Thanks to American Express for sponsoring my writing today about small businesses. American Express is presenting Small Business Saturday, a way to honor the local merchants who are the backbone of the economy, this Saturday, November 27. They're offering statement credits to people who shop at small businesses, advertising for small-business owners, and donations to Girls Inc. for "Likes" of the Small Business Saturday page on Facebook. Join the celebration by clicking the "Like" button and then visiting the Facebook page to learn more about the program and read the terms and conditions that apply.
When the Clever Girls Collective asked if I wanted to be part of a post promoting small businesses I jumped at the chance because I get to gush about two of my favorite local companies!
The first is AJ's Moonlight Bakery, based in San Jose, CA, who do the most amazing custom, special occasion cakes. It shouldn't be a surprise that I'm talking about them because I've done it before and oh my god the fabulousness! Run by two very hip ladies, Amy and Jeanne have built their business from scratch (ha ha) literally one cake at a time; starting part time and building up to a full business, doing weddings, birthdays, showers, themed parties, you name it. Chance has the honor of being the recipient of their first fondant cake when he was two and they've made a birthday cake for him every year since. He is completely spoiled at this point. Chance runs up to them with all his ideas for this year's cake and they really listen and he has never been disappointed (us either). Besides the fact that they are really cool people I'm amazed at how much they continually try to challenge themselves, building better and more elaborate cakes, taking workshops, being part of the TLC cake crew. It is a passion and a love and that really comes through in their cakes.
And their cakes not only look fabulous but they are really really yummy! Here are just a few.
Yes, you can EAT this drum set!
I was blown away when I saw this one. I couldn't paint this in a million years.
Besides their website, they also have a Facebook page and a blog because not only do they like making cakes they like telling the stories behind each cake. It is their community spirit, their interest in people, that really puts them above other bakers.
The second company I want to tell you about is this great little boutique called The Usuals, also in San Jose. I love this place. They specialize in new clothing designers from up and down the west coast, but they also keep their eye on the price point. The result is they have these fantastic clothing pieces that are also affordable. And I don't mean "$100 t-shirt good-for-a-designer" prices. I mean, actual good prices. $20 for a unique tee, $30 for a great sweater. Besides clothes they also feature shoes, hats, accessories, and jewelry. Heaven! What I love about them is that they also put together solo art and trunk shows of other local artists and crafters so you really get to see the local art community. Walking into the store is always different because there is always a new artist featured on the walls, the displays are amazing, and you feel like you're hanging out in the bar where the artists go, all the cool and no pretension. Everyone there is super friendly and if you had any negative preconceptions about "boutiques" this place will change them.
- the weirdgirl