Shopping small business is something I have become hugely passionate over the last year or so. I still drop a small chunk of my wages in H&M, Boots and Ikea on the regular, but I am far more likely to hop online and trawl Insta or Not On The High Street for more unique items. I get more compliments on Harrison’s cute hand made clothes from awesome Insta shops than the extortionate John Lewis outfit that he ruins in 30 seconds flat plus it’s a wonderful feeling knowing someone somewhere is paying for their kids ballet classes because we have shopped small.
Every year I see the big magazines and newspaper do supplements around Christmas giving the perfect gift ideas…but they only really seem to feature the big brands. As a result I decided to create the ‘Mama Says… Alternative Christmas Gift Guide’! Hopefully this takes some of the hassle out of your Christmas shopping and brings you new and unique gift ideas for your loved ones.
La Pom Pom
La Pom Pom is the home of handcrafted wool pom pom and felt ball garlands, decor and jewellery. The owner, designer, creator and everything else at La Pom Pom is Laura, a stay-at-home mama to two little boys. She creates everything from beautiful garlands to mega jazzy Pom Pom earrings which you may have spotted me wearing in a few posts!
Harry and Rose
Harry and Rose are a fab new baby skincare brand with a difference. Not only are all their products are natural, pure and totally organic, they are also sheer luxury! This beautiful Baby Bath Gift Set features their Hair&Body Wash as well as a super soft bamboo hooded towel and wash mitt and is perfect for any new arrivals first Christmas present.
My Pocket Money Toy
This is a fantastic new find for me – I love my own monthly beauty box subscription that I get, and as soon as I heard about My Pocket Money Toy I knew my eldest would feel the same about these beautifully packaged kids monthly subscription Toy gift boxes.
For Christmas there are these Christmas Eve boxes for kids (and ones for parents too!) which are choc full of festive treats and activities for a proper cosy family night in together waiting for Santa to arrive.
Becks McCulloch – Arbonne
This gorgeous lady runs her Arbonne business along side her existing job as a physio and a mummy to her two lovely boys! This range has products to suit everyone and features daily use (and frankly pretty damn fabulous) skincare products all the way through to nutritional supplements like their vegan protein powder!
A particularly lovely gift that she has is the gents shave set featuring a shave cream & an after-shave soothing lotion. The shave cream conditions the skin for a less irritable shave then the soothing lotion absorbs quickly leaving the skin soft and smooth. Plus the antioxidant properties which helps calm & refresh tied looking skin. Will be sharing an amazing deal on this gift set on the Instagram page later in the week, keep your eyes peeled!
Old J Rum
This dynamite new rum brand comes in a wide variety of flavours but my absolute favourite is their classic Spiced rum. Make a delicious spiced rum hot chocolate over the festive period (will share a cheeky recipe over on instagram this week!) or just enjoy poured over ice with coke and a slice of lime. For those a little more adventurous they have a sweet and delicious Cherry rum which has a really nostalgic, cherry vanilla flavour to it. Available in the awesome indy off-licence The Cave over in Glasgow’s West End.
Super adorable handmade bows from sunny Glasgow. This fledgling company came from Clara’s mama making bows for her when she arrived earlier this year. The business and the beautiful Clara are growing together and I predict big things for them both.
Ideal for Disney fans of all ages and ultra girly girls!
Goldcraft Jewellers Shawlands
From baby bangles to their specially designed Legend of St Mungo silver items there is quite literally something for everyone in this family run jewellers situated right on the heart of Shawlands high street. They have fabulous silver and costume jewellery at a reasonable price to give you that bit of sparkle on your christmas night out or for those with some money to burn (or perhaps a special question to pop!!) there is an incredible selection of luxury diamond and precious stone rings. You might even recognise a certain member of staff…hint hint…its me!
Violet Rose Make Up Artistry
What to get for the woman who already has it all? Vouchers for the hottest ticket in town of course – Violet Rose Make Up Artistry! Giving the gift of the natural glow this year, Jen Beattie is an artist with an incredible talent for natural ‘you but better’ make up style.
She can either make you over for a special event or even do a one on one mini make up lesson to help you get the most out of your own make up bag on the daily. I know who will be helping this Mama get her glow on this festive party season!
Awesome Mama Illustration
This beautifully bespoke company came about when Stacey was off on Maternity Leave. She had been running her paper cutting company Two For Joy Art for around 7 years but found it was too time consuming and tricky once little ones were thrown in the mix. Recognising that she needed to adapt her craft to fit the wildness that is mama life, she began to draw what she knew, which in the beginning was lots and lots of sleep deprivation!
She creates bespoke portraits under the guise of Awesome Mama, mainly of Mums and Dads with their kids. Each one is totally unique to the family, with lots of personal touches, favourite books and toys, pets, special clothing and sometimes ‘in jokes’. It’s these little things that you may forget when your babies grow older, so putting them into artwork is a lovely way to look back on that moment in time and makes these such an incredible and personal gift.
One Wee Box
Taking the stress out of gift giving, Kirstin created One Wee Box from her own love of finding and giving the perfect gift. Every Wee Box (and there are several varieties covering a great range of giftees and price points) is aimed at encouraging the recipient to take some time out for themselves. She is happy to discuss making up a bespoke box too if you want to personalise it further and has fabulous new Hygge and Gents boxes launching this Christmas. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup….however you can pour some down right delicious Mulled Spice Tea for yourself if you purchase the Wee Box of Hygge pictured above.
Shh By Sadie
This cute and colourful Charmed Heart charm is a perfect stocking filler for teenagers, stylish mamas and fashionistas who lunch. Mix, match and add them to your favourite bags (I have glammed up my change bag with one) !
The charms are woven by Sadie using traditional bead loom techniques and beautifully accentuated with 24 carat gold plated clamps and chunky gold clasp. They even arrive with their very own reusable flamingo pouch to keep your pretties pretty!
Check out her website too for a dazzling array of handmade jewellery. It is often created using vintage beads, chains and embellishments which means your Shh by Sadie pieces can be one of a kind or limited edition, allowing you to be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons!
Two of my favourite things are my home city Glasgow and Gin – so Makar had to be on this list!! Makar, the first gin to be distilled in this fair city, is a vibrant, Juniper based, handcrafted gin that derives its name from the ancient Scots word for Poet. So named to reflect the craft of their team of dedicated distillers and the heptagonal shape of the slender bottle meanwhile echoes the number of times the liquid is pot distilled in their copper pot still ‘Annie’ and the number of carefully selected botanicals that complement the finest Juniper berries in this award winning gin.
Porter & Bramble
Run by Megan, Scottish super mum! She has two small kids and her partner works offshore. So in order to keep earning while still caring for her family she created Porter & Bramble. Every item is hand draw, inspired by her kids and ranges from wedding items to these beautiful personalised Christmas baubles which I HAD to have for my own two boys!
Willow & Plum
Having struggled for years with dry skin, made worse by her role as a long haul cabin crew member, Lesley decided to educate herself on all things organic and natural to try and improve her skin. When she struggled to find the right type of thing on the market she jumped on the entrepreneurial life and started Willow & Plum. Her and her husband now make cold pressed soaps which are all natural including the fully recyclable packaging – no nasties anywhere!
Their Nettle soap is especially lovely for face washing and removing make up and is soothing, healing and known to benefit those with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
The Mount Whistle Company
If you like Luxury then look no further than Dumbarton. An unlikely statement to some, but to those in the know, its where The Mount Whistle Company hand pours their incredible smelling soy candles.
For Christmas you can indulge in these cute tree shaped Pine & Eucalyptus melts to make your home smell amazing and festive or treat a loved one (or yourself) to one of these on trend rose gold candle tins. I currently have mine adorning my sideboard but will definitely be gifting a few this year, even better because they can be refilled by The Mount Whistle Company with their awesome waste minimizing refill service.
Gill Chesnutt is an artisan glassmaker working from her purpose built studio in her garden on Glasgow’s southside. Every piece is unique – individually handmade by Gill using traditional methods and techniques for the perfect finish. A really lovely gift for anyone obsessed with home decor, the main influences on Gill’s work are scottish flora and fauna which makes for these vibrant and eye catching pieces.
A Pony called Steve
With a brand name like this I almost don’t even want to elaborate – Steve does the talking! A cruelty free range of the most delicious smelling products I have ever encountered – and endorsed by a tiny magical shetland pony called Steve. What more could you want?
Soaps that smell like pink lemonade and a body lotion that evokes summer holiday memories even in the dead of winter, all packaged up in gorgeous colourful packaging and at a super reasonable price point! These make the ideal stocking fillers or perhaps you could really treat someone to a pamper hamper filled with goodies.
An exciting new addition to the Glasgow food circuit run by a husband and wife team, located in Princes Square. They first met working in a restaurant there many years ago and when the opportunity came around to open their own place in the beautiful location they took the chance and went ‘home’! I love me a good romance so this captured my heart straight off, but if that isn’t enough to sway you their modern European tapas style menu certainly will. The head chef Andrew Greenan (previously of Martin Wisharts The Honours) meticulously sources the finest ingredients from all around Scotland and they have an extensive and classy drinks menu to match. Vouchers are available to redeem against a family meal, a quickie lunch date or one of their fantastic 6 course tasting menus – an ideal gift for the foodie in your life
Aillie Anderson Silver
A recent graduate of Glasgow School of Art, Aillie has wasted no time at getting her debut collection out into exhibitions and into the public eye. She has also begun a prestigious year long residency within the GSA silversmithing and jewellery department.
These pieces are from one of two new collections being launched called Granite and Facet. Uniquely textured sterling silver earrings, rings and pendants all hand finished by this clever young designer.
The second collection, Facet, is once again sterling silver but with the unusual addition of Jesmonite, a casting material, giving the pieces a lovely soft yet concrete like finish.
You can meet Aillie and see her pieces in person at a Christmas events in Royal Exchange Square on November 26th and December 20th or check out the ranges in their entirety on her website. I’d say this girl is one to watch…so maybe get yourself some of her work now before they become collectors pieces in the future!
Ruby Woo Boutique
A hidden treasure of a shop, first opened on Skirving Street Shawlands and now Great Western Road in the west end too! They have the most gorgeous selection of clothing, footwear and accessories for all ages, shapes and sizes!
When browsing their beautiful shop recently I discovered their own range of soy candles which have some fab festive scents to get you in that christmassy mood. The exciting one however, is their signature RWB candle which smells amazing – really rich, fruity and exotic. It comes in a gorgeous gift box making it an ideal ready wrapped present for those unexpected guests or secret santas.
The Wee T-Shirt Company
Another incredible mama run company – Siobhan sources, prints and creates gorgeous t-shirts and jumpers from her home studio. She is mum to Archie & Cara, who you often see modelling her designs, and started the business in order to be at home with her two rather than spend the crippling costs of childcare. Thanks to her own ‘mumming’ Siobhan fully appreciates the need for good quality durable clothing which means she is super committed to all her items being the best quality they can be.
This adorable tartan tee & bib combo is all lovely soft cotton and the jumper has a cosy fleecy lining which I adore! Because this is all printed by Siobhan at home she can do bespoke pieces if you have an idea and she also does t-shirts featuring kids own artwork which is pretty special!
I could go on and on and on with the amazing small businesses that are out there, some on our very own Glasgow doorsteps! I hope this guide gives you all some ideas and I would love to hear about any other small brands you know and love (or if you are a small brand give me a shout and we can line you up for next Christmas or plot something else!)