There are so many reasons to celebrate in the spring! This year, those celebrations may look a bit different. But somehow that makes them even more special and worth commemorating. Since I haven’t been able to celebrate in person with some of my favorite people, I’ve turned to gift giving. And I know I’m not alone.
This spring I’m excited to team up with Travel Iowa to share some ways you can shop local and help support Iowa’s incredible small businesses. Because why not make someone else’s day while celebrating your favorite people? I can’t think of more of a win-win situation.
Whether you’re finding ways to let moms and dads know how much they mean to you or brightening the day of a recent grad, there are so many ways you can shop small this season. To support some of my go-to Iowa makers and small businesses, I’ve selected a few of my favorite things to gift as well as experiences you can give for a later date. No matter who you’re shopping for this spring, consider shopping small to help support an Iowa business—whether it’s one listed below or not!
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Gifts That Support Iowa Businesses
There are few quicker ways to my heart than coffee. Not only is it one of my favorite souvenirs to pick up while I’m traveling, but I also love gifting local coffee beans to friends both near and far. Lately one of my favorite roasters is Pammel Park Coffee Company, which is based in nearby Madison County. Their blends are absolutely delicious and their illustrated labels always make me smile. Consider choosing the Pedal Pusher or Roseman Covered Bridge Blend to share a little bit of central Iowa with a special someone!
Perfect for: Literally anyone! But especially your friends and family members who can’t live without coffee.
Pammel Park Coffee Company | Pedal Pusher Blend, $12
I’ve always been a big fan of snail mail, but spreading a little extra joy feels especially important right now. My friend Laura is the talented illustrator behind XO-LP where she makes adorable greeting cards, coloring sheets and more. This heartfelt notecard set is the perfect way to remind someone that you’re thinking of them—no matter the occasion.
Perfect for: Sending someone a little extra love and support this spring!
XO-LP | We’re in This Together cards, $12
My inner local history nerd could not be more excited about the resurgence we’ve seen from the Flag of Des Moines. While they have a wide variety of apparel to help you share your Des Moines pride, their classic “Dad hats” are some of my favorites. What better way to help everyone in your life start spring on a stylish note than with these local-loving items!
Perfect for: Des Moines residents—both past and present.
Flag of Des Moines | Dad Hat, $25
Spring is the perfect time to start perfecting your green thumb! In central Iowa, Art Terrarium is one of my favorite places to stock up on unique gifts and houseplants. Now Art Terrarium is even offering do-it-yourself terrarium kits that you can assemble at home! Not only will this green gift help brighten the recipient’s home, but it’s a wonderfully relaxing way to pass the time and get their hands dirty.
Perfect for: Kids (and parents) looking for a fun activity or novice plant parents.
Art Terrarium | Terrarium Building Kit, $35 – $45
There may be a few less reasons to get dressed up these days, but a little added sparkle is sure to brighten anyone’s day! Iowa maker Genuine Plus Co. creates some of my absolute favorite earrings in colors and shapes that are perfect for spring. Not only are her earrings unique showstoppers but they are also made out of lightweight clay so they’re easy to wear all day long.
Perfect for: Mother’s Day, your best friend’s birthday or surprising your stylish sister.
Genuine Plus Co. | Earrings, $24 – $32
Everyone needs a cheering section! With Hook & Loop you can find the perfect pennant to celebrate any occasion. Their screen-printed pennants are handmade and the perfect way to bring a smile to someone’s face. Whatever the people in your life love to support, Hook & Loop has got them covered.
Perfect for: Anyone who could use a little extra pep.
Hook & Loop | State of Iowa Pennant, $20
I first discovered Good Beards at the Downtown Des Moines’ Farmers Market. Since then their products have become some of my go-to gifts for friends and family members with facial hair. Not only do they smell amazing but they’re the perfect small way to share a little bit of self care.
Perfect for: Your dad, brother, boyfriend, or husband—really anyone looking to keep their beard soft and healthy!
Good Beards | Beard Oil, $15
Their camping trip may have been cancelled. But that doesn’t mean your favorite outdoor adventurer should miss out on the fun. Des Moines-based Fontenelle Supply Co. creates beautiful leather goods, including these cute but practical camp mugs. Whether they’re out in the deep woods or spending time in the backyard, this mug is made to go the distance.
Perfect for: Your friend or family member who is currently missing camping and other outdoor adventures.
Fontenelle Supply Co. | Camp Mug, $32
There are lots of things to love about living in the Midwest and this sweatshirt from The Midwest Girl is one of them! This is the perfect cozy layer to wear on an early spring day or cool summer night, whether the recipient is off on an adventure or having a bonfire in the backyard. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to share a bit of Midwest pride!
Perfect for: Your favorite champion of the Midwest.
The Midwest Girl | Midwesty Sweatshirt, $56
Now is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby! And I can’t get over these cute embroidery kits from Tactile Modern Handcraft. Not only do these kits include all of the supplies the recipient needs to get started, but the designs are adorable ways to share a bit of Des Moines pride. Plus, cross stitching is the perfect screen-free alternative to a weekend spent rewatching their favorite on Netflix.
Perfect for: Your crafty friend or family member!
Tactile Modern Handcraft | Travelers’ Embroidery Kit, $26
Give the Gift of an Iowa Experience
In addition to purchasing locally-made products, there are lots of other ways you can support Iowa small businesses during this tough season. Buying your favorite friend or family member a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or bar is a great way to help them celebrate a special occasion. But I think you can get even more creative!
Why not consider gifting an adventure that they can enjoy at a later date? Not only does it give them something to look forward to, but it also helps support our state’s incredible destinations now when they need it most. If you need some ideas, a few of my favorites include:
- Luna Valley Farm: Usually summers at Luna Valley Farm include nights of incredible pizza in rolling fields. But since this year’s season has been delayed, the farm’s offerings are looking a bit different. If you want to surprise someone near Decorah, consider ordering one of Luna Valley Farm’s new delivery box options, which can even include a make-your-own pizza kit.
- Thistle’s Summit: There are lots of reasons that Thistle’s Summit is one of my favorite places in Iowa—not to mention my favorite bed and breakfast ever. When you give someone a gift certificate to Thistle’s Summit, you give them the gift of an incredible weekend away complete with food, fun and cuddles from Thistle the dog. Or buy a digital copy of their Eat Your Feelings Quarantine Cookbook! I promise it’s worth it for the focaccia recipe alone.
Even More Places to Find Gifts in Des Moines
Still searching for a gift idea that supports local businesses? If you’re in the Des Moines area, you won’t want to miss my collection of the best places to find a gift in the metro. No matter the occasion, these local businesses are sure to have something for everyone in your life.
Share Your Thoughts
I would love to hear from you! Where are your favorite ways to support Iowa small businesses? Which makers are you supporting right now?