Being a small business owner, I’ve quickly realized the importance of what it means to #ShopSmall. Running my own business is no easy task! While I may not work a 9-5 gig, I’m pretty sure I’ve have had more than my fair share of 12+ hour work days, and let’s be honest…there’s really no such thing as a day off. An entrepreneur is always at work in some way, some how, all the time. It can be hard to turn off (even for a day) something that you work so hard for and that you strive to make your greatest achievement.
Having lived through the struggles and daily stresses of running my own gig, it makes me want to hug all of the other small business owners out there…because I get it. IT IS NOT EASY! So today I want to share with you some of my favorite small businesses in the Tampa Bay & Sarasota areas that I think deserve a shout out and that I think you should check out ASAP! When you support local, you create local jobs, keep tax dollars in the community, and you keep the neighborhood diverse with vibrancy and unique offerings that you may not find anywhere else! So please help support them!
Alex is definitely my right-hand lady when it comes to many of my boudoir portrait sessions. When I first moved to the Tampa Bay area, I asked for a referral for a hair & makeup artist and her name popped up. Our first “business meeting” was at a local gelato shop (where she kindly treated me to Paciugo’s amazingness) and we’ve been colleagues and good friends ever since. She does beautiful work and her kindness & empathy is a blessing as she helps to warm-up nervous boudoir clients by making them feel beautiful before they even step in front of the camera. And behind the scenes, she’s always there to help me brainstorm new business ideas on her time out of the kindness of her heart to help me succeed, and I’m forever grateful for that. So if you need your hair & makeup done in the Tampa Bay/St Pete area, please hit her up!
When I was looking for flowers for a styled shoot, I got Natalie’s name referred to me and as soon as I saw her work, I was in heaven. Like this girl knows was she is doing and if there is ever a chance of a wedding in my future, I know this is the girl I will call! Her creations can be found as you are greeted at the hostess table at Tampa’s Ūlëlē restaurant and at Jug & Bottle Dept in Seminole Heights.
While searching for collaborators for my styled shoot (previously mentioned), I also came across one of my all-time favorite local clothing boutiques in downtown St Pete. This shop on Central Ave was the perfect spot to find some Boho pieces and the prices are super reasonable for the quality of the clothing you receive. (Well, that is until you want to buy every bit of clothing in the shop and then my wallet hates me. haha). The shop owner – Amanda – is also an incredibly kind heart, whom you will love as soon as you meet her. Definitely stop by her shop ASAP if you are looking for some comfy, boho-inspired pieces.
If you know me, you know I love a good Moscow Mule to drink! If you are coming to meet me for a viewing and ordering session, it’s also something you will find me offering up while we check out your beautiful gallery from your session. So I want to make sure I have nothing but the best! And I have to say that Tidal Boar ginger beer is probably the best ginger beer I’ve ever had! I came across it for the first time at the St Pete Saturday Morning Market, and it was love at first taste! And, of course, I’m going to pair it with some of the best vodka made right here in St Pete by St Petersburg Distillery. (How can you not love a vodka that comes is SUCH a cool bottle?! Is it bad that I struggle to recycle it after it’s finish because I love it so much? 😉 )
I met the owner of Astatula Candles when I did a photo shoot with her this past spring. Angela is a sweetheart and you can tell she pours her heart into her candles that she makes. And oh do they smell heavenly! My favorite is the Leather & Tobacco candle with it’s masculine influences! You can shop online for some yummy scents or usually find her at the Tampa Indie Flea, alongside a bunch of other wonderful local vendors! <3
So while I haven’t quite had the privilege yet to do some house hunting with Southern Roots Realty, I have had the honor of renting out my current home from the owner – Natalie DeVicente. I can say, hands down, that she is the best landlord I’ve had in my 14+ years of renting. She knew all the rules to help me get out of lease with my worst landlord and make sure I got all the money that I deserved. And my current living space is amazing. Her roots have been in St Petersburg for quite a few generations, so to say she knows the area is a bit of an understatement. Her and her team will help you find the perfect new home or commercial property with ease. I’ve had the opportunity to photograph the team and Sarah & Judson are equally as amazing! Please give them a call if you are ready to set down roots in the Tampa Bay area!
I met Max via Instagram and the amazing community that we have here in St Pete with the @IgersStPete. She started sharing amazing works of art showcasing her calligraphy skills and watercolor art, and I just KNEW I had to have a piece to display in my home (or two! haha). Max is one of the kindest people you will ever meet and her work is amazing! If you want a custom piece, she is totally willing to work with you to make it happen.
This lotion is amazing! I tend to be a bit picky about the lotions I use and I want to make sure that it does the job but isn’t leaving me feeling covered in a greasy film. Let It Glow Lotion does the trick! It keeps my skin soft with leaving it covered in a thick grease (like some lotions out there), and it smells soooooo good! This lotion created by local Sarasota resident – Renata Quirke – will hydrate your skin and leave it feeling hydrated and protected! If you want proof of what it can do for your skin, just have a look at the beautiful owner’s perfect skin after using it for the last 20 years (since her first pregnancy in 1996)….like did she have a baby at 5 years old because there’s no way she can be older that 25, right? 😉
I’ve been going to Candance – the owner of Hair Habit Salon – since even before I moved to Florida! On a visit down from Ohio, my friend Danielle raved about her and I thought I would give her a try to touch up my red locks. And from the amount of compliments I get about the color of my hair, she must be doing something right! Haha. She is also amazing at hair extensions if you need some done, and is an educator with Easilocks Hair Extensions. Definitely stop into her Sarasota salon off of Bee Ridge Plaza – located right next door to the infamous La Dona Donuts.
Another favorite local area boutique you must hit up is These Quiet Sounds in Sarasota. Founded by Fabian Manzano and fill with an amazing selection of beachy/boho inspired clothing chosen by Jessica Manzano, this place has some perfect pieces for a day of fun in the sun in Siesta Key. This 2-story space also hosts a graphic design studio upstairs and you can grab yourself one of the custom designed logo tees or art within the shop too! This Gulf Gate Plaza shop is a definite can’t-miss! Here’s a photo of the shop owners wearing some pieces you will likely find inside.
And last, but not least, I’m incredibly thankful for the Keep St Pete Local (KSPC) community as it’s helped to connect me with other amazing local businesses and makes me feel a part of an amazing community of creatives & entrepreneurs. If you are ever in need of finding local talent & businesses in St Petersburg for something, this should be your first stop! (Well, besides this post…haha).
And I, of course, would LOVE to have you continue to keep supporting me and my photography business! So if you are ever in need of a portrait session, definitely get in touch! 😉 Book a session today – Small Business Saturday – and save 10% off your session fee.