Recently, I stumbled into a unique shop called Malaquita Design, which is filled with home products and clothing made by artisans from Mexico. The owner talked to me about how he handpicks each item, and it dawned on me why I fell in love with the boutique. It wasn’t just because everything was well-made and beautiful; it was that the informed owner carefully picked out each item, knowing everything about each object, from its crafter to its traditional use and significance.
This is the type of wonderful, curated, unique experience small businesses bring to the marketplace. And it’s truly small-business owners who keep America’s economy thriving. So, today, instead of purchasing a cookie-cutter holiday gift from that same old big-box store, opt for a one-of-a-kind treasure from a neighborhood small-business shop or local online boutique. You’ll soon discover shopping small has some pretty big perks!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 54 Percent
If you’re on the verge of opening your own small business but feeling fearful, write today’s number down: 54 percent. That’s the amount of female small-business owners who anticipate a revenue increase within the next year.
Women have a right to be optimistic. The trends show women are not only creating small businesses every day, they are creating successful ones.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Kira Gulley, Founder of Antlers+Honey
So many of the women we’ve featured, from designers to fitness gurus, find strength in communing with nature. But we can’t all take a hike every day, so how do we capture that same warmth and brilliance indoors? It’s as simple as introducing a little bit of beautiful artwork.
Enter Kira Gulley. This amazing illustrator offers gorgeous sketches of natural elements through her online business, Antlers+Honey. As a self-proclaimed adventurer and consummate nature lover, Kira was raised in the sun-drenched landscape of California, and spends much of her time with her two best friends: Mother Earth and her sketchbook.
After Kira sketches her creative inclinations, she uses paint to make her art come alive. She says watercolor has a mind of its own, so it’s a thrill to see, for instance, her uncomplicated yet intricate drawing of a fern become a stunning hand-painted watercolor botanical print worthy of a prime viewing position in any art-lover’s home. Kira’s artwork is minimalist yet detailed—images that evoke the ethereal.
A naturally gifted artist, Kira previously employed her talents as a graphic designer, children’s photographer and even an art teacher. Despite having creative outlets, something was missing. That’s when Kira had an ah-ha moment and realized, instead of creating art for clients and students, she would be more fulfilled creating art for herself.
In addition to fabricating her own poignant pieces, Kira also exudes a sense of fellowship for the artistic community. She isn’t afraid to recognize other great women artisans, and, in fact, highlights them and their wares—everything from handmade ceramics and fashion to home goods and jewelry—on her website through her I’m Shopping Small Directory.
Regardless of your career path, we can all relate to being overwhelmed by a large project or heavy workload. But we can also take a page from Kira’s sketchbook by gathering some inspiration from nature, employing some creativity and embracing a little bit of simplicity.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Feeling creative? It’s time to get your hands dirty. As writer Sara Zarr said:
“Your greatest creation is your creative life. It’s all in your hands.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.