Living in Austin has completely changed my perspective on shopping small. Being raised in a Dallas suburb bursting at the seams with chains and corporations, I didn't even realize supporting local businesses was a "thing" until I moved to Austin. Austin's uniqueness stems from the culture of small businesses that create its economy. To help you support local, I've compiled a list of ten small Austin businesses that seriously kick ass:
1. For the most bomb tacos ever: Veracruz All Natural
Oh.my.god. I went through a phase where I would literally have Veracruz twice a day; it's that good. Owned by sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez from Veracruz, Mexico, these tacos are always fresh, delicious, and worth the wait. My favorite are the migas tacos (add bacon if you're feeling saucy) with their green salsa. Pro tip: get there before 10 on the weekends and most people are still at home sleeping :) less of a wait!
2. For fitness and community: Fortitude Strength & Conditioning - Easy is Evil Crossfit
If you know me personally, you know that I am basically a spokeswoman for Fortitude. This Crossfit gym, owned by power couple Athan and AnneMarie Schindler, started out as a tiny little box and has grown exponentially over the past few years. Even though I've become the fittest I've ever been since exercising here, that's not even the best part. The community at Fortitude is made up of some of the most excellent human beings I know. Everyone is welcoming, kind, and encouraging (especially when doing a zillion wall balls and you think you're going to collapse). Pro tip: try 2 classes for FREE by signing up here!
3. For beautiful hair: April Kayganich AKA the Curl Whisperer
Speaking of wonderful people I met at Fortitude: enter April Kayganich. April is an amazing hair stylist and colorist who works out of Blonde Rehab in downtown Austin. She specializes in curly hair and gives the best advice on products, upkeep, and how to have amazing hair days. Although she is incredibly talented and the only person I trust my hair with, that's not even her best feature. April is SO warm, inviting, and makes you feel like you've known each other for years (this is important to someone with a mild case of social anxiety) She is THE BEST!
4. For making your home smell amazing: Herland Home
I think Priscilla Jones, owner of Herland Home, literally pours love and magic into the candles she makes. Not only do they have cute, ethereal names and spot on design/packaging, but these candles are the real.effing.deal. Priscilla makes her candles using essential oils, so they smell fresh and clean when burned. They DO NOT give you headaches (I'm looking at you, Bath and Body Works) or make your home smell like a candy factory. They come in two sizes and are the perfect treat yourself gift!
5. For photography and portraits: Jinni J
Jen Rachid is an INCREDIBLY talented photographer based here in Austin. As you can see from the photo above, she has an insane perspective and creates beautiful pictures (if you want to see more of her work, shop my new spring collection because she took all those beautiful photos!) Jen being an amazing photographer is just the half of it, she literally has magical powers that makes everyone she meets fall in love with her. She has an infectious, welcoming energy and makes you feel instantly comfortable in front of the camera. Pro tip: feeling risqué? Jen offers boudoir sessions!
6. For nutrition coaching and getting MF lean: The Positive Thread
Heather McConochie is a former RN and has combined her knowledge of health and passion for fitness to create her nutritional coaching business, The Positive Thread. I recommend everyone to her Instagram page for tips on eating healthy and getting fit, but her real super power lies in her actual nutrition program. Disclaimer: I have not done her program, but my boo has, and just by following his lead, I've lost 15 pounds x_x !! This is a lot for someone who is only 5 feet tall. Heather is incredibly knowledgable and helps her clients lose weight, maintain, and rewire their thinking about food. Heather is 5/5 stars on Yelp if you ask me!
7. For shirts and accessories: Daisy Natives
Daisy Natives has the cutest-positive-female empowering t-shirts and accessories. I have been a fan of owner Sarah Eckett for years; she's actually the inspiration that got me going on Ponytail Mafia. I loved her message, her design, her colors, her photos, EVERYTHING! Her brand went viral with her Girls Support Girls shirt seen all around the US during the Women's March.
8. For full service art and apparel printing: Raw Paw
Ah yes, the magical artist collective that is RAW PAW! While I may be slightly biased because I work there part time and it is owned by my baes, Chris Dock, Kyle Carter, and Jen Rachid, Raw Paw really does bring magic to the Austin art community. Raw Paw provides full service screen printing (they've printed every Ponytail Mafia shirt to ever exist) and organize events at music venues around town. Raw Paw recently moved into a new, beautiful space, located in The Yard on St. Elmo, so you know they're brewing up plans to shake it the F up in here!
9. For delicious coffee, beer, wine, and food: Spokesman Coffee
Another tenant of The Yard on St. Elmo, Spokesman is owned by Trey Ramirez and CJ West. Spokesman has phenom coffee (they used to have a special, which you can still order, called The Meow; it is sweet and delicious and tastes like love in a cup). They also have a big selection of beer and wine; my new favorites are their "Spokesicles," which is frozen rosé and frozen mango prosecco. Spokesman also has one of the BEST GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES in Austin (yeah I said it) and outdoor seating!
10. For the cutest little hand poked tattoos: No Good Tattoo
I have always been a fan girl of Emily Ng, owner of No Good Tattoo. She is talented at SO MANY different things (you've probably noticed her beautiful face all over Ponytail Mafia) and her hand poked tattoos are no exception. She does each tattoo with care and exceptional notice to detail, creating beautiful images that you get to keep for.ev.er! She pops up around town at events, so keep an eye on her Instagram page about where you can find her next.
Now that you know, go out there and support! Leave a comment about any small businesses you love and can't live without.