Whether buying gifts for your clients, employees or even your family, it’s a great time of year to consider supporting entrepreneurs. American Express even started a movement around “shopping small”, called Small Business Saturday, which is November 26th this year.
If you aren’t sure about what to get yet, here are some suggestions. Think of them as “Carol’s Favorite Things” (a la Oprah’s favorite’s list). Full disclosure: two of these companies (marked with this*) have sent me items in the past (the others I stumbled upon) but none paid to be included on this list:
1. Chuao Chocolatier
I love chocolate, so I am always on the search for the best. I stumbled across Chuao Chocolatier, a purveyor of high-end chocolate bars and confections, and fell in love with their “Firecracker” bar, which features dark chocolate, chipotle, sea salt and popping candy, as well as their fun gift boxes. The entrepreneur behind Chuao, according to their website, left behind a successful tech career in Venezuela to follow his passion and become a Master Chocolatier here in the United States.
2. Berco’s Popcorn
Berco’s Popcorn* is a fantastic small business makes amazing popcorn in some fabulous flavors and combinations, including the “World Famous” caramel and white cheddar mix for some sweet and salty goodness. If you are feeling generous, indulge in their “Billion Dollar Popcorn”, which is the world’s most expensive popcorn, coated with real, edible gold flakes. It’s so remarkable that the rapper 2 Chainz even featured it in a recent video.
3. Flags of Valor
If you want to show your patriotic side, Flags of Valor is a veteran-owned company that makes beautiful handcrafted American flag art from wood. As I have written about on this site before, Flags of Valor was founded by a combat veteran and employs other US military veterans. Their pieces are a perfect gift to decorate a home or office and will stand out from other gifts received.
Another veteran-owned company, Rollors was created by a US Air Force officer as an entrepreneurial endeavor while he served his country., Rollors is a fun lawn game that combines elements of bocce ball, horseshoes and bowling. It’s a great social gift to give to clients, friends or even in a family grab bag.
5. LDR Brands
For your favorite entrepreneurial or professional woman on the go, LDR Brands* (pronounced “leader” brands) has found a way to create functional, tech-enabled fashion. Founded by two former PR mavens, LDR has created a slick charging tassel accessory that you can clip onto your purse or suitcase that looks like a fashionable leather accessory, which encases a hidden-to-the-eye, but easily accessible USB charger. They also have a range of functional handbags as well.
One of the most intriguing start-up success stories I have heard, LootCrate was founded during a hack-a-thon weekend and has gone on to be named the fastest-growing private company in America! Their subscription boxes are packed with surprise items for geeks, gamers and pop culture enthusiasts alike.
You can find other small businesses through the “Shop Small” tool. Remember that supporting small businesses helps to support the backbone of the economy and lets entrepreneurs keep pursuing their dreams and sharing them with others.