If you’re a Knack regular, you know how much we value the artisans and small business owners who make up our merchant community. Unless you’re a fervent farmers’ market-goer, boutique junkie, or Etsy VIP, it can be hard to find and connect with the craftspeople who create memorable products on a small scale, much less learn their stories. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to shopping small, local, and handmade, in the spirit of Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 26th this year.
SHOP BY VALUE
If you’ve browsed KNACKSHOPS.COM recently, you’ll have noticed our “Shop By Value” feature, which makes it even simpler to find the small businesses whose values align with your own. It’s a quick and easy way to see which merchants in our marketplace give back to their communities, create eco-friendly products, have women at the company helm, or operate on an extremely small scale with fewer than 10 employees.
As you shop our site, you’ll notice some new embellishments on certain products, like on this Metamorphic Gear Dopp Kit:
Each one of the symbols below the product name represents an attribute of the company that we think is worth noting. Run your cursor over any symbol to see what it means, and if you want to see similar merchants, click over to the merchant directory where you can sort through nearly 150 vendors by attribute.
YOUR GUIDE TO SHOPPING SMALL: MERCHANT SPOTLIGHT
We carry products from artisans and small businesses from around the country (and a few from even further afield), and we do our very best to learn all of their stories. We hope you’ll take some time to explore our merchant directory as you look for your next great gift. In the meantime, start with this guide to a few of our favorite merchants to figure out how to shop small for Small Business Saturday–and beyond.
If you want to shop handmade:
- amarette: Amarette Gregor is a Portland-based jewelry designer and metalsmith. She works with brass, acrylic, and colorful thread to create her playful, distinctive jewelry that’s truly wearable art. Read her Featured Merchant interview here, and shop two styles of earrings here.
- A Word In The Woods: Like many Knack artisans, Mike Zimmermann turned a hobby into a career when he quit his job as a graphic designer to pursue leatherworking full time. Mike began working with leather so he could repair his own outdoor gear after much use on the trail, but has expanded his repertoire to include beautiful hand-stitched leather journal covers, key fobs, and card sleeves. Shop his collection.
If you want to support women-owned businesses:
- Hapertas & Co.: Jill Rachel Evans began sewing at age 2, so it’s really no surprise that she now runs her own business as a haberdasher. Jill designs and creates modern menswear and accessories that bring an element of sophistication to any outfit. Read more about Jill’s business–and how she’s re-building after a devastating studio fire–in her interview, and shop her collection here.
- The Bitter Housewife: Far from bitter herself, Genevieve Brazelton started tinkering with botanical bitters to add to her cocktails. Using incredible ingredients, she developed original, small-batch recipes that include a classic Aromatic bitters, warm Cardamom, and fresh, citrusy Grapefruit. Genevieve also recently joined forces with another women-owned business in Portland, Oregon, taking over production for Raft Botanical Syrups. Shop Bitter Housewife.
If you want to shop eco-chic, sustainable products:
- Metamorphic Gear: Metamorphic Gear is one of those brands who truly walk the walk. Founded by Lindsay Lawrence, a sailor with a background in marine carpentry and sales, Metamorphic Gear embodies the best of stylish innovation and the “upcycling” movement–taking a previously used fabric and fashioning it into something new and wonderful while staying true to the original material. We love their travel-ready Dopp Kits and roomy tote bags made of colorful sailcloth, truck tarps, and climbing ropes that have enjoyed a previous life out in the big world. Read Lindsay’s Featured Merchant interview here and shop Metamorphic Gear’s collection.
- IMPWEARhome: Tracy Krauter has been sewing since the 6th grade, and has found a way to combine her creative skills with her dedicated support of the environment. Her medium is oilcloth, but as Tracy likes to say, it’s “not your grandma’s oilcloth!” Since many types of oilcloth fabrics on the market are made with materials that are decidedly not food-safe, or safe for use around young children, Tracy set out to source her own non-toxic laminated cotton for her wares, which include adorable children’s aprons and crayon and notecard pouches perfect for traveling. Read more about Tracy’s products and shop her collection here.
If you want to shop philanthropically:
- Bloom & Give: Knack customers shop with intention. They come to Knack to find products that are off the beaten path and made with great care, and pay close attention to the people crafting the products they buy. One of our newest merchants, Bloom & Give, sells beautiful products with an exceptionally meaningful cause. The founders, Partha Raghunathan and Madhu Rajendran, have sourced women-owned factories and weavers’ co-operatives across India where artisans create traditional textiles and work for fair wages in safe, healthy conditions. 50% of the proceeds from their products then benefit girls’ education programs in over 8,000 schools across India. Shop the handmade collection here.
- Prosperity Candle: The work of Prosperity Candle is craftsmanship with a cause. Women from Burma to Haiti join Prosperity Candle’s community to learn a trade that can help them establish a brighter future for themselves and their families. Many come to the US after fleeing refugee camps and begin as apprentice candle-makers, often earning their first ever-paychecks for a living wage, gaining work experience, and moving on to leadership positions within the company or leaving to pursue their own business goals. Shop the Burmese candle collection here.
If you want to shop SUPER small (with a cool story):
- Brooklyn Slate Co: When you hear “the family business” you might think law…finance…the mom-n-pop shop. A slate rock quarry probably isn’t the first thing to jump to mind, but that, in fact, is the family business that inspired Kristy Hadeka and Sean Tice to start Brooklyn Slate Co. Kristy’s family runs a slate quarry in upstate New York. After a visit in 2009, Kristy and Sean left with a few pieces of surplus slate. They used them around the home as trivets, coasters, and serving boards, and when their friends started to take notice, they realized they were on to something. They continue to use excess slate from the family quarry for their creative kitchen accessories, which are all absolutely one-of-a-kind. Shop their slate cheese boards here.
- Girl Meets Dirt: Audra Lawlor left a 10-year Wall Street career for a sweeter, more inspired sort of toil close to the land in her native Pacific Northwest. She and her husband put down roots on Washington’s Orcas Island, moving into a 5-acre “farmette” at the end of a one-lane country road. Together, they plunged their hands and hearts into a new existence making preserves and jams with single-origin heirloom fruit like plums, pears, and quince. Inspired by the local flora and traditional preserving techniques, Audra’s soulful confections are cooked in copper pots and lovingly perfected by hand. Shop her delicious preserves here.
Eager to support these merchants? We’ve extended Small Business Saturday all weekend with a special promotion for Knack customers! See the details below, and enjoy your discoveries as you #shopsmall.