Support Disability-Owned Businesses This Holiday Season
“Support Small businesses” is a phrase we often hear. It is important to shop and/or get services from these types of businesses because they are run by those in your local community, they often give back to nonprofits and organizations in your town, they often have a smaller carbon footprint on the environment, and those who run them typically spend lots of hours and effort to create their product/service just for you. With the impact of COVID this year, they need our support more than ever.
This year, take that mindset one step further and support small businesses owned by those with a disability. For those with a disability, finding a job can sometimes be difficult for many reasons such as their disability restricting the fields of work they can go into, employers not seeing the value and talent in those with a disability, transportation and mobility issues, and other reasons. Sometimes those with disabilities begin their own business to sell a product/service that helps their local community, or even the entire nation. Here are just a few businesses owned by someone with a disability.
- KaylaSnoverStudio – Kayla is a talented artist with Down syndrome who is from the Boston area. On her website, Kayla notes, “art has provided me a way of expressing myself and the beauty of the world around me.” Currently some of the products she is selling are holiday-themed.
- John’s Crazy Socks – John Lee Cronin is a young man with Down syndrome. He runs a business colorful and fun socks that he refers to as “crazy socks”. And yes…they do sell holiday socks that are perfect for this time of year!
- Pretty Sick Supply – The founders of Pretty Sick Supply, SarahCate and Kris both have multiple disabilities. They offer products ranging from jewelry to disability-themed greeting cards to masks and so much more.
- Disabled AF – Michele is both an activist for those with disabilities and an artist. Her products include clothes, coffee mugs, framed art pieces and more. Proceeds go to ADAPT (American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today), an organization that fights for rights within the disability community.
- BDelight Jewelry – Ashley is a C1-C2 quadriplegic since birth who creates beaded jewelry with a stick attached to her head.
- Two Blind Brothers – At a young age, brothers Bradford and Bryan Manning were diagnosed with an eye condition that causes blindness over time. Now, they have their own clothing line. The fashionable style combined with the fact that 100% of the profits are donated to the Foundation Fighting Blindness makes this a place worth ordering from.
- Dance Happy Designs – Dance Happy Designs is a business that sells handmade tote bags, zipper bags and more. Julia, who has Down syndrome, sells these products with two of her friends. When the three women aren’t handprinting these fabrics into neat items, they enjoy dancing.
- Shop Wrenn – Alissa Wrenn Smith has had an interest in making jewelry since she was in her teens. The business owner was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2013 in addition to her struggle with Crohn’s disease. She sells different types of jewelry online.
You may find a great holiday gift, or something for yourself from any of the above businesses. While the above is just a short list of disability-owned businesses, you can find more by using the instagram hashtag, #disabilityowned, that is commonly used by those with disabilities who own their own business.
In our own community, Hand Over Hand Designs is run by Mick Natoli, Ed Gallagher, Mick’s daughter Brianna, and Ed’s son Ryan. Hand Over Hand Designs was created about eight years ago and allows Brianna and Ryan, who both have a disability, to safely use items such as power tools, drill presses and scroll saws to create cutting boards and other wooden items. Tools are slightly modified for Brianna and Ryan and at the beginning of Hand Over Hand Designs, Mick and Ed would put their hand over Brianna and Ryan’s hand until they were comfortable using the tool on their own. Since the beginning of Hand Over Hand Designs, customers have been happy with the products created and both Brianna and Ryan have been able to showcase their own talent to others. Check out the following radio interview Mick is featured on about Hand Over Hand Designs, https://soundcloud.com/wkxl/nh-now-hand-over-hand-designs. While Hand Over Hand Designs isn’t currently selling products, be on the lookout for their return in the near future.
There may be someone with a disability in your own local community who runs their own business. If so, please consider supporting their business and spreading the word to others in the community.
An unfortunate misconception people with disabilities face when it comes to creating items they enjoy making is that they are only doing it as a hobby. In order to give people with disabilities the inclusion they deserve, it is important to realize their ideas could be money-making ideas and supporting them in making the decision to turn it into a business is important.
If you know of someone with a disability who runs their own business, email email@example.com to have it be highlighted on our social media pages in the future.