Consider Shopping Small for the Holidays – Your Ultimate Indie Gift Guide

I felt like the second Thanksgiving ended, my inbox exploded with offers and sales from every brand I’ve ever encountered. The season of giving… and getting… seemed to hit me full force this year. I’m not writing this to shame a culture of consumption, there are enough articles like that out there, trust me. I bought most of the people on my list their gifts from the comfort of my couch while watching 90 Day Fiancé. What I do want to talk about is shopping small, because where you spend your money matters, and being conscious of this can make this season so much better. My mentality is that during the holidays, I’ll be spending that money anyway, I might as well make it count. 

I am of the school of thought that conscious consumerism is possible. When you purchase from a small business, you are supporting a person, their family, and their dream that they have worked hard for. Getting to know indies in an intimate way since starting Indie Mood has taught me just how much these people grind to make their visions a reality. The other side of this coin is also positive – you get to give gifts that are completely unique and personal. 

If anyone in your list would love anything makeup or beauty related, there is an endless variety of options to choose from. You also have the ability to get people on your list something that fits their specific niche, hobby, or interest, because there is probably an Indie Brand out there making something that fits that. Do you have a friend that loves vampires? The Nox Palette from Baby Bat Beauty is perfect for them. Do they like Game of Thrones? Sucreabeille has an entire collection of GOT inspired perfumes. Maybe they’re into retro gaming; Kraken Cosmetics creates beautiful video game inspired makeup and the Geekpothecary is everyone’s favorite nerdy bath and body shop. If your friend is a horror fan like me, Sick Wix has the most amazing and funny horror inspired candles and home fragrances.  With some effort and research, you can find the most perfect gift for pretty much everyone on your list. If you’re unsure about makeup or fragrance preferences, it’s harder to go wrong with bath and body products.  Check out our instagram, @theindiemood , where we post tons of new releases and info on Indie Beauty Brands to learn more. 

Look I did with the Baby Bat Beauty Nox palette

Maybe you have a fashion lover on your list. Indie and Second Hand Fashion has become an obsession of mine over the past year, because in 2019 I took on the challenge to not buy any new clothing unless it was handmade by a small business. After this year, I can assure you that slow made clothing is more unique, longer lasting, higher quality, and just overall better than mass produced fast fashion. If you’re unfamiliar with the term Fast Fashion, it’s referring to brands that cheaply mass produce clothing in factories outside of the US so they can use underpaid laborers that work in awful conditions. This has created a culture where we quickly cycle through and dispose of our clothing, which in turn has resulted in a massive amount of waste along with the carbon footprint the production and transit creates. Small businesses that hand make their clothing in the US often use the term Slow Fashion to describe themselves. This switch can be challenging because slow fashion is often more expensive to give the makers a fair wage to support their business. I’m on a very tight budget, so what this transition was like for me was paring down my wardrobe and not buying new clothes as often. I now live by the ‘having less clothes that last longer and never go out of style’ model rather than the more popular ‘buy tons of cheap clothes and throw them out when they’re no longer in style’. There are so many beautiful handmade fashion brands that will be a unique and special gift. If you’re looking for a more alternative style, a favorite of mine is London based brand Love Too True – they have original tartan fabrics that they hand make to order in a variety of styles and sizes, from dungarees to dresses. Noctex is also a brand that makes more alternative, post apocalyptic style clothing that is awesome for layering. Unearth Nature is a favorite of Giulia’s favorite slow fashion brands that specializes in hand embroidered clothing. For those that love linen, Linen Fox is another one of Giulia’s favorite clothing brands.  

Me wearing the love too true salem dress

I’ve also become a fan of secondhand and consignment clothing. It may seem strange to get someone else a second hand gift, but some of the most unique and high end pieces in my wardrobe are consigned. I happen to love designer fashion, have worked doing makeup for fashion week in NYC, and keep up with new seasonal shows from my favorite designers. I am so far from being able to afford designer clothing or accessories, so until I discovered consignment and thrifting, I didn’t even consider it. I’ve found a navy blue embroidered sweater from Alexander McQueen for under $50, a mesh black dress from the 2016 Alexander McQueen (guess who my favorite designer is)  runway collection for under $100, and Rebecca Minkoff buckle ballet flats for $40. I’m also lucky to live in a city that has tons of sample sales, and I made out like a bandit at the recent Rent the Runway sample sale. If you have someone on your list that loves a specific designer or has been looking for a specific piece, scouring sites like The Real Real and Tradesy can lead you to an amazing deal and an unforgettable (and zero waste) gift for the holidays. 

A Kate Spade dress I found second hand at a sample sale – perfect for work! Sorry for the bathroom pic – I need a better mirror in my house for outfit pics. 

Hopefully this gave you some helpful ideas to do your holiday shopping in a more conscious manner than you have in the past. You can shop for the most specific niches and interested, even for brands that donate to a cause that the person receiving the gift is passionate about. This way you can give someone a beautiful and memorable gift while also reducing your environmental impact and supporting a small business. Triple win! 

There is only one affiliate link in this article, the Baby Bat Beauty one. The rest are there for your convenience. I have no partnership with any of these brands, I chose them because they’re my favorites. Check out more indie beauty content at or on instagram @theindiemood ! 

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