Many hands make....

 C O M M U N I T Y !
It's #SmallBusinessSaturday today, where the whole country tries to turn their attention to indie-driven and artist-kindred shops, away from the corporations that don't always find community at the center of their profit-margin. I've been exceptionally lucky to home and grow a small business in a very supportive community, this bustling town of Whitefish, where box-stores are scant and the entire downtown is one street of small businesses. But I'd say, Montana in general has been very kind to me. I feel like our state is one where all roads lead to a friends house, eventually! SO, today, for you and for every day, Here are some of my favorite small businesses and companies in my neighborhood and in my creative circle of muses that inspire me to do good business, and good. Some are brick-and-mortar shops, some are a list of my favorite artists and products made locally, some are studios far from mine that remind me that art is big!
In an effort to keep the holidays about community, I'd appreciate it if you stayed out of the box stores, the amazon pits, and the scroll-away-the-day mentality.
Because how its made matters. 
Who you buy from...matters. 
Where they invest THEIR hard earned dollars...matters. 
You know Bezos doesn't need a new elementary school. 
He's not the one doing the volunteer work at the food bank. 
He's not fundraising access to trails, or clean water. WE ARE.
Shop small. Shop local. Shop with integrity. Shop with your friends if you can! 
(and try your hardest to give your money to people with a backbone, and not intergalactic cheezedicks who would rather fly to the moon than change the world.)
Here's just a few of my favorite friends/shops/muses for the holidays (online too!) that give a hoot about their community.
  1. Altitude Gallery - Bozeman, MT - One of my first homes as an artist, and continues to be a robust partnership and a longtime friendship that fills me with so much joy.  Some of my favorite artists Amy carries can be found under her roof in bustling downtown Bozeman. Rachel Pohl's paintings are drool worthy, this wood diptych from Dan McArdle is on my long-time wish list, and the epoxy resin paintings and jewelry out of Feryn Davis's studio just blow me away!
  2. Aporta - Missoula, MT - My gal pal and artist weaver friend Noelle Sharp saw a brick-and-mortar shop in her future when I first met her here in Whitefish years ago, and I was immediately inspired by her art, her work ethic, and her style.  She has created the most RAD shop downtown on Front Street in Missoula, and I always stop in to refresh my load of candles, apothecary, and a general breath of fresh art under her roof.  She works very hard to source local artists and native brands (snagged this last weekend!) and her ethos around her business is just....inspiring. She just recently received a fresh batch of stack rings from me, also!
  3. Great Gray Gifts - Charlo, MT - A sneaky stop on the highway next to Nine Pipes Lodge, if you haven't found it already!  Amazing coffee stop if you're traveling down the Missions, and a HUGE selection of Montana-made gifts. Stephanie is a total sweetheart and her family is really bringing some small biz love to Charlo! 
  4. Montana Coffee Traders - Whitefish, Cfalls, Kalispell - Hands down the best coffee I've ever had, by a company that has held their artists and community members tight time and time again.  Jesse and I drink their Organic Mexico Dark religiously. It's safe to say we should have bought stock in this company yearrrrrrs ago! 
  5. The Farmers Stand - Whitefish, MT - Getting to know your farmers and keeping food within a sustainable closed-loop circle a few miles from home is a true gift. This new business in Whitefish combines two power-house farms, Two Bear Farm and Wicked Good Farm, and have made huge efforts to source local and regional produce, tea, and products for all your local gift-giving and EATING needs!  Some of my favorite things I've devoured lately from them include Local Fleur Bake Shop Black Pepper Ciabatta Bread. Dude.
  6. Spotted Bear Spirits - Whitefish, MT - The most lovely tasting room in downtown, now shipping their spirits! Yes! If you don't know about their Paloma or their Spicy Mule, you're missing out.
  7. Jewelry anyone?! So many friends, Insta-babes, internet comrades, and insanely talented humans.  Handmade jewelry might be my favorite thing...ever. This list could go on forever, but If you don't already, check out The Wild Pine, Ruby and Revolver, Lynde Howe Silverwork, Busy Bee Metalworks, Vancraftedstudio, RosyRevolver, Bellwether Jewelry, Range of Light Studio, Betsy Bensen, _Clster_, Feral Roots by Leesah, BethAimeeJewelry, EiC Jewelry,  SableStoneJewelry
  8. Field Guide Designs - my dear bud Mandy Mohler has grown into a powerhouse brand, offering curated goods from all over the country from indie and artisan brands, as well has her own art and design. Rooted heavily in her love for the outdoors, and her keen eye in photography, I would argue that her style (and laugh!) is infectious!
  9. Skin Food Organics - I am so so picky about face stuff, but I use this Salvation Face Balm ALL THE TIME, especially in the winter when the skiing gets the better of my lips and nose bits not covered up in the wind. This magic is made in Whitefish, and is the absolute best. I also love their travel-kits.  It's how I got hooked!
  10. Ceramics - If you've been to my house, you've likely drunk a delicious something out of a vessel made from these amazing people. In a past life, I was a potter. Handmade Growlers, Heidi Haugen, Melissa Weiss, Stepanka Ceramics, Tile by Fire, OMO, Trudy Skari are just a few in the collection!
  11. T-Bird Leather - If you have not heard of Tress and her fine leatherwork already, I am here to say she is an inspiration, a damn fine maker, and another female powerhouse. Check her work out!
  12. Crowheart Creative - I really didn't know what a light another voice could be in my business until I met Katie, much earlier than I actually ended up hiring her as my business coach. Katie is thoughtful, intuitive, and one of the best sounding boards. She's a kind soul, to boot!


Not a complete list obviously but a good start.  These are a few of my inspirations! I would love to hear of your favorite small businesses, and how we can support them! Comment below with those gems, my friends! (also if you missed my Instagram post about Women Led Wednesday, that thread has an absolutely ASTONISHING list of women-run businesses!)

XO Erin

1 comment

  • I thought I would know more of these small businesses from my time in Whitefish, and I do recognize several but THANK YOU for curating this list! I can’t wait to sample them both virtually and physically (on my next trip east!)


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