Chicago Women Help You Give a Homemade Holiday Gift

Chicago Women Help You Give a Homemade Holiday Gift

Put down that generic Christmas mug.

The movers and makers are here to create a beautiful and personal touch to your holiday hostess presents and gift exchanges.

Susie makes homemade soap. Photo: Amanda Elliott

For this holiday season, a local chapter of a creative group for women, SheSays Chicago, hosted an open marketplace at the Comedy Bar above Gino’s East River North (500 North LaSalle Street). Lead Organizer, Jen Lemerand, along with  Elisha-Rio Apilado, Suzanne Cohen, Erin Coleman, Julie Goldsberry and Beckie O’Connor, reached out to SheSays Chicago members and friends to round-up freelancers and women business owners for this open market.

It was an opportunity for women makers and creators in Chicago to show off their Pinterest-worthy homemade totes, soaps, jewelry and more.

I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite creators from the event, who can help you with your holiday shopping!

For your friends with kids (or your kids):

Are you traveling to Chicago with kids or are you looking for activities after the holiday feast this weekend?

Chicago Tiny Travels Tote Bags. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Creator, Brittany Campbellwas standing at The Louvre in Paris and noticed that kids weren’t enjoying their experience.

“It would be awesome to have something on their level that told them how awesome of a place that they are,” Campbell told me.

She decided to create something on a kid’s level for them to appreciate the tourist attractions beautiful places and iconic buildings in various cities including Paris, London, and Chicago.

Her Chicago Tiny Travel Guidebooks offer an interactive fun experience with passport stickers for kids traveling to museums, parks, and landmarks in Chicago. You can shop here for children guide books, pins, and a messenger bag.

Campbell is very creative and also has an Etsy shop, where she sells homemade pillows made from t-shirts sourced from thrift stores and her very closet.

The story starts with a problem, as all things do. Campbell wanted to make gifts for kids she babysat. She came up with the idea from Disney t-shirts in her closet, which she turned into homemade pillows for them.

They are soft—so soft. Who knew snuggling with your clothes could be a thing?

Shop at Free People without the Price Tag:

We all want a new look for a new year or for a holiday party.

Hope Nardini, Hazel Vintage Co. owner, found a way to give you that look for less.

Elbow patch cardigan


Elbow patch cardigan by hazel vintage co-featuring bronze makeup

“I usually charge about 50 percent of what they charge,” said Nardini, who shops from the same showroom in LA as popular women’s clothing stores, like Free People and Akira.

What’s even better is that her clothes are made of cotton or cotton blend so you can handwash or machine wash them. (See my pile of dry clean only items on that chair in the corner).

Honestly, I interviewed Hope and then talked to others at the event who were telling me about tartan scarves, which are multi-use blanket scarves, that they purchased. Every winter I say that I want a thousand blankets to be wrapped around me. So, I went back to the Hazel Vintage Co. and went shopping. And seriously, I’m just one of the many, like Chicago fashion blogger, Lauren Nelson, who can’t get enough of them.

Shop Hazel Vintage Co. looks on Polyvore and Pinterest, where she receives a lot of site traffic, or the Hazel Vintage Co. website.

As a bonus, four of her friends modeled the clothes for Hazel Vintage Co. in Lincoln Park and the Lincoln Park Conservatory for a true Chicago feel.

Give The Gift of Clean:

Susie Jendro loves soap. That’s how she introduced herself the first time I met her at a SheSays Chicago event this past spring.

Swoon Soap at SheSays Chicago event. Photo: Amanda Elliott

As an entrepreneur, I know you are supposed to be passionate about your product, but I haven’t met anyone as passionate about soap as Jendro, who started her research in the library.

Her brand is Swoon Soap. You can shop Bird & Baby, an unscented soap, which ironically smelled really good to me. This soap is made with goat meal, goat’s milk, honey, and yoghurt. I have yet to try it, but I did buy it at the event.
She has a few other varieties including 100 percent coconut oil soap and Lord of the Ring’s soap.

“I enthusiastically celebrate the entire works of Tolkien,” Jendor writes on her website,  “and have found much inspiration in the vivid descriptions of his various characters and landscapes.”

For the Cubs Fan:

Creative, Lacey Schmitt with a Cubs mural. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Lacey Schmitt has an Etsy shop for her artwork. She adds a Chicago-centric theme with murals made from Cubs paraphernalia including  these Cubs earrings made from Chicago Cubs baseball tickets.

Schmitt has various other jewelry made from recycled items for your eco-friendly friends.

Chicago Women Vendors:

Unfortunately, if you are like me, creating pretty things, is not as easy as it looks on Instagram and Pinterest.

I let the experts use their talents to give that added personal touch to hosts and friends this holiday season. And you can, too.

Here’s a list of Chicago vendors, who participated in the SheSays Chicago event.

Help the environment; help yourselves. And, best of all, help women entrepreneurs in your city, Chicago.

Happy holiday shopping!

BeBuddha Jewelry at SheSays Chicago event. Photo: Amanda Elliott

For more information about SheSays Chicago, please visit the SheSays website or read a past recap of SheSays Chicago events.

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