One of my favourite posts of the year… my annual alternative Black Friday gift guide!
I’m quite proud of the fact that for the last few years I’ve published a Christmas shopping gift guide that has avoided all the major retailers and high street stores, and instead brought you great things to buy from independent sellers. However, this year I’ve not only concentrated on indie sellers, but I’ve also made a point of seeking out local [to me in the UK], sustainable and Black-owned businesses.
[Reading time: 10 mins – excludes time spent perusing external links!]
Disclosure: This post includes a paid advertising feature for Nordgreen and uses some affiliate links (at no cost to you). Any brands listed as* have sent me PR products within the last 12 months with no obligation to feature. Full disclosure
Brands marked♥ are Black-owned businesses
I think you already know that “we’re living in extraordinary times!” and “this is an unprecedented situation!” (are you as sick of hearing those expressions as I am?!), so I’ll just say that I hope you like the shops/sellers/businesses/brands I’ve featured here as much as I do. They’re all great for different reasons but the sustainability, local-to-me, Black-owned and/or independent nature of them all is a testament to The Year That Is 2020.
The items vary from very reasonable to more ‘investment’ prices (and everything in between) so they should suit all budgets. I have a very large family and we all agree to stick to very, very modest budgets for our present-buying… it’s only Keith I spend a little more on. It’s a cheesy expression I know, but this year MORE THAN EVER should be so much more about sentiments and the thought behind a gift rather than the money spent on them.
Every product I’ve featured is something I would love to receive myself. However, I HAVE tried to vary colour options as much as possible for your benefit, otherwise every single thing would be orange or yellow… for which I make no apology!
So what I’d like you to do this year if you can (even if you do just ONE of these would help the planet and the people who deserve our support), wherever possible:
- Buy secondhand or vintage
- Buy handmade or crafted
- Buy local or independent
- Buy from Black-owned businesses
- Buy sustainable, recycled, upcycled or reusable
Just think what we could achieve if we did one, two OR MORE of the things in this list? The planet would benefit, small businesses would stay afloat, Black-owned businesses would get recognition and support. I’m as guilty as the next person of just quickly going to Amazon when I’m in a hurry for something, but we need to change our habits, even if it’s just one habit or gift-bought at a time. It all helps.
Happy (responsible) Black Friday and Cyber Weekend shopping : -D
What indie, sustainable, local or Black-owned businesses do you know that you want to share with us? Any you see here that you’re considering shopping with? (Any feedback for my =ahem= own shop below is most welcome!)
Stay safe XOXO
P.S. Please remember that as most of these are indie sellers, they’re rarely able to offer discounts for Black Friday. Margins can be tight at the best of times, and I’m certainly not promoting crazy buying here. I want to promote thoughtful, carefully considered/investment purchases…!
11 Indie, Sustainable and Local Sellers for Your Cyber Weekend Christmas Shopping…
1. Classic, timeless watches from an ethical, sustainable Danish brand
Nordgreen (Sponsored content)
Ladies’ watches (left column):
Top left – Infinity Watch Rose Gold Bundle (5-Link Rose Gold / Grey Leather Straps)
Middle left – Native Watch Black Dial (Brown Leather Strap)
Bottom left – Philosopher Watch Gold (Mesh Strap)
Men’s watches (right column):
Top right – Native Watch Navy Dial (Navy Blue Vegan Leather Strap)
Middle right – Pioneer Watch White Dial (Brown Leather Strap)
Bottom right – Philosopher Watch Silver Bundle (Mesh/Green Nylon/Black Straps)
I’ll admit it: I can’t resist a beautiful watch and think they always make for a special present. Nordgreen is a Danish brand selling watches in simple, clean designs… these watches are NEVER going to date. (See below for details of their 35% off Black Friday watches offer!)
Yes, they’re an investment, but in a world where sustainability and investment buying is key, it makes perfect sense to buy something so timeless and classic for someone as a gift OR for yourself. They sell ladies and men’s watches in just a few classic watch face designs, but you can practically personalise your own with endless dial colours and sizes, metal options and straps – I “designed” all the ones I featured in the image above. Nordgreen sent me a watch that I’ll be featuring on the blog soon, it’s an absolute beauty.
Want to know their USPs (unique selling points) as a sustainable and ethical brand? They…
- Are carbon neutral: Nordgreen plants thousands of trees every year to offset carbon emissions
- Use sustainable packaging made of FSC-certified cartons and up-cycled plastic bottles
- Boast responsible manufacturing, ensuring all production facilities’ environments and employees’ rights to the highest standard by partnering with Danish facilities abroad
- Have a giving back programme: Partnering with three NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisation, a not-for-profit, voluntary citizens’ group), they donated two months of clean water, two months of education and saved 200sqft of rainforest in 2019
- Offer vegan leather straps
PRICE RANGE: £144.00-£219.00 (of those items pictured), with my 35% discount code – see below – that’s £93.60-£142.35
DELIVERY: Free delivery and returns
DISCOUNT: 35% off offer starts tomorrow (11 days, 21 November – 1 December 11:59pm UK time) – use my discount code NOTLAMB35. This is the biggest discount you’ll find online, Nordgreen’s official websites won’t offer any discounts higher than that during Black Friday week…!
2. Bold, kitsch upcycled homewares and decor
Leave a comment if you’re interested in any of these items not linked, as they’re being added one by one…
Top left – Girl in a Ruffled Dress Figurine, Tangerine Orange ‘Laura’
Top right – Round Bottle With Glass Stopper, Lime Green ‘Glitz’
Middle left – Lidded Pot With Feet, Candy Pink ‘Sophie’
Middle right – Beethoven Bust, Sunshine Yellow ‘Ludwig’
Bottom left – Ornate Picture Frame 29×24.5cm, Tomato Red ‘Celebrity’
Bottom right – Rearing Horse Ornament, Sky Blue ‘Pegasus’
Well what do we have here… does the name Not Lamb sound familiar?! Yes, this is my own foray into the world of upcycled interiors and homewares. A little side hustle I alluded to in my review of the year post back in September, it started as something to do in lockdown when I wasn’t getting any blogging work coming in. I had a few things around the house that looked like they needed updating: a few cans of spray paint later and they were transformed.
I have many, many more things to add to my shop that are either ready now or will be soon: you wouldn’t believe the amount of ornaments, frames, furniture and decorative pieces waiting to be upcycled I have stored around the house, in the loft and in the shed. I’ve been rummaging through charity shops [well I WAS, between Lockdown 1.0 and Lockdown 2.0], scouring eBay, Facebook marketplace and Gumtree and have kindly been given many items to upcycle by friends and family. Furniture and larger items are coming too, all in bold colours and prints with a mid-century modern/kitsch feel to them.
I’m aiming to have all the items listed by the beginning of December… if you want to know when any item without a link is listed let me know in the comments and I’ll drop you an email.
Hope you love!
PRICE RANGE: £9.95-£22.95 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free UK standard delivery. International shipping: from £6.95
DISCOUNT: Not at present, free UK delivery will be the best ‘discount’ I can offer.
3. Beautifully curated homewares, unique accessories, gifts and clothing
Top left – Annee Cuff Large in Gold (shown with Annee Silk Scarf in Queen of Hearts Peach print)
Top right – One Hundred Stars Kew Gardens Passion Flower Dressing Gown
Middle left – Annalise XL Tote Bag in Mustard
Middle right – Amber Glass Lime & Herb Hand and Body Lotion by Chalk
Bottom left – Machete Large Hoops in Blonde Tortoise
Bottom right – One Hundred Stars Velvet Stork Square Cushion
I’ve admired the One Hundred Stars brand for many years (the prints are TO DIE FOR), and this independent boutique in Derbyshire sells a huge range of One Hundred Stars pieces plus many other gorgeous gifts and accessories. The owner Amy sent me a lovely email a little while back, and I was super impressed with the pieces she’d curated for her shop and website. She also sent me a PR product: a One Hundred Stars Stork Design dressing gown in (surprise, surprise) orange… it’s so on-brand for me and I’ll be wearing it in [beauty] photo shoots for sure.
So I’ll say it again… support local, support independent shops. They need all the help they can get at this time and deserve our business and our support.
PRICE RANGE: £16.50-£85.00 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free UK standard delivery (subject to change post-pandemic). International shipping: £10.00-£12.50
DISCOUNT: Not at present, free UK delivery is the current offer.
4. Digital and poster print shop – boho and modern art
Top left – Reversed Sun Burst, Unframed Print // Download
Top right – Portrait of a Hawaiian Woman, Unframed Print // Download
Middle left – Women Illustration, Unframed Print // Download
Middle right – Abstract Boho Shapes, Unframed Print // Download (set of 2)
Bottom left – Up Close Face Line Drawing, Unframed Print // Download
Bottom right – Boho Moon Burst, Unframed Print / Download
If you (or someone you’re buying for) loves earthy tones and a boho feel, you’ll go crazy for these illustrated prints. The shop owner/artist, Jade, is based in California (can you tell?!) and the warmth of the Californian sun is almost radiating off these gorgeous prints. They’re available unframed and in two sizes, or you can have them immediately by downloading and printing yourself. Although not UK and therefore not local to me, this is another Black-owned small business worthy of our support – and local to many of my readers who are US-based.
PRICE RANGE: £6.16-£20.60 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free worldwide delivery
DISCOUNT: 3 for 2: Buy 2 downloadable prints get 1 free with code BUY2GET1FREE
5. Luxury bags, luggage and accessories made from fire hoses destined for landfill
Top left – Fire & Hide Square Tote Bag in Orange
Top right – Fire & Hide Crossbody Bag in British Racing Green
Middle left – Fire & Hide Folding Purse in Bubblegum Pink and Yellow
Middle right – Overnight Bag in Red
Bottom left – Fire & Hide Reporter Bag in Black and Red
Bottom right – Print Room Belt in Black and Red
I discovered Elvis & Kresse a few years ago when we worked together on a giveaway, and I think it’s one of the most original and ethical brands out there. All the materials they use are reclaimed: they started the business with their best-known material, London Fire Brigade’s decommissioned fire-hoses. They now also rescue and upcycle parachute silk (used as lining), coffee sacks, leather waste, auction banners and more. The pieces are pricey, but this is a quality, luxury product. Each piece is, effectively, unique due to the nature of the materials used.
They not only make their gorgeous bags and accessories in a surprising array of colours (who knew fire hoses came in pink or green?), but Elvis & Kresse donate 50% of profits back to charities and believe people and planet are more important than profit. They’re a British brand to be proud of.
PRICE RANGE: £55.00-£270.00 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free UK standard delivery over £100. International shipping: free to EU over £150.00, free to ROTW over £200.00
DISCOUNT: Elvis & Kresse don’t participate in Black Friday, discount days or sales seasons as explained here.
6. Jewellery made of real flowers and leaves cast in gold or silver
Mother Nature Real Flower Jewelry (via Etsy)
Top left – Real Sea Shell Pendant
Top right – Real Olive Leaf Ring 14K Gold on Sterling Silver
Middle left – Fern Ring in Rose Gold
Middle right – Olive Leaf Necklace, Recycled Silver
Bottom left – Rose Leaf Earrings, Goldplated
Bottom right – Rose Leaf Ring, Goldplated
I’m so glad I discovered Mother Nature Real Flower Jewelry. It’s an Etsy shop based in Greece, and due to Covid I can imagine the country’s main industry – tourism – has suffered greatly. What better way to contribute a little to the Greek economy than to buy from a small business that makes beautiful, ethereal jewellery from real flowers and plants? Most of the designs I’ve featured come in a choice of gold or silver and the reviews are glowing. I seriously have my eye on that wide olive leaf ring in gold.
Plus – free delivery to anywhere in the world. If you can’t go to Greece, have a little bit of it come to you instead.
PRICE RANGE: £27.10-£83.99 (of those items pictured)
DELIVERY: free worldwide delivery
DISCOUNT: None advertised
7. Statement digital prints and downloadable art featuring Black icons
Frequency of Love♥ (via Etsy)
Top left – Pack of 5 or 10 Festive Special Edition Greetings Cards with Black History Heroes, Kings and Queens
Top right – Rosa Parks Ltd Edition Print A4-A1
Middle left – Stormzy Ltd Edition Print A4-A1
Middle right – Icon Cushion: Your Favourite Icon on a Cushion
Bottom left – Barack Obama Ltd Edition Print A4-A1
Bottom right – Sade Ltd Edition Print A4-A1
What can I say… I like art, and make no apologies for featuring yet another shop selling prints and stuff to hang on your wall! Frequency of Love is a Black-owned business based in London and owned by Zoë Sinclair, who’s designed prints of Black icons with stunning African print-inspired backgrounds. Have your favourite printed onto a cushion or buy the set of greetings cards, and downloadables are a great alternative if you wanted to print your own. The problem is just choosing who to go for…!
PRICE RANGE: £15.99-£55.00 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free UK standard delivery. International shipping: £7.00
DISCOUNT: None advertised.
8. Enamel pins, embroidered patches and stationery with bold typography and quotes
Top left – Go Get ‘Em Tiger Coaster
Top right – Enamel Pins: Yes She Can // Coffee Then The World // Hero // Best Version Of Me // Dream Big
Middle left – Amazing Things Mug
Middle right – Kindness Matters Personalised Foil Notebook
Bottom left – Embroidered Patches: Grow Through // She Believed She Could // Girl Gang
Bottom right – Self Love Club Keyring
This shop has the best collection of enamel pins I’ve seen anywhere. There are so many funny, inspiring and cute pins that I could easily pick a perfect one for every one of my friends and family members. As well as the pins there are embroidered patches, keyrings, greetings cards, notebooks and homewares such as mugs, tea towels, aprons and, of course, prints.
With quotes including everything from “Can’t Adult Today” to “Know Your Worth Then Add Tax” (one for me!) you’re bound to find a thoughtful gift that’s small enough to send in the post and doesn’t cost the earth – but is really meaningful and something to be treasured.
PRICE RANGE: £3.95-£12.95 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free UK standard delivery over £30. International shipping: based on weight and calculated at checkout
DISCOUNT: None advertised, though they do occasionally have offers if you sign up to their newsletter.
9. Handmade multi-coloured macramé plant hangers and wall hangings
Rima Linden (via Etsy)
Top left – Rainbow Field Textured Wall Hanging
Top right – Lisa Macramé Plant Hanger in Recycled Cotton, 18 Colours
Middle left – Grace Macramé Plant Hanger in Recycled Cotton, 18 Colours
Middle right – Freya Macramé Wall Hanging/Dream Catcher, Made To Order
Bottom left – Tara Macramé Plant Hanger With Yellow Tassels in Recycled Cotton
Bottom right – Macramé Key Ring/Bag Charm in Recycled Cotton, 18 Colours
I’ve had Rima’s shop in my Etsy favourites for ages, and as soon as I’ve done a little bit of decorating in a couple of rooms (I take ages to decide paint colours) I’m going to get some of her macramé plant hangers. I just LOVE that they’re not just your usual beige cotton: as a lover of all things peach, orange and yellow you can imagine I’m going to have a whale of a time choosing! The wall hangings are beautiful too and would make such a gorgeous gift (be quick though as they’re made to order and would take a while to arrive).
Not only are you supporting a local (UK) small business, but the items are made from 100% recycled cotton cord which is free from harmful chemicals. Wonderful stuff.
PRICE RANGE: £6.50-£56.00 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free UK standard delivery. International shipping: up to £7.08
DISCOUNT: None advertised
10. Handmade graphic wall sculptures and prints with a mid-century feel
Sean Thornhill Art (via Etsy)
Top left – Original Abstract Mid-Century Style Print, Orange and Black
Top right – Geometric Relief Wall Art, White
Middle left – Geometric Wall Sculpture, Peacock Blue
Middle right – Geometric Relief Wall Art, Pink
Bottom left – Geometric Relief Wall Art, White
Bottom right – Set of 3 Original Block Prints on Paper, Black and Orange
If you’re a fan of original art work and anything mid-century style (that’d be me then), then Sean Thornhill’s wall sculptures and prints will be right up your street. I’m a huge fan of original paintings and silkscreen prints and this is definitely an Etsy shop worth checking out. He’s local and a small business and could provide you with a very unique gift for a loved one (hell, treat yourself! You deserve it).
PRICE RANGE: £15.00-£90.00 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free UK standard delivery. International shipping: £10.00
DISCOUNT: None advertised
11. Graphic upcycled leather jewellery handmade in Paris
Adorness Jewelry♥ (via Etsy)
Top left – Graphic Triangle Earrings in Green, Pink and Gold Waxed Recycled Leather
Top right – Triangle Earrings in Green and Gold Recycled Leather
Middle left – Triangle Earrings in Orange and Gold Recycled Leather
Middle right – Triangle Earrings in Yellow and Gold Recycled Leather
Bottom left – Square Earrings in Grey, Blue, Black and Gold Recycled Leather
Bottom right – Graphic Triangle Earrings in Yellow, Blue and Gold Waxed Recycled Leather
Last but not least, a Black-owned small business selling recycled products. Paris is effectively local to me(!), so I’m including Adorness Jewelry under local as well as independent. But even better is that Vanessa, the shop owner, makes her earrings from recycled leather. They come in gorgeous colours and most designs are based on triangles – there are so many versions I love but of COURSE I love the orange ones and the olive green ones the most. Described as “bijoux de haute joyerie” (“high joy jewellery”) I think it’s safe to say they do exactly what they say on the tin.
PRICE RANGE: £20.60-£31.80 (of those items pictured).
DELIVERY: free delivery to France. International shipping: £2.80 to UK, Europe and the US
DISCOUNT: None advertised
Pin for later!
Linking up to… Monday: Inspire Me Monday, Ageless Style Linkup (first Monday of the month), My Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Style With a Smile, Trend Spin/Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Turning Heads Tuesday, Spread the Kindness, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: Style Me Wednesday, WowOnWednesday || Thursday: Chic & Stylish || Friday: Fancy Friday, On the Edge, Fabulous Friday, Fabulous Friday’s Link Up