The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of American life, the economy in particular.
One group that has felt the deepest effects of the economic impact are small businesses and start-up companies, many of which were just getting off of the ground before stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines were enacted across the United States.
Plenty of small businesses were forced to get creative and turn their attention to online initiatives, and some have even found ways to give back to their communities and other relief efforts in the process. TODAY lifestyle contributor Jill Martin puts the spotlight on five small businesses that are not only showing strength in this unprecedented time, but are also offering special deals on their products and services.
From custom jewelry to seasonal scented candles, there's a small business that can provide exactly what you are looking for. Read on for five ways you can shop small from the comfort of your home, right now.
1. Alpyn Beauty
Beauty brand Alpyn Beauty was inspired by and established in Jackson Hole, Wyo. less than five years ago. Founded by 20-year beauty industry veteran Kendra Kolb Butler, the brand seeks to create skin care that utilizes natural botanicals found in the region to create products that deliver. The brand handpicks each of the wild ingredients that go into its serums, moisturizers and more.
During the pandemic, the brand launched its "Alpyn All Stars" campaign, where customers were able to nominate workers on the frontlines of the pandemic to receive a self-care kit, which received an overwhelming response from fans. Regularly, the brand donates 1% of sales to environmental causes, but now through Aug. 10, Alpyn Beauty will also be donating 100% of its profits to Outdoor Afro, a network that creates Black connections to change the face of nature conservation.
The brand's anti-aging moisturizer is formulated with bakuchiol, an ingredient that produces results similar to retinol, which helps minimize the appearance of fine lines. The lightweight formula can be applied twice daily.
In a deal exclusive to TODAY, you can save 20% off of products sold on Alpyn Beauty's site by using the code TODAY20 at checkout.
Five years ago, single mom Chrissy Lavdovsky started making affordable custom jewelry on her kitchen floor. Today, her custom jewelry brand, GLDN, employs over 75 people — including her own parents. Lavdovsky's mom was her very first employee, and her father makes the packaging that each piece of jewelry arrives in.
As the pandemic continues, GLDN's employees are continuing to make custom pieces at home from in at-home studios. While their pieces were always made from the heart, now their pieces are coming from the heart of their very own homes.
The personalized pieces, ranging from made-to-order necklaces to bracelets, are crafted from 14k gold-filled and sterling silver pieces. With sustainability in mind, more than 90% of the materials used to create GLDN's pieces are recycled materials, and 10% of the profits from each piece of jewelry sold are given to charities that empower in the liberation, education and community building sectors. The pieces can also be inscribed with initials, dates, illustrations and more.
If you're looking to amp up your wardrobe with a few custom beauty pieces, you can enjoy 15% off sitewide using the code GLDNtogether at checkout.
Before Kendal Brown founded 228 Grant Street Candle Co., he led an established career in ministry and theological education. Then one day, he had a moment of inspiration that encouraged him to pursue a passion project: candle making. Though Brown notes candles were always a part of his spiritual and creative life, the inspiration for 228 Grant Street Candle Co. came from somewhere much closer to home — in fact, its very name comes from his grandparent's longtime address. Brown says his grandmother was always doing for others, and note his grandmother's hospitality inspired him to embody the same light that she became for others.
Fast forward, and Brown's passion project now has its own storefront in Baltimore and can be found in 80 retailers nationwide. Prior to the pandemic, Brown regularly held candle-making workshops in Baltimore and even traveled on the road to shows for wholesale. Though these kinds of events are currently on pause, Brown is currently operating all fronts of 228 Grant Street Candle Co. from his own home and notes that online sales are booming — his company has even launched a line of candle-scented hand sanitizers this year.
228 Grant Street Candle Co.'s scent of the month is sea salt and orchid, available in a limited edition 10 oz. vessel. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase of this candle will be donated to support social justice causes and community activists.
Want to indulge in a little peace and serenity? You can take 20% off your order at 228 Grant Street Candle Co. using the code TODAY20 at checkout.
Marcia Williams has built her career around beauty. After leaving her job at a pharmaceutical company, she served as a longtime makeup artist for television personalities and bridal clients. As a stylist and a mother of three, Williams added another accolade under her belt just a decade ago when she founded Embellish Beauty Concepts: entrepreneur. The company started off with an assortment of cosmetics, and in 2019, Embellish Beauty Concepts launched a new line of lip products, sold both online and in stores around Williams' Philadelphia community.
The lipsticks and glosses are available in a range of shades, pigments and finishes, and are made from vegan and cruelty-free formulas. Williams says a little lip can take you a long way, and that Embellish Beauty Concept's cosmetics can be a "mood booster during these unprecedented times." Embellish Beauty Concepts was preparing to hit store shelves at a major U.S. retailer before the pandemic, but Williams had to pivot her attention fully toward online sales — since March she's successfully launched seven new shades of lip cosmetics.
The Boss shade is not only rich in color, but it is also rich in texture, boasting a matte finish. Not sure how it will look on you? You can try out the virtual mirror before purchasing this extra-confident shade.
If you could use a little extra glam, you can receive 20% off of your order at Embellish Beauty Concepts using the code SMILE.
Co-founders Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn set out to improve the lives of cats after noticing that much of the pet food industry was centered around dogs, with little or no high-quality, biology-based products available for cats. Thus, Smalls was born to create formulas and recipes that cater to cats and their well-being.
Not only does Smalls offer better nutrition for cats, but the company also offers delivery services — cat meals can be delivered right to your doorstep. This convenience factor has helped the duo see a boost in sales during the pandemic, as shelter-in-place measures discouraged many from making frequent trips to grocery stores.
There's another factor customers can't find on grocery store shelves. As a subscription service, customers can customize recipe plans that include a mix of wet and dry food for their furry friend, and even have the option to choose freeze-dried meals that don't require refrigeration.
Treat your tabby to a custom meal subscription and enjoy 25% off of the Smalls sampler, no code needed.
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- Want to support small businesses? Here are 3 ways you can help from home
- See how 3 women turned their small businesses into nationwide companies