Every time you buy something, you vote with your wallet.
As someone who has bootstrapped companies and knows just how hard it is to do it right, to fight the good fight and do things the right way, not just for the bottom-line, but actually run a business with a set of values that might make the world a tiny bit better, I know just how incredibly hard it is to make it work. Just like this election has shown, the ruthless ones, the ones that don’t care about anything other than full pockets, are the ones that usually win.
I have bootstrapped Tattly from the beginning and we had some wonderful successes but it is a bumpy road, even 5 years in. I believe in manufacturing whatever I can in the U.S. I believe in selecting my artists carefully and paying them a generous royalty. I believe in shipping everything out of Brooklyn and creating lower wage jobs in the city. I believe in creating a healthy work environment for my employees and offer sane working hours. I could go on! All of these values make it exponentially harder to succeed. Our business model has been copied by people that don’t care about any of these things and that are just in for the money.
All of this has made me realize that I need to be more careful on how I spend my money and who I support and endorse. My purchases have a direct impact. Supporting small matters. Here are are few small companies and individuals that I know, or have been following for a long time, that have a set of values I admire. I want them to succeed with their businesses.
Help me grow this list! What small entrepreneurs or individuals should we be supporting and why? Write suggestions below as a comment with links to their sites. I am actively keeping tab of companies that make the world a little better and will continuously support them, here on my blog and beyond.
Here is my GROWING list of companies I suggest you consider supporting this holiday season:
Sugru – the world needs fixing. The founder Jane is one of my favorite people. Watch her 99u talk and fall in love as well.
Slow Factory – Fashion as a tool for social and environmental change. NASA images printed on 100% natural fabric and eco-friendly dyes and process.
Holstee – a subscription that explores one mindful theme each month through art, words and action.
Various Keytags – get someone a special key chain. The people that run it are special too.
Three Potato Four – Janet Morales and Stu Eli began Three Potato Four through their love of found objects. It’s been a pleasure to watch their labor of love grow into a company.
Pipsticks – Monthly sticker subscription, run by a super kind couple with three kids.
Tinybop – the best educational kids apps out there. SUCH good, smart people that run this company.
Uncommon goods – Dave the founder is remarkable. Read their about page. Then support them.
JAM – online courses for kids. Zach Klein, the founder, is good people.
The Sill – Get some plants into your home and office. Healthy plants by healthy, lovely humans.
– American Heirloom – I have one of their cutting boards. It’s my favorite.
Field Notes – the original. I have admired Jim Coudal, the founder, for a long time and he has been instrumental in my decision to let go of clients. He is an entrepreneur with values I admire.
Jen makes beautiful jewelry. And she is a beautiful human.
Rifle Paper – satisfy all of your paper needs. Anna Bond, the illustrator behind the brand, has shaped this industry. She is probably the hardest working human on this planet.
Etsy – a company with fantastic values and a serious moral compass, supporting makers around the world. YES!
Brooklyn Industries – know and admire the founders.
Oliver Jeffers – one of the most talented and hardest working artists I know. Buy a print or look for his picture books next time you’re in a book store.
Brvtvs – a New York based jewelry collection created by Caroline Ventura.
City of Industry – It’s been a pleasure seeing Sara build out her pin business into more than just that. A labor of love I want to see succeed!
Soma – Good people. Good products.
Charity Water – instead of christmas/wedding or birthday gifts fundraise for clean water?
Lumi – I met Jesse Genet, the co-founder recently and was so impressed by her hustle and enthusiasm to improve the world of packaging goods.
Kikkerland – my favorite place to find fun gifts.
ban.do – a destination for slightly silly fun gifts.
Ghostly – it’s easy to get lost in their music or products.
Haptic Lab – stunning products by a remarkable woman.
Poketo – beautiful gifts curated by a beautiful couple.
Paper Jam Press – love these so much.
Hendley – I have never met a person before that makes perfumes. Hans’ love for this industry is beautiful to follow along.
Adam J. K. – one of my favorite places to shop for gifts on the internet.
If you think your business should be on this list, don’t be shy and add yourself. Or suggest others. Also, if we know each other and you are bummed not to see your name on here, I apologize and ask you to please add yourself.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 5:56 am
Jewelry by Brooklyn based Bekka Palmer: http://www.bekkapalmer.com/shop/
Nov 29th, 2016 / 6:17 am
Ugmonk, a labor of love by Jeff Sheldon:
Nov 29th, 2016 / 6:19 am
Area Ware http://www.areaware.com
Nov 29th, 2016 / 6:21 am
We share your values and support local artisanal food companies here at: http://www.withlovefrombrooklyn.com
Nov 29th, 2016 / 6:51 am
Shameless self-promo: Offscreen Magazine — http://www.offscreenmag.com
Nov 29th, 2016 / 7:01 am
Livin’ Life, an inspirational lifestyle brand by Antonio Vaughn.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 7:26 am
Livin’ Life, an inspirational lifestyle brand by Antonio Vaughn: https://www.LivinLifeCo.com
Nov 29th, 2016 / 7:28 am
Nov 29th, 2016 / 7:39 am
Support New Yorker & my good friend Juli Oliver’s independent, woman-owned/operated, NY-based business, OrganizeNY – “Personal Organizing for Home, Business, and Life”. She’s an organization rockstar, and I admire her entrepreneurship.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 8:06 am
Misc Goods Co – https://misc-goods-co.myshopify.com/
Cotton Bureau – http://cottonbureau.com
Joey Roth – http://joeyroth.com
Studio Neat – http://studioneat.com
Nov 29th, 2016 / 8:26 am
shameless self-promo: ArtSnacks: a curated box of unique, high-quality art supplies delivered to your door every month.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 8:33 am
Tina – Did you happen to see what the team at Patagonia did with their Black Friday sales?
Crazy awesome. They also give away 1% of all their sales to help fund grassroots environmental organizations. A big company trying to do big things.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 8:49 am
Thanks for doing this Tina! Thought I’d share my wife’s paper goods business called Native Haus. She sells hand lettered cards in languages like Korean, German, Chinese and Spanish. She also makes custom Korean banners. You can check out the Etsy site by going to:
Nov 29th, 2016 / 9:20 am
Please note if you add a comment and don’t see it right away, I’ll have to probably green light it on the backend!
Nov 29th, 2016 / 9:24 am
http://shoptips.com/, a neighborhood wine and spirits shop in Brooklyn. Online at shoptipsy.com
In addition to an assortment of women-made wine and Brooklyn-made spirits, we also carry products made/curated by other women-owned small businesses such as Love and Victory and With Love, From Brooklyn.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 9:32 am
Thanks, Tina! https://www.abetterbuzzbrandgoods.com is creating a culture inspired by urban and rural adventure. Our products are bold, graphic design inspired apparel and goods.
All of our products are designed and printed in the USA and we give $1 of every sale back to Lost N Found Youth, a non-profit providing permanent housing for homeless LGBT Youth in Atlanta.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 9:35 am
Thank you Tina!
Nov 29th, 2016 / 11:42 am
I’d love to recommend http://www.fiercelycurious.com/. Brooklyn based team behind Brooklyn and NYC based artists.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 11:48 am
GRAINWELL – genuine wood-centric goods – https://www.grainwell.com/
HANDZY – upbeat greeting cards + art prints – https://www.etsy.com/shop/HelloHandzy
Nov 29th, 2016 / 12:18 pm
Stitch & Rivet – http://www.shopstitchandrivet.com/
Salt & Sundry – http://www.shopsaltandsundry.com/
Ginger Bean Clothing – https://www.etsy.com/shop/GingerBeanClothing?ref=ss_profile (Amazing, recycled textiles made into children’s clothing that is adjustable so fits for YEARS!)
Nov 29th, 2016 / 12:38 pm
Thank you so much for doing this post – it speaks to my heart.
Consider supporting Helveticahaus, a non-profit awarding scholarships to design students. We sell helvetica inspired clothing, coffee, and letter pressed goods, all produced by local companies.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 1:00 pm
I will plug the Eephus League if you have any baseball-loving folks in your friends and family.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 2:11 pm
I just released a line of fine jewelry designed and crafted by me in Brooklyn, NY. I use the ancient sculptural technique of lost wax casting, sculpting each piece by melting and carving wax into shape. Molten gold and silver is poured into cast shapes and cooled, which I then sand, polish and stud with diamonds and opals. My favorite piece can be carved with a custom message and looks as if it is made of metal dripping down your finger. Thanks Tina- would love to connect :)
Nov 29th, 2016 / 2:31 pm
Wow honored to have Holstee among so many great folks. Loving all the small business love! Jeff, great additions!
Here are a few other small business making awesome products:
Skinny Vinny – Skinny Vinny is a Brooklyn based studio and workshop that creates hyper functional bags & accessories for the urban sophisticated. (http://skinny-vinny.com)
Thundress – 100% organic cotton underwear made in the USA. (http://www.thundress.com)
MCMC Fragrances – Brooklyn based fragrance house. (http://mcmcfragrances.com)
Apolis – A socially motivated lifestyle brand that empowers communities worldwide. (http://www.apolisglobal.com)
Orée – Artisan technology tools made from premium natural materials. Handmade in France. (http://oreeartisans.com)
Poketo – Purveyor of design-driven wares meant to instill art into everyday living. (http://www.poketo.com)
Back to the Roots – Produces specialty home growing kits, including a fish tank that grows human food and a mushroom kit using coffee grounds. (https://backtotheroots.com)
Bela Monde – Condé Nast Traveler photographer Lisa Limer, brings her photos to life in luxurious silk scarves made in the USA. (http://www.belamonde.com)
DodoCase – Sleek black & brown leather, moleskin, and linen cases that are durable and classically stylish. Made in SF. (https://www.dodocase.com)
Nov 29th, 2016 / 3:34 pm
Oo! https://shopgoodwin.com/ is a beautiful project based out of Nashville that curates limited edition pieces from independent designers (disclosure – I’m one of them).
I swear by https://www.primallifeorganics.com/ ‘s natural skincare products, which are fresh made in small batches.
And I would love to be on the list although I’m based in Jaffa, Israel. I design and make jewelry and tees with my close-knit team of 3 in collaboration with a tattoo artist living in Zurich who I met through Instagram!
Nov 29th, 2016 / 4:11 pm
Yes! I have to go with http://www.denydesigns.com
Buy purchasing the home decor products, you are supporting artists as well – Plus you get really cool designs for your home ;) Check them out.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 4:26 pm
This is such a great list! I would add MPOWERD to the list: https://mpowerd.com/ Beautiful, functional solar lights that support people living in ‘energy poverty’. Theirs is a wonderful story.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 4:32 pm
If you’re in North Jersey, I’d suggest Little City Books in Hoboken, opened a year & a half by three local women. Despite having 50,000+ people, Hoboken hadn’t had a new bookstore in town for years.
Little City Books is doing well, and recently expanded to add a children’s book annex. They regularly host author readings, performances, and more. A great addition to the town.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 7:10 pm
How about Shapeways? Original 3D printed designs in NY. I know the woman who makes these and think they’re lovely. http://www.shapeways.com/shops/collectededition Just bought a 3D poppy as a thank you for a friend who has been helping me write cover letters.
Nov 29th, 2016 / 7:25 pm
Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite indie designers. They’ve all stepped up their commitment to social justice campaigns following the election and are making donations to groups like the ACLU from sale proceeds. Small designers contribute so much to the communities they’re a part of, thanks for putting this list into action Tina!!
Soft sculpture: http://www.dougjohnston.net
Nov 29th, 2016 / 8:29 pm
http://www.piamundo.com — found and owned by another swissmiss based in Jersey City.
Curated home objects handpicked in Mexico. Born out of the belief that we should surround ourselves with objects that have soul and tell a story, the collection is a mixture of handmade artisan, designer and artist pieces. Many of them are one-of-a-kind objects and made in small productions. Piamundo strives to highlight the diversity in Mexican design and its deep artisanal and traditional roots.
Thank you for the post and the opportunity to suggest additional small businesses!
Nov 29th, 2016 / 10:03 pm
9 to 5 Project (www.9to5project.com) helps under-employed women stop working jobs they hate and start giving themselves credit for their true potential to go after the career of their dreams.
9 to 5 Project is committed to supporting the veteran community, moms returning to work after raising children, and recent grads!
The owners are personally driven to motivate women around the world to close the wage gap, self-advocate and lead better lives.
Nov 30th, 2016 / 7:53 am
My one-woman company, The Willary! A durable, stylish, versatile, and functional wardrobe for women. Manufactured in NYC. https//:www.thewillary.com
My home/office used to be a few blocks down from Tattly HQ! Thanks for this growing list.
Nov 30th, 2016 / 9:08 am
Thank you for providing this valuable list. My business is called MamaRobot. Everything I sell is designed by me, and printed in my apartment. I make prints, cards, and apparel for kids and grown-ups who love robots. https://www.etsy.com/shop/mamarobot
Nov 30th, 2016 / 10:01 am
Was just gonna leave a little comment like “So happy to read this post” but seeing as everyone’s joining in…
UK – Clive Roddy – Designer, Maker (…and best guy EVER)
AUSTRALIA – Botanica Boutique
HONG KONG – Fabcessories
CANADA – Object Interface
CHILE – MinkaInhouse
KOREA – Gongdreen
JAPAN – Duncan Shotton Design Studio (oh that’s us!) ^^
“Voting with your wallet. What a fantastic way to put it”
Nov 30th, 2016 / 11:09 am
Nest Collective is a group of small studios joined together, sharing a common love for creating great products for both clients and ourselves.
Nov 30th, 2016 / 11:45 am
I am so glad you did this! small business are the back bone of our economy. Lately there are so many great startups made by indie designers like yourself. I am not sure if you have heard of a young textile designer called Tafui? she is originally from Jamaica but now lives in Montreal Canada you should check her shop out when you get the chance, Shoptafui.com I also love http://herriottgrace.com/ by Lance and Nikole Herriott a cute father and daughter team. thevintagevogue.com is a close favourite and http://www.tactilematter.com/ & http://hoibo.com are to die for!
All wonderful female designers
Nov 30th, 2016 / 5:33 pm
Affordable jewelry and accessories hand-made in Seattle, WA.
We believe in good design for everyone.
We also believe that Tina is awesome.
Nov 30th, 2016 / 6:47 pm
I would love to suggest Soft-Gold.co for those out there looking for amazing, life-time lasting, covetous jewelry. AMAZING STUFF! And thanks for all the other links <3
Nov 30th, 2016 / 6:55 pm
I immediately thought of two Australian brands when reading your post:
TSUNO – One-woman business selling tampons and sanitary pads made from sustainable products and 50% of the profits go to amazing to One Girl, a charity which helps girls in Uganda and Sierra Leone to access education. Items purchased from the company can also be donated through TSUNO to Women’s shelters and refugee groups.
Who Gives a Crap – These guys sell amazing toilet paper, tissues and hand towels. Not the most exciting products in the world but just like Tsuno they use sustainably sourced materials to create their products and donate 50% of their profits to sanitation projects.
Nov 30th, 2016 / 10:19 pm
Please support a fantastic Brooklyn-based graphic designer and eco-friendly letterpress artist & printer, Ursula Jaroszewicz of Pepper Press
She creates and prints custom designs, but will also happily print your own designs, according to your specifications. And she’s a nice person, too!
Nov 30th, 2016 / 10:56 pm
Awesome list! Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful collection. Check out Kindness & Co. They make these really cool Kindness Kits that start ripple effects of kindness. For every Kit they sell on their site they give one away.
“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Dec 1st, 2016 / 2:55 pm
I have several bags from http://www.shopstitchandrivet.com/ who strives to source quality leather from the U.S. They’re well made and well loved.
Dec 1st, 2016 / 3:05 pm
Don’t forget about Emily McDowell, personal hero!
Dec 1st, 2016 / 5:53 pm
thank you for supporting small businesses and for being awesome! It would be amazing if you added http://www.tabtag.com as well.
tabtag – glowing & reusable macbook stickers
the team at tabtag is made up of people who believe in self expression, diversity and individual design.
we create glowing macbook stickers which use the glowing apple as a light source. you can apply, remove & reuse a tabtag many times.
in addition to our growing collection on tabtag.com, we also make individually designed / branded custom tabtags.
Thank you and all the best,
Dec 2nd, 2016 / 4:51 am
Sturdy Brothers — from their about page:
“Our company’s goal is to rekindle a spirit of American craftsmanship in the South. We are working to provide quality waxed canvas and leather goods for the hardworking people who make America great (those who still get their hands dirty). We believe we are called to lead a quiet life and work hard with our hands. Sturdy Brothers is our humble acting on this calling.”
Dec 2nd, 2016 / 11:47 am
Sali Swiss Miss,
please consider adding A New York Affair to your list!
Founded by a Swiss living in Brooklyn, we’re an up-and-coming ethical fashion (graphic T-Shirt) label, which uses 100% Fairtrade certified, organic cotton. All of our T-Shirts are ethically produced and designed by local NYC artists! The quality screen printing is done in Greenpoint by the amazing Kayrock.
We want to evoke memories of NYC experiences and empower everyone along the supply chain from the farmer to the sewer and the artists.
Please check out https://www.anewyorkaffair.com for our first collection named “Dance in Ecstasy”, a tribute to the seminal 70s/80s music and dance scene of NYC!
These T-Shirts make a great holiday gift :-)
Dec 2nd, 2016 / 8:24 pm
Artist and fashion designer based out of Murfreesboro TN, in the heart of Middle Tennessee.
Dec 3rd, 2016 / 7:21 pm
Dec 5th, 2016 / 5:14 am
Tina! Thanks for the love!!!!!
Dec 6th, 2016 / 12:12 am
Thanks for this post! We at Tait Design Co. would love to be checked out.
We’re a two person bootstrapped product design studio & manufacturer based in Detroit, MI. We specialize in toys and gifts, and design and manufacture all of our products by hand in the US.
Our mission is to create beautiful, functional items for people of all ages, and employ the people in our city and local community to help us do so.
We’re also quite conscious of the earth and our users – all of our products are made with recycled cardboard and non-toxic water based ink.
Thanks for reading! You can see everything we do at http://taitdesignco.com/ or on Instagram @taitdesignco.
Dec 6th, 2016 / 3:54 am
colour wheel + playing cards = BreakThroughColour!
A new way to explore, understand, work, and play with colour in the 21st century…
Dec 6th, 2016 / 5:20 pm
100% bootstrapped as well and yes, yes it is hard.
http://www.neighborlyshop.com/ : My home goods & lifestyle shop, committed to sourcing ethical and indie made products (we’re 96% there).
http://orkposters.com/ : My line of typographic city neighborhood maps, all made locally to me in Chicago, and just added a line of Tshirts.
Dec 8th, 2016 / 10:32 am