10 Innovative Businesses To Support, From Blooms to Books

Instagram: thebouqsco

A hand-picked list for all your needs right now.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already had devastating impacts on so many facets of life, including the small and local businesses that have been so important to many of us. So this week, our Wake-Up Call newsletter (subscribe here!) is shining a spotlight on some of the small companies we love — with a list curated by Samantha Yanks, a marketing and brand strategy executive, and a former editor for Vogue, O The Oprah Magazine, and Hamptons Magazine. Read on…

First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and secure. As we all heed the warning to #StayHome we find ourselves cooking more, shifting our wardrobe, shopping for more casual/comforting pieces and finding joy in simple pleasures such as decorating and, dare I say, organizing. Hopefully, above all else we are finding ways to to support our cherished communities in the process. We will sustain with solidarity. Our self-response is essential.

For me, being of service to my friends has always been of utmost importance. How do I do that now? The outpouring of requests for recommendations of how you can support small businesses helped me figure out what I can do: I can help through the sharing of information.

This, by no means, is a comprehensive list of businesses that are serving the country — rather, it’s an edit of who is top of mind for me today. I promise to continue to post daily ideas on Instagram Stories, and share all of my finds.

Here are some of my suggestions of ways to support our local small businesses. I applaud so many for pivoting. They have modified their businesses by launching shoppable websites, sat tirelessly by the phone to take orders, communicated with customers via text and email and simply figured it out. We can all learn from this.

For a Delicious Brunch: Russ & Daughters, New York City

As a New Yorker, I grew up going to the Lower East Side and shopping at iconic Jewish appetizing shop Russ & Daughters with my grandfather. We bought all of our bagel fixings for holidays and, in our family, for daily consumption. They have been serving smoked fish for four generations and the feeling of warmth and family emanates from there.

That is why it was heartbreaking to hear the stories of Russ & Daughters having to let staff go during Covid-19 for the first time in its 106-year history. While all of its NYC locations are temporarily closed, you can experience a taste of New York nationwide right now with its New York Brunch package.

During this challenging time it has partnered with one of its nearby neighbors, The Brooklyn Hospital Center (which is the oldest public hospital in Brooklyn, founded in 1845). Since the company bakes their bagels in this location and it has the same commitment to heritage — Russ & Daughters was founded in 1914 — there is a kinship. Russ & Daughters is providing individually wrapped meals for their staff.

To Liven Up Your Walls: Artist Kayce Hughes, Tennessee

I discovered Nashville, Tennessee-based artist Kayce Hughes on Instagram. Her primary handle @KayceHughes is approachable, but slightly more formal where the Skidmore-trained artist displays her oil paintings on canvas, watercolors on paper and her drawings and sketches.

The cornflower blue, mint green and buttery neutral palette always soothes me, particularly right now as I happen to be in decorating mode. She sells her pieces framed and unframed, and allows you to send pictures of your spaces to her to help figure out what size, style and aesthetic works for your space.

She sells at 10 small businesses across the south and has another innovative handle: @kayce_hughes_art, where she offers three paintings a day — at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each piece is sold to the first person who comments. The ritual helps motivate her to paint daily.

For Home Inspo: Serena Dugan Studio, California

To be honest, I am nesting. The vast majority of what has been inspiring me right now is twofold: Those who can innovate and beautiful art that I can translate into a new space I am moving into. Yes, I am moving during Covid-19 and it is challenging. Decorating calms me down.

My friend and artist Serena Dugan, co-founder of California home inspired stores Serena & Lily is currently focused on her independent studio, where she creates an eponymous textile line and paintings. From her home base in Sausalito, California, she keeps that Cali-cool aesthetic in her textiles, which I am buying by the bolt to cover pillows, make drapes and upholster headboards with. Her cheery prints in hues of blues, greens, yellows and pinks are mood-lifters no matter what, but undeniably so right now.

To Look Glam on Zoom: Jeweler Jane Winchester, Philadelphia

I have known Philadelphia-based jewelry designer Jane Winchester for many years and she is always my go-to for pieces with meaning. I wear three of her oversized charms on a chain: One is an Aquarius coin, my birth sign; one an oversized Forever charm with a directional compass on the back; and the third, a full heart. The trifecta gets endless compliments, particularly now since they really pop on Zoom video calls. Jane has effusive energy and is super positive. Isn’t that exactly what we need right now? Plus, she makes them all right here in the USA.

For Your At-Home Dining Needs: Fête Home, New York

During a time when it’s hard to differentiate the weekdays from the weekend, one way to change the mundane to magical is with a beautifully set table. Audrey and Jennifer, New York City alums from Bunny Williams, launched Fête Home in 2018. Their mission is to elevate your everyday tabletop with a user-friendly price point.

Their 100% inspirational and shoppable site is filled with pieces that are meant to be used and enjoyed everyday, focusing on chic but dishwasher-safe flatware, glasses, plates, tablecloths and placemats that are easy to wash. Right now their buy-one-get-one-free sale on pillows, linen placemats and napkin sets is the ideal way to refresh your home.

Stay tuned, these two are unstoppable — they are pivoting part of their business and making PPE masks with their new line of exclusive hand-blocked fabrics.

When Shopping At Home: Fashwire, Seattle, Washington

Full disclaimer, I am the Vice President of Global Marketing and Brand Strategy for Fashwire, an innovative app-based marketplace where users shop, swipe to share their feedback on collections and post their personal style on our My Wire feed. It is particularly applicable here, since I joined the company for the very reasons I am discussing in the piece — supporting small businesses.

Fashwire brings together a global community of 250+ fashion designers in 30+ countries. Supporting them is what drives me daily. In keeping with the mission of Fashwire, we have created a global initiative to raise both awareness and needed funds for those in retail who have been impacted by the current pandemic. Fashwire will donate $1 USD of every app download to #RetailersUnited, an industry wide organization Covid-19 relief fund.

Join us on April 30th 2–10 EST as world-renowned DJs from across the globe spin, hear interviews from celebrities and CEO’s about the impact the pandemic has had on them, and listen to heartwarming stories from first responders.

To Create Gallery Walls: Framebridge, Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. is the homebase of Framebridge, a site dedicated to affordably framing your pictures and art with ease. I’ve used their service to create unbelievable memorable gallery walls quickly, and honestly, really inexpensively. I fell in love with the company even more during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have completely shifted their business and are focusing on creating and donating PPE. Their clear film shield masks are made in their factory in Kentucky.

But our demand for framing our memories continues to be met by Framebridge. For Mother’s Day you can upload a personal family photo and they will create a digital version of what your image will look like framed. Since most of us sadly cannot be with our moms this Mother’s Day, I consider this a cool solution. The digital version will be delivered to the recipient via email — and the actual version will be sent when this crisis is over. Consider me sold 100%. Mom, check your inbox on May 10th.

For a Bit of Everything: The Flat, Connecticut

I truly love the town of Westport, Connecticut. It is filled with some of the most magical interior design shops. At the top of that list is The Flat. Owner Becky Goss has changed her walk-in shop to a business solely functioning off of sharing images on Instagram. She sells her substantial pieces on apps 1stDibs and Chairish, but I go to her now to continue my bookcase #shelfie design. She carries the most wonderful collection of coffee table books on interior design, furniture and art, along with vintage bookends and vases to curate dreamy shelves. We all have the time to perfect one of these, alas they are the backdrop behind our Zoom calls.

For Your Coffee Fix: Felix Roasting Co., New York

The breathtaking interiors at Felix Roasting Company makes me long for the pre-social distancing days I spent at its café in NYC. These days I will happily settle for its beans chicly packaged in Houston, Texas.

While I miss the tasting room, its elaborate wallpapers, and Farrow & Ball-painted espresso machines, you can order their coffee and simultaneously contribute to their employee relief fund. I have my countertop lined with their coffee, displayed next to my new coffee pot (an essential #WFH investment) and have recreated my experience at the shop, that is, until I can promptly return.

To Brighten Your Day: The Bouqs Co., California

If you’ve been on my Instagram feed, you know my adoration of all things floral. I find blooms uplifting, inspirational and attainable. My home is always, without a doubt, brimming with fresh flowers. For polished farm-fresh, eco-friendly arrangements, my go-to right now is The Bouqs Co.

So, if it’s for yourself, which you totally deserve , or for a cherished woman in your life for Mother’s Day, The Bouqs is one of the few floral companies delivering chic bouquets nationally right now. HQ’d in Marina Del Rey, I promise you you’ll get that Cali vibe direct to your door.

This originally appeared on Medium.com