Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, a day intended to remind consumers, who are mesmerized by the craze of big sales and markdowns from giant chain stores, to stop and appreciate the local shops that surround their communities. The event was launched nationally by American Express in 2010 to rally behind these small and local businesses that are often forced to close because they can’t compete with big-name brands.
And being that there’s no shortage of small businesses to be found in Brooklyn, one would assume that SB Saturday would be a time-honored event. It seems like everyday there’s a new mom-and-pop shop or boutique opening up in Williamsburg or Park Slope, though it’s usually at the expense of another beloved small business being closed due to low community support. And while we know it’s easy to shop at big chain stores for quick core products—we’re avid Target shoppers, ourselves—it’s important to remember that the local businesses that make Brooklyn an one-of-a-kind place can only survive if Brooklynites shop small and shop local. So in honor of Brooklyn and the small businesses that inhabit it, we put together a list of the 20 small shops in Brooklyn that we couldn’t live without and so think you should all visit for your holiday shopping needs.
Curated from independent designers and small businesses from around the globe, Milly & Earl is the complete opposite of mainstream retail chains. With a whimsy-meets-sophistication feel, the shop is a first (and last) stop when looking for unique accessories, contemporary apparel. and rustic home decor in the borough.
Must-buy: Brooklyn Highball Glass
This avant-garde and vintage-inspired pin-up boutique will take you back to the 50s with its authentic retro atmosphere and clothing that caters to the doo-wop, but also the punk girl inside all of us.
490 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
Lexi Oliveri opened Antoinette back in 2011 using the clothes her mother, whom the store is named after, collected while working in the fashion industry. Though some pieces are pulled from family members’ closets, Oliveri has grown her collection to feature new and local designers in New York.
Must-buy: Sheer Print Top by Anne Klein
119 Grand Street, Williamsburg
If you were to look up “fanaberie” in a Polish-English dictionary, you find the word whimsical, which is fitting for this contemporary boutique that borders along the lines on quirky and refined. By bringing unique and affordable fashion to Williamsburg, the shop hopes “to help every women find their own individual style“ by giving them the “knowhow” and “confidence to be chic.”
Must-buy:Olivia Burton enchanted garden, gray and gold watch
339 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
Feltraiger, an American menswear label, is a rebel without a cause type of brand that identifies themselves as being the “New American Classic.” Their collection is a modern take on American classics, with a touch of that rebellious spirit to give the shop some edge.
Must-buy: Rylace Hat
155 Grand Street, Williamsburg
Color BKLYN is the knickknack store that we never knew we needed. The contemporary design shop showcases a wide-ranging selection of gifts, home goods, and accessories that offer unique gift-giving opportunities, perfect for the holidays.
760 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights
Lady J Jewelry
We believe that jewelry should make a statement. And we don’t mean in your face and obnoxious, rather by being the accessory (or two) that pushes your outfit over the edge. And Lady J Jewelry, particularly founder Jessica D’Amico, knows how to create the kind of jewelry that does just that.
Must-buy: Creek Cuff
679 Classon Avenue, Prospect Heights
While you can pretty much find anything that you need at Rite Aid, we advise you to forgo drugstore options and instead entrust your cosmetic and skin care needs to Shen Beauty. Store owner and former-Vogue stylist Jessica Richards founded Shen after dealing with her own face cream dilemma. So she understands your needs, and is here to take care of them.
Must-buy: SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture Cream
315 Court Street, Cobble Hill
At Wilderness is still in its infancy with just a year under its belt, but the luxury apothecary and gift shop has the charm of a well-established brand that is easy to fall in love with, the moment you walk through the door.
Must-buy: Hand Made Eye Shadows
, Boerum Hill
Like many small shops, Martine’s Dream existed as just an idea for Debbie Hardy during the years she spent selling her vibrant accessories and punchy-designed clothing at festivals and markets. Three years later, the dream became a reality with a brick-and-mortar storefront in Bed-Stuy where Hardy gets to show off her eye-catching creations.
681 Nostrand Avenue, Bed-Stuy
Husband and wife duo, Bethany and Max Vogel opened Wolves Within back in 2011 after being inspired by the creatives that lived in Greenpoint. The store is filled with curated items from local designers and artists, as well as some items from other parts of the world.
Must-buy: Bag Butler Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Awoke wasn’t always in Brooklyn. The shops humble beginnings started in Perth, Australia back in 2009. But today, the store is Brooklyn’s go-to for chic hand-picked items from around the globe.
Must-buy: Oh Deer! Ring Set
688 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Like the name of the store suggest, By Brooklyn carries goods made by Brooklynites for Brooklynites. By embodying the Brooklyn spirit, the store carries an array of goods that any Brooklyn consumer would love.
Must-buy: Brooklyn Notebook
261 Smith Street, Carroll Gardens
Let’s hear it for the boy! Modern Anthology is a retail store that curates vintage furniture, home, clothing and personal accessories for the modern man.
Must-buy: Safety Razor + Badger Brush
68 Jay Street, Dumbo
With a concentration on Africa, this brightly colored shop allows the to travel the world without ever having to step out of Brooklyn. Owned by owned by Heloise Annette Oton and her daughter, Atim Annette Oton, the shop carries stylish handcrafted clothing, accessories and home decor.
Must-buy: 2015 Winter Threaded Alpaca Bora Scarfs
708 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights
There aren’t many places where you can buy a skateboards and flower arrangements in the same space. Actually, we don’t know anywhere else, so Park Delicatessen is one of a kind shop that is exclusively for Brooklyn.
Must-buy: Park Deli. Empire Pouch
722 Classon Avenue, Crown Heights
Twig Terrariums is probably the only place that you’ll find moss, succulents, and other botanical delights growing during winter. Maybe it’s because owners Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow have a green thumb. We don’t know, but their shop in Gowanus stocks all types of terrariums and DIY kits that will make you feel like you bottled a little bit of spring inside your home.
Must-buy: The Lucky Gardener DIY Kit
287 Third Avenue, Gowanus
The OMhh Store & Red Room Luxe Salon
OMhh, also known as Oh My Heavenly Hair, is a vegan and organic beauty product line founded by Debra Hare-Bey that offers everything from hair and body products to spa bars. Hare-Bey implemented the Red Room Luxe Salon with her beauty line so that it would be her premier salon for OMhh. On Saturday, the salon will be featuring their new OMhh Glam Braid Bar service at a discounted price of $50. Costumers will receive a free small business Saturday shopping bag with any salon purchase–hair braiding service or purchase of OMhh beauty products that will be discounted by 10 percent–and be served treats and wine for the annual event.
Must-buy: Fabulously Therapeutic Vegan Hair & Body Wash Spa Collection
503 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
Lee Lee’s Valise
Owner and designer Lisa Dolan opened the shop after searching in brownstone Brooklyn for contemporary clothing in her size, and coming up with nothing. So instead of shopping at retail chain stores like Target or shopping online, Dolan opened the contemporary plus size clothing store that made clothing for “normal-sized women.”
Must-buy: Long Sleeve Franny in Hatchi
368 Court Street, Carroll Gardens
Must-buy: Maderas Collective Phono
Purchases made from Fanaberie, Slapback, Antoinette, Milly & Earl, and Feltraiger, will get you various discounts and prizes from any participating store. Make sure to use the hashtag, #localsupportslocal when visiting and shopping at these shops.