At Gusto we are all about supporting small businesses not just during holiday shopping season but every day.
But this holiday season is a little different than last year’s, given that the impact of winter and COVID-19 restrictions is hitting small businesses and their workers hard. Now more than ever, we need to have their backs and ensure their survival.
There are many ways we can support small businesses right now, whether it’s by calling your elected officials to demand a new federal aid package or, at the very least, giving small businesses your patronage.
As the 2020 holiday season begins, we wanted to provide you an online gift guide featuring 12 small businesses served by Gusto that we think are worthy of your time and your money.
For the chef: Brown Sugar Kitchen’s cookbook
Based in West Oakland, Brown Sugar Kitchen is the brainchild of executive chef and owner Tanya Holland. Featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Gourmet, and O Magazine, Tanya is best known for her modern twist on soul food.
While Brown Sugar Kitchen is temporarily closed for dining, the online takeout menu includes all matters of deliciousness, from catfish po-boys to North African spiced oxtails.
If you’re not located in the Bay Area, don’t worry — amateur chefs can recreate Tanya’s soul food vision by getting a copy of her cookbook.
For the coffee fiend: A subscription to Huckleberry Roasters’ Coffee Club
Huckleberry Roasters started as a backyard side hustle between two friends. Nine years later, this small business has become Denver’s haven for satisfied coffee aficionados. ⠀
You don’t have to be located in the mile-high city to get a taste of their freshly roasted blends. Huckleberry Roasters offers shipping in the United States. Even better? By gifting a subscription, you can make sure the caffeine lovers in your life will never have an empty coffee jar.
For the activist: Holiday Sweaters from The Outrage
Buying holiday sweaters. Registering to vote. These are both great things to do in your life. Why not do them both at the same time?
That’s what The Outrage is here for. This apparel company’s mission is to drive civic engagement and support non-profits and social movements. At checkout, they’ll register you to vote if you need it and will donate a percentage of every single purchase to good causes.
And they’ll keep you warm with their ugly holiday sweaters, emblazoned with slogans that will let everyone know where you stand.
For the athlete: A virtual Pilates class package from Urban Body San Jose
Founded by Shannon Bynum Adams, Urban Body San Jose is a boutique Pilates studio that provides instruction in both types of Pilates: Classical Pilates and the Gyrotonic Method.
Before founding her own studio, Shannon had a decade-long professional ballet career and has been an influential figure in the wellness industry. In 2019, she was named one of the top 100 most influential women in her region by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Despite recent COVID-19 closures, her world-class team is continuing to offer virtual Pilates classes every week, allowing people from beyond Silicon Valley to join in.
For the visionary: Mac & Cheese Productions’ Blueprint Board Workshop
For years, owner and founder Saya Hillman has been offering everything from Fear Experiment — a class where people sign up to practice and perform an art form that scares them — to productivity tutorials and family reunion facilitations.
Now that Mac & Cheese has gone online, Saya’s offerings are available to people across the United States and even around the world.
For the traveler: Rumi Spice’s Mortar & Pestle Trio Spice Gift Set
With COVID-19 restricting our ability to travel the world, it can be hard for any world-traveling adventurer to not start feeling a little bit of cabin fever. But why not bring the world to your home?
With Rumi Spice, you can bring the flavors of Afghanistan to your kitchen. A veteran-founded business, Rumi Spice ethically sources spices like saffron, cumin, and fennel. As a B-Corp, Rumi Spice is focused on investing. in the empowerment of Afghan women and farmers, and supporting the country’s economy.
For the fashionista: Birdies’ flats and slides
Imagine: You start a business, and then years later, Meghan Markle becomes one of your most famous customers.
That’s exactly what happened to Bianca Gates, the CEO and co-founder of Birdies, a company that designs and sells stylish slippers (or shoes, depending on whom you ask). The Birdies team may be small, but its fan base is anything but.
For the new parent: Latched Mama’s nursing pullovers and tees
Latched Mama began with a simple mission: Support moms everywhere. As a mother of 5 herself, founder Melissa Wirt knows how isolating motherhood can feel during ordinary times—and even more so during a pandemic.
Besides offering affordable and stylish nursing wear, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Latched Mama has doubled-down on supporting its network of new moms by focusing on its existing social media communities and creating free online resources.
For the DIY’er: Wild Hand’s All You Knit Kit
At Wild Hand, creativity has no limits. Whether you’re a spinner, a weaver, or are just starting to learn how to DIY your own accessories and clothes, Wild Hand will not only provide creators with the materials they need but also host virtual workshops so you can learn directly from the pros.
For the spa lover: Love Lurra’s luxurious bath and body products
2020 has been a difficult year in many ways. Who doesn’t need a weekend to pamper themselves?
Love Lurra makes it easy to do a self-care day — and do it all with organic, natural, and sustainable ingredients.
For your inner child: Doughp’s Holiday Pack
Gingerbread. Peppermint oreo. Chocolate monster. These are 3 of the many dough flavors you can find when you peruse Doughp’s inventory of raw cookie dough. You can even build a cookie dough 4-pack with just the flavors you want.
For the eclectic friend: Keep Your City Smiling’s Holiday Gift Boxes
A few months ago, Sam Eitzen’s event services business, The Snapbar, was thriving.
But as a result of COVID-19, Sam’s company lost 3-6 months of revenue — in just one month. Sam and his team had to get creative quickly to pivot their business and survive. That’s how Keep Your City Smiling started.
The SnapBar team’s new idea: Create a subscription box sourcing products from local vendors. With this initiative, they could both help their community and their own business survive.
Update 12/01/2020: Keep Your City Smiling has stopped shipping single-order boxes and now require a minimum of 50 boxes to process an order. Get started with a holiday gift box here.
If you are a small business that would love to have your story featured in Gusto’s upcoming content, please drop us a line on Twitter!