4 virtual events to kickstart your holiday shopping

Support local businesses this season.
Person Taking Credit Card Out Of Wallet while online shopping

As many businesses have faced financial challenges due to COVID-19, this year is critical for supporting local and small businesses over the holiday season.

While it remains inadvisable to host in-person events, local events and businesses have shifted to offering online only alternatives.

“This year it is especially important that customers support their mom and pop businesses if we are going to survive this pandemic. Holiday sales are critical to our viability and will either make or break us,” says Zoe Schuler, who owns Z Boutique and is organizing the Pink Friday event.

Here are four events to kickstart your holiday shopping.

Virtual Fair Trade Holiday Festival, Nov. 1-30
For its 24th year, the Fair Trade Holiday Festival is going completely virtual for the month of November. Follow the Fair Trade Holiday Festival Facebook page to find features on fair trade participants to learn more about the socially responsible principles each follow. Feel good about what you purchase by supporting smaller businesses who create or source ethically produced products. Many participants are also Midwest businesses and organizations. Find all vendors here.

A Very Virtual Holiday Show!, Nov. 16-29
If you’re someone who loves to gift unique, handmade items, A Very Virtual Holiday Show! hosted by Dane Handmade may be for you. Every day six to eight makers will be featured on Dane Handmade’s social media channels, so you can meet different local artists. Some of the participants are offering free shipping and discount codes that you can exclusively find in its featured social media post. If you don’t want to wait for daily updates, you can also find a full list of the participants on Dane Handmade’s website and get your shopping done all at once.

Pink Friday, Nov. 19, 5:30 p.m.
Five Madison area boutiques are coming together to provide a virtual shopping experience. Pink Friday is a national movement encouraging customers to support local boutiques on the Friday before Thanksgiving. In the spring, the collective of boutiques launched the “Virtual Boutique Crawl” to create a fun virtual night of shopping. The five participants are Grasshopper Goods, Change Boutique, Z Boutique, Ciao Bella Boutique and The Purple Goose. The event will be livestreamed on Facebook with each business showcasing gift ideas for the holiday season. “We want to keep our customers and staff as safe as possible while maintaining the spirit of the holidays and the joy that holiday gift-giving brings,” says Nikki Anderson, owner of Change Boutique. Find the Virtual Boutique Crawl on Facebook here.

Virtual Crafty Fair Pop-up, Weekends in November and December
Throughout the pandemic, The Crafty Fair has hosted pop-up events showcasing local makers in place of traditional fairs. This November and December, the fair will showcase five to 10 different makers each weekend showing items that are available for purchase. Every weekend a photo album is posted on its Facebook page so customers can shop the album and comment “sold” on items they would like to purchase. Vendors rotate each weekend, so you’ll want to come back each weekend for a different selection. The next fair is Nov. 21-22.

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