In the wake of COVID-19 and the ongoing climate crisis, shopping local, shopping small, and shopping green is more important than ever. In order to sustain small companies through this period against the weight of big business, consumers should be encouraged to purchase their gifts for the festive season from small and ethical sources. Christmas sales make up between 30-60% of a retailer’s annual turnover, so here at The Collective Mag, where so much of our own content is from young creatives, we encourage you to refrain from purchasing from large corporations wherever possible in order to help sustain a thriving and vibrant marketplace of creators. With thousands of shops to choose from, we’ve put together this guide of just some of the companies available, each owned by young creatives, that I had the pleasure of speaking to about their entrepreneurial endeavours.
From art prints to bespoke clothing pieces, we’ve compiled a variety of female-identifying owned businesses to shop from this festive period. Please enjoy browsing a small selection of each of their products, along with some information about their founding. And a big thank you to all the businesses below for sharing their work with The Collective Mag. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
AMC Jewellery was founded by Amy, a graduate from Arts University Bournemouth who specialised in Sound Design.
“At the beginning of 2020, I set up a small business with sustainability in mind. I am a self-taught silversmith and make minimalist jewellery from eco-silver (recycled sterling silver) and up-cycled beads/materials. Although my shop is in a completely different field to my degree, they both stem from a mixture creativity and technicality! I love creating simple designs in my work, leaning more towards everyday wear than special occasions, and I also offer custom rings, earrings or necklaces to people looking for a specific design. As long as I can continue making jewellery sustainably and consciously, hopefully AMC Jewellery will keep growing!”
Artemis was started by Charlotte, a graduate of The University of Edinburgh and current master’s student at the University of Manchester studying Philosopher.
“I started my shop in 2014, when I was 16 and had just left high school and it took a back seat whilst studying but the UK lockdown earlier this year gave me the opportunity to put all of my energy back into my shop and it has been such a wonderful experience!”
“I sell handmade goddess-inspired jewellery and accessories! My brand is inspired by Greek goddesses and was birthed from my love of Greek philosophy. My favourite part of running ARTEMIS is the amazing people who are supporting small businesses right now, it feels like there is such a wonderful community online who shop small and want to support local artists and creatives – it’s so lovely!”
Back To The Drawing Board Illustration was founded by Abi Mcneall during lockdown earlier this year after graduating from Portsmouth University with an Illustration degree in 2015.
“I work full time as a cafe manager and started up my illustration business in the first lockdown, as it has always been a dream of mine and I finally had the spare time to just do it! I’ve been drawing since I can remember, and doodled through all my school exercise books (later ruined by the teachers red biro!) I absolutely love drawing food as you can tell from my shop, so I get a lot of inspiration from where I work. I also enjoy menu design and have been lucky to be able to design all the cafe menus and chalkboards since working there. It’s great to have a job that I can mix my passion with. Everything in my Etsy shop is designed, printed, packaged and posted by me, all from my little office at home. I create fun greetings cards and prints and hope in time to also add wrapping paper and tote bags. I hope you love my illustrations as much as I love creating them! Thanks for taking the time to look at my work!”
Beatrice Bayliss was founded by Emily-Jane Bayliss, who graduated from London College of Fashion with a BA in Fashion Textiles in June and launched Beatrice Bayliss in July.
“Beatrice Bayliss is a sustainable, transparent and affordable slow fashion clothing brand. All our clothing is ethically produced in the UK from the very best sustainable materials, ensuring the environment is at the heart of everything we do. We sell mainly womenswear clothing but also unisex jumpers, I grew up in the Cotswolds and have always been inspired by the natural environment surrounding us, this has been the focal inspiration for many of the collections including the Cotswold Collection. All our clothing is made in the UK from sustainable materials including ribbed organic cottons. Supporting small and buying sustainable has never been more imperative than now, so help your small, sustainable businesses this Christmas.“
Laveeza Design was founded by Laveeza, a graduate in Graphic Design at Leeds Arts University, in September this year.
“My shop is a collection of my most favourite design pieces (mainly prints) that are inspired by self love, self care and positivity as I feel that all these things are so important for our mental health and how we treat others The designs are vibrant, bold and funky! I sell prints in A5, A4 and A3 size as well as some really cute key rings and badges”
LuceEndsIoW was founded by Lucy Dayman, a graduate from the University of Exeter where she studied Anthropology.
“I started my shop in June this year, after I graduated and lockdown hit I found myself needing a little project and LuceEndsIoW was born!! I’ve always loved the idea of making my own jewellery and I finally had the time to put it into action!”
“LuceEndsIoW is a little handmade jewellery brand based on the Isle of Wight! All of my products have a touch of nature whether that be through using real flowers, gemstones or taking inspiration from the natural world.. I even have a Good to the Earth range that up-cycles broken or unwanted items to create re-loved one off pieces that prevent unnecessary waste!”
Made By Georgia Mai was founded in July 2016 by Georgia, a Fashion Art Direction graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University.
“MadeByGeorgiaMai is a positivity and wellbeing brand that focuses on mental health, body positivity, self-love and everything in-between! I design and handmade a variety of products such as stickers, bracelets, keyrings, prints, badges and much more! I battled with my own poor mental health for 10 years and wanted to inspire and empower others to speak openly about how they were feeling and help normalise mental illness, in hopes it would end the stigma that surrounds it. I also liked the idea of creating gifts that people who may not necessarily understand mental health, can buy for their friends and family who need a pick me up, as a little nod to “I don’t understand how you feel but I’m here for you and I love you””
Made by Gee Accessories was founded last year by Georgia Billings. Georgia completed her History degree this year, starting Made by Gee in her final year of university. Made by Gee Accessories sells scrunchies and hats in a range of gorgeous colours and fabrics!
“It started from a passion for sewing and crafting that I have done for many years and then I realised that the girls I work with at my part time job we’re wearing scrunchies and I didn’t see why I would spend money buying my own when I could make them. So I watched a tutorial and then with a bit of practice I made my own. When I went into work my colleagues started asking if I could make some from there and honestly it’s been a whirlwind from there. Now I have a stand in a local gift shop the Original Emporium in Cleethorpes that is full of creatives and I continue to sell the majority through my social media and Etsy.”
MeganHopeStudio was founded by Megan Heron over lockdown and sells handprinted and limited edition greetings cards, wrapping paper and gift tags.
“I started lino-printing at school, but really developed my skills at Loughborough University where I currently study Graphic Communication and Illustration. Like a lot of people, I started my business during lockdown as a distraction from what was going on in the world at the time. It has since developed into a way for others to connect with those they love in a personal and aesthetic way.”
“MeganHopeStudio has become a physical representation of the creative side of my brain and my heart. Sending traditional post can be so much more personal, and involve so much more love than a lot of other forms of communication. I aim to create items that people cherish, not just because they can hold handwritten messages but because they can be beautiful too. I encourage anyone and everyone to pick up a pen and write a card to a friend, loved one or even a neighbour, and of course to do it in a MeganHopeStudio card.”
My Sun and Stars was started by Charlotte Bradshaw between her first and second year of study at the University of Leeds, where she is now completing teacher training.
“I’d say my shop allows people to express themselves through jewellery and make themselves/others smile when they see some unique earrings! I love bold earrings that make outfits pop and make others smile.” Charlotte also wanted to create earrings that she liked and couldn’t find on the market.
PinkInkArtEmporium was founded by Bea Watts, a 22 year old graduate of Product and Furniture Design from Kingston School of Art.
“I started my shop in October 2020 to take advantage of the time I have had in a continued lockdown, while I’ve been living with a vulnerable person. In order to keep myself semi-sane through the isolation I decided to pursue my passion, and create a bigger platform for my illustration work! At only a month old my shop is still a baby!”
“Some key words that sum up my illustration style are quirky, surreal, and cute but with an edge. If you haven’t gathered by the name of my shop I have a strong propensity to use the colour PINK in my work. PinkInkEmporium stocks stickers and mini prints of some of my popular characters, including the Sad Cat and the Conjoined Hair Twins. I also sell personalised backgrounds for selfies which I customise based on the buyer’s interests and hobbies. Some of my inspirations are the concept of femininity, 2000s nostalgia, Victorian oddities, Abby Jame, Bratz, and Peter Doig landscapes.”
Real Sweet Aromas was founded by Sophie Bennett in August of this year. Sophie graduated in 2018 from the University of Worcester, completing a BSc in Counselling Psychology.
Sophie started Real Sweet Aromas as “a way of promoting [my] own wellbeing as [my] everyday job can be stressful”
“I handcraft Soy Wax Melts to sell that are eco-friendly and highly fragranced. I love all things sparkly so have incorporated that into my melts and try to use a range of styles to make them slightly different from the others on the market. We have launched our Fairytale Castle Melts and our Halloween/Autumnal inspired melts have been our best selling! Our soy wax melts are perfect for gifts especially with Christmas coming up.”
ShaeJasmineCo is owned by Shae, a 22 year old student from Bedfordshire. Shae graduated from the University of Birmingham this year and is now a Master’s student at UCL.
“I create trinket dishes, tea light holders and drinks coasters using polymer clay and acrylic paint for my small business shaejasmine! I started my business in September this year after being inspired so many female-lead small businesses on the ‘gals who create’ and ‘gals who graduate’ Facebook groups. It all started after I was looking for ways to be more creative during lockdown and so I decided to buy a small polymer clay starter kit. I fell in love with it the medium and the effects you can get with different colours and realised I could make really quite pretty things. My mum actually said ‘You should sell those, they would look lovely in someone’s house.’ I then thought setting up my own creative small business making nice clay home decor pieces would be a wholesome way to spend my free time and also a way to help with my Master’s expenses, so set up shaejasmine a few months ago!”
Shop Local Collective was founded by Caitlin Powell, a Creative Events Management graduate from Arts University Bournemouth.
“My degree inspired me to pursue my dream of working for myself, but i did not expect to achieve it so early on in my career!”
“Shop Local Collective, which I opened on 20th August 2020, is a hub for makers and artists across Dorset to sell their work in a physical space. Currently it is home to 13 local artists selling their handmade goods, from jewellery to prints, facemasks, macrame and more! I am inspired by the artists that stock in my shop as they all show such dedication and passion – often pursuing their dreams alongside full time jobs, it can be really tough! i really love what I do and it would mean the world to me to be able to continue doing so after lockdown. “
Shop Local Collective has a physical store in Wimborne, Dorset as well as an online store which you can browse here.
Short Stuff Co was founded by Lauren Selwood this May during lockdown.
“Short Stuff Co is really a passion project, all the products I’ve created have been for my own use before I decided to share them with my following. The first product was the weight loss tracker which I shared on my insta (@laurenandlife_) and everyone loved, and that’s where Short Stuff Co was born.”
Simply Sona was started together by Sonita and Oonagh, who are both recent graduates.
“We started Simply Sona together after recently graduating in English Language at the University of Reading (Sonita) and Make-up and Hair Design at Southampton Solent University (Oonagh). We launched in October but came up with the idea when we were on holiday in Norfolk this year. While facing uncertainty this year due to Coronavirus we decided to combine our creativity and passion to create a new luxury brand. We set out with the intention of creating our small business with as little impact on the environment as possible, using eco-soy wax and as many sustainably sourced materials as possible, whilst not compromising the aesthetic of our products.”
“We hand-pour luxury soy candles and wax melts that are plastic free and cruelty-free. We have just released our limited edition Christmas candles and wax melts which fills the room with the uplifting blend of orange and lemon with hints of jasmine and fresh pine. Its base notes of warming cinnamon, clove and ginger will be sure to comfort and gently descend onto a sensuous fond of woods and musk. The scents that we create are inspired by experiences that we’ve shared together. We love that Simply Sona embodies the empowerment of young females in business and creating our brand has been such a fulfilling and exciting project to work on together as friends.”
Windflower Sewing was founded by Sophie Goldsmith, a current Molecular Neuroscience MSc student at the University of Bristol, in August this year.
“I sew and sell lots of different handmade goodies including scrunchies, makeup bags, tote bags and lots of other things! All made from bright and colourful fabric I also am happy to do custom items if there’s a fabric you just love!”
Woolwala is owned by Eshani Gheewala who graduated from Cardiff University in 2018 with a degree in Environmental Science.
“I started my Etsy shop on the 13th October this year but had already sold over 70 knitted items over Instagram before that. I started taking custom orders in January 2020 but decided to sell smaller items via Instagram (and then Etsy) because people seemed to want it! Since starting my Etsy, I have sold 20 items (so far)!”
“Woolwala is a small business that sells handmade knitted items that are also ethical and sustainable. Custom orders are welcome. I decided to take up knitting to reduce my fast-fashion consumption and make my own clothes. The more I show-cased these clothes via Instagram or to friends and family, the more custom orders came in. My unique selling point is that you can request anything you want and I will try to accommodate – blankets, sweaters, home decor, accessories! You can also request different types of wool or materials to be incorporated into your knits. I love chatting to my customers about how to make their item 100% unique. I love making things for other people and it is so great running a small business and putting all the little touches on to everything.”