The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown has seen almost all businesses shut up shop for the past eight weeks.
Small businesses are some of the hardest hit, though. Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a scheme of £330bn to help big and small businesses survive the upheaval – which is equivalent to £5,000 for every person in the country – with a further £20bn available in the form of grants and tax breaks.
But aside from the government’s help, these small brands will still need support in other forms. Ways you can do this include shopping locally, buying gift cards, leaving good reviews on their social media pages and taking part in their online classes.
Instagram recently launched a new sticker, which says “support small business”. The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, posted it on his own account, in an effort to do just that.
Users are being encouraged to tag their favourite independent brands in order to help boost their sales.
Ahead we’ve picked 10 of our favourite to support today, from skincare to children’s books to hair accessories and everything in between.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
A floral design studio and dried flower shop based in Clerkenwell, London, Fluoresse is the brainchild of Jess Runcima.
From self-indulgent pastel bouquets to the perfect gift for a loved one, all of its flowers are bursting with colour and will brighten up any room you decorate them in.
Runciman, came to floristry after a 12-year career in fashion and she sources most of her dry flowers from New Covent Garden Market and dries and spray paints others herself.
We tried the Rainbow dry DIY box (Fluoresse, £35) for our Indybest review of dried flowers.
Filled with foliage and grasses alongside a pink envelope containing twine and colourful ribbon, the mixed boxes, which also come in pinks and neutrals, are for people to get creative and make their own dried flower arrangement at home.
It’s the ideal lockdown activity that we found fun and relaxing. If you need a bit of guidance, Jess includes an A4 sheet of her expert tips.
Candle company Earl of East makes deliciously scented home fragrances and prior to lockdown, hosted regular candle-making workshops.
While we’re all indoors, it has since created candle-making kits (Earl of East, £45) for you to do at home, from four different scents; woody, floral, fresh and oriental, while following along with an Earl of East expert via a zoom workshop.
It also just launched a trio of scented candles for £45, in collaboration with Uncommon Creative Studio called Scents of Normality. Each one captures the essence of the places we’re missing most during lockdown, such as The Local, The Cinema and The Festival.
We’re sure it’ll evoke fond memories of period summers spent with family and friends.
Each candle in the new collection has been designed with illustrators across the globe and all products from them are being donated to Hospitality Action‘s industry-wide appeal to support UK hospitality workers impacted by the coronavirus.
Oil-based beauty brand Neighbourhood Botanicals not only have a luxurious line up of face, hair and body products but also create sustainable toiletries from bamboo toothbrushes to zero-waste, reusable bamboo makeup remover pads.
If you’re new to it, try the Konjac sponge (Neighbourhood Botanicals, £7.50) made from natural root vegetable fibre.
Soak it for a minute in warm water and it will transform into a daily exfoliating sponge that will slough of dead skin cells and leave skin brighter and smoother.
It’s also a good compromise if you’ve overdone it on the skincare acids lately, but still want to fight blackheads. Find out more about acids in our skincare glossary here.
Visit Neighbourhood Botanicals now
If you’ve lived in a permanent messy bun since lockdown or are constantly trying to tame a head of voluminous curls, Tortware has the most beautiful hair clips, combs, scrunchies and slides to treat yourself to.
Founded in 2019 by Mona Ghafoori, each clip is named after powerful women in her life and there’s lots of designs to shop from in timeless tortoiseshell to colourful iridescent print.
We love the Elva comb in peach lavender (Tortware, £24) that will help keep flyaways and stray hairs at bay when you brush your hair each day and will make a stunning desk-side accessory.
Based in Devon, Letterfest, creates personalised books, prints and illustrations that make the perfect present if you’re celebrating a new parent or birthday while in lockdown.
Its personalised children’s books are a lovely way to make story time unique and encourage them to develop their reading skills.
Suitable as a keepsake for a new baby or to go on the bookshelf of a young child, and the Reasons I love Dad children’s book (Letterfest, £21) would make a great Father’s Day gift (which is 21 June, FYI).
Demi-fine jewellery brand, Stellar 79, is home to delicate layering accessories, specialising in nine and 18 karat gold vermeil jewellery with gemstones.
Created by sisters Natasha and Sheena, each piece is a result of their Trinidadian and Mauritian heritage and love of jewellery.
The contemporary designs feature a mix of precious and semi-precious stones, sourced and made ethically by artisans in Jaipur, India.
On our shopping list is the Soleil white topaz disc ring (Stellar 79, £165) that we can’t wait to wear once lockdown lifts.
Lingerie brand Dora Larsen was founded in 2016 by Georgia Larsen who wanted to create fashionable bras that didn’t have to compromise on comfort.
The result is colourful sets and two pieces in neon lace and sheer detailing in high-waisted knickers and soft cup bodies and bras that can be worn every day.
It’s got an eco-friendly edge too, it uses OEKO-TEX fabrics, which means they’re made without chemicals that can be harmful to the environment, while all of its paper packagings is made from 100 per cent recycled materials and any plastic packaging is fully compostable.
The Evie high apex underwire bra (Dora Larsen, £56) is our favourite, designed in a pretty lemon yellow, pastel pink and deep purple mix.
If you’re looking for the finishing touch to add to a newly decorated home or want to revamp your existing interiors, Creative and Contemporary offers a wide range of personalised, handmade decorations for you home and office.
We’d suggest the Hello little one birth print (Creative and Contemporary, £7.50) if you’re looking to treat new parents with something that’ll look right at home in a nursery.
It also makes beautiful wedding stationery, signs and personalised hen bags that you can use for your upcoming nuptials that will be completely unique. There’s also huge range of party decorations, so you can still celebrate milestones, even if it’s over a zoom call with your family and friends.
Visit Creative and Contemporary now
What started as frustration with the difficulty in finding high-quality, but non-frumpy flat shoes, transformed into a contemporary womenswear label by founder Katie Matilda Cary.
Serving up brogues with a side of sass, so says Rogue Matilda, you’ll find playful flats designed to be the focus of your outfit. Expect feathers, pompoms, velvet and python-skin leather.
Each shoe is handmade in a small, family-run factory in Porto, Portugal and we’ve got our eye on Bonbon (Rogue Matilda, £159), a suede pastel pink brogue with quirky spots and interchangeable laces.
Alongside its footwear, Rogue Matilda has also branched out into accessories too, creating a range of colourful arm candy to match your shoes.
The Create your own gift box (Bookblock, from £5) service from Bookblock is a thoughtful gift to send someone you know who may be struggling in lockdown.
You can personalise every detail from the box colour to its contents, which you can fill with more than 400 of its products, ranging from notebooks, tote bags, jewellery, skincare and chocolates.
Items are individually priced from £5 to £38 so you can splurge as much as you want or keep within a budget if need be.
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The best gift guide for parents, newborns and baby showers
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