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As local lockdowns continue, here's the 15 small businesses to support right now

More than ever, independent brands need your help, so here are some of our favourites

Louise Whitbread
Sunday 18 October 2020 18:25
The coronavirus pandemic is putting a huge strain on small brands
The coronavirus pandemic is putting a huge strain on small brands

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on small businesses across the UK. 

Many were forced to shut up shop completely at the start of the national lockdown back in March, and months of uncertainty followed. 

Now, as cases are sharply rising and a three-tier lockdown system has been introduced, the hard times are still ongoing for small shops.

With a difficult winter ahead, chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a coronavirus “bounce back loan” in September, allowing small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25 per cent of their turnover.

In Sunak’s winter economy plan, it was announced that the length of these loans will be extended from six years to ten, which will cut monthly repayments by half and have an interest-only period of up to six months.

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.

Ahead we've picked 15 of our favourites 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.

Hand-poured in London, these candles are so pretty you won’t want to burn them. Available to shop via its website or Instagram page, it’s a new business, having only been set up in August. 

From bubble cubes to carousels, the soy wax candles with clean cotton wicks are intricate designs that double up as beautiful home decor too. 

Brighten up a mantel piece with these pastel candles

One we’ve had our eye on is this shell candle (Pastel Palette Candle, £8.50), that comes in blue, yellow, purple, pink, green, white and beige. 

Visit Pastel Palette Candle now 

Based in Harrogate, Bonum Pellis (Latin for good skin) is a lifestyle brand and brainchild of Timothy Bosworth, who has carefully curated apparel, hand and body care products that are all gender-neutral.

He was inspired by his wife and sister-in-law, who worked for brands including Mac, Creme Da La Mer, Tom Ford, Murad Skincare and Neom Organics London. 

With the extra hand-washing needed, this duo adds a little luxury

With a small but simple range, we’ve got our eye on the neroli and mandarin hydrating hand duo (Bonum Pellis, £38) an elevated set of everyday essentials. This would make a lovely gift, especially given how important hand washing is during a pandemic.

Sweetly scented, the hand wash and cream are both are made without artificial colours or fragrances, and are housed 200ml or 500ml flat rectangular glass bottles that can easily be refilled and recycled, with a 100 per cent recyclable dispensing eco pumps.

Visit Bonum Pellis now

These hand-painted pots are perfect for any plant lovers or those looking to upgrade their interiors with small but colourful additions.

Designed and decorated in Bristol, the brand also supports other small businesses by shopping locally for its paints and plants, as well as having its website designed by a local business in the city.

All the pots are handmade and hand painted

You can buy the pots online or have a customised piece made. They all have a slightly matte eggshell finish with abstract lines and shapes that are a mix of minimalism and colour. 

This mini mustard muse (House of Botanee, £4) is an inexpensive way to do up your windowsill and invite the outdoors in with a potted cactus. We love the mix of mustard and pale blue hues.

Visit House of Botanee now

This small brand, created by Natasha Fernandes Anjo, only uses leftover or vintage fabrics to create furoshiki bags, scrunchies, silk masks and headscarfs, inspired by the Japanese wrapping technique.

It's an eco-friendly way of using cloth fabric to wrap gifts, food, clothes and other goods without the use of plastic sellotape or label tags.

Wrap this round a messy bun for a colourful up-do

Each piece is handmade by the founder, so with every purchase, you're getting a one-of-a-kind item you won't find elsewhere. 

From gingham to abstract florals, you’re spoilt for choice, although we love this Melissa scrunchie in mint and pistachio ombre (Roop, £15) that’s a statement piece for any hairstyle.

Visit Roop now

This make-up brand creates cosmetic emulsions that can be used to mix custom foundation shades, eyeliner, mascara, blush, lipstick, you name it.

All with a matte finish, each one comes packaged in an aluminium tube with an accompanying tray to mix any of the 20 colours together, ranging from neon blue to a brilliant red. You can wear them on their own or mix with a face oil for a sheer look instead.

Vegan, sustainably made, these tubes offer endless possibilities with your make-up

A plastic-free and non-gendered approach to beauty, it was founded by friends Victoria Feebery and Alice Rhodes who have a background in the beauty industry with the intention to streamline your make-up bag, while inspiring everyone and anyone to get creative.

We’d recommend picking up a the starter kit 1 (Depixym, £42.20) that comes with three colours; a black, ruby red and a warm, dark brown, perfect for feline flicked eyeliner, long black lashes and a bright red lip. 

The brand is donating a third of proceeds from every starter kit sold to Shelter, a homeless charity. 

Visit Depixym now

Founded by Sophie Thompson, Sister & Co is a body care brand that only uses sustainably sourced natural ingredients that are all organic and cruelty-free. 

It wants to make soaking in the tub a luxurious but not eye-wateringly expensive affair, and as we head towards winter, we can’t think of anything better than a long, hot bath. 

Massage into skin for smoother, softer limbs

Pick up a bottle of its Myrtle body oil (Sister & Co, £20) to keep skin super soft when you step out the bath. It’s a heady mix of eucalyptus, citrus and peppermint that will have you smelling sumptuous all day.

Visit Sister & Co now

A floral design studio and dried flower shop based in Clerkenwell, London, Fluoresse is the brainchild of Jess Runcima.

From pastel bouquets to bright rainbow blooms, 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  which are sadly now sold out. 

Bold, bright and beautiful, this bunch will put a smile on someone’s face

However, The summer is over bouquet (Fluoresse, £35) is an autumnal ready-made bunch with dahlias,  roses,  anthuriums, amaranthus and  dianthus. 

They’ll brighten up a room and make the perfect birthday gift for a loved one. 

Visit Fluoresse now

Oil-based beauty brand Neighbourhood Botanicals not only has a luxurious line-up of face, hair and body products, but it also creates sustainable toiletries, from bamboo toothbrushes to reusable make-up remover pads.

If you’re new to it, try the Konjac sponge (Neighbourhood Botanicals, £7.50) made from natural root vegetable fibre.

The sponge is made from root vegetable fibres

Soak it for a minute in warm water and it will transform into a daily exfoliating sponge that will slough away 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.

Each piece is name after a powerful woman in the founder's life

Founded last year by Mona Ghafoori, each clip is named after a powerful woman in her life and there’s lots of designs to shop, from timeless tortoiseshell to colourful iridescent print.

We love the Joan clip in lavender punch (Tortware, £26) that will help keep flyaways and stray hairs at bay for a stylish up-do.

Visit Tortware now

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.

Sending post has become one of the best ways to connect with friends and family in lockdown

Suitable as a keepsake for a new baby or to go on the bookshelf of a young child, and the personalised little ghost Halloween story book (Letterfest, £19.95) would make a great gift to make up for the lack of trick or treating this year. 

Visit Letterfest now

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.

Stones are ethically sourced from India

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 Wonder ring (Stellar 79, £225) that we can’t wait to layer with other pieces in our jewellery box. If there was ever a time to treat yourself, it’s now.

Visit Stellar 79 now

Lingerie brand Dora Larsen was founded in 2016 by Georgia Larsen who wanted to create fashionable bras that don’t compromise on comfort.

The result is colourful sets and two pieces in neon lace with sheer detailing. From high-waisted knickers and soft cup bodies and bras, these pieces can be worn every day.

With comfort at it’s core, these pieces have beautiful colourways and the brand is environmentally friendly, too

It’s got an eco-friendly edge too, as it uses OEKO-TEX fabrics, which means they’re made without chemicals that can be harmful to the environment, while all of its paper packaging is made from 100 per cent recycled materials and any plastic packaging is fully compostable.

The Ivy Underwired Body (Dora Larsen, £80) is our favourite, designed in a silk microfibre, with peacock, sea green and dusty rose contrasting lace.

Visit Dora Larsen now

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.

(Creative and Contemporary

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.

Each pair are handmade in a family-run factory in Porto

Alongside its footwear, Rogue Matilda has also branched out into accessories too, creating a range of colourful arm candy to match your shoes.

Visit Rogue Matilda now

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.

There's more than 400 prodcuts to choose from

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.

Visit Bookblock now

For more lockdown ideas, read our guide on everything you need to be a star baker, according to previous Bake Off contestants

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