Innovation and enterprise blog

01 December 2020

Support small businesses this Christmas

As 2020 draws to a close, we are taking the opportunity to celebrate and support small businesses. And what better opportunity than gift-giving during the festive period? We've rounded up just a selection of businesses who have taken part in Innovating for Growth, Start-ups in London Libraries or used our National Network who may just be able to help you find the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person!

Keep glowing

Pamoja skincare

Healthy, glowing skin and a moment of calm. Pamoja® is a conscious skincare brand based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Sarah Taylor, a trained skincare formulator, has created a simple daily skincare routine designed to help multitasking women step back from the stress of a busy, modern lifestyle and care for their skin with premium natural and ethically sourced ingredients, beautiful textures and aromas that leave you feeling radiant and relaxed. Certified cruelty free. Vegan. Palm oil free.

Cost: From £10

Where to buy: Pamoja

This is your life

Autodotbiography hardcover book

Turn your past into a Christmas present. Autodotbiography is an online system that makes it easy for anyone, no matter how good or bad at writing, to create a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated hardback book of their life story for their family. Basically, it is a virtual ghost writer and virtual book designer, all the author has to do is answer simple questions about their life and add photographs and documents and autodotbiography turns their words and pictures into a beautiful book. A perfect present that becomes a family heirloom.

Cost: £250 (for a year's access to the online system and one hardback book)

Where to buy: Autodotbiography.

Treat yourself

Evolve's bio-retinol Gold Mask Lights in glass jar

Evolve Beauty products are lovingly handmade in small batches at their studio in Hertfordshire, England to ensure the freshness of the precious antioxidants in the natural oils, butters and extracts. Our products are vegan, cruelty free and eco-friendly.

Evolve's glamorous, golden Bio-Retinol Gold Mask delivers the benefits of retinol without the irritation, and it does this by containing a natural, retinol-like plant extract from Bidens Pilosa that works on the skin to deliver the same rejuvenation benefits and cellular renewal but without the added irritation that some retinol based products can cause. It also contains Rosehip Oil and Argan Oil making it rich in omega 3 and 6 which help to nourish and moisturise, leaving you with glowing skin. The golden shimmers come from sustainably sourced mineral Mica, so it makes for an extremely luxurious face mask!

Cost: £26

Where to buy: Evolve

Keep warm, dry and cosy

Warm accesories including throws, umbrellas, picnic blankets and beauty products

So very British, my dear! Heating & Plumbing London creates British lifestyle accessories to keep you warm, dry and cosy. Heating & Plumbing love being tongue-in-cheek with everything they do, including their name!

Cost: Various but get 15% off sitewide with code: SoVeryBritishLibrary (valid until Thursday 31 December 2020)

Where to buy: Heating & Plumbing London

Fine prints

Alan's book on an open page showing a photograph of a tree

On 3 May 2016, an evacuation put 80,000 residents onto Fort McMurray, a sole access road without notice. What followed was a new form of hyper energised anthropogenic fire that burnt uncontrollably through their settlement and industry over three days. These pictures were made along that road as the region recovered six months afterward. On The Line is made from recycled coffee cups and EU Ecolable Certified paper from the Scandinavian Boreal Forest and the ink is 100% plant based by Park Communications, London. Photographs and words by Alan McFetridge. Available at Whitechapel Gallery, The Photographer’s Gallery and Clair De Rouen Books in London.

Cost: Book, £16.50. Framed limited edition prints, from £750

Where to buy: Alan McFetridge

Children's gift bundles

Lemon Ribbon backpacks

Lemon Ribbon is an inspirational contemporary youth brand sparkling with energy and originality. Based around a series of characters, they have used their background of designing for international childrenswear retailers to create a world of cheerful education encompassing both an online world and physical products such as toys, books, accessories and other educational products. Their online shop sells exclusive toy and backpack bundles, comprising of zipped backpack, pencil case and small plush toy, that make ideal Christmas presents for children aged 4 - 7. The bundles arrive wrapped in tissue paper and can include a personalised gift note. 

Cost: £40 + get a free pack of cards with code: BLCARDS (valid until 24.12.20, not valid in conjunction with any other offer)

Where to buy: Lemon Ribbon

Toe-gether at Christmas

Gil, co-founder of ChattyFeet holding up one of his designs

Socks are guaranteed to appear as gifts on Christmas Day for someone, luckily for you, we have something a little bit different... ChattyFeet, a funny gift brand that inspires people to get silly with illustrated sock characters, paper models, mugs, enamel pins and more. 

Cost: Adult socks from £8

Where to buy: ChattyFeet

For the foodie

Row of vinegar bottles

Based on age old traditions, The Slow Vinegar Company makes small batches of finely crafted vinegars from scratch. By using a traditional double fermentation process, produce is transformed slowly into unique tasting wine vinegar. All their vinegars are aged and matured to allow further depth and complexity of flavour to develop.

The Slow Vinegar Company uses seasonal fruits, roots, berries and blossoms; grown, foraged or picked from local farms to make their delicious range of 12 exciting flavours. All of their vinegars are raw, unpasteurised, vegan friendly, gluten and preservative free, and packed full of natural goodness. Perfect for all of those festive dishes!

Cost: From £4

Where to buy: The Slow Vinegar Company

For the crafter

Kate and Rachel The Fold Line Sewing Community About Us

Treat a friend or a crafty loved one to a Fold Line gift voucher and give them the gift of choice! If you’re not sure about their handmade style, a e-gift voucher will let them choose from hundreds of sewing patterns on the Fold Line's online shop.

Cost: Gift vouchers can come in the amount of your choice

Where to buy: The Fold Line

And for the craft beer lovers...

Indiebeer Personalised Beer Box

indiebeer has a great range of Christmas gift products on their website, including subscription services to last your beer-loving friend the whole year. An ideal present to wrap up under the tree would be their personalised beer box. You choose your budget and the indiebeer team will put together a box of beers for you based on our personal recommendations, whatever your budget. All boxes include a beer menu with descriptions of each beer and a gift note can be included if required.

Cost: Budgets from £20

Where to buy: indiebeer

Let it 'stow

Let it Stow Christmas Hamper

Kitchen Canvas is part of our Waltham Forest Start-ups in London Libraries' community and they are representing all things Walthamstow which this delectable hamper. The purchase of one hamper allows you to support 10 local businesses. Let someone else do the hard work of curating your gifts for you with this beautiful box of goodies. 

Cost: £52

Where to buy: Kitchen Canvas

A mug of cheer

Santa's Sleigh mug

Victoria Eggs creates playful homewares and gifts, all of which are proudly made in Britain. Her Santa's Sleigh Mug is a beautiful stocking filler gift. With an image of Santa flying his sleigh over a snowy picturesque English town as people below go about their last minute preparations unaware of the magic happening above them, this fine bone china mug is certain to make you smile whilst enjoying your cuppa on Christmas morning. This mug is hand decorated in Britain and printed onto fine bone china.

Cost: £12. Customers can get 10% off all orders over £35 by entering the code BL2020.

Where to buy: Victoria Eggs

Couture combating climate change

Climate Stripes Scarf from Tammam

Tammam is a sustainable couture fashion studio now offering an exclusive collection of ready-to-wear and accessories to support textile artisans in India. These beautiful scarves are available in organic cotton or peace silk and production of them has helped artisans survive lockdown. The scarves have been woven in the climate stripes (Professor Ed Hawkins, university of Reading) - the scale which depicts the rise of global temperatures over the last 170 years. Not only are these scarves 100% biodegradable, fair trade and carbon neutral in production (all the weaving has been created by hand on traditional looms, using human power), they also hold a message - a reminder of the very real issue of climate change. They're a little piece of couture luxury, delivered.

Cost: £30 to £180 with delivery included

Where to buy: Tammam Climate Stripes Couture Collection

Gift them some get up and go

Haven

HAVEN sells coffee with the aim of raising awareness for refugee communities across the UK, from promoting refugee artists to organising events both visual and performing art, as well as providing barista training to those refugees who are looking to build a new professional life for themselves. They have rolled out a range of festive gifts this year including packages that include bags of coffee and branded totes and T-shirts. Or how about a monthly coffee subscription

Cost: From £22

Where to buy: HAVEN Coffee

Feline festivities

Cat at Longcroft Hotel

And we all know Christmas isn't just for the humans. Treat your furry friend with an upgraded stay at Longcroft’s award winning group of cat hotels.

Kitties can celebrate in style by beginning the big day with a carefully chosen hamper full of toys and goodies. Guests that are allowed will also enjoy a hand prepared breakfast with choices from the hotel’s ‘A La Cat’ Menu. Because Longcroft hotels are located within the hotel owners home gardens they can have a welcome break from the kitchen and enjoy cuddles and play sessions with their guests.  The afternoon can be spent relaxing from the comfort of their suites whilst sinking into the finest pillows for a cat nap. Every hotel owner is hand picked and trained by Longcroft founder Abi Purser and her team of experts including Head Vet Chris.

Cost: From £18 per day

Where to buy: Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel Group

Don't get tied up in knots

Norio Knots necklaces in different colours

Norio Knots offer eco-friendly woven cotton statement necklaces and accessories, and was born after one throwaway purchase too many. This is sustainable fashion, built to last. Each Norio Knots piece is made from 100% recycled cotton, and made to order. They are also a finalist in Kirstie's Handmade Christmas and, as far as we're concerned, if it's good enough for Kirstie....

Cost: From £7

Where to buy: Norio Knots

For the fitness fanatic

BOXD Protein

Start-ups in London Libraries business, BOXD, have a special edition Healthy Christmas box on offer throughout December which includes a month's supply of their protein based health shakes, as well as some extra goodies to help you glow throughout the Winter months. 

Cost: £25,99

Where to buy: Christmas BOXD

And for those who love to kick back on two wheels

SaddleDrunk Gilet

The Sormano Cycling Gilet is an essential garment for cycling lovers. The gilet is super light and compact to store in pockets with its own in-built pouch. The Gilet is made in Italy by Cyclists for Cyclists. Extra features included zipped hidden pocket for valuable and reflective tab to increase safety during the hours of darkness.

Cost: £46

Where to buy: SaddleDrunk

Spread some sweetness

Bushwood Bees gift box

Bushwood Bees have colonies of bees on the roof of the East London Mosque and create delectable honey-based products. Show someone how much you care by sending them a lovely gift box of raw, pure honey and a lovely lavender hand made bar of honey soap. You can add a personalised message to make it extra special.

Cost: £15 collected or delivery for an extra £2.95

Where to buy: Bushwood Bees

All that glitters

Delmora pendant necklace

Buy high quality but affordable jewellery for your friends and family this year. Delmora, part of our Start-ups in London Libraries community in Bexley, sells pendants in a wide variety of different shapes and finishes. 

Cost: From £8.90

Where to buy: Delmora Etsy

Make mealtimes fun

The Wood Life Project reindeer wooden plate

Looking for a fun way to serve Christmas dinner, or is it difficult to get the little ones to eat their greens? The Wood Life Project's reindeer plate is made in the UK from sustainably grown and harvested wood from the UK. Free personalisation and P&P.

Cost: £35 (mult-buy discounts available)

Where to buy: The Wood Life Project

All wrapped up

Anike Titilai

Grace, the founder of Anike Titilai designs handcrafted jewellery created using semi-precious crystals, including obsidian and yellow jade with gold vermeil accents to finish. Bespoke pieces can also be made to suit customer requirements so contact Grace if there is anything that you would like but cannot find on our website. The range includes waistbeads, ankle bracelets, bracelets, necklaces and rings.

Cost: From £40

Where to buy: Anike Titilai

Put your best foot forward

Finale Shoes ankle boot

Finale is an award winning family run shoe shop in Corbridge, Northumberland. Run by mother and daughter duo Lynn and Faye Clark, who source fabulous boots, shoes, handbags and accessories from around the globe for their shop and website, its shopping how it should be with excellent customer service and great product knowledge.

Cost: Various. Gift vouchers available from £10

Where to buy: Finale

Feeling retro

Obble Bobble hair bobbles

Inspired by growing up in the 1970s and 80s, Louise started Obble Bobble for her daughter, Phoebe, and her crazy, long hair. Obble Bobble hair bobbles are made by hand in Northamptonshire. Not only are they retro cool, they are designed to be super strong yet gentle on hair.

Cost: £4.99

Where to buy: Etsy