Today is the Saturday following Thanksgiving, also known as Small Business Saturday, which I’m pretty sure is a holiday invented by American Express as a marketing campaign to get you to spend more money, but whatevs, I’m in. I’m so in. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I do my best to make sure small stores are a part of my Christmas shopping. No offense Black Friday people – you go and get your 4am television set – I’ll be here chillin’ out eating doughnuts and quietly chatting with my neighbors at a local boutique, being cute and thankful we don’t ever have to battle a stranger in a store aisle for a television at 4am. This makes all of us winners by default. Hayo!
Given the occasion, I wanted to take a moment to profile one of my favorite locals stores, my neighbors at Stumble & Relish.
Stumble & Relish is a gift shop, but I hesitate to call them that because you won’t want to give away what you buy. But for Christmas – the season of giving – you can get it together and give it away. Maybe.
When you walk in door you are greeted by a swarm of twinkling lights, sparkly trinkets, and you don’t even know where to start. I start at the purses because duh IT’S PURSES.
One of the neat things about this store is they go out of their way to carry stock from independent designers, like these purses below, handmade made from a small circle of artisans in Detroit. You won’t find these in a big box store…
Even more awesome than the handbags, the sparkle tooth situation in here in unreal. They sell a lot of incredible items at Stumble & relish, but one-of-a-kind jewelry is their primary customer favorite. I mean…
That’s Paulette in back. She owns the store with her daughter Jamie who I randomly met last spring when she was up a tree hanging giant potholders. Because, you know, that’s what happens here.
And this is Paulette’s hand. This bird ornament is the cutest thing and it’s handmade from SWEATERS. I know a thing or two about making stuff from sweaters, but this little angel of a bird is so teensy and cute. The artist also made cats. So, you know I like her.
Do you even see the string art up on that wall? Shazam. It’s vintage. Jaime and Paulette have a number of nicely curated vintage items around the store. They do sell the pieces, but the core of their inventory is new. Like the candles all over here. Do you see that green one in the goblet? Let me tell you…
This candle. Pine and Grapefruit. Who even thought of that combo? I don’t know. But it’s delicious as all get out and I bought two to give away but I’m totally keeping them. I might go back and buy more to give away. Or not. I’m nice but I’m not that nice.
Are you even seeing all of this awesomeness? Above – hand crochet metal jewelry. Below – hand embroidered rainbow pug. I don’t even have a pug, but I want one just so I have an excuse to own this pillow. Those rainbow necklaces are teething necklaces. The beads are baby-safe and feel good to chew on. I’m thinking they would be just as fun without the baby, but I’m making a mental note for my next baby shower gift.
Are you familiar with the You Are Beautiful campaign? There are art pieces on billboards all over the world, especially here in Chicago. What an incredible message!
I love the idea of giving these as stocking stuffers, especially to young people. Speaking of Christmas goodies….
So that’s the end of our little tour of the small but mighty, exquisitely beautiful, utterly nifty Stumble & Relish. If you are Evanston (just north of Chicago), stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies. Bonus: you’ll find all sorts of independent stores nearby and scattered around our little not-so-little town. Interested in my Christmas shopping recomendations for Chicago at large? Cool – I got you. And if you aren’t in my area (that’s most of you!), take a moment to consider the small businesses in your town before doing your Christmas shopping. Treasures abound, and shopping local is one of the easiest things we can do to help build strong communities.