This holiday season, do your best to shop from local Canadian brands! If you’re looking for some cool gift ideas and want to support small businesses, I’ve got five shops and their creators right here for you. See what products they have in store and also get to know a little bit about their owners while you’re here!
All five shops produce handmade items that can be the PERFECT holiday gift for your loved ones this season (and every season really). From soy candles to macarons, I guarantee you’ll find something you love.
The Lloyd Brown Co.
Bekah Brown is a Ryerson School of Fashion graduate creating gorgeous and intricate beaded jewelry that make a great gift for anyone who is a fan of statement earrings. In fact, my best friend Sarah actually received a pair of beaded lemon earrings from The Lloyd Brown Co., so I can personally verify how amazingly crafted these pieces are in person. Some top sellers are the strawberry and lemon earrings, highlighted by the “sold out” tag over their images on Brown’s online store. Don’t worry though! If you were hoping to snag a pair for the holidays, there’s going to be a restock on products on November 29th. Also, insider scoop: keep an eye out for a new release of orange earrings…be sure to get that vitamin C people!
Also, if you’re in Toronto right now and you’d like to ensure that you’ll get your order in time for the holidays, you can email The Lloyd Brown Co. to skip out on shipping fees and pick up your order yourself.
Tell me about your shop:
“I went to Ryerson for fashion design and my sister (who also attended Ryerson) taught me to bead. Beading has really helped and healed me in reconnecting with my Anishinaabe culture. It’s helped me connect with people and teachings. I am so grateful to be able to create using beads.” – Bekah Brown
Not only does this shop sell beautiful beaded items, but you can also find other products like Ryerson tees and “Our Home is Native Land” tees. Check out The Lloyd Brown Co. website or follow them on Instagram here to stay up to date on new product launches and see what Bekah Brown has got in store!
Space Queen Studio
Have you ever seen anything cuter? This talented Toronto artist makes handmade concrete planters, perfect for those who love succulents! All products are sculpted and painted by Mare Garcia, a furniture designer. At this shop you can find the perfect gift for plant lovers who also love Animal Crossing, Pokémon, Kirby, and more! Upcoming collections to keep an eye out for are: Studio Ghibli and 90s kid-themed, as well as larger pots to accommodate a bigger variety of plants.
Why did you start Space Queen Studio?
“I started Space Queen Studio as a way for me to experiment with different materials and mix together my love for design and cute/kawaii culture. At the time I was juggling a job in arts administration & programming and I needed a creative outlet for myself so SQS became just that. I really enjoyed the things I was making so I decided to start selling them on Etsy and in-person markets.” – Mare Garcia
And that is exactly where you can find her! Follow Mare Garcia on Instagram here and be sure to stay updated on when she restocks her store for the holidays!
Satisfy your sweet tooth with handcrafted macarons in your favourite flavours, made specifically for the holiday season. Caroline Marquez is a pastry chef in Toronto who runs her side business Asukal in between working long hours in the kitchen (what is sleep anyways?). Asukal means sugar in Tagalog, the language of the Philippines where Marquez’s family is from, reminding her of her family encouraging her to follow her culinary dreams and become a pastry chef.
What motivated you to start Asukal?
“I started Asukal because I wanted a way for me to be able to express my Filipino and Canadian sides through my desserts, and to share my passion of baking with everyone. Also, especially during this time of a pandemic, I wanted to do something fun and that will keep me being creative with food. I wanted to do something that’s completely my own for myself, but also for anyone who has ever encouraged me to pursue my dreams.” – Caroline Marquez
Look out for some limited edition flavours: candy cane chocolate, spiked eggnog, milk & cookies and salted caramel apple cider. I don’t know about you, but salted caramel apple cider sounds like an absolute dream to me! Macarons can be ordered here and are available for pick up only.
Modern Alchemy Co.
Who doesn’t love candles? Skip out on Bath and Body Works this holiday season and shop the Modern Alchemy Co. instead. The business is run by Esther Colantonio and Sandra Correira Ortiz, two friends who work in the medical aesthetics industry. Right now they have some popular scents like French lavender and also their fall collections still up so you can snag fun candles like pumpkin cinnamon. Looking for winter-themed scents? Stay tuned to The Modern Alchemy Co. Instagram here to stay up to date on future releases!
Tell me about your brand
“Modern Alchemy Co. is for all candle lovers. We’re a women founded company based in Toronto. Our goal is to bring eco-friendly products right to your door. We hand pour each candle while using coconut-soy wax and quality fragrance. MAco. candles are made to be light and fresh. Not only do our candles smell amazing but they make for great home decor.” – Esther Colantonio and Sandra Correira Ortiz
If you love the look of polymer clay earrings look no further. Candice Ann started her online shop Cappuccino Co. in August and her unique and well-designed earrings are beautifully made. What makes this Montréal-based shop even better is that customizations are open at the moment, so you can bring some of your creative earring ideas to life through her skills. Look out for a winter-themed launch coming soon! Keep up to date with all Cappuccino Co. has to offer through Instagram here.
Candice Ann also has an appreciation for shopping small, shared as she expresses the community she’s entered through the creation of her business:
“What a wonderful community I’ve found through starting my business! I’ve met so many local artists and small business owners in my area, and it’s been such a special opportunity to get to know them and help promote each other, collaborate, do joint giveaways, etc. I would consider many of them my friends at this point! Similarly, I’ve seen such a surge in vocal support of buying small, especially for the holidays, even from people who don’t own their own businesses themselves. It’s been really nice to see such a strong support system, and I feel really lucky that everyone’s been so incredibly supportive and encouraging! It’s definitely made me 100x more aware of the impact of my own purchases.” – Candice Ann
I think this message is so important and really encompasses a whole different meaningful experience behind supporting smaller shops. The impact of your purchases go a long way, especially when it comes to small businesses that are often run by individuals with no big marketing team supporting their launches like retail giants do.
Hopefully this short holiday gift guide was able to inspire both your wishlist and your gift list! Want to discover more small businesses to support or share a small business you know of? DM me on Instagram here and contribute to my new holiday gift guide!