Shop local! Small businesses to support this holiday season

While it may be easy to order online from a national chain and have a box appear on your doorstep in two days, this holiday season we’re all about shopping small and shopping local when it comes to buying gifts. It’s been a hard year for most business owners, who have worked through closures, ever-changing regulations and helping customers during a pandemic, so if you’re able to, please consider shopping local this month. Small businesses are the backbone of the community and the ones we can count on when it comes to donating gift cards for school fundraisers, supporting community events and sponsoring the Little Leagues.

 Looking for other ways you can support your favorite community businesses? Follow your go-to restaurants, retailers and neighborhood entrepreneurs on social media, comment and like their posts, buy gift cards if you’re not ready to shop in person, share a review online and give them a shout out! Knowing that customers and the community are rallying behind them means a lot to small business owners.

Below is our list of some of our favorite local shops and retailers.


Lily Love Boutique owner, Sara Lashkari, shows off a comfy sweater
in the Playa del Rey store.

Lily Love Boutique

When you’re looking for cute, comfortable and on-trend women’s clothing and jewelry, head to Playa del Rey’s Lily Love Boutique. Since opening in October, Sara Lashkari has been helping customers find the perfect outfit thanks to her background as a stylist. Peruse the shop’s racks and expect to find pieces that are easy to mix and match–from loungewear to dresses––and tons of “buttery soft fabrics.”

“It is so important to shop local because you can find items and gifts that you will not find in big box and on e-commerce giant websites,” said Lashkari. “They are curated personally by us–the business owner–and reflect our unique personalities. I believe that we are truly the backbone of the economy, and the relationships formed with clients and customers sets us apart from the big names! Plus, when you support a local business, you are supporting someone’s dream.”

What we love about Lily Love Boutique: Lashkari has curated a collection of stylish, yet easily wearable pieces and her expertise as a stylist definitely comes in handy when assisting customers. You can also browse the shop online and pick-up in store. Lashkari offers local delivery to Westchester/Playa. 

Lily Love Boutique is located at 8125 W. Manchester Ave. in Playa del Rey. You can also visit their website at lilyloveboutique.com.

A display of some of the boutique’s jewelry.

Stop by The Book Jewel to view their selection of new and used books and gifts.

The Book Jewel

If you haven’t had a chance to visit The Book Jewel in the Westchester Triangle yet, holiday shopping is a great reason! With thousands of new and used books on the shelves, as well as Westchester-made candles, book-themed clothing and games, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Plus, there’s a great kid’s book section.

The Book Jewel’s knowledgable team can help you pick the perfect book. Here staff member Thera Pitts poses with a sign publicizing her new novel.

The helpful and knowledgeable team love books (staff member Thera Pitts recently debuted her novel South at the store) and are readily available to answer any questions and make suggestions. And if the book you’re looking for isn’t in stock, they will happily place a special order and give you a call when the book is ready for pick up.

What we love about The Book Jewel: We love having a friendly, neighborhood bookstore in Westchester and enjoy stopping in to find Westchester-themed merchandise. While looking for your next favorite author, make sure to be on the lookout for the shop cat, Paiges!

Paiges checks out the store’s selection of art books.

The Book Jewel is located at 6259 W. 87th St. in Westchester. You can also visit their website at thebookjewel.com.


The VAVERA team pose outside the Culver Blvd. store.

VAVERA Boutique

Playa del Rey’s VAVERA Boutique is the place to go when you’re looking for unique and hip gifts for yourself and your loved ones. Owner Jim Iacono describes the shop as a colorful and inviting place with an eclectic array of luxury goods, candles, vintage finds and consignments in all price ranges. “Retail therapy has a new meaning when you shop local! It is quite literally personalized shopping when your local shop also knows your name and your dog’s name,” said Iacono.  

Stop in Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to shop the community’s best selection of candles, Zuca travel bags, jewelry and gifts you can’t find anywhere else.

 What we love about VAVERA Boutique: Owners Iacono and Jennifer Biagiotti have created a fun and unexpected collection of items–from tiny teddy bears from Russia to wine-making kits–that scream, “you want me!” We also love the boutique’s collection of vintage pieces that Biagiotti finds from combing thrift stores and estate sales.

VAVERA Boutique is located at 318 Culver Blvd. in Playa del Rey. Visit their website at vaveraboutique.com.

The store has a great selection of candles, vintage items and unique gifts.

Get the manicured look without going to a salon with Color Street.

Perfectly Polished by Emily

 If you have someone on your list that loves painting their nails, or maybe is in need of a manicure, check out Westchester resident Emily Ingistov’s Color Street website. Ingistov has been a rep for the company, which sells 100 percent nail polish strips that adhere instantly, for three years, and loves that she can have perfectly polished nails with little effort.

“I fell in love with Color Street because of how easy and fast they are to apply at home–there’s no dry time. This is a game changer for a busy mom with two young children on the move, they last for up to two weeks, and since it’s real polish, it’s super easy to remove,” said Ingistov.

 What we love about Color Street: The Color Street sets come in a variety of fun colors and designs. There’s even a holiday line that features snowflakes and penguins! Putting on the polish is also a fun activity while catching up on your favorite Netflix shows! 

Visit tinyurl.com/perfectlypolishedbyemilyHTN to shop.


For all the wine lovers on your list, check out Chapter 4’s wine kits.

Chapter 4

Wine almost always makes a great gift, and we love the selection and expertise offered at Chapter 4 | Fine + Rare Supply. The company is owned by Westchester residents Nicole and Scott Torrence and specializes in bespoke private collections of well cellared wines from California, France, Italy and Spain. They are known locally for their creative “wine kits” where they aim to provide high quality preselected gifts, for yourself or others, to fit budgets from $50 all the way up to $5,000!

“2020 has given us more reasons to appreciate the fabric of our local community. As your local wine merchant we have been able to tailor our selections to both reliable and familiar brands, as well as curate selections that foster discovery and exploration,” said Nicole.

What we love about Chapter 4: The kits, which include multiple bottles to try, are great for a night of at home wine tasting. Check out their website to view their selection, including the best selling “Rose Survival Kit” at chapfour.com.


A selection of cute gifts on display at Flowers by Felicia.

Flowers by Felicia

Next time you’re on Culver Blvd., make sure to pop-in to Flowers by Felicia. Not only can you pick up a beautiful arrangement of flowers or plants for any occasion, owner Felicia St. Denis makes sure to stock the shop with unusual gifts for every budget. Bestsellers include whimsical kitchen towels, seasonal items like Santa lanterns, sage bundles, blankets and more. With new items always coming in, we like to visit every time we pick up a coffee at Tanner’s nextdoor.

The real housewives cups have been a bestseller.

What we love about Flowers by Felicia: St. Denis has a great eye when it comes to creating arrangements for all of life’s special occasions and curating the gifts in her shop. We love her “Real Housewives of Westchester and Playa del Rey” cups and the quirky gifts displayed on the large granite table in the middle of her shop.

Flowers by Felicia is located at 200 Culver Blvd. Suite A in Playa del Rey. Visit their website at flowersbyfeliciapdr.com.

Stop by for gifts, plants and flower arrangements that can be created on the spot.

Start a new Christmas tradition with Reindeer in here, created by Playa del Rey resident Adam Reed. Courtesy Reindeer in Here.

Reindeer in Here

If you’re looking to start a new holiday tradition for your family this year, try Reindeer in Here. Created by Playa del Rey’s Adam Reed, the Reindeer in Here book and plush features a cuddly reindeer with unique antlers that shares the message that being different is normal. Of course, the reindeer also has magical powers and is sent by Santa to be a friend and learn what your child wants for the holidays. 

What we love about Reindeer in Here: This cute, cuddly reindeer has a great message and is a stress-free Christmas tradition. This year the company has expanded to sell the product at Target and QVC and a Christmas special is in the works for next year!

Visit their website at reindeerinhere.com.

Posted December 2020.