Now more than ever, we need to support our small businesses. The COVID pandemic has impacted small businesses in detrimental ways. When you shop small, you are not lining some CEO’s pockets; you are supporting a dream, a vision, and a family. As an entrepreneur and small business owner myself, I know firsthand how exciting it is to make a sale or launch a new product and watch it grow. There is, in fact, a victory dance that happens. Plus, you get the added benefit of feeling good about your purchase and helping others—bonus points for your spiritual domain of self-care. For more on the various domains of self-care, please read a previous blog post. You can also watch my Talk-Back Tuesday session explaining the ten domains of self-care and practices associated with each domain. (Facebook/YouTube)
With that being said, I wanted to take the time to highlight some of my favorite small businesses! Like Oprah, but Dr. MC style. I often shop small, so this list will spotlight those businesses where I am a repeat loyal customer as I can vouch for their continued awesomeness. I know I am missing some, so perhaps this will be an on-going blog topic, but I’ll get started with Part I.
This company rescues retired Broadway backdrops, costumes, curtains, set pieces, and flooring turning them into nifty pouches, jewelry, ornaments, and more. I absolutely adore their work. I have several pouches, a pair of earrings, and an ornament on its way. And they donate 10% to a charity that provides children with opportunities to see live theatre. You can own a piece of Broadway history!
Another fantastic shop for all the theatre lovers in your life. Hamilton, anyone? The owner Amber Kempter started by creating a custom Alexander Hamilton pop of Lin Manuel Miranda after she saw the production on Broadway. Her custom pops feature lots of Broadway shows and can be tricky to score, but she does auctions and giveaways if you are in her Facebook group. She now has an online store with lots of Broadway pop-inspired merch! Everything from pins, magnets, blankets, clothing, masks, clocks, journals, cards, ornaments, and more. All are featuring your favorite Broadway characters and stars. I have lost count of how many of her things I have purchased for myself or have given as gifts.
I don’t remember when I first discovered NSF, but it was at least 5-6 years ago. My first piece was the signature mermaid tail spoon bracelet, which is still one of my favorites. All her work is handcrafted in her Ipswich studio out of vintage sterling silver utensils. Most of her jewelry is one of a kind, and I love the historical aspect of it. Along with bracelets, she also makes pendants, rings, and earrings. When I think I have enough NSF pieces, she comes up with something new that I have to have, like the oversized spoon rings currently on her site or the moon jewelry. I have even had her make custom pieces for me.
Eye Look Optical, Lexington, MA
Constantly I am complimented on my eyewear and my best frames come from this boutique store. I have never seen frames like the ones they have. The eyewear they carry should really be considered works of art. Nothing you see at Eye Look will be found at chain optical shops. The owner, Nora, is a true artist with her ability to select frames that are flattering for your face shape. If I have to wear glasses every day to function, they might as well make a statement!
Zuzu’s Healing Arts, Melrose, MA
Zuzu’s is a magical place with a calming vibe. Every time I visit, I find something different and special. The store is bursting with Buddha statues, suncatchers, incense, candles, oils, books, jewelry, decks, crystals, stones, and more. They also offer (online for now) classes, workshops, events, and readings. The owner, Sue, is very intuitive, knowledgeable, and passionate about her work. Truly one of my favorite spots in my hometown.
I kickstarted their first campaign a couple of years ago, and I am so glad that I did! Lashliner is a magnetic false eyelashes system. And they work. I love wearing false eyelashes for a more dramatic look on special occasions. I have plenty of practice with the glue-on type from my performing days, but the magnetic option is very cool. The liner itself is magnetic, so the lash sticks right to it. I find I am able to wear them more than the glue-on versions, and I don’t run the risk of getting glue in my eye. They have many styles available.
I happened to attend a Steampunk festival in Waltham a few years ago where I first discovered this artist. My husband is a big fan of his work too, so we have several of his pieces in our home, including a King and Queen plaque (obviously), a lion shelf, Luna sculpture, and the winged Lion/Griffin wall sculpture to name a few. All original designs. They are quite beautiful and unique.
Die With Your Boots On, Salem, MA
I have known about this store since it opened a few years ago thanks to as a close friend who knows the owner. Although I have not had the chance to visit their physical location their online store has kept me shopping since my first purchase this past May. Since then, I think I have ordered four times or so. I quickly have become a regular. They have really unique clothing, and I LOVE that they offer plus sizes in almost all of their clothes, and they are honest about the sizing. It is helpful that they showcase the clothes using plus size models too, so you can get an realistic idea of how it will look and fit.
Karma Queen Reiki and Guidance
Amber McMahon is my Reiki Master. I have known Amber since before she opened her business, but I have been a regular Reiki client for 4+ years. Amber is incredibly gifted and shares her gifts readily. At this time, she is offering services remotely and limited in-person. Aside from private Reiki, she also hosts a monthly group, which is wonderful. I have featured Amber on the blog previously, and you can learn more about Reiki here.
My absolute favorite coffee shop. With multiple locations available, but my number 1 is the original Salem spot (fun fact – a stone’s throw away from Die With Your Boots On). I have been a customer at Jaho for about 13 years or so, their caramel macchiato is delightful. Until March, my husband and I would go every week to Salem for a treat and coffee beans to brew throughout the week. Now, we still have our Jaho coffee, thanks to the power of online ordering and delivery. They are open for takeout/pickup too.
Bull Moose is a Newbury Comics style equivalent located across New Hampshire and Maine. My husband purchases 97% of our home media through Bull Moose. A home for music, movies, books, and games. Consider checking them out the next time you would purchase something like this from Amazon or Target. They do free shipping for orders over $35 and somehow although they use USPS for shipping, our purchase always arrive lighting fast (and they can ship to almost anywhere). They even offer a generous rewards program and their customer service on the rare occasion a vinyl record arrives in less than stellar condition has always been superb.
Liza makes absolutely gorgeous resin and mixed media art. I have a set of her geode coasters that look like magic. My mom even bought herself a set after she saw mine. Truly lovely and well-made. She also creates beach-inspired resin art and large wall creations too. Recently she added geode resin phone mounts in pop-socket style. I will definitely purchase one after I upgrade my phone to coordinate with the color.
Luke Adams Glass Blowing Studio
I love glass-blown artwork. It is so enchanting and pretty. I have not tried glassblowing myself (even though Luke Adams offers classes), but I have purchased some items. Two years ago I scored a gorgeous glass pumpkin with unicorn coloring. They have branched out since then and now have jewelry, ornaments, and more. I can’t say what else I purchased as some of it may be gifts, but I was impressed at all they have to offer.
I recently started buying goodies from Loni Paul. I discovered her on Instagram, and her jewelry is very unique and fun. I love jewelry, and I find her pieces to be different than what you typically see. She describes her work as “Bohemian jewelry handmade with intention.” How cool is that? She has pieces that feature Buddha, Fleur de Lis, Hamsa, Third eye, moons, stars, and more. She also makes lovely mala beads. I purchased one of her Fleur de Lis necklaces and Santa is bringing me one of her razzle, dazzle bling Bracelets!
And last but certainly not least, Dr. MC’s Self-Care Cabaret. Although I do not have a storefront, you can support my small business by liking, following, subscribing, and inviting your friends to do the same. I regularly present to various organizations, schools, and employers. I am also available for 1:1 self-care coaching and/or small group self-care parties. This can all be done virtually, and let’s face it who doesn’t need more self-care? I teach many aspects of self-care, so you can learn to imbed these practices into your routine for optimal benefits. Small shifts can have a big impact. I focus on cost-accessible options, and I dispel myths and stereotypes around self-care. Courses and more offerings are coming in 2021. Don’t miss out!
If you shop at any of the small businesses listed above, be sure to tag me in a post and share the news. Or comment below to tell me your FAVE small biz that I MUST check out!