I love shopping local and have a special place in my heart for women-founded small businesses. Pair this with Earth-friendly products, and you have a list of the most incredibly impressive and forward-thinking businesses around. Here are five of my favorite female-founded small businesses that have roots in and around the Chicago area, all of which keep the planet front of mind.
Smaller Things is a Chicago-based kids’ PJ brand that breaks the mold with sustainable + ethically-made + 100% organic at their price point! The brand puts people and the planet first, and uses Earth-friendly fabrics materials and packaging for their whimsical, original artist-illustrated pajamas. It’s parent-founded and self-made: Creating these PJs was co-founder Alecia Zasiebida’s passion because she knew there had to be a better quality option for long-lasting kids’ clothes. The City PJs collection features Chicago and includes Los Angeles, New York, Texas, Boston, and San Francisco, and even Happy Birthday PJs.
The pajamas come in sizes 0-3 months (baby), up to size 10 (kids). They are available for purchase at smallerthings.com, $40-$42.
Frankfort Candle Company creates one-of-a-kind candles that pair unique vintage vessels with thoughtfully curated scents. Founder Melissa Knieriem [pronounced KA-NEER-UM, like “ka-serum”] was inspired during early pandemic life to create a high-quality, unique candle that was better for the planet. Each vintage candle uses the highest quality, eco-friendly, clean-burning wood wicks; and luxurious coco-apricot crème wax that is gluten-free, toxin-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and comes from renewable sources. Melissa and Frankfort Candle Company will actually be at the Chicago Artisan Market in Ravenswood this weekend, 10am-4pm, if you want to check them out in person! Visit www.frankfortcandlecompany.com
Aged & Infused creates alcohol infusion kits that inspire everyday cocktail lovers to craft a better drink come happy hour (or any hour). Founded by Jess Feller, who was inspired by her passion for the perfect cocktail, the brand uses all-natural fruits and spices, and their beautiful glass kits are reusable, refillable, and made from recyclable materials. Each Aged & Infused kit comes complete with everything you need to infuse at home; a 16 oz. glass jar fitted with a custom filtering spout, pre-measured all-natural ingredients, easy-to-follow instructions, and cocktail inspiration. This brand is all about demystifying the cocktail-making process and embracing the ritual of happy hour at home – they even have a cocktail Happy Hour Membership that educates and inspires cocktail fans. The kits are $25 each, visit their website at www.agedandinfused.com
Lil Bucks is an emerging Chicago brand that’s on a mission to be the Quaker Oats of buckwheat: it’s the first dedicated sprouted buckwheat brand in the US, and everyone who tastes it can’t live without the gluten-free, grain-free, plant-based protein. What the heck is buckwheat? It’s a nutritious fruit seed with superfood superpowers, and it’s Earthy-friendly and sustainable. Buckwheat is a great rotating crop, meaning it grows well in cold climates and poor soil. Plus, it flowers quickly, and it’s a soil rejuvenator, meaning it draws what it needs from the soil. Founder Emily Griffith fell in love with sprouted buckwheat while living in Australia, and she moved back to Chicago and created the superfood brand. Lil Bucks is available in four seed flavors; and they make have Clusterbucks, which are adaptogen-packed, low-sugar granola available in 5 addicting flavors!
You can purchase at Mariano’s, Dom’s, and Whole Foods, visit https://lovelilbucks.com
Sacred Serve is a plant-powered gelato brand made in Chicago that is on a mission to bring function into the frozen aisle. With a base of organic young coconut meat mixed with superfoods, adaptogenic herbs, and medicinal mushrooms, a creamy gelato is born and packed with nutrition. Sacred Serve launched the first 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable ice cream cartons! There has never been an Earth-friendly ice cream carton you could recycle until Sacred Serve. This is a huge step toward eliminating our toxic relationship with single-use plastic. Founder Kailey Donewald cured her allergies and asthma by eating a nutrient-dense diet while living in Indonesia. When she returned home to Chicago, she set out to clean up the most sugary section in the supermarket… the ice cream aisle. Now, she is on a mission to prove that ice cream can be healing instead of harmful. It’s available in five flavors and is available for purchase at Mariano’s, Dom’s, and Whole Foods. Visit https://www.sacredserve.com
Cheers to these strong, brilliant women producing earth-friendly, mindful, magnificent products!