When I put the idea out there for people to submit their small businesses for a gift guide, I had NO clue how many responses I would get. All I can say is thank you for sharing your businesses with me. As a small business owner, I understand the heart & sleepless nights that goes into running a small business & cultivating a community around it.
SMALL BUSINESS PRODUCTS
Raised and residing in her beloved Charlotte, North Carolina, Christina’s works center on the grounding traditions and landscapes surrounding her southern upbringing and formative background in art and design. Her works build in layers of impressionist brushstrokes to capture her favored subject matters of her native landscape surroundings and floral studies with a focus on rendering the tension of the motion caught in a captured moment in nature. 10% off on Small Business Saturday!
Embroidery + Monograms
Charlotte-based monograms and embroidery! 10% of sales go to families fighting infertility.
Custom Home & Family Portraits
Molly Livingstone paints stunning custom home and family portraits. DM her for commission info- she is offering 10% off to LRT followers.
I started decorating cakes and cookies when I was 14. I worked in small bakeries and restaurants until I had kids and decided to start my own business to stay home with them. This year I’ve had to adjust my business by taking smaller orders and adding new products. Order 3 or more boxes and get 10% off.
Swaddle Blankets and Quilts
We decided to create fun muslin swaddle blankets and quilts that can be treasured keepsakes for families. Our muslin blankets and quilts are a larger size so that they can be used both in the infant stage and longer.
July 2020 marked 1 year in business. Never thought we’d have to maneuver a pandemic in our first year, BUT God is so good and we are still here! Use code LRT 10 for 10% off.
Shelly is a Cleveland abstract artist creating work to empathize and inspire. Often working in an intuitive and experimental manner, she hopes to connect to the experience of the viewer.
AVYN launched in 2019 and was created by two moms who simply refused to wear frumpy bras just because they were breastfeeding. New mamas deserve something they feel good in, especially during such a vulnerable and chaotic time in their lives. And if we’ve learned anything from 2020 it’s that comfort is key, so these wireless beauties are buttery soft with 4-way stretch fabric so you can still get in that much needed nap without underwires poking your sides. The best part? They’re still totally adorable because nobody puts mama in a frumpy bra. 10% off with code LRTHOLIDAY10.
I actually started my business in the midst of all the craziness. From the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to own a clothing store. In the height of COVID, I was depressed and lacking all motivation, so started to research how to start an online boutique. Pitched the idea to my husband, and here we are! 6 months in and loving every second! I’ve been blessed with some amazing friends and family that have helped me grow to where I’m at today! 15% off with code LRT15
I started in 2019 when a friend of mine wanted to make candles for her birthday. I got on YouTube and started experimenting. I held a small candle making party with some friends for my friends birthday & it has evolved from there. I LOVE meeting people and hearing how my candles brighten their day or how it was gifted to someone to brighten their day. 2020 has been a great year for my business. Many people have been stuck at home and the breath of fresh air with a candle has changed the mood of many. I’m so blessed that my business can provide positive vibes for so many in such a trying time.
We saw an industry need for an “encouragement box” for people going through a hard time or needing a bit of joy. Flowers/cards don’t always communicate our feelings to loved ones. Hopebox is curated to spread hope, love, and joy to anyone who receives one. We work with other small business/creators each month to fill our boxes with as much handmade or small-biz items as possible. You can send or receive a one time box or multi-month subscription. You can also submit a personalized note to be included on top! (And FYI, our box is not religious in any way. We keep the items simply hopeful and inspiring so that anyone of faith – or not – can enjoy them)
I started Raven & Riley in my apartment in Denver Colorado in 2015 using leather scraps that I would grab from local tanneries in the Denver area. I would go to the tanneries and just ask them to tell me everything about leather. I fell in love with the craft and decided to turn it into a business by making hand cut leather earrings. Today, I have since moved back to my hometown in Wilmington NC with my growing family (we have a 1 yr old little girl and a baby boy coming in March) and still craft each piece by hand in my studio. Up to 60 strands of hand cut, authentic leather go into each pair of our lightweight earrings! 20% off with code LINDSEY
Started this business out of crafting wreaths and holiday decor for our own homes. That morphed into requests from friends and then some fellow mom group friends (M2M). We decided we would create an Etsy shop just to see if we got any hits and low and behold we did get a few. Over the last four years we’ve grown our little craft and this year specifically have focused more on leveraging social media to drive traffic. 15% off with code LRT15
I’ve owned a bridesmaid dress business for 5 years but after having my first child last October (my daughter Camby) I realized I wanted to expand into the children’s clothing business. After launching, I realized quickly that I needed to pivot to casual “at home” play clothes for kids because no one was going anywhere to need fancy smocked outfits. I’ve learned so much this year! My dining room is now full of baby clothing and boxes and my daughter is learning to her a model because she is always here haha. It’s truly a family endeavor! 10% off with code LINDSEY10
I have a special needs daughter and I’ve always wanted to find a way to contribute financially to our family while at the same being able to be there for our daughter. So in 2016 I took a leap of faith, resigned from my office job, and started Elisa Shin Designs. It’s been a fun yet humbling experience. And the best part is, I get to do what I love everyday❤️
I left my corporate management job in 2018 after a diagnosis with MS and a much needed lifestyle change! We cater to the every day women, looking for styles that transition throughout their daily lives! Our storefront was closed for over 2 months. We’ve shifted over 80% of our business to online but it gives us the opportunity to reach new customers across the US! & We offer free shipping! 25% off with code LRT25
KD co. Started during quarantine when I was looking for a distraction and creative outlet- something that was mine. After doing some research, I quickly realized how affordable it would be to make the beaded and heishi bracelet look that I loved. I purchased the supplies and started with trial and error. After sharing with friends and getting more inquiries, I started the @shopKDco Instagram and Etsy page and have been growing organically ever since. What started as a COVID distraction has turned in to a passion. I’m so happy to be able to offer fun, stylish and unique beaded bracelets at a more affordable price point.
The owner and founder, Kelly Martin, has been around stained glass her entire life. Her grandfather, Fred Martin Jr., was a stained glass craftsman – her father, aunts and uncles joined in too. Every member of the family has a piece he made somewhere in their home. He passed away in 2011, before she could learn the art from him. Nine years after her grandfather passed, her dad took her to the same shop where her grandfather bought all of his materials and showed her the basics. From there she started Tidwell & Marie. Her grandfather’s middle name and her middle name to come together to honor his legacy and the beauty of family.
My inspiration are my grandmothers Margaret and Nancy Leigh who both loved to shop. I am a brick and mortar store located Roxboro, NC.
Painted angels, ornaments, and abstract prints
After 17 years at Wells Fargo, I was sadly displaced 3 weeks ago. I know it was a blessing in disguise and something that later on I will realize was only pushing me closer to do something I would never have the courage to pursue. With all that said… after years of balancing both I’m diving in and taking on art full time. I’m still processing, heartbroken, scared and filled with so many emotion but incredibly hopeful for the future and trust in God’s plan. So I quickly had to pivot for the busy holiday season and instead of painting here and there this is my EVERYTHING … my dream, providing for my family, my business.
I am a mom of two littles (2 and 3), and have a full time job in corporate America. This pandemic drove me to embrace the desire to tap into my creative side, thus Lite Me Up candle co came to be. I take pride in using all natural materials, including soy wax and phthalate, toxin and carcinogen free fragrance oil. All candles are hand poured with love, in small batches. Would love for you to follow along on this journey with me via instagram @litemeupcandleco.
I’ve been an artist for so many years, but I recently (at the beginning of the pandemic) quit my job to become a full time artist! I’m inspired by nature and the quiet, special moments in life. I started painting those quiet, peaceful bits of time heavily when the pandemic began. I felt the world needed more color, more happiness and calm, while everyone was quarantining. I first began painting these peaceful moments indoors; cup of coffee or a glass of wine with my husband. As the days seemed to get longer and we became more anxious. I knew I needed to get outside and start painting nature and animals so I could find a different light and calm than being indoors!
Website coming January 2021
Starting our business was actually our 2020 pivot. I was working from home and my business partner, also named Emily, was a stay-at-home mom. She was looking for work and I was looking for a passion project and to fulfill a desire I have had for a longtime. With both of our names being Emily, which means rival, we chose the name unrivaled because that is how we want people to feel when they put on an outfit from our shop. We are in the process of launching a faith-based boutique. We have inventory and should have our products live in the next 2 weeks on our website. We currently have gift cards available for purchase in our app (Shop Unrivaled in the app store). We both have a passion for clothes, but also want to make women of all ages feel confident and loved in what they wear. From our hearts to your sleeve, is our motto! This is our homemade hustle and we are trying to share our mission with any and everyone!
I started developing grill mats in 2019 and started selling them in 2020. I wanted to be able to leave my job and stay at home with the kids while still having a side hustle. My son will be 3 on Christmas and my daughter was born in January 2020.
Home & Pet Portraits
I am always so thankful for holiday orders. It’s not too late to order a custom painting ….taking orders until 11.25! Message me your inquiries and ideas & we can come up with something beautiful and unique
Custom Children’s Heirloom Pieces
I began this business after noticing that there was a serious lack of upscale boys clothing. We began with a focus on heirloom little boys outfits and have since expanded to taking orders for a variety of custom heirloom outfits. I love that we are able to take a customer’s vision and turn it into a one of a kind outfit, it’s great to be able to provide flexibility for mothers who are looking for heirloom outfits but may have children who have outgrown traditional heirloom options.
I started in 2019 as a side hobby and quickly grew into a small business. Because all my in person shows were canceled during CoVid, I had to rely on Instagram and improve my photography skills to reach my customers.
Sisters Elizabeth White and Jacquelyn Buckner launched Twine & Twig in late 2013, inspired by a love for the rustic outdoors and the casual calm of the Carolina coast. Featuring naturally sourced materials from around the world, each piece is designed, handcrafted, tied with their signature suede strap and made in their Charlotte-based studio. 30% off until 11/30!
Every year growing up, my family and I went to Estes Park, Colorado for summer vacation. It was there that I learned to make jewelry, and found how incredibly healthy it can be to have a creative break from real life (being a CPA is a far cry from jewelry designer)! Although I’ve grown from friendship bracelets to statement earrings, it’s been a bonding activity with my incredible Mom each trip.
I started my business after many brainstorming sessions with my fiance! I am an engineer and 2020 has been a challenging time for my industry, so pivoting to start a small business and make the most of more time at home!
Original artwork, heartbeats, and sound wave paintings
I love to paint and create! I believe you should surround yourself with art that speaks to your soul. I love to do custom pieces, especially sound wave paintings created using tone of voice.
Inspired toy storage products from keeping up with our own kids! Also STEM education products that are LEGO compatibles as we are a LEGO family thru and thru! Pivoting big time this year to help families who are learning from home and encouraging hands-on-learning with our products!
3 years ago I decided to follow my passion and open an interior design firm. I started out making wreaths and floral arrangements and it evolved into the luxury full-service business I have today! I knew I’d worked too hard for COVID to bring me down, so I pivoted and focused on making great partnerships within the community and those relationships have been my key to success in 2020.
DIY Cakepop Kits
I started my little baking business back in 2009, after teaching First grade for 5 years. I’ve been creating custom cakepops for almost 9 years now, serving Lake Norman and the surrounding areas. I’ve held Cakepop Camps in my home for 4 years and love seeing kids create and take pride in their work. I’ve recently added DIY Cakepop Kits to the menu and have had wonderful reviews. This year, I’ll be offering Christmas kits where kids and families can create their own pops from the comfort of their own kitchen. Each kit will come with pre-dipped Cakepops with all the Christmas sprinkles and goodies to make your own Christmas tree cakepops. 10% off with code BONNIE10
Started super small with all handmade vendors – the vision has always been to use the proceeds to support Young Lives (a young life ministry specific to teenage moms) friends started asking me to find certain items for them clothing wise and now we are 90 percent clothes – always with a side of fun and reasonably priced! Pivot😂😂thankfully I’m in home and even though things slowed down I have seen a pick up! – during quarantine I tried some vinyl letter projects that were a huge hit – and did them as a direct fundraiser – didn’t want young lives to suffer because of the quarantine!
Cheese & Charcuterie Boards
I am an entrepreneur at heart, and have been a freelance writer and blogger since having my second daughter in 2016. For the past few years, I knew in my heart I wanted to launch a business from the ground up, and thanks to blogging, I found a passion for entertaining and creating custom charcuterie! Since 2020 is already a crazy year (and I’m spending more time at home!), I figured it was a good time to give it a shot! $10 off your order if you mention LRT!
Our exclusive Belmont candle with our signature store scent. It’s a local favorite and a must have. Hand poured in NC and we burn it daily in our store. We sell out of them often!
I turned 40, and after 4 kids and a dental hygiene career….decided to pursue a dream. I’m a native Charlotte girl who resides in Belmont, NC. I’ve always admired kindness and fashion. So I blended the two and named my shop BELLE. 2020 has been challenging. We had to close during shutdown and I literally went back to doing everything I’ve done since day 1. Instastory try on sessions as all! Thankful for the local support and country wide orders that help us stay open! 20% off with code LRT20
I started my business about a year and a half ago and I never dreamed I’d have so much fun personalizing special items for people. Seeing a vision come to life is so rewarding. I love the reactions when customers see the finished products. Christmas is my busy season so I’m hoping this will be a great year, even with everything that’s happened with Covid. Staying positive here! Wishful thinking always 🙂 Use code “shopearly10” for 10% off anything in the Christmas collection.
I needed a creative outlet. I was inspired by a ton of other fabulous small businesses. I didn’t have to pivot much considering I started in 2020 so this is all I’m used to!
I have always dreamed of creating something that started a conversation about God and something to help encourage others. With the help of my mom, we started with 4 t shirts and sold them at a Holiday Show in Greenville, NC. We’ve been open for a year now, launching shirts every month or two! 20% off and free shipping for LRT followers.
We are a family business founded by my mother-in-law using her original dark chocolate and pecan toffee. My husband and I work alongside her running the business. We developed a second flavor, Griff’s Coffee Toffee, that we named after my father-in-law who passed away suddenly in 2013. We donate a portion of the sale of every box of toffee to the Ovarian Cancer Fund we established after suddenly losing my mom in 2017. Family means everything to us and we have remained right and steadfast though the pandemic!
I am a first generation farmer, and I love to cook premium meals with simple, high quality ingredients. I started Bravo Steaks as a way to offer dry aged beef from our farm, shipped directly to homes nationwide. From the beginning, we have always wanted to offer the convenience of HOME delivery – high quality meat, straight from the farm. We’ve been shipping beef nationwide for nearly two years now. Within the last year we added pork (bacon, thick cut chops, sausage, and more) as a way to expand our premium meat offering. We also added a meat subscription box (comparable to other meat boxes like Butcher Box except you actually get to know the first generation farmers – me and my husband!). 10% off Holiday Boxes and Holiday Specialty Cuts including Dry Aged Prime Rib! Use code LRT at checkout
The shop started out of the slow down of our longtime successful luxury travel business. As travel came to a halt during the start of COVID, we built this shop. It had always been a dream to add a shop of the best travel goods to our business- for now the collection is travel INSPIRED but we cannot wait to make it more items to travel WITH. 20% off with code LRT20OFF
Growing up, the art of the handwritten thank you note was ingrained in me by my mother and grandmother. As I grew up, i realized I enjoyed writing thank you notes even more when I liked the stationery I was using (and people always enjoy receiving beautiful designs in the mail). After years of unsuccessfully searching for designs I truly loved (I am picky and nothing was ever 100% the way I engaged), I decided to create my own! Design Carolinas was inspired by my southern roots; throughout my designs timeless patterns are given new life with bright colors and custom monograms.
My husband and I stumbled upon a unique product line made of washable paper while on our honeymoon in Tuscany in 2014. I was so smitten that once we returned I began to reach out to the family that started it about starting a USA distribution business. We, as UASHMAMA Family, design and manufacture lifestyle products that balances our respect for nature and design functionality. Uashmama promotes intentional living through eco-sustainable products conceived, designed, and entirely made in Tuscany, Italy. 15% off for LRT followers.
Embroidery & Monograms
2020 was my inspiration! As a full-time mom to three kiddos, wife to an amazing husband, full-time communications strategist for a healthcare technology company, plus finishing my masters degree, I needed a hobby to help me destress on the many stressful days 2020 has given us. So, on a whim I bought an embroidery machine, fulfilling a life-long dream of mine! From there, I’ve fallen even more in love with monogramming everything from blankets to pillowcases to towels to applique shirts for my children. Once I mastered this for my family, I opened my business to bring joy to others because… “When life gives you lemons, monogram it!” With 2020 handing us lemons every single day, bringing a smile to others has truly been the highlight of my year! 25% off to LRT followers!
We started in 2017. Kate was a rep for multiple clothing lines and moved home to grow her business. Molly found a cute store front at the same time we were renovating our home and very quickly things happened. Molly took care of the home/gifts and Kate did the clothes.
I started when I was a new mom looking for something to fulfill the creative in me. Color was and still I’d my inspiration! In 2020 I’ve added more school/office supplies since so many people are learning and working from home.
I opened my shop almost 6 years ago after receiving a personalized blanket for my daughter. I had just had my second baby and was already stressing about having to go back to work at 12 weeks. I opened Cuddle Muffins Blankets a few months after. I had so much support from family and friends that after 3 years I was able to quit my corporate job and work on blankets full time, after finding out I was pregnant with my 3rd. It has been a bigger blessing than I ever knew I would need. Use code LINDSEY for a discount!
Started while working in NYC in 2005. When I first launched my business I sold to a few small boutiques and friends. I expanded doing trunk shows in multiple cities and an e-commerce site. Now the majority of my business is via e-commerce and social media. I moved from Atlanta to Charlotte this past summer and provide local appointments for clients as well! 20% off total purchase with LRT20
I started my business in 2018 after a cross country move to Charlotte. I’ve spent the better part of my life loving hospitality and have worked in the industry but am most passionate about gathering people around my dinner table. We believe connection happens around the table. We believe that people were created to be known, valued, heard and loved. Our passion is to provide inspiration along with simple and elevating hospitality products to help you create your own memorable experiences with the ones you love. Now more than ever connection and relationships are needed and we are inspired to provide everyday products and gifts to that end.
This was a quarantine hobby of two friends turned small business. We are both creative in our own ways and this is a outlet for our creativity.
SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES
Burnt Sugar Syrup for the perfect Old Fashioned!
After planning hospitality events in the NASCAR industry for 12+ years, it was finally time to come off the road. My husband and I are super passionate about loving people and providing good ol’ Southern hospitality, so we had the opportunity to start The Old Fashioned Mobile Bar in Jan. 2020 (yes, right before the pandemic). People have told us that our Old Fashioned is the best they’ve ever had — so we decided to bottle it up for people to enjoy with their friends and family. No use hoarding a good thing! Code: LRT15 for 15% off!
I opened my diy studio in 2017 and being on the events business (Adult DIY classes + craft parties for kids) I have had to make some serious changes this year! We have shifted a major focus on our online retail with our custom candle line and earlier this year we started making pretty masks for our community! Recently we have opened up a handful of holiday workshops again but this time to small private groups so that we can continue to celebrate gatherings and community with the ones closest to us in a safe environment.
I started my business out of my love of celebrating life’s moments by gathering together! During 2020 I’ve shifted from focusing on just gatherings to also the details that celebrate life’s moments!
I began as a classroom teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools who always tutored students after hours. Slowly I realized that those two hours a week with individualized instruction made such a significant impact of their confidence and achievement, I knew that I wanted to find a way to continue. The Lazar Center has now served hundreds of families over the last 13+ years. When COVID hit, or business came to a grinding halt as families (including my own) put education on the back burner to focus on what was just the next right thing. From March through August we lost 96% of our clients. In August we opened a satellite location to help with social distancing and created a new program to support families with E-Learning during the school day in safe “learning pods”. We also welcomed back students to our award winning tutoring services in the afternoons and evenings.
EST / Her supports abused and at-risk women and young people within local communities through empowerment and education all by the love and grace of Jesus. We believe all women deserve worth. We are committed to changing lives through renewed hope, giving opportunities for healing and facilitating restoration. Through the purchase of our bracelets, we are able to provide living wages and other business opportunities for a sustainable future. With code GIFT , bracelets can be purchased at Buy One Get One Half Off!
There is nothing better than seeing the reaction of our clients when we reveal their organized space. It’s not just about organizing your things, it’s about the impact that organization brings to your life.
We are committed to continuing to be a publication and platform that celebrates the city of Charlotte that we are grateful to call home. Supporting local businesses and people I love 👌🏽
I find joy in helping people & wanted to start a business that was fulfilling and fun! This year I paused home organizing & pivoted to full home design projects, but now I’m back to organizing! 10% off any bookings in Dec-Feb
I love babies! I also really love their moms and know how isolating and lonely life can feel after you have a baby. Add not sleeping to that and it can make for a really, really hard season. But, you don’t have to go through it alone. I love partnering with parents as their family grows and helping them teach their little one to sleep so they can ALL enjoy each other more.
Optical & Eye Care
I love being an optometrist and helping people see, especially complex cases. I love offering the highest quality of care as a small business but also the highest quality products. I love the fashion side of frame styling and the life changing side of specialty contact lenses that allow people to see clearly for the first time in their lives. I love uptown Charlotte and I hope that one day all of us uptown come back stronger than ever!
I started my business at the beginning of the pandemic, I guess you can say not the perfect timing! I am inspired by my two sweet boys and helping to provide for the lifestyle they deserve. Since going out on my own at the end of February I had to pivot my whole gameplan… from learning to work and create from home (with two little guys around ALL THE TIME!), to trying new things to grow this little mommy hustle!
I started my online personal styling company from the idea that all these hours I spend online shopping have to be easier for people that don’t have the time! I was a recent college graduate with a bachelors degree in education, following graduation I quickly realized tracing was no longer my passion and that’s when I got the courage to start Shipmestyle. Unfortunately I started my business the month before a national lockdown. Instead of giving up when I had no clients I knew there was going to be end at some point. So I kept posting on social media working on my website for the day people wanted to refresh their closets! Luckily that day has come and I love helping people get out of their lounge clothes and feel their best!
Monthly Tot Curriculum Bundle
I was a teacher before having our now 3 year old daughter, Ella Grace. I wanted to teach her at home and tried so many programs and resources but none were what I was hoping for. I decided to create my own Monthly Tot Curriculum. My love for teaching and my daughter inspired me.
I started my business in 2019 after I left my corporate job working for the largest furniture store in the world as a design consultant. I loved my design clients but didn’t love the retail hours + only getting to influence furniture decisions when I knew that well executed design incorporates all aspects from paint to wall treatments to light fixtures. 15% off services for LRT followers.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
To all the small business owners who shared their stories with me, THANK YOU. It is an honor to support you and see your businesses thrive!