Brigid Downey

December 8, 2018

Shop Small Businesses this Christmas | Blogmas 2018 Day 8

Since I moved from Boston, MA to Madison, WI one of the biggest things I’ve been made aware of is how often people shop locally out here. Madison’s farmer’s market (officially the Dane County Farmer’s Market) is the largest producer-only farmers market in the country and over 150 members attend every Saturday with over 275 vendors throughout the year. On top of that, just a walk down State Street will show you a ton of local small businesses that usually have the coolest stuff in Madison. 

This holiday season I want to highlight some of my favorites for those of you in the area to support these really cool shops (and even if you’re not local some of them have online shops). Let me know in the comments some small businesses you know of that could use some exposure!

Soap Opera

I first discovered Soap Opera when Josie and I went when I visited Madison in March 2017. I fell in love with this little shop that sells a variety of soaps and bath products. It’s located on State Street in Madison amongst a bunch of other locally owned shops, but what makes Soap Opera unique is their use of essential oils.

They have a ton of essential oils that are safe for topical use that they keep in stock and they offer a variety of products from lotions to shampoo for you to add them to. The clerks will add any oil they carry upon request at no extra cost and they will add as much or as little as you want. I often put peppermint and lemongrass in my diffuser for my migraines, but Josie got me it in a lotion so I can take it with me. I also had lavender put in hemp oil after my surgery to help with my scars and sooth them. You can also buy some essential oils in their bottles for diffuser use.

We went to an essential oil workshop in August in their little courtyard outside. The owner was very knowledgeable about essential oils in general and was so sweet to us. You can order online from them and I would recommend them to anyone. 

Market Street Diner

We went to Market Street Diner in Sun Prairie, WI on a whim one night. Josie had been there before, but I’m not really a diner person. They changed my mind. Everyone in there is so nice and gives it the perfect small town diner feel. But what sets Market Street Diner apart is their in-store bakery! Oh. My. God. are their baked goods delicious! They do custom orders for cakes and pies for the holidays and if you’re in the Wisconsin area I would definitely check them out! 

Designs by Bonnie Downey

This is one of her ornament covers and it’s so pretty! 
Photo from her site.

This one is a little bit of shameless mom promotion. My mom is a small business owner who makes jewelry! She’s based out of Massachusetts where she does a lot of events, but she also has shipping available unless otherwise indicated. Lately, she’s been doing a lot of beaded ornament covers for the holidays and I love seeing them show up on my Facebook all the time! They’re so pretty. She also does custom orders and will work with you to create something amazing!

She’s also done a lot of the jewelry I wear regularly that people ask where I got it from. I got it from my mom! 

Art Gecko

Art Gecko is a small business out of Madison with two locations (one on Monroe Street and one on State Street). They sell a lot of new aged things and funky trinkets, but also jewelry. This is actually where Josie and I got my promise ring that’s sterling silver and has a moonstone as the setting. Everyone is always great here and my favorite thing is their wide variety of incense and dream catchers! Every week they do a stone of the week (and it’s different at each location) that’s on sale for the whole week! Great for Christmas and holiday presents!


Bloom Bake Shop in Madison, WI on Monroe Street was one of my favorite places we went to when I came to visit Josie. The owner is absolutely amazing and so sweet, she remembers us every time we go in. Bloom makes everything with local, organic ingredients and also offers vegan and gluten-free options and they’re always delicious! 

Bloom also just opened a new storefront in Middleton, WI called the Bloom Bindery. It’s a little shop where they sell books and support local authors (which I obviously love!) and they also sell cookie sandwiches that are to die for! They also do holiday orders and wedding orders. It’s one of my favorite places to be in Madison and you should check them out! 

So when you’re searching for holiday gifts and treats this season don’t forget to stop by the smaller shops around your town. Sometimes they have exactly what you need!

What are some small businesses near you that need a shout out this holiday season? (Don’t forget to include any Etsy stores or small e-commerce businesses, those count too!) Let me know in the comments!

Don;t forget to check out my Etsy Guide for more small businesses! 

7 Comments on “Shop Small Businesses this Christmas | Blogmas 2018 Day 8

Lili Star Reads
December 9, 2018 at 6:17 am

The cupcakes look so nice <3 it's definitely important to support small businesses!

December 9, 2018 at 8:11 pm

They’re so yummy! One of my favorite bakeries ever. They’re probably going to do our wedding cake lol

December 9, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Wonderful post!! I try to support small businesses as frequently as I can! 🙂

Erica | Erica Robyn Reads

December 9, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Thank you! It’s something I’m becoming more conscious of since I went to school in a tiny town with mostly small businesses!

Eline @Lovely Audiobooks
December 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm

This is great! I wish there were more nice shops where I live. But since there are not and I’m not very mobile, online-shopping is just too convenient. I like sites like etsy where I can support people who’re trying to make a living with something they’re passionate about 🙂

December 9, 2018 at 11:17 pm

Soap Opera and Designs by Bonnie Downey both have online shops! As far as Etsy goes I love The Magic Candle Company ( which started out as an Etsy store and branched off to have their own site! I love Etsy, my sister started soccer a few years ago and I got her a water bottle in her favorite color so it matched the rest of her gear with her name on it! She loves it!

Eline @Lovely Audiobooks
December 9, 2018 at 11:31 pm

That sounds awesome! Yeah, you can find the coolest things there 🙂


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