ clothing fastenings, Peggy makes beautiful and unique jewellery in a range of prices for all budgets.
4. Interlude Pottery
Beautiful mugs and delicious coffee are two of Jen’s small but perfect pleasures in life, and some of her favourite cups come from Interlude pottery, based in Penrith, Cumbria. A mug should feel good as well as look beautiful, and you can feel the love that went into making these mugs as they sit warmly in your hands. Bliss! They also make all manner of other crockery if mugs aren’t your thing!
5. Grumpy Mule
You need good coffee to grace your handmade mug, and Grumpy Mule roast beans that are not only delicious but ethically produced and fairly traded. Some of Jen’s favourites are produced by the Cafe Femenino project (a foundation supporting female coffee growers).
6. Red Thumb Print
Little wooden Rudolph has quickly found his place in Jen’s family Christmas traditions. The children love going out for a walk on a crisp sunny morning and searching for two suitable branches to become his antlers for the year! The larger Rudolph would make a fun and re-usable alternative to a Christmas tree. Red Thumb print is based just up the road from Firespiral HQ.
Cocobands joined us at Winter Wovenland this year and even made some Firespiral wraps scrap headbands! Jen has a lot of thick, unruly hair, and cocobands are an easy way to give the appearance of a stylishly tied headscarf without any of the effort! Business owners Sarah and Jake say that they trick to getting their headbands on just right is to ‘shimmy’ them down onto your hair, and that trick definitely works!
8. Lunar Drops
Lunar Drops make affordable semi-precious bead jewellery with a quality finish and beautiful attention to detail. Jen’s favourites are the aromatherapy bracelets, with a naturally porous lava stone bead to which you can add a drop of your favourite essential oil.
Back to coffee (naturally) and Alp and Ash make lovely drinks coasters featuring the topography of the British Isles. You can choose your favourite hillside or local area, but our favourites are the lake district coasters, as the lakes and waters are created using transparent acrylic inlays.
Jen’s eldest boy was given one of these lovely rag dolls years ago, and she has been a firm favourite since then and loved by his siblings too! The
perfectly detailed clothes are probably what makes her so special. Whilst they aren’t suitable for the under 3s, they are incredible easy to dress and very sturdily made to cope with some rough handling! There is no diversity in the range any more however- they now only offer two dolls, ‘Maisy and Mo’, both identically white skinned with brown hair.
We’d love to hear your recommendations too!