These unprecedented times have left businesses across the country fighting for survival. Now, as we enter a second national lockdown, the outlook for small independent businesses seems even bleaker.
The high street may be closed until December, but we can still support local retailers by choosing to #shopsmall and #shoplocal with our Christmas shopping. Amazon and their four billion pound profits won’t miss your Prime orders, however your favourite local boutique could be one Christmas away from closing its doors for good.
Nottingham folk, I’ve done the hard work for you – here’s 15 independent businesses to get you started. Happy shopping!
Perfect for: chocoholics
Christmastime is a free pass to consume as much chocolate as you like, which is why I love receiving it. And as much as I enjoy a good ol’ box of Celebrations, it does not compare to the taste of luxury chocolate. Swap your Mars and Milky Ways for a whole galaxy of chocolates with Studio Chocolate’s Cosmic Collection. Alongside artisan chocolates that look (almost) too beautiful to eat, you will find cookie sandwiches, truffle brownies and even a chocolate bar collection inspired by fairytales.
Perfect for: tea lovers
Bird & Blend Tea can be found on Victoria Street, next to Barclays Bank. I rave about Bird & Blend so often that friends have jokingly asked if I am sponsored by them (hint hint) but the reality is I just love their weird and wonderful flavour concoctions, from Strawberry Lemonade to Chocolate Digestives and Birthday Cake. Their current limited edition flavours come in festive tins, making them a great gift or stocking filler.
Perfect for: bookworms
Before ordering your books from Waterstones, take a look at what local bookseller Five Leaves has to offer. A radical independent bookshop down an alleyway near Primark, Five Leaves is home to an impressive collection of progressive and political reads, such as works exploring Black Lives, Feminism and LGBT issues. The store also stocks a variety of genres for a more universal audience, including books about Nottingham and diverse children’s stories.
Perfect for: green-fingered friends
The Watered Garden, located in Sneinton, is proud to be Nottingham’s first dedicated houseplant shop. Luscious and leafy, small and succulent, they have a range of plants for you to choose from. If like me you don’t know your anthuriums from your dracaenas, they also sell gifts cards and plant gift boxes containing a mix of mini plants.
Perfect for: the plant killer in your life
Add a floral touch to your home without the responsibility of remembering to water it every day. The Little Egg’s fun designs are made from felt and a great alternative to real foliage. This cacti garden has already made it onto my wishlist. Cute garlands and Christmas decorations are also available to buy.
Perfect for: quirky gifts
By purchasing a gift from Homemade, you aren’t just supporting one independent business but several. This shop on Kings Walk features stock by independent designers, many of whom are also based in Nottingham. Rep your favourite city with some local lingo, including an ‘ay up me duck’ tote bag or ‘cute but mardy’ jumper.
Perfect for: unique jewellery
Helen Shere designs silver jewellery inspired by natural beauty she finds in her surroundings. Her rings, necklaces, bangles, brooches and earrings are all made by hand. If you want a memorable gift for someone special, Helen Shere jewellery is an ideal choice.
Perfect for: vintage fans
Little Yellow Table is a shop of vintage treasures, handpicked by Hannah on her trips to charity shops and car boots. Hannah’s finds range from quirky home decor, such as this speckled pottery vase, to nostalgic novelty items, like these 90s Barbie tumblers.
Perfect for: personalised decor
Hannah crafts home accessories out of wood and acrylic, like this personalised rainbow plaque which would make a colourful addition to any nursery. With Christmas fast approaching, Hannah Joy Designs has lots of festive creations for sale. These wooden Christmas ‘lights’ would look great on your mantelpiece and you’ll easily save the cost of them on your December electricity bill.
Perfect for: designs with attitude
What’s cool about Abbi Olivia Designs, aside from the designs themselves, is that every item is painted by hand. In her Etsy store you’ll find some kick-ass apparel, like this anti-establishment Boris sweatshirt (which I adore!) and this incredible Greta Thunberg denim jacket. If wearing your political views on your sleeve isn’t your thing, this t-shirt dedicated to British tree species would make a fab gift for nature lovers.
Perfect for: boho babes
If you’re into the spiritual and the spooky, Lunar & Lux is the place to shop online. Their eclectic collection of botancial candles, bath shots and handcrafted soap take inspiration from ‘nature, ancestry and the old ways of herbalism and self care’.
Perfect for: anyone with a sweet tooth
Beeston-born sweet company Bear & Bee are known for their delicious, vegan-friendly pick ‘n’ mix. These festive treats are a great way to sweeten up Christmas morning and, as they’re vegan, they have the added bonus of being kind to the planet. Bear & Bee also offer gluten-free options, so celiac folk can get their sugar fix too.
Perfect for: statement wall art
Emma at Lovely Stoofie Co. makes and sells vibrant prints with oodles of personality. I am obsessed with this illustrated tribute to Nottingham city centre and this cheeky bird print. There’s also some magical designs for the Potter fans out there too.
Perfect for: new parents
Bringing Beeston the best in baby chic since 2013, Snuggles and Kisses boutique sells fun, bold patterned clothes and toys for little ones. My favourite item in their online store has to be this wild child top and trousers set, which has got me feeling very broody. Snuggles and Kisses also has some great slogan tees for mums who like to keep it real.
Perfect for: eye-catching wax melts
Who ever thought that wax melts could look cool? Curieux did and they nailed it. Their unique designs include a wax grenade, skull and a melt that gives you the middle finger. If you can’t decide which to try first, opt for a mixed box for the full Curieux experience.
Who have I missed? Give your favourite independents a shout out in the comments. Don’t forget to encourage your friends and family to also shop local this Christmas.