Once again, it’s that time of year—the holidays are upon us! As your communities and families settle into the holiday spirit, you might be wondering where to find unique and meaningful gifts for your loved ones. As a small press, we value the support we receive from those around us and believe it’s important for us to do the same as consumers. This holiday season, we encourage you to shop locally whenever possible and support small businesses—particularly those owned and operated by people of color, Black folks, women, queer & trans folks, and others whose economic interests have historically been marginalized.
Here are some fantastic businesses we’d love to share with you from around the SF Bay Area (as well as a few online-only ventures) to get you started on your socially conscious holiday shopping endeavors. This list is by no means exhaustive, so we invite you to share your favorite spots with us, too!
Art & Art Supply
A Verb for Keeping Warm 6328 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland
This charming yarn, fiber, and fabric store in Oakland’s Golden Gate District also includes indoor and outdoor classrooms, dyeing studios, and a natural dye garden. Check out their website for more information about their extensive stock and upcoming class offerings.
Named for a favorite childhood dish of sibling co-owners Kingston and Serena Lim, Oxtail Studio & Gallery exhibits and sells artwork and crafts made by independent and local Bay Area artists.
StormOne Originals (online only)
Oakland-based Avy Jetter sells a variety of one-of-a-kind textile products—including hand-dyed silks, batik, tie-dye, and more—fine art pieces, and zombie comic books.
Books & Other Publications
Alexander Book Company 50 Second Street, San Francisco
Located just half a block away from Montgomery BART, Alexander Book Co. offers a wide variety of new and used books and has partnered with Trees for the Future (TFTF) to plant a tree for each bookstore purchase since 2005. They also offer several ways to save money, including a frequent buyer program, to keep your bookshelves and your wallet full.
Arkipelago Filipino Bookstore Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission Street, San Francisco
Arkipelago is a community-based specialty bookstore that carries works of all genres by Filipino and Filipino American writers, hosts author and community events, and exhibits a variety of Filipino arts, crafts, and music on-site.
Black Oak Books 2618 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
East Bay book lovers were devastated when Black Oak closed in 2009, and delighted when it reopened in a new location later that year. Six years later, they’re still going strong! In addition to their regular collections of new and used books, Black Oak has been curating a mini-store entirely of new and gently used sci-fi and fantasy selections.
Eastwind Books of Berkeley 2066 University Avenue, Berkeley
Small but mighty, Eastwind Books is a powerhouse of Ethnic Studies, Asian Studies, and Asian American Studies literature and scholarship located just a few blocks away from the UC Berkeley campus. Their offerings also include language learning, traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts, qigong, children’s books, art supplies, and more.
La Chupacabra (online only)
La Chupacabra is an Oakland-based zine and book collective that distributes anarchist publications for and by people of color. Check out their Instagram feed for updates on their productions!
Marcus Bookstore 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland
Named for Black revolutionary Marcus Garvey, Marcus Books is the oldest continuously operating Black-owned, Black-themed bookstore in the country. Although evicted from their original San Francisco location last year, Marcus Books continues to offer “books by and about black people everywhere” from their Oakland storefront.
Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary & Garden Arts 2904 College Avenue, Berkeley
Visitors to Berkeley’s Elmwood District would do well to check out Mrs. Dalloway’s. The store carries a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, garden, and children’s books, and hosts numerous community events each year.
Revolution Books 2444 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
Activists and organizers might find themselves at home in Revolution Books, which sells books on history and political theory, novels and poetry, atheism and science, world geopolitics and philosophy, as well as literature and books in Spanish.
Bluestockings Boutique (online only)
Founder Jeanna Kadlec created Bluestockings to provide LGBTQIA+ folks and others not reflected within the mainstream lingerie industry with body-affirming undergarments and lingerie. The online boutique partners only with designers and brands with ethical and sustainable business practices.
Calculated Clothing 408 15th Street, Oakland
This up-and-coming men’s lifestyle and apparel brand recently celebrated a grand opening in Oakland! Their offerings include the EDC (Every Day Carry) Holster, a line of high-quality holster-style pouches crafted from full-grain leather from Napa.
Estilo Clothing (online only)
Established in 1995, Estilo Clothing provides apparel with “clean and expressive graphics that are turning heads around the world,” inspired by music and culture from Oakland and elsewhere.
Girls Will Be Boys (online only)
GWBB combines the talents of three longtime friends to create comfortable and stylish undergarments, apparel, and accessories for tomboys and others who feel restricted by gendered clothing options. While the brand started as an attempt to create the perfect women’s boxer brief, it has expanded to hats and shirts as well.
Handsome in Pink (online only)
Two Oakland moms who decided children deserve clothing not limited by gender stereotypes created this apparel line for kids and babies. Their online store features products that challenge gender norms and expectations through color, imagery, and slogans.
Oaklandish (various locations)
These bold and stylish Oakland-centered designs grew out of a public art campaign to spread “local love” and civic pride, and can now be found online, at three storefront locations, and at select retailers throughout the Bay Area. Part of the proceeds from Oaklandish’s apparel and accessory sales go toward supporting local people and nonprofit organizations working to keep Oakland great. See the full list of locations and retailers here
Orundide is a Black-owned apparel line offering stylish designs inspired in part by Black revolutionary politics and imagery.
Play Out (online only)
When Sylvie Lardeux and Abby Sugar created Play Out Underwear, the pair “set out to create new underwear designs that are lesbian-inspired, gender-neutral, sexy and fun for women and people of all gender identifications.” Their eye-catching designs are come in two styles—boxer brief and trunk—and are made in the US.
Run the World Clothing (online only)
UC Berkeley alum Victor Sandifer created this Oakland-based clothing brand two years after launching a fashion and lifestyle blog of the same name. The products available in his online store include the recently released Gods of Sankofa collection. Don’t wait on this one—several of the limited-edition items have already sold out, and the rest are going quickly!
Spoiled Boutique 2001 Broadway, Oakland
With their motto, “All Women Deserve To Be…Spoiled,” Spoiled Boutique provides personal styling in addition to their collection of unique and edgy women’s apparel. This Black woman-owned business has gained a reputation for signature looks, including pin-up girl styles and combinations of ruffles, lace, and corsets.
Also founded by a Black woman, Urban Stitch seeks to indulge customers in a “special and decadent” shopping experience that combines a retail boutique and show space intended for workshops, designer showcases, and event rentals.
Yarness (online only)
Yarness offers a fun and unique spin on leather and fetish culture with a variety of crocheted harnesses and other kink-inspired clothing and accessories. Their vivid designs can be both functional and decorative, are fully adjustable, and are (mostly) made out of vegan-friendly synthetic wool.
Casa De Chocolates 2639 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley
At first glance, the chocolates and desserts for sale at this Berkeley establishment look too beautiful to eat—but we’re sure they’re also too delicious not to eat! From chocolate bars studded with fruit and nuts to mouthwatering pumpkin flan, Casa De Chocolates will satisfy your sweet tooth with a distinctly Latin American flavor.
Cupcakin’ Bake Shop 2435 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
Owner Lila Owens has been baking cupcakes professionally since 2007 and met with so much success that she opened a storefront just off Telegraph Ave last year! The bakery uses high-quality, sustainable ingredients to craft a wide variety of delicious flavors, each one meticulously decorated by hand.
James & the Giant Cupcake 6326 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland
Eurydice Manning’s magical cupcake creations bring a touch of sweetness to Oakland’s Golden Gate District. As a bonus, the bakery is located only a few doors away from A Verb for Keeping Warm, so you can conveniently shop for tasty treats and fantastic fibers at the same time.
Kingston 11 2270 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
Nigel Jones and Adrian Henderson strive to serve food that is flavorful, local & sustainable, and health-conscious. As a business, Kingston 11 operates on principles influenced by “[Jones’s grandmother’s] legacy of simple home cooking, Jamaica’s rich culinary tradition, and the global practice of community-building around food, drink, and music.” Be sure to sample the restaurant’s impressive rum bar!
Owners Jess and Jules emphasize freshness of the ingredients they use in their all-vegan café and catering business, either growing produce themselves or partnering with local Bay Area farms. Check out their weekday breakfast and lunch offerings, enjoy a weekend brunch, or contact them for catering opportunities.
Gifts & Jewelry
Azteca Negra (online only)
Marisol Catchings draws upon her Chicana and Black ancestry to design and create a wide variety of accessories that uplift indigenous art practices. Her pieces, many of which make use of vibrant textiles from across Latin America and Africa, will make stunning additions to any wardrobe!
CanDid Art Accessories (various locations)
CanDid Art is the brainchild of Oakland-born, self-taught jewelry designer Candice Cox. Her work is “inspired infinitely by research and affinity with African visual culture, indigenous design vernacular, and cosmic geometry,” and is meticulously handcrafted using recycled and found materials when possible. Get free shipping by using the code FREESHIP when you order online See the full list of retail locations here
Gorgeous & Green 2946 College Ave, Berkeley
In the market for beautiful flower arrangements? Look no further than Gorgeous & Green! Their designs use local and organic plants, and they offer delivery via bike courier in the East Bay. Their brick-and-mortar store in Berkeley is “part florist, part local gift boutique, part plant store, and part workshop space.”
Old Yak Bazaar 2840 College Avenue, Berkeley
Tenzin Losel and Wen-Yan King are the husband-and-wife duo behind Old Yak Bazaar, where visitors can find all manner of ethically crafted, sustainable, and handmade items. We recommend checking out their Berkeley storefront for the variety of colorful and unexpected products, including a collection of home goods and paper products made from elephant dung (yes, really)!
Turtle Girl Jewels (online only)
Deborah and Miranda are a mother-daughter team of California Indian women creating beautiful beaded jewelry. Proceeds from their sales go toward supporting Miranda’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Georgia (the “Turtle Girl” for whom the shop is named), who lives with numerous medical concerns caused by a genetic disorder.
Qulture Collective 1714 Franklin Street, Oakland
Co-founders Alyah Baker, Terry Sok, and Julia Wolfson envisioned this recent addition to downtown Oakland as a multi-use queer community hub. It combines a café, retail shop, community workspace, art gallery, pop-up vendors, and event rentals into a single space owned, operated, and staffed by queer folks and their allies.
Another venture by Qulture Collective’s Alyah Baker, this concept shop, art gallery, and community gathering space sells apparel and other products from “local artists and people who [are] approaching fashion and style from a sustainable or socially responsible manner.” Baker and co-founder Nichole Payton, both queer women, imagined an ideal retail shop for queer folks and named it in opposition to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Cantos de la Tierra (online only)
Cantos de la Tierra is Berenice Dimas’s “creative expression of healing.” Dimas provides birth and doula support, personal & community wellness services, workshops & lectures, and vending at events. Her products include handmade earrings and healing herbal medicines.
Crave (various locations)
This San Francisco-based company, co-founded by designer Ti Chang, has been producing high-quality adult toys and jewelry that are both aesthetically and physically pleasing since 2011. Their products can be purchased through their online store, as well as at multiple brick-and-mortar retailers.
The Healing Place Apothecary (online only)
Nubian Flunder drew on her experience as a private acupuncture and herbal medicine practitioner and launched THP Apothecary in 2012 to provide natural hair and skin care products as alternatives to toxic hair chemicals, skin lighteners, and other harmful personal care products.
Events & Fairs
Are one-stop shops more your speed for holiday shopping? If so, check out these upcoming events throughout the Bay Area.
Holiday Pop-Up Boutique & Marketplace (December 6, 11 am – 4 pm) St. Augustine Church Gym, 400 Alcatraz Avenue, Oakland
Join Oakland Elizabeth House, a residential transitional program for women with children who have experienced homelessness, violence, addiction, and/or poverty, for their Pop-Up Boutique & Marketplace. Browse jewelry, home goods, accessories, apparel, pottery, food, and more, all with pastries and mimosas in hand! Proceeds directly benefit the women and children of Elizabeth House, and parking, entry, and gift-wrapping are free.
MAGIC MAKERS (December 13, 12 pm – 6 pm) Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland
Now in its third year, MAGIC MAKERS “celebrates queer arts and healing, and intentionally centers the work of QTPOC, working class, and socially/politically conscious artists and healers.” This year’s event features more than 50 artists, makers, and healers. If you plan to attend, please read the organizers’ very important notes on access. Access and comfort during the first hour of the event are prioritized for those who prefer to avoid crowds, and the entire event is scent-free. Entry is free, with a suggested donation of $5-25 at the door to benefit TGI Justice Project.
BONUS: More Lists
Top 10 Lesbian-Owned Companies via Curve Magazine
The Ultimate Black-Owned Online Business Holiday Gift Guide via Quirky Brown Love
San Francisco and Oakland Shops and Galleries via Soul of America
Queer and Indie Holiday Gift Guide via Queer F at Femme
45 Black-Owned Etsy Stores Everyone Should Support via Huffington Post