All pandemic long, women who own small businesses have hustled to make ends meet and see their dreams realized.
And Saturday, Nov. 27 will provide an opportunity to support them wherever you live, as shopping for the holiday season gets underway with the 12th annual Small Business Saturday.
Backed by American Express beginning in 2010, Small Business Saturday always occurs on the weekend after Thanksgiving. The idea is to get people to “shop small” or “shop local,” a contrast to doing business at big box stores owned by large corporations, which many do the frenzied day before, on Black Friday.
Women business ownership in the U.S. is on the rise, according to Census data, but it still lags that of men. For women of color specifically, the likelihood of owning a business is even less, due to structural racism and barriers. A 2020 overview of U.S. women-owned business published by Fundera, however, showed promising numbers. Of the new women-owned businesses from the year before, 64% were started by women of color.
Here are nine women-owned businesses across New England that you can support with your dollars this Small Business Saturday – and all year long.
Emerald City Plant Shop – Norwood, MA
New England’s first Black-owned plant store and botanical event space – Emerald City Plant Shop – is run by entrepreneur Quontay Turner. After working in a Boston South End plant shop and then selling plants online, Turner signed a lease in Norwood during the pandemic and opened Emerald City in May.
Emerald City is a green haven, stocked with houseplants of all kinds and plant-themed clothing that could make the perfect gifts for a plant lover in your life. Turner also offers plant care workshops, plant design, consultations, event space rentals, and yes, even plant rentals.
“Whether you are new to the plant community, or, like our founder, took the pandemic as a valid reason to transform your existing plant collection into a full-on love letter to the Amazon Rain Forest, plants have always been a key factor in our mental and physical health,” Emerald City’s website says.
Yarrow – Kittery, ME
Touted as a wellness boutique for “head, heart and home,” Yarrow is a thoughtfully curated shop full of small treasures. Jodie Curtis’ business sells body products, kitchenware, jewelry, cards, books, metaphysical supplies and more.
Curtis opened Yarrow in 2019 on the first floor of a small house just outside Kittery’s downtown, with the goal of offering a holistic space for health and healing.
On the shelves at Yarrow are CBD products, embroidery kits, crystals, tarot cards, tinctures and tonics, as well as candles, small home furnishings, bath soaks and lotions. At the rear of the store, you’ll find a fully stocked plant room.
Skida – Burlington, VT
For the outdoorsy person in your life, this woman-owned business in Burlington sells ski-inspired headwear and other winter accessories.
Corinne Prevot was 16 years old when she founded Skida in 2008, while she attended Burke Mountain Academy. She further developed it while at Middlebury College.
Outside Magazine once hailed Prevot for starting a “hat empire.”
Skida is headquartered in Burlington, and its signature line of colorful hats, headbands and neckwear is produced locally in the state’s Northeast Kingdom. Skida’s products are also available at resorts and ski shops around North America.
Fusion Dolls – Brockton, MA
You could buy an American Girl doll for a gift this holiday season, or you could support a Brockton woman who started her own business selling multicultural dolls.
Fusion Dolls recently opened its own storefront in the Westgate Mall. Laid off during the pandemic, founder Widline Pyrame had been selling her dolls online, most with Black and brown skin and textured hair. Her dolls quickly gained popularity, through various pop-up events and at a mall kiosk before her storefront.
“Representation really does matter,” Pyrame said previously. “When you see yourself in a doll, you can say, ‘It’s me.'”
Pyrame has said her doll offerings, which promote self-love, are directly driven by feedback from her child customers.
Small Potatoes – Norwich, CT
Opened by Norwich native Erica Sullivan-Corbett in 2013, Small Potatoes sells artisan crafts and unique gifts. Her goal was to create a space to showcase the work of creative minds around the area.
“Along with the artists represented in the store, I believe in shopping local and supporting other small businesses,” Sullivan-Corbett writes on her website. “The community can only be strengthened by coming together and supporting the talents of our area’s craftsmen and women.”
For Small Business Saturday, Small Potatoes is sure to be stocked with locally made holiday decor, confections, lotions and soaps, teas, jewelry and more.
Lore – Providence, RI
A lifestyle shop located between Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Lore stocks mostly fair trade and women-owned brands.
Owned by RISD alum and designer Jayna Aronovitch, Lore sells a slew of unique artwork, including prints, puzzles and collages. The shop also offers hair accessories, incense and candles, felt flowers and women’s clothing, among countless other handmade products.
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Looking for some gifts for a little one? Lore also sells unique animal booties for infants, handcrafted in small batches in rural villages in Kyrgyzstan.
Bedlam Book Cafe – Worcester, MA
Books make for a great holiday gift, especially when your purchase supports local book sellers. In Worcester, Bedlam Book Cafe offers a curated collection of used books, “from the academic to esoteric,” and a small number of new books.
“We aim to be an intellectual, cultural, and community hub encouraging diversity and access to information, as well as healthy living through our offerings of organic house-made smoothies, raw bites, coffees, and teas,” Bedlam’s website says.
Bedlam is owned by Nicole DiCello, who spent 20 years in the corporate world before leaving to create a business blend of two of her favorite things: books and healthy food, especially juicing.
If you have an uber crazy book person in your life, think about gifting them a Bedlam CSB (community supported bookstore) share, where people can subscribe to a monthly membership with different tiers of benefits.
Attrezzi – Portsmouth, NH
Lovers of cheese, wine, spices, specialty olive oils, pasta sauces and all cooking gadgets will not be disappointed by a gift from Attrezzi, a fine kitchen accessories store in downtown Portsmouth.
Owner Corradina Arangio’s grandmother ran a grocery store in Sicily during World War II, her influence today for her wide array of offerings at Attrezzi.
Attrezzi’s large selection includes aged balsamic vinegars, apple bacon maple jam, passionfruit jalapeño jelly, collectible wine glasses, live-edge wood cutting boards, aprons and dish towels.
On the second floor of the two-story shop is an entire tasting section, featuring all of Attrezzi’s signature sauces, dips and more. Did we mention wine tastings, too?
Cerulean – Warren, RI
Owned by Kate Simpson, Cerulean is a Warren gift shop carrying products from more than 70 small businesses.
Cerulean’s inventory includes photography prints, jewelry, vintage finds, humorous drink coasters, herbal soaps, and reusable straws and dish clothes.
Simpson herself is creative, making jewelry as Kate Simpson Designs, which she sells at Cerulean. The shop Cerulean also provides complimentary gift wrapping and home design consultations.