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How to support local small businesses in COVID-19 times

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“Kinda feeling like the Earth just sent us all to our rooms to think about what we’ve done.”

When I saw this quote on Spiritualist Within’s Instagram it resonated big time. It feels like our planet has tried asking us to change our ways for years but while she was getting some people’s attention she had to do something truly drastic to get the whole world to stop and think.

While there’s no way of knowing what will happen when this global time out is over, I’m among those who are hoping some good will come of it. That we’ll be kinder to each other and to nature.

Supporting small businesses through this tough time is one thing we can do from home, so when I spotted Etsy sharing some #StandWithSmall Editors Picks I decided to create a blog post to help get that word out. 

When I travel I love browsing and shopping along interesting streets full of small, independent shops but now that we’re at home we have to stick to armchair travelling and online shopping.

But did you know that while you can search for a particular product anywhere in the world on Etsy, you can also set it to shop in one particular country or city. Scroll down on the left hand side and you’ll see Anywhere, followed by your own country, then a custom box where you can put anywhere you’d like to go.

As much as I love a lot of Etsy creatives around the world, for this post I’m sharing Australian ones only. That’s because I want to give some extra love to my own country, which was already going through one of its worst years in memory with our devastating bushfires before COVID-19 swept around the world.

And as we will one day travel again I’m sharing things that are both beautiful to buy for ourselves to use at home now, and that we can take on the road with us when we’re let out to play again.

Dear Diary

I first came across Dreamy Moons (aka Annie Tarasova) on Instagram and remember reaching out to ask how much postage would be to Australia when I fell in love with some of her products. When Annie wrote back and said she lived here too I loved knowing she was creating her pieces nearby and quickly found her in Etsy to put in my first order with her store.

Now the first thing I do in the morning, oh okay, the second after making a cup of tea and bringing it back to bed, is writing in my 2020 Year of Growth diary from Dreamy Moons.

I’ll admit it was a bit on the heavy side to travel with, but I still hit the road with it a couple of times back when we were still travelling. As it’s a diary and journal, the 2020 ones are no longer for sale on Etsy, but some of Dreamy Moons’ blank journals and other products are still available.

What we’re going through this year is going to definitely something to remember, so why not do it in a beautiful hardcover journal with gold foil design. 

Dreamy Moons’ journals are A5 and the pages are 120gsm thick, which means you can use them to paint with acrylics and watercolours as well as with your words. She also has a range of other products to check out including affirmation cards and zodiac posters that can make great gifts for yourself or someone else who loves a little woo woo in their life.

Silky dreams

Snuggling down onto a silk pillowcase doesn’t just feel good, it’s also good for your hair and your skin. And when you pack one with your PJs you also get the added bonus of knowing just how well the pillowcase was washed and what kind of detergent was used when you travel.

Read: Romantic gifts for travel lovers

When I bought my silk pillowcase I bought one with a beautiful pattern on it just because I liked the way it looked. And thank goodness I did because it takes a while to remember to pack your pillowcase before you check out and having one that’s colourful makes it easy to spot when you do that last hotel room sweep.

Moonlit Garden silk pillowcases on Etsy

I have friends who’ve accidentally left their pillowcases at hotels before, and it also makes it tricky for hotel staff, with a butler at New York’s The Plaza Hotel sharing that at least once a week a white pillowcase that a guest brought from home is mistaken for a hotel one and sent out for cleaning.

So when you’re looking for silk pillowcases on Etsy choose white if it will be a stay at home case, but add some colour to your order if you’re planning on taking it on the road.

Block it out

Continuing our luxury sleepy theme both at home and away, these silk eye masks have been created by an Australian naturopath, with a focus on using natural materials at every stage.

Ashwillow eye masks are made from 22 momme mulberry silk, and rather than being padded with synthetic fillers the interiors are 100% silk as well.

Their materials are also Oeko-Tex certified, which means they’ve been tested and shown to be free from over 100 harmful chemicals.

Silk luxury eye mask by AshWillow on Etsy

As they are all handmade there can be a variation of 0.5cm in depth and 1cm in length, but there’s a soft elastic band that is easily adjustable so you can get comfy, whether you hear the call of an afternoon nap or just want to get some good shut eye while your bed buddy wants to keep the reading light or TV on.

Cover up

Here in Australia we’re still being told that we shouldn’t wear a face mask unless you’re sick or in close contact with someone who is. But over in the United States the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending people wear cloth face coverings when they’re in grocery stores or other places where it’s hard to maintain social distancing.

With so much fear and uncertainty I know it’s tempting to want to get your hands on the best mask possible and wear it every time you leave the house, but unless you are working on the front line or have a compromised immune system you should leave the medical grade masks to those who truly need them.

If you’d feel better with a mask, there are lots to choose from on Etsy. They may not be medical grade, but unless you’re pretty crafty they’re probably better than what you can whip up at home yourself.

These face masks from the Little Carrot Company are reusable and washable, have a filter pocket and a nose wire to mould to your face. I also think they’re rather cute, which is always a bonus when we have to wear strange things.

Protection with a twist of lemon

By now you should have gotten the memo that washing your hands (properly) is more effective than using hand sanitizer, but there are times when soap and water isn’t easily available. That’s when you want to be packing your gels and liquids.

As with face masks, the hand sanitizers on Etsy are not medical grade, but these handy numbers from Wild Tribe Australia have 70%+ alcohol content, which is what the CDC recommends for tackling COVID-19.

Hand sanitiser from Wild Tribe

Handmade on the Gold Coast, they have Aloe Vera gel and vitamin E to stop your skin from drying out, and the pure essential oils of lemon, clove bud, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary and tea-tree don’t just smell good they also have helpful properties including being anti-bacterial.

Read: Glamping Yorkshire style, the best tents, yurts and domes

These hand sanitizers come in spray bottles so you can spray it onto shopping trolleys, door handles and other solid objects you have to touch, as well as spraying it onto your hands.

Just remember, when you do use a hand sanitizer you really need to get in between the fingers and around the fingernails. Really spread it around and never wipe off any excess. Give it a chance to dry and do its thing.

Soothe your skin

All of that extra hand washing and sanitising is taking a toll on our poor hands, which deserve some extra loving right now.

While I always travel with a hand cream to help my skin cope with dry cabin air, hotel air conditioning and changes in temperature, in the past I didn’t really use it all that much at home. Now that’s definitely changing.

As I searched for nearby businesses producing good quality hand creams I discovered there’s a farm at Collombatti on the NSW Mid North Coast that creates products that have mostly come from their own land.

Honey butter balm by Collombatti Naturals on Etsy

Collombatti Naturals Honey Butter Balm with Macadamia Oil uses raw honey and organic beeswax from their own hives, mixed with local macadamia oil. It’s 100% natural with no preservatives, fragrances or artificial ingredients, and bonus points for coming in a recyclable aluminium container so it’s plastic free too.

As well as being good for dry hands it helps with grazes and burns, and can be used as a natural lip balm too. Just what we need going into winter.

Stitched up

New to this whole working from home business? You may want to get your hands on, or rather in, a pair of fingerless gloves as the weather gets colder.

Apart from always travelling with a pair when I’m going somewhere cold so that I can keep hands warm while still taking photos or using my phone, I also use mine when I’m working from home in winter.

Fingerless gloves by the Knitting Nut

Even though my body may be warm, my desk can get cold so a pair of fingerless gloves stops that cold seeping into my hands.

The Knitting Nut can make gloves to order in different sizes and colours and patterns include the Celtic braid shown here, butterflies, snakes and crocodile shapes.

I also love that as well as having this small business the owner and designer, Mirjam, is an environmental scientist and is passionate about knitting with sustainable yarns including hemp, nettle, alpaca and even possum yarn.

Light up

As someone who loves both candles and crystals I do believe I have found my new travel candle. Not that I’ll be able to test it out on the road for a while, but I’ll happily light this baby up for the first time at home.

These Moonlight Rituals candles are hand poured in small batches and topped with amethyst, dried camomile and lavender flowers.

100% soy wax with lead free natural cotton wicks, they smell like lavender and lemon and while this one comes in a travel tin there are also just-for-home tea light options.

Travel candle with amethysts by Moonlight Rituals on Etsy

Other crystal infused candles include their Cleanse and Protect candle with black tourmaline and camomile flowers, and their Goddess candles with rose quartz and organic rose petals.

If you haven’t already tried travelling with candles may I suggest you pop one in your suitcase when we can travel again. Apart from bringing a warm glow to the room, familiar smells can help us sleep better in hotel rooms so you get a lovely relaxing bonus.

Go retro

Take a trip down memory lane to some of your favourite holidays, or keep your eye on the travel dream waiting for you on the other side of all this staying at home business with retro posters.

ArtPRINTR’s travel choices include Alaska, Venice, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, Prague, Quebec, Yellowstone National Park and many, many more. 

You can either go for a framed or unframed print, or have the design printed on canvas and mounted ready for your wall.

Personally I haven’t made it to Alaska yet, but northern lights and polar bears are the stars of some of my favourite travel memories so I’m loving this one. Maybe I’ll be able to go for the trifecta and have all three at the same time when this is over. There’s nothing like big travel dreaming.

Retro Alaska poster ArtPRINTR on Etsy

This post contains some affiliate links, so if you click on a link and book something I will get a little something to help pay those blogging bills, but don’t worry, it’s no extra cost to you.

Leave a Comment

  1. Sue - Collombatti Naturals says

    Thanks for the shoutout Amanda!

    Can’t agree with you more, the corona virus has certainly shown us the importance of being more self sufficient and supporting local.

    Now I’m off to check some of the lovely local products you’ve mentioned in your post!

    • Thank you! And thank you for making such beautiful and natural products. This is a big time for change and I love what you’re sharing with the world as we go through it.

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