This blog post has gone through several iterations, from the original rant about how bigger businesses are taking advantage of the pandemic as a cover for less salubrious business practices, to the more mellowed down celebration of the businesses I have been loving during lockdown. But as we slowly return to something like normal life, it felt like a good time to give some love to all those businesses that have been brightening up my lockdown days.
I think we all appreciate just how hard lockdown has been – especially on smaller businesses. Many of these home-based makers and sellers have faced difficulties. From larger operations who have had to restrict the number of employees packing and sending out orders, to individuals increasing their risk of exposure to the virus every time they do a post run.
As someone who has spent days at home, often with only baby R for company, receiving post has been the highlight of my day. If I’m honest the money I’d saved from not going out to baby classes has probably been spent on new purchases. I mentioned on my Instagram stories a few weeks ago that I felt like all I was doing was sharing things I had bought. Obviously this doesn’t sit too well with my minimalist ideals – I am generally against mindless consumerism.
But being a minimalist doesn’t mean that I don’t buy things ever. I’m often tempted by beautiful things that I see. The advantage of online shopping is that I can take a step away and think through whether I need to make that purchase. And while I do share the things I have bought, you will rarely see what goes on before that – the hours of deliberation, of adding to my basket and then taking things out again. One example is my recent new mobile phone purchase – something I spent months deliberating over as it was a big purchase (I decided on the phone I wanted to buy back at the end of February and didn’t purchase it until the end of June).
So here is my round up of all the businesses I am loving right now:
Eco Mama and Baby
If you follow me on Instagram you probably already know that I have been a brand rep for Eco Mama and Baby for a couple months now. Laura who runs Eco Mama and Baby is a mum who set up the business after getting frustrated that the cloth nappies she was buying arrived in so much plastic. Laura has carefully selected the brands she stocks to ensure that plastic packaging is avoided wherever possible. Laura also uses recycled and plastic-free packaging for all the orders she sends out.
You can use code REBECCA10 for 10% off a beautiful selection of cloth nappies, cloth sanitary pads and accessories (valid until 31 August 2020).
Two Bears Boutique
Holly creates the most beautiful children’s clothes. I ordered two rompers and matching headbands for R and I am absolutely in love with them. So much so that I ordered another romper in a larger size a couple days ago. The Two Bears website has a beautiful range of fabrics (many matching cloth nappies) and all the clothes are made to order. Although this means that you have to wait a few weeks for the clothes to arrive (order up a size) when they do arrive it’s the most exciting surprise.
The Father Figure
Dan (@The_Father_Figure on Instagram) messaged me a few months ago to ask if I wanted to get involved in his trial for fitness classes he was developing aimed at new mums. I thought it sounded like a great way to get back into fitness and give a bit more structure to my workouts. When the trial ended I was more than happy to sign up to continue classes online.
All Dan’s classes can be done with your baby in a carrier, providing front-loaded resistance (although I’ve done workouts without R and they have been just as hard). I really enjoy these workouts, especially as Dan is really great at reminding me not to over-extend my joints. I had no idea that relaxin levels remain higher when breastfeeding so being aware of joint mobility is important when exercising.
I’ve been doing these classes for six weeks now and I can feel the difference in my strength and balance. If you want to give the classes a go to see whether it’s for you Dan does a free Instagram / Facebook live session on a Saturday morning.
Natalie is another mum rocking the side-hustle. Her website stocks a range of brilliant eco swaps, cloth nappies and toys. I bought a pack of Eco Coconut scourers, a solid deodorant and some toys for R and I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing another order soon.
Bourn Beautiful Naturals
I recently decided to embrace my curly hair which has meant ditching shampoos and other products containing sodium lauryl sulphate. My friend suggested I try Birmingham-based Bourn Beautiful Naturals hair and skincare products that are vegan and cruelty-free. I am so glad I switched because these products are incredible! While they do use plastic packaging they are looking to reduce this in future. Personally it’s a compromise I’m willing to make as everything else about these products is brilliant.
I came across Fiona’s pins after she created a Care it Out pin. After seeing the Warrior Mama C-section pin I knew it would be a lovely addition to a bag or jacket (if ever I get the chance to go out again!) so I headed straight to her Etsy shop. I also decided to buy pins for some of my mama friends, which Fiona sent to each of them without me having to worry about doing it myself.
Grasp and Gather
R has changed massively while we have been in lockdown and I really wanted to get her some new toys suitable for her current development. I love the treasure basket items from Grasp and Gather, which have been a massive hit with R. I bought a small set and they arrived days later. R absolutely loves exploring the different pieces of wood and coconut shell.
Chewlery North East
Another brilliant Instagram find! @ChewleryNorthEast makes custom teething necklaces and teethers. R has just got her first two teeth and has been using the teether we had a lot. I decided to go for a necklace with green, copper and leopard print beads as this will match with most of my wardrobe. I also got a matching wooden dinosaur teething ring. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the necklace looks and R certainly seems to like them too.
Have you discovered any brilliant small businesses during lockdown?