Medea Giordano, Gear Team
Black Friday used to be a one-day sales event the Friday after Thanksgiving. That was wild enough, with people sometimes literally fighting over the last TV in Walmart, hours after giving thanks for what they had. Then sales crept into Thanksgiving day itself, and Cyber Monday followed. For the last few years, “Black Friday” sales have started the moment Halloween ends. It’s shopping madness all month. Sometimes you need things, and getting a deal is great. But today is Small Business Saturday, which is more about giving back to your local community and often getting something unique in return.
We hope you shop small and local whenever it makes sense, but today’s a good day to show your support to the many businesses in your community and elsewhere. That doesn’t just mean going to local stores in your area (though you should do that too if you can). You can shop at many stores virtually, including buying from singular people who make stuff in their homes. These are our favorite small businesses with an online presence, and we encourage you to search for others close to home.
How to Find What You’re Looking For
- Search Facebook events for fairs or other local gatherings. Many communities have markets on Small Business Saturday (and throughout the year!) where local makers can set up tables and sell in one place.
- Check your local Chamber of Commerce. It should list local businesses so you can go right to the source, whether there’s an event or not.
- Etsy is a great marketplace filled with individual sellers. You can find nearly anything, from custom art to vintage trinkets. Etsy hosts sales too, while other small or local stores may not.
- Search hashtags on Instagram and TikTok. It can help if you’re looking for a particular item, like tarot jewelry, and the comment section may offer valuable reviews.
- American Express has a searchable small-business map. You may have to do some digging. When I searched my hometown, I got a huge list of restaurants and car washes, as well as a few small boutiques.
- Amazon has a Support Small section. This is a good resource, but we still recommend also buying from businesses directly today.
Our Fave Small Businesses
WIRED staffers live across the US, and we wanted to highlight some of our favorite small businesses with shoppable online marketplaces. We’ve browsed real shelves and shopped the online offerings, so you know you’re getting something good.
Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That
- Chaparral Studio (Los Angeles): Looking for original merch like T-shirts, jewelry, crystals, and other accessories? You’ll find it at this woman-owned store in Los Angeles—many items are handmade in-house, too. We particularly like its brass keychains that don slogans like “Dude,” “Babe,” or our favorite, “Feminist.” Aligning with the mission of this business, a portion of each sale of the Feminist keychain goes to Planned Parenthood. —Michael Calore
- One Million Roses (New York City): When my partner said she didn’t wear rings, I had to think hard about what I could propose with. Enter One Million Roses, started by Lucia Guzmán, a self-taught Bolivian artist. You can request a custom wire sculpture of nearly anything—pets, movie characters, flowers—and in a few weeks, it’ll be delivered to your doorstep. I got a custom wire sculpture of my dog (and my partner said yes!). —Julian Chokkattu