In 9 months you can accomplish some pretty amazing things. You can go through an entire pregnancy, finish a year of post-secondary school, orrrrr you can go through a round of the #SmileABCs, shouting out 26 awesome small businesses along the way. From September 2021 to June 2022, we’ve been highlighting a different merchant each week on the Smile Rewards instagram for each letter of the alphabet.
It’s almost been a month since we’ve finished our #SmileABCs and we don’t blame you if you’ve been missing the great stories and brands. Well, you’re in luck because we have some more great merchant features coming your way soon.
But for now, let’s take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the 26 small ecommerce brands that were a part of our first ever #SmileABCs. First up is… you guessed it, the letter A!
A is for Arka
We kicked off our alphabet with none other than Arka, a platform that provides branded and unbranded packaging for ecommerce companies to create memorable unboxing experiences without breaking the bank. They also have a focus on sustainability and just so happen to be one of our app partners.
B is for Bookstore
The second letter represents the first one of our fantastic merchants featured in this series. Frostbeard Studio is a candle company that brings the cozy scent and feel of your favorite bookstore right to your living room. Their hand poured book lovers’ soy candles are inspired by characters, stories, and the love of reading. Book worms look no further!
C is for Crumble Candle
Crumble Candle is a queer-owned and operated candle brand that sells wax melts, hand creams, soap scrubs and more. With almost 1,000 different scents, there’s no denying this is a thriving candle company. But, it’s also a welcoming community of mental health advocates with their positive message and community values.
D is for Drift
This next brand prides themselves on adding a twist to an ordinary product: air fresheners. Drift sells minimalist air fresheners that look good, smell good, and are made from all good materials. The offer scented stones, candles, and wooden air fresheners to meet any design preference. Drift offers a range of classic scents from mountain greens to citrus, but they also offer an exclusive scent of the month–try out the eucalyptus this month!
E is for Exodus Beauty
This next brand was born out of a problem the founder was facing. Esther moved to England and struggled to find stylish, trendy, and quality braids and wigs in beauty supply stores. With that, Exodus Beauty was born and offers a wide range of hair and beauty products for folks of Afro-Caribbean heritage in the UK online.
F is for Floss
F is all about fun floss–embroidery floss used in craft projects like cross-stitch, needlepoint, quilting and, of course, friendship bracelets. With 20 years of experience, Claudia decided to start her own craft and handmade good store, Snuggly Monkey. Much more than just a craft supply store, this brand offers a community for creatives across the globe through personalized and exceptional customer service.
G is for Gourmet
Tasty treats and a heart-warming inspiration story–what more could you ask for? Palm Bites delivers both. This brand was founded by Mustafa Al-Siaudi as a direct response to his father not being able to find work after moving to Canada. When he watched his father serve his in-laws one of his favorite snacks of dates with peanut butter on them, he had an idea. And the rest is history. Today, Palm Bites offers natural, vegan, and gluten-free chocolate covered dates, Energy Balls, Bark, Spreads, and so much more.
H is for Honeylush
Honeylush Naturals sells products handmade from natural ingredients. In their scrubs, body washes, and body oils you'll find ingredients like tumeric, avocado oil, rosehip oil, aloe, and much more. As a Black female-owned business, A’ya wanted to share the natural products she created as alternatives to everyday products with others. Honeylush Naturals is known for their signature line of yoni products including the coveted 7 Herb Yoni Steam, Yummy Yoni Detox Soak, and Signature Yoni Oil.
I is for Indigenous
This letter stands for a lot more than an ecommerce store. OIT Clothing (Our Indigenous Traditions) is a clothing and accessories brand by trade, but their larger mission is to build awareness and showcase Indigenous Culture in a respectful and educational way. Their brand is for everyone–aiming to connect different tribes and also bring Indigenous culture to those who are not. Whether you’re looking for authentic handcrafted clothing or looking to learn more, check out their store or podcast, The Talking Stick.
J is for Jewelry
We’re getting fancy for this letter. J is all about jewelry, specifically Alora Boutique, a Black women-owned store started by a mother and daughter at their kitchen table. This brand creates “jewelry just as unique as you are” and exists to add beauty and meaning to the lives of genuine, everyday women through jewelry. They also give back to the community and have donated over $10,000 to various charities helping disadvantaged women in Calgary, Alberta.
K is for Krī
Krī Skincare is a brand made with purpose: for better skin and a better planet. This skincare brand offers minimal ingredient, high-performing formulas that deliver on their promise. All products are vegan and cruelty-free, and they’re a certified B corporation. Krī Skincare prides themselves on creating simple formulas that are backed by science. Their line of products features hero ingredients including safflower seed oil, camellia seed oil, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. Now you don’t have to compromise between ethics, sustainability, and good products that actually work.
L is for Language
This next store is all about making learning languages more accessible for multilingual families in Canada. Co-founders, Charing and Eveline, started Little Kozzi after ordering Chinese language books from overseas for their children. They saw an opportunity to make that experience easier for other Asian families in Canada and the brand was born. This brand is all about community with their blog featuring “Parent Spotlights” where their customers can share their stories about how Little Kozzi allowed them to teach their children languages.
M is for Mystery
Bookworms will agree that sometimes the best books are not the best sellers front and center on display. Sometimes they’re the vintage finds hiding at the back of a dusty shelf. Well, UK-based online book store, The Sustainable Book Club takes the work out of finding great books. All you have to do is place an order and they’ll create a curated collection of second-hand rare books and sustainable treats. This brand makes reading sustainable and that’s something we’re totally on board with.
N is for Nunbelievable
What if we told you that you could help combat the U.S. hunger crisis by ordering cookies? Sounds unbelievable? Well, actually it’s Nunbelievable. The process is simple–you order cookies, they deliver them to your door, and they donate meals to their partner soup kitchens to feed those in need. This cookie brand makes doing good taste good.
O is for Ocean & Co
Ocean & Co is a jewelry brand with a much larger purpose–the conservation of our oceans and protection of wildlife. There is a ton of misleading information when it comes to ocean conservation and that’s the exact problem that Gerard Ecker was trying to solve when creating this brand. Originally selling sea turtle tracking bracelets in partnership with Mote Marine Labs, Ocean & Co has expanded into a whole range of ocean themed jewelry and accessories to help support ocean conservation and research. The tide is changing and Ocean & Co is on board.
P is for Pre-Loved
This next store is another one that started out of a frustrating problem–the inability to find accessible second-hand products for their family. That’s why Christine and Simon started Beeja May. This brand is the easiest way for families to shop second-hand online with thousands of pre-loved clothing items, books, toys, and more. So far they've saved over 160K items from landfills and safely delivered them to Canadian homes. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Beeja May.
Q is for Queer
Outtire is a streetwear apparel brand and so much more. This lifestyle and community brand is made to empower the LGBTQ+ community and its allies through representative clothing and queer focused philanthropy. For every order, 5% of sales are donated to LGBTQ+ charities including The Orka Projects, The 519, and Mermaids UK. In keeping with their values, all of their clothing is not categorized by gender binaries so you can have an inclusive shopping experience no matter how you identify. How awesome is that?
R is for Roast
If you like your coffee with a healthy dose of feminism and a splash of anti-patriarchy-ness, then this next brand is for you. Girls Who Grind Coffee (GWGC) is a UK-based coffee roastery exclusively sourced and produced by women. To give back to their producers, they run the Cheek to Cheek initiative, putting 10% of the sale price of all GWGW retail coffees back into producers’ pockets. Even if you prefer a dark roast, you gotta love this transparency.
S is for Strange
Strange Ways is a curated shop that sells unique and memorable items for your wardrobe and home. Their wide selection of pins, patches, clothing, and accessories are often stamped with irreverent and fun vibes, making it easy to add some spice to your everyday life. Strange Ways works with over 100 independent artists and designers, allowing them to constantly offer new designs. Nothing strange about adding some flair to your life while supporting small creators at the same time.
T is for Thunderbird
Thunderbird Skin was born of a need to resolve the founders’ own debilitating eczema that led to the creation of their Rescue Balm and has grown to an award winning line of products that are sold in over 24 countries. This female Indigenous-owned brand specializes in natural, vegan, cruelty free, accessible skincare that works.
U is for Uma
Uma Oils is a luxury beauty and wellness brand specializing in products made of rare, precious botanicals grown in India and built around the 5000-year-old wisdom of Ayurveda. Founder Shrankhla Holecek grew up in India and was frustrated after moving to California and seeing the misappropriation of Indian rituals and Ayurvedic practices. So she created a line of products with integrity–one that would do justice to her family’s heritage, and its extraordinary legacy of craftsmanship.
V is for Vicky Cakes
Not only is this next brand the home of “America’s best pancake and waffle mix”, they are all about the heart of breakfast. Vicky Cakes sells dairy free pancake mix that isn’t your average just-add-water mix. Their secret family recipe was created by Vicky herself, the founder’s own mother. 40 years later and the delicious pancakes are bringing families back to the table every morning.
W is for Write
Writepads is a Maryland-based brand dedicated to designing contemporary stationery that speaks your style. Their products are sustainably made from materials like vegetable-based inks and premium cover stocks and papers.They also have strong ties to their community through producing locally and donating thousands of notebooks to local elementary schools and programs in Baltimore, MD. They’ve convinced us–notebooks are cool again.
X is for Xena
“I believe that women are both beautiful and strong.” Read that again. This quote from Ana Kraft, founder of Xena Workwear for Women is the basis for their entire brand philosophy. This safety workwear store specializes in versatile workwear for women that is both functional and fashionable. Their safety boots and apparel is feminie by design so that women can stay safe and feel confident at the same time.
Y is for Yarn
Kenyarn is a small Rhode Island-based yarn brand that produces hand dyed fiber for knitters, crocheters, and other fabric artists. It's queer owned and takes pride in creating an inclusive space for all within the fiber community. This isn’t just your average yarn store though. Kenyarn specializes in bright colored and pop-culture themed products, as well as donating to various organizations and charities. Talk about a tight knit community.
Z is for Zoku
If this next brand teaches us anything it’s that popsicles should absolutely be a part of your lifestyle. Zoku is a lifestyle brand that strives to turn everyday moments into opportunities to be creative through beautiful yet functional products. Their roots lie in one of their first designs, the iconic Quick Pop Maker, a rapid popsicle freezer. Today they’ve expanded into a full range of lifestyle products including everything from space-saving storage solutions to on-the-go products and yes, even a bowl that makes ice cream.
Who’s ready for #SmileABCs Round 2?
What’s better than 26 incredible small businesses? 52!
That’s right, we’re coming back with round 2 of our #SmileABCs. But this time, we’re going even more in depth with each incredible brand. Keep your eyes peeled on our blog for an article outlining a great business with a great story for every letter of the alphabet. We’ll see you back here soon!