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Buy Local or Small + Free Soap

December 16th, 2010

One of the things I’ve been trying to do more and more is to find local or small businesses from which to purchase the things I need. This is a wonderful way to cultivate community, especially when you can find things locally. I have also found Etsy to be a wonderful resource in finding small businesses. For example: I am in need of a few more wooden cooking utensils as I have just acquired some enameled cast iron cookware. I could purchase this set on Williams Sonoma, or I could find a few lovely pieces on Etsy, like these that I’m considering. I know if buy from Etsy I’m supporting a guy who does this as a hobby, he gets 100% of the money I send and I like knowing that.

This year I’ve been searching for my holiday gifts from local or small businesses. It has been amazing the wonderful things I’ve found for all those on my list. I won’t mention what specifics since I haven’t given them yet. Sometimes you stumble across something while at the farmer’s market that is just perfect. Local Roots Market in Wooster, OH (which is the main farmer’s market I go to) has an artisan fair this time of year just for Christmas and I’ve found a few wonderful things there.

Miranda, one of my readers (you probably recognize her, she comments often) and her husband have a business called The Relic Jar. They sell soap and very interesting gourd art. Her soap is made of all natural ingredients some that she grows in her own organic gardens in Texas. She generously offered to give a bar of soap to one of you in order to encourage you to buy local/small business not only during the holiday season, but all year long. All you have to do to is to comment on this post and you’ll be entered. PS – Miranda also has an illustration business with lovely things, check it out at Miranda R. Muller Illustrations.

Have you found any wonderful holiday gifts from a local or a small business? chose our winner for this contest:

Kim won the soap from The Relic Jar.

44 Comments to “Buy Local or Small + Free Soap”
  1. Shannon on December 16, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Soap is one thing that I am able to get locally from a lovely woman who uses great ingredients.

    Reply to Shannon's comment

  2. Mavis on December 16, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I have been reading for a month of so; am a beginning soapmaker and would LOVE to have this blend!

    Reply to Mavis's comment

  3. Teresa Rawlings on December 16, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I love to shop locally too. I love home made candles, soaps, even gift baskets made locally are nice to gift.

    Reply to Teresa Rawlings's comment

  4. Lisa on December 16, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Sounds like wonderful soap.

    Reply to Lisa's comment

  5. Cathy Walker on December 16, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I love knowing your helping the locals but you also know what is in the product your buying.

    Reply to Cathy Walker's comment

  6. Sonya C on December 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

    The soaps look beautiful. I have tried my hand on one batch and was pleased with it. I am looking forward to trying to make more next month but with a scent other additives. Thank you for sharing your posts.

    Reply to Sonya C's comment

  7. kristin @ going country on December 16, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I do love Etsy. I got Cubby’s wool socks there, since I don’t knit and it’s not as if JC Penney carries wool socks for infants. Also my felted wool slippers. That I have unfortunately already worn a hole in. Probably not meant to be worm outside . . .

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  8. Janet on December 16, 2010 at 9:13 am

    I would like to try this soap. Thanks!

    Reply to Janet's comment

  9. Denise on December 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    I just ordered somethings from Mountain Rose Herbs – not super local but not across the country either! I would like to try making my own soap soon too.

    Reply to Denise's comment

  10. Sarah on December 16, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I love the thought of shopping locally. I too look for unique gifts for my family and friends during the holiday season. Shopping local is important to me. There is a since of home when you buy locally. There is a section on Etsy that you can put your hometown and see all the shop around you. I have found this extremely helpful.
    Soaps are a great gift for everyone……. LOVE IT!

    Reply to Sarah's comment

  11. Mary W on December 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

    We’re lucky that Baltimore has a large art community, so it’s easy to find local crafts and art. We found some great prints and cards at a holiday fair that we stumbled across. We’re really fortunate to live in a wonderful place and time.

    Reply to Mary W's comment

  12. Annette on December 16, 2010 at 10:36 am

    her soap sounds wonderful! I make a point of buying local whenever possible. There is a guy who makes brooms; these are just amazing! Works of art that are functional. I hope to pick up a few more to give as gifts.

    Reply to Annette's comment

  13. Janelle on December 16, 2010 at 10:47 am

    We tried to do as much of our Christmas shopping locally as we could, and if it wasn’t a local product, we tried to get gifts from small local businesses. I got two of your quote calendars to give as gifts, not realizing they were printed at a local business just 30 miles away from us, they are great quality and beautiful!

    Reply to Janelle's comment

  14. Christine McCormick on December 16, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Speaking of soap & Etsy , we’ve been spending the past few months setting up some the Sarasota Soap Company. We’ve got an etsy (, and are working on setting up a website. We’re trying to deal mostly with the local market, and have contacted some spas in the area about featuring our items, and of course we’ll be going to local craft fairs. We know what our family is getting for xmas this year!

    Reply to Christine McCormick's comment

  15. Denise on December 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Love the homemade soap… I discovered a new store in our town this month that sells local pottery, soy candles, etc. I was very surprised because it looked more like just a knick-knack place from the outside… Pleasant surprise!!

    Reply to Denise's comment

  16. alecia on December 16, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Soap looks lovely!!! Just started last month making my own soap for my family using local and homegrown herbs.

    My favorite locally made gifts would be honey, jewelry and hand knit socks. I still like to give away my own home canned goods and baked goodies as well.

    Reply to alecia's comment

  17. Danielle on December 16, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I was just reading about Local Roots in Edible Columbus – I don’t leave in Ohio but my mom does – sounds like a neat place. I’m glad that more places are popping up like that. We have a place in Knoxville – the Knoxville Visitors Center – that sells all locally made crafts and arts. We bought a nice set of ceramic oil and vinegar vases that were made by a local potter.

    Reply to Danielle's comment

  18. Lynda on December 16, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I only shop locally! Would love the soap.

    Reply to Lynda's comment

  19. Amy @ Homestead Revival on December 16, 2010 at 11:51 am

    How interesting that I would wake up this AM and find your post on buying locally… I was just thinking of this last night! I love supporting local businesses and have made an effort to spend some, if not all of my Christmas dollars with local merchants. The adults that will be at my house for the holidays will only be exchanging stocking stuffers, so I found some lotions and salves made by the local nuns, award winning olive oil from an organic farm down the road, and a cookbook from a hometown owned small bookstore. Instead of buying my Christmas tree from a large chain store, I opted to buy from the local nursery guy who only charged about $5-$10 more for a tree that he keeps in water until you purchase it. I’m hoping to buy a couple of bottles of wine from a local vineyard as well. Besides supporting local businesses, this will be fun for my out-of-state family to experience a bit of my area. (And I’d love to try the soap you found – I need to find a local source for my guest bathroom before they arrive!).

    Reply to Amy @ Homestead Revival's comment

  20. Laura Z. on December 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

    How wonderful and generous! I’d love a chance to win some of Miranda’s beautiful soap!

    Good for you! Handmade things are always so much more interesting than stuff made in a factory. I’m so jealous that you have Local Roots so close to you. Sounds like a fantastic market!

    Reply to Laura Z.'s comment

  21. kitchen-dreams on December 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    oh my! that soap looks wonderful!

    Reply to kitchen-dreams's comment

  22. annie on December 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I was so excited recently to find some local (like a mile away) goat cheese. We make and grow a lot of our own stuff but I’m always happy to find local options for the things we buy.

    Reply to annie's comment

  23. heather on December 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I’d love to try this soap! For the gifts for my kids’ teachers (6 teachers), I knit washcloths and then bought bars of locally made soap to go along with them.

    Reply to heather's comment

  24. KimP on December 16, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    We have a local lavendar farm that makes small gift packages of assorted items they make from lavender. That was one of my more successful gifts, I think.

    Reply to KimP's comment

  25. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Buy Local or Small + Free Soap #goinglocal […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Buy Local or Small + Free Soap | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  26. Sheila Z on December 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I have gathered all the materials together and getting ready to try my first batch of soap later today. Local is wonderful and made at home is as local as you can get.

    Reply to Sheila Z's comment

  27. Sincerely, Emily on December 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Miranda’s soap looks wonderful. She is pretty “local” to my area. We live about 75 miles from each other.

    I try to buy as local as I can when it comes to gifts, food, “things”. It can be very challenging at times. For the few things we give for Christmas we mostly go homemade.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  28. Terry on December 16, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I love handmade soap. I also try to buy from actual people when I can instead of corporations.

    Reply to Terry's comment

  29. Miranda on December 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks so much, Susy and all your readers!
    I have several varieties of soap to choose from and all are completely natural with zero additives, including foaming agents or fragrances. Only essential oils and dried botanicals.

    I love shopping locally. The times when products seem a little pricey, i just remind myself how much the shipping would cost (whether i’m paying for it or whether the cost is just in the pollution added to the planet) and i’m happy to pay the extra few dollars. And as a ‘starving artist’ it is great to know i’m helping out a fellow creative person to make a living.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  30. Joy Giles on December 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I am a reader of Miranda’s as well as your websites and enjoy both immensely. I hope to go the the Urban Farmers Market where she sells her soaps for the first time this weekend. I didn’t realize for a while that I live a few miles south of her. What a small world. Thanks for your website and featuring her products as well as others.

    Reply to Joy Giles's comment

  31. Maleah on December 16, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I have been wanting to try Miranda’s soap and I don’t believe she was at the market the day I went!

    Reply to Maleah's comment

    • Miranda on December 17, 2010 at 9:38 am

      Sorry, Maleah!
      I go just about every Saturday now, unless we have pressing engagements. The market was closed last weekend because of our friday night event. We’ll be there tomorrow in force! (though seriously depleted after the great turnout last friday night!)

      Reply to Miranda's comment

  32. Grant on December 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I live in Ann Arbor Michigan, and I have to say they have a wonderful farmers market. In the winter I am able to buy my advent wreath, and all different kinds of locally grown/baked/made goods!

    Reply to Grant's comment

  33. Mary on December 16, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    What lovely soap! I’ve suffered from eczema all my life, too, and find that handmade soaps are the only thing that works for me.

    Reply to Mary's comment

  34. bonnie on December 16, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    The soap would make a lovely gift.

    Reply to bonnie's comment

  35. Vivian on December 17, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I love to shop at Etsy also. I haven’t found anything locally that I have really been impressed with. I love the wooden utensils you found on Etsy. I have a few a purchased from a fair I went to a while ago and they have been wonderful and have stayed so much nicer than the ones I purchased at a kitchen shop. Love homemade soap but do not know of anyone locally who makes it.

    Reply to Vivian's comment

  36. Jerilee Costa on December 17, 2010 at 1:58 am

    I agree that a farmer’s market is a great place to get local goodies. They just put on a special holiday market a few weeks ago in our city.

    Reply to Jerilee Costa's comment

  37. Grace on December 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I found some locally crafted weenie dog Christmas ornaments at a street fair. I have a mini dachshund and I have friends who have some, too, so I was happy to pick up a few of those.

    Reply to Grace's comment

  38. Karen on December 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I buy every year from a county fair goat’s milk lotion and soap that is made locally. Love it!

    Reply to Karen's comment

  39. Grant on December 17, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Would you mind putting Miranda’s blog on your “blogroll”?

    Reply to Grant's comment

    • Susy on December 17, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      Yep, just did, thanks for the reminder!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  40. Donna B on December 18, 2010 at 3:05 am

    What a lovely idea. I’d love to try this soap.

    Reply to Donna B's comment

  41. Kim on December 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    We are trying to buy more local too. I have looked around on Etsy but yet to buy anything.

    Reply to Kim's comment

  42. Jen Chau on December 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Hope i’m not too late. I would love to try new soap.

    Reply to Jen Chau's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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