The most popular post from the Budget Fashionista is a list of the best online clothing stores for budget shoppers. You probably recognize at least some of the fashion stores in that post. They are all large corporate retailers – which admittedly leaves out a huge and important segment of the fashion retail industry, the small business.
So I correct that mistake with this post, dedicated to sidelines and small businesses run by women. The truth is that small fashion brands and stores have a lot to offer – styles you won’t find anywhere else, affordable prices and incredible customer service managed by a store owner who really cares.
The next time your clothes and accessories budget runs out, check out these 9 jewelry and fashion stores as a show of support for the creative, resourceful women rushing to make it big in fashion retail.
1. Foamy Wader Sustainable Jewelry
Foamy wading bird wears ocean-themed sustainable jewelry with a minimalist slant. Fine necklaces, hammered earrings, beautiful gemstone pendants and stackable rings define the collection. Materials include gold and rose gold, sterling silver, and 14K gold.
Prices range from $30 to $100 or more, and you’ll find many wearable pieces priced at $40 or $50. Try the Siren earrings for a pop of color or the Chevron bracelet for an interesting conversation starter.
Owner Alexa Allamano started Foamy Wader in 2007 as a part-time job and has been working full-time in the company since 2008. Allamano was a regular at craft fairs for many years before opening her first store in Seattle in 2014. in Washington, you can stop by Foamy Wader’s current physical location on Second Street on Whidbey Island.
2. Currently mindfulness bracelets
Store Currently for beautiful bracelets that gently remind us to embrace life as it is. The collection includes curb chain, figaro chain and paperclip chain bracelets, each engraved with one of eight meaningful phrases. My favorite affirmation is: brave the uncomfortable. The pieces are nickel-free brass plated with 2 microns of 14K gold, sold for $54 each. Five dollars from every bracelet purchase goes to a charity of your choice.
Sisters Lindsay and Emily started Presently as a side job during the pandemic. Through their own struggles with OCD and anxiety, they saw an opportunity to provide others with a simple, beautiful tool to practice mindfulness. In Emily’s words: “We want to empower those who suffer in silence to discover real, effective ways to feel less overwhelmed and removed from the present moment.”
3. Arias Design Co ethically made clay earrings
Based in New Zealand Arias Design Co sells handmade ethnic earrings made from polymer clay. The designs are beautiful and affordable – a combination I love. For example, you can buy the Adamo stud earrings for $12 NZD. The style features a colored circle on top of a three-quarter moon shape, connected by a small, silver-plated ring so that there is movement between the two pieces. You can choose from eight colors.
Arias Design Co donates 20% of profits to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, in support of improving access to mental health care across the country.
The company was launched in May as an afterthought. You can find Arias Design Co at craft markets in New Zealand, or online at Ariasdesignco.com.
4. Babes and babies sentimental jewelry and gifts
Babes and Babies might be your favorite gift shop as of today. The online store offers custom bracelets, necklaces and rings in gold, rose gold or silver. The idea is to engrave a name, but you can ask for any word you want.
Try the Custom Script Name Necklace for a new take on the name pendant – submit an image of a handwritten name and the pendant will match the handwriting! You can also get personalized monogrammed bracelets and stud earrings. Prices range from $50 and up.
Lauren Byington started Babes & Babies after searching in vain for sparkly, custom pieces that would fit her family’s outdoor lifestyle.
5. Megan Petersen Jewelry
Megan Petersen Jewelry offers original beaded jewelry and accessories with a boho vibe. Shop bracelets, earrings, necklaces, anklets and even jewelry for your boots. These are fun, casual pieces that are usually priced under $30. I love the Slim dark blue stacking bracelet for its rich hue and the toilet paper earrings for the smart design.
Founder Megan Petersen is a graphic designer by day and jewelry designer by night. She started making beaded jewelry when she was five years old under the guidance of her grandfather. Today, Petersen loves the role she plays in helping free-spirited women express themselves.
6. Pabooj Slippers
NYC based Pabooj sells cozy indoor and outdoor slippers, with more products to come. The slipper is made of light brown cow suede leather and lined with sheepskin. A memory foam insole provides comfort and support. That red stitched logo on the vamp pops enough to make you want to wear your Pabooj slippers to the supermarket.
Choose from three sizes: small for sizes 5-6, medium for sizes 7-8 and large for sizes 9-10. You can pick up your Pabooj slippers for $97.
7. Executive by Stephanie for workwear
Shop Executive by Stephanie for workwear that is versatile, affordable and stylish. Try the $40 Pearl blouse in mulberry as a partner to your pencil skirt or slim fit trousers; it is a collared button placket with soft pleats at the shoulder for movement and femininity.
Budget Fashionista Tip: Get coupon codes now with Capital One shopping. Here’s how.
Another of my favorites is the $36 Scarlett blouse in olive green with cap sleeves — an updated version of the classic tie-neck blouse. In fact, there is nothing in this small collection that I would not like to wear, even though I work from home.
Stephanie Carroll designed the line last fall while teaching full time. The line is brand new, with a few pieces still in pre-order status.
8. Tandeu for casual wear
tandem – short for Trial and Error Unlimited – is a budget-friendly boutique with casual tops, T-shirts, dresses, shoes and accessories. Tandeu tops are perfect to combine with jeans. You’ll find peplums, florals, ruffles, and flowing silhouettes. And the brand’s clothing collection has you covered for summer days, with a few nightwear and workwear options too. My favorite is the Perfectly composed dress in navy blue for $42.
Found Andrea Toth started Tandeu six years ago as a side job. At the time, she sold leggings to pay for her oldest daughter’s pre-school education. Toth has since built the business into a full-time income, primarily through live sales on Facebook.
9. Kiwi Lounge for trends on a budget
Shop Kiwi Lounge for cute and affordable dresses, plus swimwear, outerwear, accessories and handbags. I’ve featured Kiwi Lounge in the past, with a spotlight on the brand’s collection of summer dresses. But that’s not all Kiwi Lounge has to offer. Take this one chic utility sweatpants for $31, for instance — they look great with heels or a dressy sneaker. I also like the Dusty Rose belted ankle pants for $56. They’re an easy companion to a lightweight white blouse or T-shirt.
Kiwi Lounge founder Kelly started the company after getting sticker shock while shopping in NYC. She is now on a mission to bring affordable, beautiful women’s fashion to the masses.
I would like to add to this list of (previously) unknown fashion stores. If you know any female entrepreneurs with great online stores, send the link my way and I’ll take a look!