Shop Small, Part 3: Brick and Mortars

Hi friends!  Make sure to get out tomorrow and show your local love for Small Business Saturday!  No matter where in the country you live, you've got plenty of great local options to shop small.  I've rounded up a slew of my favorite brick and mortars for you to check out.  Just scroll to find your state!  

And as a recap, here are part 1 and part 2 of this year's Bert&Lou shop small series: 

  1. Don't forget to support your favorite etsy shops
  2. and consider supporting busineses and artsists that are pledging to support the causes you care about!



Juneau: Kindred Post



Berkeley: Long Weekend

Berkeley: NEEKO

Culver City: The Ripped Bodice

Los Angeles: Otherwild

Los Angeles: Clover

Los Angeles: Outfit Home

Los Angeles: Individual Medley

Los Angeles: Paper Pastries

Los Angeles: Shout and About

Los Angeles: Shorthand

Ojai: Fig Curated Living

Oakland: Nathan and Co.

Oakland: Resurrect

Oakland: Rare Bird

Ridgecrest: Botany's Desire Boutique

San Diego: Gathered Home

San Francisco: Azalea

San Francisco: Lavish

San Francisco: Little Paper Planes

San Francisco: Old Gold

San Francisco: Otherwild

San Francisco: Wink

San Francisco: Rare Device

Truckee: Bespoke

Venice: Burro

Venice: G2 Gallery

Vista: Salud



Crested Butte: The Gypsy Wagon

Denver: Svper Ordinary

Denver: StoreHouse

Fort Collins: Sunday Supply Co.

Lyons: BRICK and Mortar

Longmont: Yore



Fairfield: Pious Bird of Good Omen



Washington: Salt & Sundry

Washington: The Potter's House



St. Augustine: 8 Limbs Yoga and Boutique

Tallahassee: Wonsaponatime Vintage



Athens: Avid Bookshop

Athens: Kristen Ashley Studios

Atlanta: Young Blood Boutique

Atlanta: Citizen Supply

Decatur: Hodgepodge Coffeehouse and Gallery

Savannah: Shop the Fox

Thomasville: Smith Collective



Hanalei: Relish Salon

Honolulu: Eden In Love

Honolulu: Owens & Co



Barrington: Angelina

Batavia: The Postal Annex

Chicago: Art Effect

Chicago: AD HOC Chicago

Chicago: Four Sided North

Chicago: Four Sided South

Chicago: Inkling

Chicago: Gather Home & Lifestyle

Chicago: Modern Cooperative

Chicago: Steel Petal Press

Mokena: Ginger + Bailey

Waukegan: Statera Trading Co.



Bloomington: Gather

Indianapolis: Silver in the City

Fort Wayne: Fancy & Staple

Roanoke: The Trove

Solsberry: Due North



Des Moines: Domestica

Iowa City: White Rabbit

Iowa City: r.s.v.p.



Lawrence: Wonder Fair

Roeland Park: Golden & Pine



Covington: Handzy Shop + Studio



Kittery: Tayla Mac



Takoma Park: Artspring Community Art Store



Boston: Pioneer Goods Co. 

Forestdale: Wish Gift Co.

New Centre: Karma

Salem: Hauswitch Home & Healing

Somerville: Magpie Industries

Westford: CrosenNest Collective



Adrian: Craft Handmade

Ann Arbor: Rock Paper Scissors

Ann Arbor: Thistle and Bess

Ann Arbor: Sweet Heather Anne

Ann Arbor: University Flower Shop

Detroit: Eldorado General Store

Detroit: Signal Return

Detroit: City Bird

Detroit: Pages

Ferndale: Lady Lazarus (in Rust Belt)

Grand Rapids: Have Company

Grand Rapids: One of a Find

Grand Rapids: Woosah Outfitters

Holland: Michigan Pantry

Lansing: Lansing Art Gallery

Mackinaw Island: Little Luxuries

Royal Oak: Rail & Anchor

Wayne: Helium Handmade

West Bloomfield: Made Studio + Market

Ypsilanti: The Eyrie



St. Paul: Honey Guilt

Bemidji: Yellow Umbrella



Kansas City: Maker Goods

Kansas City: Golden & Pine



Missoula: Grain



Wahoo: Found & Flora



East Derry: Ramble & Scout



Asbury Park: Red Moon Lifestyle + Home

Flemington: Three Hearts Home

Jersey City: Kanibal Home

Westwood: Market House



Brooklyn: Concrete + Water

Brooklyn: Life:Curated

Brooklyn: Maha Rose

Brooklyn: Willoughby General

Brooklyn: Leif

Brooklyn: Su'juk

Brooklyn: Pink Olive

Buffalo: Wrafterbuilt

Hudson: Flowerkraut

New York: The New Stand

Rochester: Shop Peppermint



Asheville: Bomisch

Asheville: Elementality

Durham: Indio

Raleigh: Ramble Supply Co.

Raleigh: Gather



Columbus: The Smithery

Toledo: Handmade Toledo

Westrville: A Gal Named Cinda Lou 

Oregon: Floral Pursuit



Norman: The Social Club

Oklahoma City: Sarah Kate Studios

Oklahoma City: Collected Thread



Astoria: Chariot Home

Portland: Dea Dia

Portland: Little Otsu

Portland: Reading Frenzy

Portland: Wanderlust

Portland: Work / Shop



Philadelphia: Moon + Arrow

Pittsburgh: Juju



Providence: Nava



Charleston: Mac & Murphy



Franklin: The House of Belonging

Chattanooga: Fox & Lamb

Knoxville: Rala



Austin: The Gypsy Wagon

Austin: Mana Culture

Center: Center Floral

Dallas: The Gypsy Wagon

Dallas: Jade & Clover

Dallas: We Are 1796, Inc.

Dallas: Vee Caravan

Houston: Local Notables*

Waco: Wildland Supply Co.



Salt Lake City: Fellow Shop



Richmond: Drift Riot



Burlington: The Green Life



Bellingham: Spruce 

Olympia: Compass Rose

Seattle: Ada's Technical Books and Cafe

Seattle: Balleen

Seattle: Butter Home

Seattle: Fleurt

Seattle: Prism



Milwaukee: Sparrow Collective



Wilson: Roam


Up North, eh?

Canada, BC, Victoria : Bliss Boutique

Canada, BC, Salt Spring Island: Salt Shop

Canada, MB, Winnipeg: Tiny Feast

Canada, MB, Anola: Rogue Wood Supply

Canada, QC, Montreal: BUK & NOLA


Didn't see your favorite shop? Shoot me a message and I'll be sure to add it in! :)

Shop Small, part 2: Etsy Shops

One of the best sources to shop small is--you guessed it--Etsy!  No matter what you're on the hunt for, Etsy likely has it (they even have their very own curated gift guides to help with those hard-to-shop-for people in your life).  It is a vast global community where small businesses abound and most items available have been handcrafted or produced in small batches.  You can find unique cards and paper goods, luscious homemade soaps, beer-making kits, travel pillows that looks like doughnuts....  You name it.

You can even find yours truly  ;)

If getting out and about on Small Business Saturday seems exceptionally unappealing to you, just plop yourself down on the couch with a cocoa and your pjs and peruse good ole Etsy.  I've compiled a short guide to some of my favorite shops, some of whom are hosting their own Small Biz Saturday deals and giveaways.  By shopping at Etsy you'll have the opportunity to support small, support handmade, support artists and support local, all from the comfort of your home.


Let's Shop!


House & Home

Clockwise starting top left:  Ring, Ear CuffDruzy necklace, Cat necklace, Tacos necklace, Dinos set



Row 1: just marshmallows, candle, keyring

Row 2: soapring, tree art print


Stay tuned for part 3 in the Shop Small series and a special Thanksgiving freebie, coming next week!

How to Build a Client Base When Starting Your Small Business

I was recently contacted with this question:

Hey, quick question for you. My friend just started a store on etsy and isn't having much luck with people buying so far. With that being said, you seem to have a successful store and I was wondering if you have any pointers that I could share with her?

I've been asked variations of this question pretty consistently, so I thought I'd tackle it as a blog post!  Now, I am by no means claiming any level of expertise on the topic of small business ownership or etsy sale success, but for those of you who are starting out and want a few tips, this is for you.

So you've got a product or service and it kicks butt.  It's well produced and original and basically the BeeZ NeeZ.  So now what?  Now you want to sell said product/service and make some dollah billz off your sweet skillz :P   

In my opinion, the two most important factors to focus on as you develop your new business (besides maintaining exceptional product quality) are BRANDING and MARKETING.  I know, I know, those are two verrrry broad categories, but bear with me.  Those two things have been absolutely essential to building my business from bare bones nothing to a nice little something.  Developing a cohesive brand is imperative.  You want people to consistently identify your product, your voice, your business.  Your brand can be enhanced by anything from a logo to a catchphrase to a set of colors.  When you see a swoosh, you recognize who that is immediately, right?  Hear "I'm loving it"? You know who that belongs to.  Shopping at a baby store?  Notice the use of pastels in their packaging and lack of black.... that is all branding strategy!  Branding is a prime opportunity to embed some of who YOU are into your product or service, so make sure to consider how you want your business to be conveyed.

No matter what you choose, remember to always remain consistent. For me, I add a small logo I designed myself with a link to my website on the back of every paper product I sell, but if you're just starting out it could be as simple as including a hand-written card with your business name and basic info with each order. You can always add on as your business grows!

While on the topic of orders, packaging is BIG. I spend more than others in my biz might on wrapping for orders because I receive great feedback from my customers for it.  Think about it: would you want to open a plain old package, or open a package to something that has been carefully wrapped with a little tissue and twine? I try to make every part of the purchase experience enjoyable and it's payed off.  This applies for all size orders, and you can customize it to make it your own.  Anything that makes your package or service a little unique, something to look forward to receiving, and identifiable as a product by YOU will continue to carve your brand identity into stone. Don't have a logo or money to spend on wrapping?  Labels and stickers added to simple packaging are nice, too.

Now, marketing:

Talk about your business.  Share it with people.  Practice your elevator pitch, and make it authentic.  Barter your services or offer some freebies of your goods or service.  Just get your name out there.  But--and this is big-- never sell yourself short or undervalue whatever it is that you're providing.  It's ok to say "no" to business if they aren't willing to pay you what you're really worth (this is a huge issue for me and you can bet I'll be writing a separate post about artists and creators undervaluing and underpricing their own work and the cycle of BAD that it creates).  You can say 'No" if it doesn't jive with your business model. Or if it just doesn't feel right.  It'll feel like you're wasting a precious $$ opportunity at first, but in the end it opens up time to focus on doing the stuff that feels right.  Plus, having personal experience in having taken business that felt not quite right, it always turns out to be a money suck or a time suck (or both).  And neither of those things are worth it, trust me. 

Okay, you've done the things I mentioned above?  Then market more.  Make a Facebook page just for your business and invite everyone and their mom.  Make a blog and update it regularly, even if it's not just about the product or service being sold.  People will come to associate the product/service with the person behind it and people like feeling like they're buying something from an actual human (don't you?!).  Look into collaborations with other producers/artists. It will expand the range of visibility of your stuff, help your network grow, and gain you like-minded friends. There will be times when the hustle is exhausting.  Let's get real, it's usually exhausting.  You will likely put a lot of what you earn right back into cultivating your business and its branding and marketing endeavors.  Persevere.  You will gain visibility, which will gain you clients, which will gain you fans, which always leads to new and repeat clients, and the cycle will snowball and your business will grow.  It takes patience.  They don't say businesses are built on blood, sweat, and tears for nothing.  But if you truly believe in your good or service, it will be worth it.

I have curated a pinboard with exactly this issue in mind featuring all sorts of online business references. I've already used many of them and continue to add to it, so it always stays current and fresh.  You can find it here.  I also read about small business ownership NON-STOP.  Check out the books Guerilla Marketing by Jay Levinson and Art Work by Heather Darcy Bhandari, and subscribe to blogs that offer tips and advice on how to gain patrons.  Heck, etsy has entire forums devoted to business development.  Oh, and of course their Seller Handbook. Sign up!  Get involved in conversations!  

Did I mention I'm also always open to recommendations for new resources?  The best advice I've gotten has been from friends who have dealt with these struggles before me and offered their golden nuggets of wisdom.  I owe a ton of credit to these friends who have fielded all my business questions and supported me along this quest. I also owe a huge thanks to everyone who has believed in me and this business, and to my clients who have trusted me with providing them with an awesome product.  Ya'll keep me going.

If you have any more questions, ask away!  I'm all ears.  Let's open up some dialogue!  The best businesses are those that support each other!

Great Makers: Coral & Tusk

I LOVE stumbling upon new makers and creative companies.  I happened upon Coral and Tusk while browsing through some of the vendors at last year's National Stationary Show and absolutely adore their goods!  Their laser-cut cards are super cute but I am dying for their embroidered stuff!  It's literally impossible for me to narrow down my favorites, I want it all!  Here are a few that especially caught my eye:

This pillow would look so great on my couch.  So would this one.  I'd like this bolster for my reading chair, and I'd put this cheeky little lemur in my office above my desk  And while I'm at it, this pillow with a little fennec fox is just too cute.  Ok fine, and this berber indigo pillow

My favorite part is that Coral and Tusk is really in touch with the hand-made factor. The founder, Stephanie, first sketches out her darling little designs, then painstakingly converts it (stitch by stitch, I might add!) into a computer program that then allows her to machine-embroider the pillows, napkins, artwork, etc.  The company is run by Stephanie and her husband, Chris, and with the help of a small team all goods are hand-finished in their Brooklyn loft.  Dreamy!  


Are there any independent makers that you think deserve some special attention?  Message me through my contact page or leave me a note in the comments!  I can't wait to hear from you!

B&L's Great Gifts List - Le Finale

Not to send anybody into a blind panic, but it’s officially crunch time.  Christmas is less than six days away (GASP!).  That's less than a week, people!  If you’re anything like me, you have suddenly realized that the Big Day is upon us and have started scrambling like a mad person to get everything done.  This week you will find me frantically running around doing all of the holiday shopping I should have been doing months ago like a responsible, level-headed, organized adult.  If you are also feeling the pressure of the holidays building don’t worry. I gotchu.  In the final B&L Gift Guide I've covered some options that work exceedingly well as last minute gifts!  Gifts For Good are easy peazy last minute gifts because you can donate to many organizations in someone's honor.  BAM!  No wrapping required.  I *did* include some tangible gifts for good, too, because I'm all about supporting artisans and causes in all manners possible.

Speaking of supporting artisans, I've also created a section of great handmade gifties!  I've linked below to some of my absolute favorite products and shops.  Plus, you're doing double-good: you'll be supporting craftsmen and their holiday festivities by purchasing handmade and your loved ones will certainly love a one-of-a-kind item with a story!

Last but not least, ornaments are a suuuuper easy gift to get for everyone you know.  They are often on sale this close to Christmas, so if you need to save a buck they make a great option.  Many are personalize-able, too!


Kiva is a non-profit organization aiming to connect people around the world to alleviate poverty through lending. A loan for as little as $25 helps create earning opportunities around the world!

This gum company is focused on giving back to 7 (!) areas of need. All products are made in America and they partner with non profits making impacts both here in America and abroad. 

Hey animal lovers!  Soi Dog Foundation is a not-for-profit, legally registered charitable organization with branches in Thailand, the United States, Australia, the UK, France and Holland. Soi Dog helps homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats of Thailand, works to end the dog meat trade throughout the region, and responds to animal welfare disasters and emergencies. An important and often over-looked cause, Soi dog works to better the lives and living conditions of the stray dogs and feral cats of Asia.

More sweet critters in need!  These adorable cards feature puppy portraits of shelter dogs in need of a "furever" home.  The project aims to make a difference in the way people look at throwaway dogs by coordinating with shelters and rescue organizations.  They have even reserved the first Thursday of every month to shoot any and all “dogs needing homes” and to post the pics on various rescue organization’s websites such as and Facebook!  Always support the underdog!

TOMS has helped restore sight to more than 250,000 individuals around the world through their One for One® program.  Every TOMS Eyewear purchase not only gets you a sweet pair of shades, but it also helps restore sight to an individual through sight-saving surgery, prescription glasses, or medical treatment. With restored vision, individuals can return to living their lives without impairment . Adults are able to contribute to the household and no longer require extra care while children can refocus in school.


Dang this purse is HOT!  Crafted from forest-green faux leather, this chic vegan carryall is roomy enough to fit anything from work documents to a spare pair of flats.  With both top handles and a detachable shoulder strap, this bag will carry your from work into the weekend!  Not only is it cruelty-free, but proceeds benefit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.  How sweet is that?!

The RxArt Coloring Book features 112 black and white pages designed for coloring, all of which have been designed by fifty-three major contemporary artists.  I'm totally geeked out about this---some of my favorite artists contributed!  The cover depicts Ai Weiwei’s colorful sunflower seeds from his Unilever Series.  There is also a page of Weiwei’s work transformed into adhesive stickers!  The five-year old in me loves the stickers, the grown-up in me loves Ai Weiwei!

According to the RxArt site, “This coloring book truly exemplifies our mission.  A hospital visit is often a frightening experience for a child, and this book is intended to take their minds elsewhere, easing anxiety.  It is intended to amuse, engage and spark imaginations, enhancing the healing process."  100% of the proceeds go to RxArt, and the coloring book will be placed in hospitals across the Unites States including Kings County Hospital, St. Luke’s Roosevelt, Metropolitan Hospital, St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital, all in New York City; Advocate Hope in Oaklawn, IL; among others.

A dreamy holiday blend of evergreen and balsam fir needles combined with rich woods and a sparkling citrus accord.  A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Sir Elton John's Holiday will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

"Raven + Lily currently helps employ marginalized women in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, and the USA at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education, and a real chance to to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.  Raven + Lily is committed to providing products that are made by hand, follow fair trade standards, and honor our eco-friendly commitment."  Awesome.   It's basically everything you could ever want in a company.

Here's a terrifying fact: Families with children are among the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population.  Sitting around the kitchen table, drinking milk and eating cookies is an image that symbolizes comfort and the idea of "home" to most of us, however, for the roughly 1.6 million children likely to experience homelessness each year in the United States it is an experience they probably will not have.  It truly breaks your heart.  The Sweet Home Project, started in 2001, helps homeless families move into stable lives and homes of their own by providing funding and support for low-income single parents to complete their college education and enter family sustaining careers. It helps parents break the cycle of poverty and thereby prevent homelessness for their families.

Dancing Deer donates 35% of the retail price of Sweet Home goodies & gifts, year-round, directly to scholarships as a pathway out of poverty. Each Sweet Home Gift includes one or more dark chocolate cookies in the shape of a house.  Such a sweet idea!  

The purchase of a fashionABLE product helps to create sustainable businesses in Africa by   focusing primarily on creating opportunities for vulnerable women.  That means that not only do you get a gorgeous item like this woven throw, but your purchase creates jobs so that women are not dependent upon charity and instead are able to become a vital part of a developing economy.

 All raw materials for Cooperative de Creation’s collection are sourced from Paris and locally in Bali.  The company also supports a community of farmers, washers, dyers, millers, knitters and sewers with a deep-rooted belief in quality.

Donations to the American Association of Caregiving Youth provide support, resources, and services for youth and teens to whom caring for a family member has become their primary duty.  Many of these children have been forced to drop out of school and halt their ambitions in order to take care of their incapacitated relative.  The AACY gives these kids their lives back by making it easier for them to return to school as well as by finding alternative care for the loved ones they have been responsible for.

Show your support by donating to the nation's largest and most effective animal rescue and protection organization.  While you're at it, adopt a furry friend for the holidays!

Another scary fact to make you feel bad about all those Christmas presents you bought yourself (sorry!):  One person in three in the world lives in poverty.  Don't fret, though.  By supporting Oxfam, you support an organization that is determined to change that statistic by finding practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.

Empowering families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – Heifer International's approach is about more than just offering a handout.  Remember that ol' Maimonides quote from the Bible??  " Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."  Well, Heifer helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty through the donation of animals which provide families with both food and reliable income, as well as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey which can be traded or sold at market.  


Nectar-flavored candies with the cutest little bees!  I bet these taste sooo much better than anything you can get at the grocery store.

I don't know what it is about little animal figurines, but I just love them! This shop has the most fantastic little bears...I want them all!

Well, this is downright amazing.  Add it to the "gifts for Bibliophiles" category, this shop creates charging docks for your phone out of old books with beautifully decorative covers.  No more hideously boring charging stations here!

I told you, there is just something about tiny animals that gets me.  But seriously, tell me this little llama with flowers in its hair isn't the most whimsically wonderful thing you've ever seen!

I'm petty sure I've reached stalker-status with Lauren Finkelstein's shop Self Press, but I just can't help it!  Every. Single. Piece she makes is more beautiful than the last!  You may remember her from the beginning of my obsession with her ceramics with this post from back in the fall.  It's official.  I have a total artist-crush on her!

Oh, pottery.  How I love thee.  Especially when you are speckled, organic and have swirly handles...

...also when you are gorgeously glazed and have fantastic patterns adorning your beautiful sides. 

This is the perfect gift for a couple (or, hell, an individual, too!) who just made the move into a new house.  

An essential statement for every kitchen.  There is just something so charming and homey about hand-stitched goods like this.

The coolest lamp I've ever seen, it's made of found driftwood! 

Seriously.  Animal totems.  I might have a problem. 

Oh my gawwd.  Handmade caramels with hand-crushed espresso beans.  This is why I am going to have diabetes before I'm thirty.    

The bad thing about living in a tiny apartment is the lack of any storage space i.e. closets/ shelves/ a garage/ an attic/ etc...  The good thing about living in a tiny apartment is that now I have an excuse to indulge my weird need to hoard baskets.  To store things in, duhhh. 

I'm positive I need this.  Just a sweet little ceramic sculpture of high-top shoes tossed up on a wire, there is something so happy and free about it!



I love these precious little European homes!

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A little artsy, a little fartsy, these ceramic ornaments are perfect for the artists and creatives in your life.

Every outdoorsman and wilderness explorer needs a canoe ornament for their tree!

This is gorgeous!  My favorite part is the juxtaposition of the vintage-style botanical illustration with the modern metallic faux-wood piece on the top!

I'm not sure why I love this silly little egg ornament so much, but I am really quite fond of it.  :)  It'd be even cuter if you paired it with a bacon ornament! 

Ahh, nothing like makeup and nail polish ornaments to please your teens and fancy ladies!

Crystals for your favorite hippie.

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I love love LOVE this dala horse ornament, and I bought these donut ornaments this year--they were totally worth it!  They even came packaged in a tiny little donut box.  How cute is that?!

Tea.  In an ornament.  Dreamy. 

Oy.  There ya go!  A whole butt load of gifts for everyone you have ever known and will ever need a gift for for the rest of your life (or at least this year).  You are welcome.  However, now that you have all these fantastic gifts, don't forget you have to wrap them!!!  No worries, I won't leave you hanging!  I'll have a post just for wrapping ideas and hacks coming up before the Holiday--to make sure you're the envy of everyone around the tree, of course!