#SHOPSMALL—Small Business Saturday

For the past 88 years, the official start for the holiday season was the arrival of Santa Claus at the finale of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York. Whether you watched at home or braved the cold to watch it live in Herald Square, everyone eagerly awaits Jolly Old St. Nick’s hearty chuckle signaling his arrival and ushering in the final countdown to the Big Day—and all the shopping that goes into preparing for it.

Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 27, 2014 in New York City. The annual tradition marks the start of the holiday season. Getty Images/Andrew Burton

Black Friday now actually starts on Thanksgiving Day (seriously there were folks on the news camped out in front of stores having their turkey as they waited in line for the their door buster sales). And for those of us who do not brave the frigid temps, the long lines and sometimes insane shoppers, there is always Cyber Monday (which for some retailers has been going on for over a week). But how many remember to #ShopSmall?

What am I talking about?

Well four years ago American Express launched a “shopping” holiday to encourage the patronage of “brick and mortar” businesses—small and local—within our communities called Small Business Saturday. In all the holiday rush, many of these gems get loss in all the rush and excitement offered by big box retailers and e-commerce stores. Personally this is my favorite shopping day of all.

Shopping locally is a great way to find unique gifts (many small businesses feature the wares of local artisans, specialty items and more) and to give a boost to your local economy. In recent years, Small Business Saturday has gone on to include small e-commerce sites that may get lost among the Amazons and E-bays of the digital world. This year, I want to share the businesses where I #ShopSmall.

THE THRITY HOG & NOIR ET BLANC (NYC)

Located in the chic NoMad neighborhood in Manhattan, the Thrifty HoG is known for upscale vintage apparel and resale store specializing in items for the whole family and the home. Besides scoring some amazing finds (like vintage Louis Vuitton sneakers and super sexy Proenza Schouler booties), you’re not only supporting a local business but you will also be helping the homeless via Hearts of Gold, a charity founded by Deborah Koenigsberger whose mission is to help homeless women and their children build sustainable lives. All of the proceeds from the Thrifty HoG goes to support the various programs (including job training, school supplies and more) provided by Hearts of Gold—celebrating its 20th anniversary– throughout the year. On Small Business Saturday, the Thrifty HoG is offering 30% off your entire purchase.

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Deborah also owns the upscale women’s boutique next door called Noir et Blanc. Noir et Blanc (or NEB for short) features a curated selection of contemporary American and European designers handpicked by the owner herself. With brands including Tracy Reese, Chen Luu, Donna Morgan and Ali Ro, Deborah and her staff will definitely have you bringing the catwalk to the sidewalk with the beautiful collections they have in store. Shop Small with Noir et Blanc which is offering 40-50% off their 2014 winter collections.

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The Thrifty HoG is located at 11 W 25th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue and Noir et Blanc is next door at 7 W 25th Street in Manhattan.

SULA NYC

I have been singing the praises of SULA NYC for a while now. This New York-based luxury spa brand’s entire beauty collection is based around the core ingredient of argan oil. Founded by Patricia Reinders, SULA NYC is sustainably sourced in Morocco, is 100% organic and is never tested on animals (they’re Leaping Bunny certified). The brand has quickly established itself with high quality products with proven results. Shoppers can enjoy three of SULA NYC’s most popular products (including the famed signature scented moisturizer, Fruit of Desire) in a beautifully packaged gift box. Sold in select boutiques and spas worldwide, you can shop SULA NYC’s website for this set and other amazing products. The gift set retails for $55.

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NATURALLY ME (NC)

Founded by a mother who was looking for healthy, all- natural remedies for her children’s different skin care issues, Naturally Me had humble beginnings as a labor of love. Owned and operated by Chaundra Smith, Naturally Me is a North Carolina-based certified vegan body care and candle company. Created on the belief that what goes on the body is as important as what goes in the body, Naturally Me features amazing products including the All Over Butter (an all natural steroid-free body butter that can be used on everything from your scalp to the soles of your feet—it’s my go to moisturizer from my hair and body—especially in the winter) and their deliciously aromatic soy “dessert candles” (seriously there’s one that smells like chocolate chipped cookies)— all still handmade by Chaundra herself. Naturally Me can be found in select boutiques around the country and via their wesite. For the next few days, including Small Business Saturday, everything is 50% off!

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Interesting…as I just finished my last featurette, I just realized that every brand featured today is woman owned and operated. How cool is that? So not only are you supporting small businesses when you shop the stores/sites featured here, you’re also supported 3 womenpreneurs who are also mompreneurs!

So today as you continue your world wind shopping spree, please #ShopSmall and support these and other local businesses today on Small Business Saturday!

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40 REALLY IS THE NEW 20…Celebrating 40 Years of Style with Elie Tahari

Those of us that work in the industry routinely joke that Fashion Week should be declared a holiday. I guess the City of New York was thinking the same thing when it proclaimed Wednesday, September 4th, Elie Tahari Day. With an official decree from Mayor Bloomberg, the day was created to honor Tahari’s 40 years in the fashion industry.

Elie Tahari immigrated to the United States in 1971 with less than $100 in his pocket. He has said that while searching for work, he would sleep on benches in New York’s Central Park and occasionally at the YMCA.  In 1973, with inspiration from New York’s club scene, Elie “gave birth” to the Tube Top.

He’s come a long way since he first arrived in Manhattan. Elie Tahari is now the heard of a wildly successful multinational brand are sold in boutiques bearing his name worldwide as well as some of the world’s top luxury retailers including Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.

In front of a crowd of selected press (which yours truly was a part of), close friends, family, industry colleagues and the Fort Hamilton High School Marching Band gathered at Elie Tahari’s Fifth Avenue pop-up shop, the fashion industry and New York City came together to fete an icon.  Fashion Police host, Joan Rivers, with her usual over-the-top comedic stylings hosted the morning event reminiscing on her friendship with Tahari and the infamous tube top.  Later, Rob Goldrich (an official from the Mayor’s office) read the official proclamation signed by Bloomie himself honoring the Israeli-born American designer with his very own day.

As a way of saying thank you to “the city who gave [him] everything,” Elie Tahari announced that he would be donating proceeds from the dress he created for fashion reality show Project Runway to Save the Garment Center—an organization whose programs are aimed at the preservation of the city’s garment center and fashion design and manufacturing heart.

In honor of this huge milestone, Elie Tahari will unveil a new spring collection called “Elie Tahari 1974” highlighting some of his greatest fashion “hits” over the last 40 years—from jumpsuits (a fave of mine) to power suits and everything in between.

So what are you supposed to do on Elie Tahari Day? Is it a day to barbecue, throw a parade, or wear something fancy? As the designer himself simply put it, all one has to do is “make someone happy….Enjoy the day and remember it is our collective consciousness that creates our reality and guides our path. A grateful mind is a great mind.”

This was definitely the perfect way to kickstart what is turning out to be a crazy but fun Fashion Week.

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