Editor’s note: Startland News searched the web to find some of Kansas City’s rising products — sold largely online — as part of the newsroom’s five-part holiday gift guide that identifies locally made goods and supports the call to shop small. Click here to read the multi-day gift guide as it develops.
When it comes to holiday deals, small businesses can’t always compete with big box stores or big name brands, Whitney Manney said.
“I try to make my website as personable as possible — while still on-brand — so that way visitors know there is an actual person behind all of this,” Manney, local fashion designer and entrepreneur, said of ways she wins over online customers — many of which might normally think of shopping small as only an in-person retail experience.
In 2020, however, online retail is a requirement for most makers hoping to get their creations to the masses, she added.
“We still have a ways to go,” she said, noting platforms like Etsy have done wonders for helping consumers evolve their understanding of supporting small businesses, but the shift in ideology isn’t complete.
“There are still a lot of small businesses and artists who aren’t on platforms like Etsy and really need that traffic. … Expanding your reach is the biggest opportunity with online shopping.”
And that’s exactly what Manney aims to do this holiday shopping season, with the Friday launch of her “HOLLADAYS” special.
“I created the HOLLADAY event last year as a thank you to my loyal customers and I format it in a way that avoids creating a generic discount and gives my shoppers something different and personalized to look forward to everyday,” she explained of the seasonal sales special that offers customers sizeable discounts and free gifts with purchase over seven days.
“Expanding your reach is the biggest opportunity with online shopping. I love that I can still be based in KC but ship orders to anywhere in the country or internationally,” she said of the benefits she’s found in prioritizing the ecommerce space.
“Having a brand that is strong enough to reach customers wherever they are is so important to scalability and longevity.”
Five picks to support makers
The Startland News team selected a handful of products from across local makers’ online retail sites to showcase the variety of Kansas City-made or designed gifts available for purchase.
Whitney Manney mini drip earrings — $18
Street art and culture come together in every piece by Whitney Manney.
“What started as a hand-drawn idea turned into an experiment with the laser cutter and organic flows to create the flyest WM earring — so far,” Manney said in a product description.
“Big in umph but light on the ears, the drip earrings are the perfect way to put some flava in ya ear.”
Love Spot KC statement tees and sweatshirts — starting at $20
Empowerment, inspiration, and support are threaded through every Love Spot KC statement tee, said owner and designer Courtnee White.
The newly launched company uses simple phrases such as, “Busy Empowering Girls,” to reflect cultural happenings, trends, and spread positivity.
Luxee men’s wellness box — starting at $100
Guys gotta groom, said the founders of Luxee — the men’s subscription service that’s helping men and those who identify as men take their wellness seriously through a curated, monthly box of goodies that celebrates looking and feeling good.
True State Hemp Heart Oil — $39
Its nutrition in a hemp shell — and a first of its kind, said Michael Wilson, founder and owner of True State. Got a health nut on your list? True State’s Hemp Heart Oil offers the “ideal human diet ratio” of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids at 3:1.
Micro Mini Metal’s CuRVE No Touch Tools — starting at $24
Give the gift of truly hands-free living this holiday season. The CuRVE line of no touch tools are first of their kind — boasting an antimicrobial, copper construction — that make opening doors and punching buttons in public spaces a COVID and germ free experience.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.