Holiday Gift Guide with Small Biz Owners We Love

With more families and friends getting together this year after celebrating the holidays from a distance, that probably means you’ve got more gifts to buy. Good thing we tapped some experts, a.k.a. small business owners who have an eye for gifting - especially with intention. Check out what they’re adding to their gift (and wish!) list this year, and what they have to say about shopping small. 

Holiday Gift Guide with Small Biz Owners We Love

Moana Hana Ferry of Moana Vintage

Tell us about your brand and what led you to start it.
One morning in April 2019, I enthusiastically jumped out of bed and I started Moana Vintage that very morning. I created an Instagram account, photographed clothing from my own closet to get started, and from there, my brand was born. 

When I was little, my mama would ask me, “If money didn’t exist, what would you want to do?” My answer still to this day has always been, “to travel the world and curate, collect and sell beautiful clothing, furniture, art and home goods in my store.” Fast forward to 2021, I wish I could say I’ve accomplished all of that. I haven’t quite figured out the traveling-the-world part, but starting Moana Vintage has been my first step in making those dreams come true.

What are you focusing on when it comes to shopping for gifts?
When it comes to holiday gift shopping this season, I’m focusing on gifting secondhand items when possible to support a circular economy and supporting small and local businesses. More recently, I’ve been slowly but surely curating a collection of art for my home and have found so much joy in the process. So I think finding unique pieces of art at the flea market or antique store are great gift ideas for your friends and family. Another thing that is also plentiful at thrift stores and antique stores are beautiful vintage vases. I have a thing for vases, and probably have too many, but who doesn’t love having fresh flowers in their home? I also love gifting friends and family with things that help you relax and unwind; like your favorite incense (mine is from Japan), essential oils, and bath salts (I take a bath everyday). Another gift idea I’m loving this season are handmade ceramic items such as mugs and bowls.

Why is shopping small so important this holiday season?
A beautiful thing that has come from the pandemic has been to see so many people starting their own businesses and creating products and brands they’re passionate about. I think more than ever during this time it is crucial to support all the small and local businesses whenever we can. That includes going to the farmers market to support your local farmers when doing your holiday grocery shopping, to shopping from the husband and wife or sisters who own a small shop in your town. By shopping small, you are not only supporting the people who are brave enough to run their own businesses and go against the grain, but you are most likely supporting businesses that truly care about our planet and are working hard to make a difference. If we can all start transitioning to shopping secondhand and shopping small, even if it’s in the smallest of ways, any movement in that direction is a positive change and you should feel proud for being a part of it. 

Shop Moana’s Picks:

Holiday Gift Guide with Small Biz Owners We Love

Mo Baker of @mobaker_

Tell us about your brand and what led you to start it.
I am a food + props stylist and photographer building out a studio here in Long Beach. I began my career in visual journalism and through a series of ping-pong type maneuvers, I slowly morphed into working exclusively in food media. I am a caretaker and nurturer and I feel my work now is an extension of that. Feeding people through recipe development all while making the food look delicious and attainable! I am finally at home in my work and it feels amazing!

What are you focusing on when it comes to shopping for gifts?
What people actually need! I am not a fan of receiving senseless things that take up space, so I really try and think about how a gift can be utilized. Sometimes that means self-care, like a massage or a nice lunch. Other times, that means a beautiful item that brings joy to the person's home. Either way, I do my best to shop with intention for the people I love.

Why is shopping small so important this holiday season?
Shopping small is so important EVERY season! Last year we decided to only shop small/local/or secondhand for all gifts. At first it seemed scary, because of the ease of big corporations, but we quickly realized what a lie that is. We love our local businesses and it's a joy to support them because we want to see them for years to come! Not only is shopping small better for our environment, it's also putting money directly back into our lovely community!

Shop Mo’s Picks:

Holiday Gift Guide with Small Biz Owners We Love

Michelle Callahan of Callahan and Idle Sleepwear

Tell us about your brand and what led you to start it.
I like to make products that make people feel cool and comfortable. There is so much I appreciate about textiles and design that it is incredibly satisfying to be able to combine my love for certain yarns and fabrics with different silhouettes that I think our customer will enjoy. I started my businesses to be able to create and to make a living while doing so. 

What are you focusing on when it comes to shopping for gifts?
I love to gift things that I've tried myself so I can turn my friends or family onto them. I also like gifting things that I know they'll get a lot of use out of. Of course, quirky random gifts are always fun. Mostly, I want the recipient of my gift to feel special. 

Why is shopping small so important this holiday season?
Being a small business owner I know how impactful shopping small can be. Your purchases not only fund the small business, but their team's salaries, operating expenses and their ability to continue to bring you new products, support designers and artisans. 

Shop Michelle’s Picks:

Holiday Gift Guide with Small Biz Owners We Love

Emma Fortini of 14E Cosmetics

Tell us about your brand and what led you to start it. 

I was raised by the beach in San Diego and recognized the importance of taking care of my skin at an early age. I got tired of dealing with sunburns, constant adult acne breakouts, and early signs of aging and began to explore some  natural solutions. As a makeup artist, I quickly discovered that the selection of truly all-natural cosmetic brands that targeted all of my skin issues were limited. That’s why I started 14E Cosmetics, where every ingredient used is 100% natural, thoughtfully curated and intentional. 

What are you focusing on when it comes to shopping for gifts?

This year I’m focusing on supporting small businesses and sustainability. I’m so over giving (and receiving!) chachkies that end up making my space cluttered. Quality over quantity.

Why is shopping small so important this holiday season?

Shopping small is more important than ever. As a small business owner myself, these last 2 years have been rough. But shopping small you are directly supporting that person, their small team, and their families while they continue making a living out of doing what they are passionate about. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I do a little happy dance with every order that comes through!

Shop Emma’s Picks:

We know there are so many options when it comes to holiday shopping, but we really appreciate it when you take the time to support us and the independent brands and makers we carry by shopping local at Prism Boutique. Our Gift Shop is full of hand-picked presents everyone on your list will love.

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