The 25th of January I celebrated my 23rd birthday. I have spent the past two birthdays in Argentina and as such, we don’t really do too much celebrating outside of going out to dinner and for drinks. While I definitely miss celebrating my birthday with my family and friends in the US with ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, I also love being able to celebrate my birthday with my husband’s birthday on the 21st. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: everyone important to me was born within the same week: Andrew on the 21st, Fiona the Hippo on the 24th and me on the 25th. Haha JK but you know what I mean. This year for my birthday, my family in the States gifted me some $$$ so I decided to finally get some earrings I’ve been wanting for a while now. And of course, these earrings are made by an amazing small business maker I met through Instagram!
So I thought, what better way to celebrate my birthday than sharing some makers and small businesses that I really love?? I am truly so passionate about buying local and supporting talented creatives and have always been! Part of it is because I rely on the support from my friends and the people who buy from my Etsy. Having my own Etsy shop since 2014 has made be more appreciative of being supported by word of mouth or a simple Instagram story re-share!
I tried to include a serious range of makers/small businesses so there should be something for everyone though I will warn you my thing is EARRINGS so a fair amount will be earring-related crafters (sorry not sorry!). Most of these are online makers so you should be able to find them and order from them easily (I’ll try to indicate when I know whether or not they do international shipping). However, a few of these are actual storefronts so you can only experience their greatness by actually visiting their small business. If that’s the case, make an adventure out of it, ditch online shopping for the day and go out and actually support not only the owners of these small businesses but their employees too. If you’ve purchased anything from these makers or plan on visiting their businesses, leave me a comment below telling me what you loved about your experience. Is there a small business or maker you want to signal boost in the comments? Go ahead!!
A few more things to keep in mind about my list:
- I may not have purchased anything from the businesses or makers I list, YET! Sometimes the case just may be that I work freelance and don’t have the kind of money to buy their things. If that’s the case, I do still follow these businesses and makers on Instagram and love seeing the things they make.
- The “small” in small business may vary dramatically. I may list one business or a maker and you go, “WHAT? Rachel, they have 100K followers on Instagram? How is that small??” Essentially, my definition of small is that they’re a single person or small team and they themselves are selling what they make on the internet via their Instagram, Etsy or their own website. Then again, some of the following may be small, small because they are like me! And also my friends!
Okay, now that we got the boring stuff out of the way, let’s get started conveniently with appropriate categories. Open your Instagram or your wallet and be prepared to follow and purchase awesome things from very cool human beings! Yay!
#1: Fat Pom Poms
Okay so yes, I myself make pom pom earrings but these pom pom earrings are something else. In fact, of all the pom pom makers I follow on Instagram, Jess is by far the best of the bunch. In fact, I’d say she’s a pom pom expert, truly. One thing to note is: she lives in the UK, but do not fear, she does international shipping! Yay! In addition to amazing yarn and tinsel pom pom earrings, she also makes headbands, garlands, DIY kits and pom people. You heard me right–pom pom PEOPLE. Like I said, as a pom pom maker myself, I bow down to her. Fat Pom Poms started in 2014 and has only grown since. I only own one pair of Fat Pom Poms (a half pink yarn/half tinsel pom that I don’t have any pictures of) but I absolutely adore her big hoops and tassel earrings. They’re so cute and bright. You can check out the Etsy here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#2: Luna Sangre
I discovered Luna Sangre through Instagram by searching the hashtag #avocadoearrings. Luna Sangre earrings are hand painted on canvas and are generally pretty large, which if you know me, you know I’m all about a BIG statement earrings. Aubrey opened her shop in 2011 and has since then sold hundreds of beautiful earrings. A lot of her earrings reflect Latinx heritage and things found in nature, ranging from mushrooms to flowers to fruits and veg. I absolutely love her work and just ordered a custom pair of her earrings for my birthday! When I get them, I’ll be sure to upload a picture of them. You can check out the Etsy here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#3: While Odin Sleeps
I found While Odin Sleeps on Instagram when another account I follow shouted her out and I have lusted after these earrings ever since. Lauren Lester started While Odin Sleeps in 2011 and everything she creates is beautiful. She makes metal and lucite earrings and necklaces that feature absolutely gorgeous designs. A lot of them are very big and whimsical which honestly just screams my name. I can’t wait to buy a pair of one of her earrings one day! In fact, I do have leftover birthday money so we’ll see what happens. A few of the designs are more simple and delicate but I’m a huge fan of the big ones. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#4: Hoof & Arrow
Talk about breathtaking!! These handwoven earrings are so perfect that I cannot even imagine how time consuming designing and beading them must be. Also debating buying a pair of these earrings with my birthday money because they are expensive but oh so gorgeous. The dilemma is that I don’t know which pair to get because they are all amazing (so help me decide in the comment!!). Anne designs truly some of the most creative and beautiful earrings I’ve ever seen and I cannot wait to own a pair. It’s like art for your ears. Yay! You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#5: Renee Damiani
So I discovered Renee Damiani through another maker I will name on this list and as soon as I saw these earrings I was immediately transported to a wonderful, colorful, Care Bear-like earring version of my crafty childhood. Based in South Australia (she ships internationally THANKFULLY), Renee creates her earrings, necklaces and bracelets with colorful and recycled pieces. She has been crafting this wearable art since 2013. I love the curves, the pastels and how it’s all very simple and yet very beautiful. The Jelly ones are by far my favorite. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#6: Hideaway Leathercraft
Another great Instagram find! These handmade leather earrings and necklaces are all cut, tooled and painted by Niki. I think what drew me to these earrings are their total 70s/floral vibes. The designs look like they came off a 1970s tapestry couch and I love that. And the colors she uses are truly a perfect vintage palette. Not all of her listings are on her Etsy, though, so make sure to shop her Instagram for her newest designs. You can check out the Etsy here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#7: Slow as Folk
Slow as Folk has gone through a few transformations since I met Sarah Gust in 2018 but every change has been amazing, I promise. I have almost all of her prints, some of her stickers and one pair of her earrings is probably the most complimented thing I own. She makes gorgeous wire and clay earrings. It’s not on her website yet but she made a V-Day Collection that is to die for. I love following her as she shares her creative process and also I just love her earrings…and my sacred Dolly print I have hanging up in my room next to a pink cowboy hat from Amazon. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of the things I own from her and my favorite listings:
Okay, so like earrings, y’all know I love Disney. I would rather be at Walt Disney World every single day of my life. My dream job has me going to Walt Disney at least 4 times a week. If anyone knows what job that is, please refer me and I’ll send my resume ASAP. So given my love of Disney, it’s pretty predictable that there are a few Disney makers I totally love on this list. One of these makers is a little unattainable as she sells out in literal minutes but ONE DAY (ONE DAY) I will own a pair of her ears. Also the last shop is not ear related so you’re welcome as I know ears aren’t the most practical or daily-wear Disney accessory (though I wish they were and they could be if my job was just going to WDW…again, does anyone know of such a job??)
#8: Shiny Sky Rainbows
Okay so this is the one I was talking about: she has very infrequent restocks and when she does post the ears they sellout in minutes. Getting a pair of these ears is like an Olympic sport and I admire anyone who has a pair. I love Minnie Ears. It’s one of my favorite parts about going to the parks. I love wearing them, I love browsing them and I love looking at other people’s ears. It’s people watching but ear watching. All SSR ears are either Disney niche or food inspired and I am obsessed. They’re also huge, just like I like my earrings. Like I said, this isn’t the most accessible maker on my list but I just have to share because everything she creates is so creative and well-made I could die. Seriously. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#9: Little Love Buggy LLC
I’ve followed Ellie on Instagram for a while now and even though she is only SEVENTEEN, she makes stunning floral ears, some of which feature the most adorable handmade clay figurines. Truly, her Instagram is just adorable and she’s so talented. She’s actually at WDW right now so this post does not have any direct links to her listings but you can follow and favorite her shop for updates. These ears are just…Disney fairy princess dreams, y’all. You can check out the Etsy here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#10: Pixie Cases / Pixie Made Co.
Okay so you want to look at or use something Disney all the time? I do not blame you! I, too, want that. A great way to incorporate more Disney into your life is through cute phone cases and pop sockets. I’ve been following Pixie Cases for a while now and recently they started their sister company, Pixie Made Co. which sells more accessories than just phone cases! TBH, Pixie Cases are way cuter than any case you can buy in the parks and are a lot more economical. Sometimes they’ll have sales where you can get phone cases for just $5! It also really pays to follow them on Instagram because then you get to see new designs, know when designs are almost sold out (and won’t be restocked), know when sales are about to start and when new designs are about to be released. They are so clever and adorable and are often inspired by Disney and Pixar movies in addition to our favorite things about the parks. Recently, they’ve been making other types of pop culture cases–think Riverdale or VSCO Girl. Pixie Made Co. is a lifestyle brand that sells a variety of goodies from cards to clothing to keychains. Most of their products are Disney inspired but they have some things that aren’t Disney. I love my case from Pixie Cases (not so much my Pixie Pop because it falls off all the time) and people literally stopped me to ask where I got my case while at the parks! You can check out the website for Pixie Cases here and follow the Instagram here. You can check out the website for Pixie Made Co. here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of the things I own from Pixie Cases and my favorite listings:
Apparel & Accessories
#11: Rachel Burke (AKA @imakestagram)
Let’s be real: @imakestagram’s Instagram is the reason I’m alive. I love following her and watching every story she posts whether she’s designing new magical things, leading a fun workshop or simply letting her little babe Hugo grab things in her workshop. One of my goals for this decade is to own a famous tinsel jacket from Rachel Burke. Yes, they are incredibly hard to score and yes, they are $500 but I WILL OWN one. And I will have one in time for my Big Fat American Wedding and I will wear it at my reception and I will sparkle like no one has ever sparkled before. ANYWAYS, Rachel is a literal queen and following her on Instagram is my favorite thing. Her craftiness knows no bounds and her posts just give me life and inspiration because so many of her crafts combine gems, glitter and tinsel with things you already have in your house like old shoes, aluminum foil and cereal boxes. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite things she’s made:
#12: Girlfriend Collective
Okay so I feel like this is definitely one of those choices where y’all might say, “Small business, really?” but…hear me out! Yes, they have 277K followers. Yes, you probably know who they are because Influencers wear their stuff like Fabletics BUT…all their workout clothing is ethically and sustainably made and their sizing goes all the way up to 6X which is pretty incredible as most athletic wear that I’ve seen generally only caters to 3X which is just…not even trying lol. So, this is the part where I also mention: I don’t own anything from Girlfriend, YET. As I am actively losing weight, I don’t want to spend $100 on a workout outfit that will one day (I mean hopefully) no longer fit me. Once I am down to weight that is healthy and beneficial to me, I absolutely plan to continue my weekly gym visits and remain as physically active as I can and that’s when I will gift myself with a workout set from Girlfriend. IT IS MY TREAT!! If I could afford to get multiple sets from them, I would buy one now but like I said I’m a freelancer and sometimes get paid less than 1 cent per word (I cannot stress this or repeat this enough in any of my posts…please someone hire me.) Also everything literally comes in a million colors and I love that the bra is more of a crop top incase you aren’t comfortable going to the gym in leggings and a sports bra. This company is magic and I just can’t wait to own something from them. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#13: CLAMMY HEART!
As we’ve established in a previous blog post, I love Animal Crossing and found CLAMMY HEART! through that love. CLAMMY HEART! started in 2017 and began making patches, stickers, charms, prints and now some heckin’ cute dresses and berets. I asked for one of the Animal Crossing patches for Christmas and my mom said, “How old are you?” PASTELS AND CUTE FICTITIOUS ANIMALS HAVE NO AGE, MOM. She sells out pretty quickly but if you follow her on Instagram you’ll be the first to know about shop updates. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#14: SOLSTICE INTIMATES
Ooo, ~scandalous~ but I am listing a lingerie company! However, what I will not be doing is posting a picture of me in what I own from Solstice Intimates on my blog, lol. Basically, Solstice Intimates is for anyone who wants to put on something that makes them feel sexy, confident and beautiful because some of the pieces they make are actual works of art. Everything is so original and beautiful and you’ll never look at mall lingerie again. All pieces are handmade in Arizona and they will make you feel like a queen without feeling uncomfortable because everything is soft (read: velvet) and not tight. I really want their track pants and a robe so that’s next on my list of things to buy. ALSO, they sell the cutest swimsuits ever and these gorgeous dresses which would make perfect rehearsal dinner or wedding reception dresses (though that’s what I’m planning on doing so if you copy this idea and I know you, just thank me at least for introducing you…). They do have two brick and mortars: one in Tempe, Arizona and the second in Nashville, Tennessee. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings (and yes, they get six and everyone else gets 3…this is my blog, I make the rules and they make everything perfect!):
#15: What A Scrub
So I recently started following @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch (like, the only travel blogger you need to be following…actually there are two and the other one is @fatgirlstraveling which I found soon after my Uber driver called me fat in Colombia so it’s been so GOOD). And through this awesome page, I found this Hawaiian owned natural beauty company called What A Scrub (great name!). Pia, who is a self proclaimed Scrub Queen, started this business in 2017. She makes all of her products with natural ingredients that are clean, safe and good for our skin. Everything is made to order and as fresh as it gets. From body scrubs, to lip scrubs to hair scrubs, she’s got you covered. I can’t wait to place an order when I move back to the US and can actually buy things and have them shipped to my house. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
One of my great friends, Rachael Doyel, is talented as heck! Whether she’s illustrating, painting or embroidering, whatever she makes is made with love and turns out amazing. You can purchase digital downloads of her prints so you can print them out at your convenience or buy one of her cute embroidery hoops to hang on your wall. You can check out the Etsy here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
Krista is a seriously talented illustrator and graphic designer with range, ladies! She does custom portraits of both pets and people plus she makes really cool earrings, patches, stickers, tote bags and fun prints. I actually just ordered a custom portrait from her of myself to add a little fun to my blog and I’m ordering some other stuff too so when I get everything, I’ll update the pictures below to reflect that. You can check out the Etsy here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
#18: Pretty strange Design
Ciara LeRoy created Pretty Strange in 2017 and has been bringing us embroidered magic ever since. My cousin Morgan suggested her account to me and I’ve been hooked ever since. I love her creative embroidery, her style and following her on Instagram because she’s a seriously busy girl boss as she collaborates and creates with other local artists and creatives. She also does really cool embroidery on thrifted vintage pieces which I love because it brings new life into old pieces. From cool designs to fun murals, Ciara is killing it and you just have to be there to witness it. So, you can check out the Etsy here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
Okay so finally, we’ve come to the part of the blog where I will be recommending brick and mortars which can be tricky if you don’t live in these areas. But like I said, maybe these places can now be reasons to visit these cities and everybody wins!
#19: Native Bagel CoMpany
It’s fairly obvious that Native Bagel Co. would be on my list. I have been a fan of Native Bagel since day one and I will support them until I die. I love my hometown and it’s because of wholesome and great businesses like Native Bagel that bring everyone together and provide us with great food. Also don’t even get me started on how sad I am that they are hiring and I’m not there to apply because working there would be a dream come true (if y’all have seen my adventures in bagel making you know what I’m talking about). Everything at Native Bagel is amazing, the staff are all so kind and honestly, they just make my life brighter. If you need a reason to visit Berea, Kentucky this is #1 followed by the Pinnacles but when you visit actually do the Pinnacles first THEN Native Bagel because it’s the BEST after hike treat in the world. You can thank me later, folks. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite things to get there:
#20: Noodle Nirvana / Hole & Corner
Right down the street from Native Bagel Co. is Noodle Nirvana! Noodle Nirvana, which opened three years ago, is co-owned by Mae Suramek. Mae’s food is inspired by her mom’s recipes with Thai, Indian and Chinese influences. You can order a spicy noodle bowl and an ice cold Ale-8 and realize you’re the luckiest girl in the world. Not only do they have amazing food (don’t get me started on the spring rolls), they also aim to better Berea by giving a percentage of proceeds to a new non-profit each year. But what about breakfast when maybe you don’t need a Pad Thai? Hole & Corner Donuts has got you covered. Opened in 2018, Noodle Nirvana now provides Berea with the best tasting, cutest lil craft donuts there are. You can check out the website for Noodle Nirvana here and follow the Instagram here. You can check out the website for Hole & Corner here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some goodies you can get there:
#21: Something Olde Antique Mall
Antique malls aren’t for everyone and I get that. But if you’re an OG follower of my blog, you might remember the post I did on thrift shopping. Thrift shopping is truly a fun and fulfilling way of life and antique malls must be added to that equation! Although there are MANY antique malls in Berea, Kentucky, I find this one to be the best. The one next to Papa John’s is mostly pallet crap, the one down the road from Something Olde is way over priced and the Mini Mall is a toss up in that sometimes it’s great and other times not so much. I love this one for a number of reasons; number one being my Granny has a booth here. I got my thrifting, antiquing ways from my Granny and Grandad and now I get to help her with her booth when I am in Kentucky and I love spending time with her and looking at cool, old stuff. The other booths are also consistently good and I rarely leave empty handed. It’s a must! You can like the Facebook page here. Here’s a peak inside:
#22: Street Scene
I first fell in love with Street Scene when I was at my peak quirky…so 14-16 years old. And that’s what Street Scene is: peak quirky. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, Street Scene brings us an excellent mix of curated vintage as well as newly made items by small brands and local makers alike. Stepping inside Street Scene is like going back in time and you’re bound to find something for yourself or for a friend. I can’t recommend checking them out enough! They do have online listings for some of the things they have in store but to have the Pure Experience, you simply must go in person. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here’s a peak inside:
#23: Abrakadabra Tienda
Last but not least is a small business a bit more local to me right now. As most of you will probably never set foot in Buenos Aires, you might be wondering why I’m even including it BUT I am because I seriously love this place. Started by Jazmin 8 years ago, this small Argentine clothing maker combines classic fits with incredibly fun patterns. I have an avocado top from here and a midi skirt I absolutely love. You can shop her clothing on her website or stop by Manada Showroom in Palermo where she is joined by other makers selling their wares (amazing store! you have to go!)…or actually, she might have her own stand alone store at Borges 2223…I’ll investigate and update the post soon. I don’t think she does international shipping but you can always ask. If we’re friends and you see something you like, I’d be happy to bring it to you the next time I come home. You can check out the website here and follow the Instagram here. Here are some of my favorite listings:
And we’re done!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of my favorite 23 Makers and Small Businesses. Even though my birthday was 4 days ago, it’s not too late to celebrate! Appropriate ways to celebrate my birth include: sending me pictures of food you’ve made, shopping local (especially from Rachel Layne Shops LOL) and Venmo-ing me money (@literallyrachel) I will 100% use to buy Leaf Tickets on Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.
Like I said at the beginning, if there’s a small business or maker you want to shoutout in the comments, please do! And also leave me a comment if you are so inclined! If you buy something from one of these wonderful folks, I hope you’ll let me know so we can gush over their greatness.
AS ALWAYS, thank you so much for reading!