Where to Shop Small this Valentine's

This Valentine’s Day I’m on a quest to shop small, independent and local. I feel like it’s so much more beneficial to the local community when we spend our money on something that a small and independent maker has carefully designed and made. Here are my 5 main reasons for choosing to shop small, local and independent this Valentine’s Day:

  1. I can choose exactly who and where my money goes to.

  2. I know where the product’s been made and that it hasn’t been mass produced and shipped half way round the planet.

  3. What I’ve bought has been carefully designed and hand crafted by a talented maker.

  4. There’s a story behind each small business, and what they make and why.

  5. The sale has impacted an individual person or small team and that may even have leapt in the air when the sale come through.

Working at local creative markets and going to Brighton Etsy meet ups, I’ve got the chance to meet inspiring local creative people. In this blog post I’ve collected 6 of these makers and designers together to make a virtual Valentine’s market for you to wander around and peruse. I’m sorry there’s no virtual coffee shop invented yet but I suppose you can make yourself a cuppa, sit down and enjoy some small and independent shopping.

So, if you’re up for shopping local this Valentine’s Day and you too would like to join the shopping small quest, then below are some fabulous local Brighton makers to go and check out. Each shop name is a link which takes you to that maker’s shop so you can head over to them for a browse. The link should open in a new tab so you can come back to this post easily and continue your browsing. The makers below have either their own online shop or Etsy shop and can sometimes be found at local makers markets so it’s worth looking on their Instagrams or websites to find out if you can also buy from them in person.

Sarah designs and creates hilarious prints and teatowels with collections of mischievous puns and illustrations. Whenever I’ve seen Sarah’s work at local markets it always brings me joy to have a look at what ingenious pun she’s come up with next. I got my friend a Tits print (top left photo) for her birthday last year and it went down an absolute treat. You can shop the Sarah Edmonds collection on Etsy here.

I was at the Brighton Etsy market at the Dome when I first got to see Brighton Lace’s stall of beautifully arranged lingerie. I love the colours that they choose to work with. Lou at Brighton Lace told me all about the process they go through to make their lingerie:

Here at Brighton Lace we make beautiful lace lingerie from the finest English laces. The whole process from lace sourcing to dyeing, designing and making happens here in Brighton, by our 3 women team. Every collection we make is limited edition. Since there are no remaining lace manufacturers left in the UK we buy up beautiful laces when we find them and once they run out we move onto something new! Our current vintage-inspired collection includes soft shapes that celebrate a woman's natural body. With a focus on beautifully-crafted strappy bralettes and high waisted knickers, our AW18-19 collection is all about smokey purples, charcoal and rose red tones. We are inspired by the stunning nature around us here in Sussex, particularly the soft tones of England’s seasonal blooms. 

I love how they use beautiful lace when then find it and then when it’s gone it’s gone.

Shop the Brighton Lace collection here.

Laura Danby

Laura designs lovely cards, prints, homeware and gifts. She started her handmade business in 2016 when she realised her hobby was becoming more than that. I got to spend a weekend hanging with Laura when we were put next to each other at the Fairytale Fair market. We had a great time nattering and keeping warm with lots of hot drinks. I particularly love Laura’s gin and tonic collection which comes in a card, print and pin. I’m sure we’ve all got someone who’s the gin to our tonic (top left photo, just below).

Shop Laura’s beautiful range here.

Hyde Wares

Jonathan creates gorgeous handmade leather products locally and I was next door to him at a local Brighton Christmas market a couple of years ago. I got to see all of his handcrafted leather products close up and they’re such a beautiful quality. A great idea for a long lasting and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift. Jonathan discovered the art of leather crafting whilst living in Portugal:

Hyde Wares was born from an urge to slow down, to design and make a range of leather items that would stand the test of time and grow with the owner. 

Shop the Hyde Wares collection here.

Chris Millard Creative

Chris is so great at drawing, especially animals, and his work’s perfect if you’d like a bespoke illustration for Valentine’s Day of your pet or your wedding venue. Chris’s work also includes a beautiful range of gifts featuring his original watercolour animal illustrations. The collection includes cushions, prints and mugs. Alongside his bespoke gift illustrations which are the perfect personalised gifts for the ones you love.

Browse Chris’s collection here on Etsy.

Pork Chops Paper Cuts

Firstly, I love the name of Ben’s creative business, secondly he has an amazing dog who I got to meet at an Etsy meeting and thirdly, he’s so good at cutting paper! He’s inspired by living and working in Brighton and creates Original Paper Cut Artwork, Laser Cuts, Art Prints, Handmade Notebooks, Greetings cards and other Paper Goods.

Take a look at Pork Chops Paper Cuts here on Etsy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your meandering stroll through this virtual Valentine’s Day market. There are so many beautifully made products with so much thought behind them. Whilst I was looking through everyone’s Etsy shops I realised that there were so many 5* reviews for all of these makers. It goes to show that shopping small and independent means there’s so much more to the service than a quick scan at the checkout and someone asking if you want a 5p plastic bag. You get carefully packaged products, amazing customer service and you can find out the story and journey behind the item you’ve chosen.

I would love to know if you go on to buy any goodies from this selection of amazing creatives. Are there any small, local and independent makers whose products you love? Or are you a maker yourself? I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at alex@webbandfarrer.co.uk or drop me a DM here on Instagram.