There’s so much buzz about Black Friday this year. Sales are everywhere throughout the industry, from every brand it seems – and well before the actual Black Friday.
Look, I get taking a stand against the outright and blatant “consumerism” that is Black Friday, by not shopping at the big box stores. Or not shopping at all, for that matter. I mean, I hate crowds, so I’ve always opted to not take part in the madness.
But, what if we take a stand by only shopping small this season? Technically, there’s already an official ‘Small Business Saturday’ on November, 25th. But you should consider shopping small for more than one day of the year – it could literally change someone’s life, or at the very least make their year.
Every time I make a list like this, I have to make a difficult decision on who makes the list. It’s really hard, as I have a lot of favorite lil’ companies that I frequent throughout the year.
So, for this list, I thought I’d include the shops I very rarely share with you guys…and try to keep the list limited to the “cottage industry” type shops that are owned and operated by an individual or a family.
Again, this isn’t all of the cool small companies out there in our wonderful industry, so if you know of any that would benefit from some of your hard-earned cash, include a link and share it with everyone in the comments.
OK? Cool, here we go… click on the names of the shops to be transported to their web location.
Based in Elkton, Oregon, Randi Jo Fabrications is a small family-run operation by both Randi and her husband Eric. Randi Jo is the seamstress and hand-makes everything herself out of a 10’x22′ trailer her dad built for her, right next to her house. I use her Bartender Plus stem bags on all of my bikes and find the quality and features next level.
Starting in 2010 with the humble Tool Roll, Laura and Joe have been making super useful stuff out of their new location in beautiful Moab, Utah. Laura sews all of the handmade goods, from phone wallets, tool rolls, and shop aprons to really sturdy belts. I’ve been ordering their D-Ring Belts for some time, as they are very well-made and reasonably priced.
Rob Perks runs this little operation out of Ventura, California. It’s a labor of love and has grown and shrank a few times since I’ve been following it… but still continues to persevere. Rob, loves #coffeeoutside and sells some really useful, and neat items on the site. He offers some used gear once in a while, hand-sewn bandanas, and even his own coffee. Ocean Air Cycles is also the place to get the world-famous Stem Top.
Analog Cycles is a little bike shop based in rural Poultney, Vermont, and is the home of the wonderful Tanglefoot Cycles. Analog Cycles is run by James Johnson and Candice Pessehl with a few other “Retro-Futurists”. They carry all kinds of neat goods and sundries as well as bags, bells, bottle cages, baskets, soft goods, and components. There are some bike-y words of wisdom on the site as well…worthy of a read. Check ’em out!
From the team that brought us the awesomely useful Cable Cherry, comes Forager Cycles. Located in Port Townsend, Washington, Dan Stranahan started the small bicycle and component business that is connected by a diverse group of people that feeds their creative process. They’re committed to the ethos of: “If we can’t make it ourselves, we draw on a range of manufacturing expertise to produce products that are durable, cause the least amount of environmental harm, and to a price that reflects the labor invested“. Great stuff!
Portland, Oregon is the home of Lords Luggage, a small sewn goods company that offers products made of waxed canvas, upholstery vinyl, industrial tarp, and marine cover fabrics. Lords Luggage is owned by Andy Schmidt and is the accumulation of his time in the sail making, marine canvas, and outdoor gear industries. His bike specific bags are top notch. Andy says that their day to day operation alternates between small batch production runs, custom projects and prototyping.
Camp and Go Slow started out as a kind of passion side project. Current owner/co-founder Casey Clark and co-founder Jerrod Bunk of Hope Cyclery were the brains behind the brand. This is the place to get yourself, some unique gifts for the not-so-serious-cyclist in your family. It started as a place to grab yourself die-cut stickers with the brand’s name in the logo-bite, vintage Campagnolo script. Best logo-bite ever. It’s become the place where you can get (what I think) is the greatest bar tape known to mankind.
Check ’em out, there are a lot of really cool stocking stuffers to help the cyclist in your life enjoy more Smiles Per Hour.
Man, what to say about Jessica Chan, founder, owner and maker at Tunitas Creative. She simply designs and makes a stellar product. I use two Tunitas products on a daily basis, my Tunitas Basket Tote 137, and the Tunitas Carry-all Basket Bag. Her products are incredibly well-made, ingeniously designed, and purpose-built. I gave both of the bags mentioned above, my Editor’s Choice award for 2022. Check out the site, she ships quickly and the prices are reasonable for the amazing, quality product that you get.
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed some of my favorite small cottage industry businesses. Hopefully you saw something you liked and if you see fit, will patronize that shop. In my opinion, it’s where your dollar goes the farthest. Just saying.