10 Austin Small Businesses Perfect for Tackling Your Holiday Shopping
’Tis the year to look at supply-chain issues as an opportunity to re-focus on supporting small businesses in your holiday shopping. Anyone can find something on the big-box retail websites, but finding that perfect item made by someone who cares in a city you love? That’s priceless. Read on for our favorite Austin shops carrying fabulous local finds practically guaranteed to impress.
South Congress Avenue
This South Congress staple has the kind of things that make people go “where did you get that?”. It is most well-known for vintage Western shirts that have been accentuated with embroidered imagery, like lucha libre masks and kittens with laser eyes. However, the shop has tons of other attention-grabbers like locally-made jewelry, cheeky decor, cool clothing, hilarious T-shirts, and even some treasures for parents and kiddos.
Succulent Native has cornered the market on our spiky, stylish plant friends. It puts together marvelous arrangements with colors, layers, textures, and creative pots that will be a conversational centerpiece for any home. You can also buy succulents and houseplants individually, if you prefer to put together something of your own. Make sure to browse the contemporary planters, home goods, cards, and of course, their variety of crystals. For the plant-obsessed, check out their workshop schedule and their Plant Love Club.
East 12th Street
Austin’s style scene has leveled up considerably in the past couple of years and owner Alta Alexander is at the heart of that. (You’ll see her on TV fashion segments looking fantastic.) That style is echoed in her East 12th Street shop — the first Black-owned upscale women’s boutique in Austin. The store is warm and welcoming with a beautiful (not fast fashion) selection. You can also pick up killer accessories, accoutrement, and wardrobe staples online. If you need an assist, she offers styling services and consultation to help create your look.
The Paper + Craft Pantry is a store for thoughtful people. Stationery designed by independent artists, lovely pens, art supplies, prints, and adorable decor are found both in-store and online. Pick up a sentimental card for a special occasion, gift a set of classic heavyweight notecards, or have fun with one of their surprise paper parcels. Creative types can also take a workshop to learn felt-flower making, candle-pouring, and other artsy hobbies.
There’s something so fulfilling about walking around a bookstore and discovering new reads. Independent bookstores take that experience to the next level and Black Pearl is no exception. Occupying space in Ten Thousand Villages Market, Black Pearl carefully chooses its authors. It brings in a much broader range of authors (both well-known and unknown) with the express aim of cultivating cultural awareness across genres. You can shop online as well, and support the store by buying audiobooks through Libro.FM.
North Loop Boulevard
It’s only fitting that this rad record store sits in the midst of North Loop’s vintage and kitsch scene, and has been holding down this spot for over a decade. Breakaway is a music-lovers record store, curated with an appreciation for both old and new. It offers new release vinyl and classics, playfully categorized with sections titled “rainy day music” and “guilty pleasures.” It also sells sweet T-shirts, tapes, and stereos, and has two in-store turntables for trying before you buy. (You can also browse online before you go.) And if you do go, don’t skip the dollar bin.
South First Street
Art for the People is a rainbow explosion of all forms of artwork. The team here does an amazing job of curating original work by long-time artists and newbies, cool ceramics, and decor along with jewelry, homegoods, photographs, and miscellany. Walk out with a grumpy faced ceramic succulent pot or an aura print, an intricate pen-and-ink set, or sexy pair of rocks glasses. Try to time your shopping with one of their many exhibitions for curated selections and new additions. If you would prefer, you can even shop by video chat via Duo or FaceTime.
East 6th Street
Austin is long on liquor stores but short on wine specialty stores, so we’re especially happy to have LoLo, a natural wine bar and bottle shop. It has a strong selection of natural and biodynamic wines — way more interesting than whatever pretty label fooled you last time. Their online store carries the same variety, so you can support them even if you're not in town. In-store sommeliers can help you navigate the options, sharing information about the effects of skin-contact and why orange wine is a thing. This is also a popular wine bar, so have a glass and a snack after your retail therapy.
Con’ Olio is both an educational experience and a fantastic place to buy things for your home kitchen or give as presents. What sets its items apart from the ingredients you’ll find on your normal grocery run is the quality of what you’ll find here. Products come from local producers, organic and natural purveyors, and include everything from olive oils and vinegars to wines and snacks. You can shop online, but if you head to the brick-and-mortar, you can sample the goods and get tasty tips from the expert staff.
The coffee lover in your life will never be happier than when you roll in with Greater Goods beans. First, because the coffee is great (Food & Wine named it the best coffee in Texas in 2019), but also because the roasting company is committed to doing good. It gives back to local nonprofits, partners with sustainable and fair wage producers, and shares knowledge about coffee with the broader community. The people who work there are dedicated connoisseurs who care about where they get what you drink. Find this top-notch coffee in three Austin locations and online.