Made with love.

The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. That can only mean one thing: it’s the holidays.

Linus from Charlie Brown eats a snowflake to celebrate the holidays.

For many, the holidays are a season of giving – giving thanks, giving yourself a break from the stress of everyday life and giving gifts to your loved ones. But, this year, IGNITE wants to add another kind of giving to the list: giving back to your community.

2020 has been a hard year and small businesses have been disproportionately affected. So, as you begin your holiday gift shopping, do it the sustainable way and shop at student-run local businesses.

A cartoon street view of student-run businesses.

Buying your gifts from student-run businesses helps them stay afloat amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – but that’s not the only benefit of supporting startups. When you shop local, you also:

Basically, buying from small businesses gets you presents for your friends and presence for student entrepreneurs. What’s not to love?

A woman says, "Win-win situation."

If you’re unsure how to track down the best small businesses in your area, look no further than your very own Humber and Guelph-Humber community. Your fellow students are no strangers to the side-hustle – and they’ve set up shop to satisfy every type of person on your list.

Here are some of IGNITE’s top student-run small businesses and why you should support them this holiday season:

For the foodie

“Food just tastes better during the holidays.” – a scientist, probably.

These student-run businesses have just the thing for your friend with a refined palate:

Dovie’s Delight

“The holidays are going to look different, for sure. It will definitely be [different] for my sister and I since we are unable to spend this coming holiday with our family. A decorative cake or a scrumptious set of not-tooth-aching desserts (which we provide) has never failed to make our “new different” a little bit more special. We hope we can share that with you too.”


“SambalTTC would love to bring you our homemade spicy sauces and relishes that could be paired with our choice of food pairing options! Our menu varies and changes each week so you’ll have the option to taste a huge variety of Indonesian Cuisine! We deliver to Humber College every Saturday at 6 p.m.”

For the fashionista

You know that friend who never leaves the house without a fire fit and accessories to match? These student-run companies will take their wardrobe to the next level:

Beads and Jazz

“Beads and Jazz is a [student-run] small business that understands the importance of aligning yourself with natural methods of self-awareness and the devotion to a lifelong journey of inquiry and intention. I promote this through the use of holistic modalities such as crystals and reiki for those who are interested in supporting ongoing well-being and connection to a spiritual journey.” 

Kamboh Kreations

“My business is unique because we only carry high-quality gold plated Kundan and Polki jewelry. It’s a small business run by me, Gurleen Kamboh, a first-year business administration student. I started this business at the end of 2018 as I started to get interested in the Indian culture and my business grew from then to what it is now.”

Vibewear Vintage

“Hey there! I’m Vanessa: one of the co-owners of Vibewear Vintage. Our small business helps curate and find super stylish clothing for people of all shapes and sizes while helping the environment with the mass amount of clothes currently on our planet. We believe that people’s style expresses who they are as a person, so we supply brand name and popular clothing at a discounted price. We love selling clothes and making others happy through what we do!”

Sapphires & Pearls

“As full time students at GH, we know how busy this time of year can get – especially with the holidays right around the corner! When you shop Sapphires & Pearls, you can gift your loved ones special pieces that have been curated with love and style in mind. Shopping small businesses during this holiday season is especially important because you’re supporting your community and you’re guaranteed that businesses like us care just as much as you do!”

Haj Paints

“Haj Paints is unique because it’s not only art, it’s also something completely functional that adds some flair to your closet! Now more than ever, people are trying to be exciting and bold with their fashion choices while being sustainable; people are moving away from fast fashion and looking for fun pieces! Allowing me to paint on clothes you already have or buying a tote bag you can reuse for day-to-day tasks is a great way to be fashionable and sustainable while making a statement.”

For the beauty-obsessed

The holidays are the perfect time to slow down and pamper yourself. Nobody understands that better than these student-run small businesses:

Crowned by Anna

“Crowned by Anna began as a long-term goal that was constantly put off; however, the pandemic gave me and many others time to develop our goals. Crowned by Anna is a hair and body care brand. It was influenced by the CROWN Act, which was put into place in a few states and aims to eliminate race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and beyond. With the use of vegan and organic ingredients, Crowned by Anna aims to support those who choose to embrace their natural beauty, despite the rhetoric that tries to discourage it. The brand and its products are focused on supporting those who can find beauty within themselves and others.”


“Discover your new addiction with RayCMasks: [a] family and student-run small business created in the middle of a pandemic. We believe in using only natural products to make beauty natural again! [We have] anything you need, ranging from hair and face masks to gift sets for all occasions. Support your fellow Guelph-Humber students this holiday season!”


“The Hawlalbeauty salon currently offers organic, damage-free, anti-aging [and] replenishing hair treatments such as the keratin treatment, nanoplastia, and hair botox. These treatments are perfect for the gals (and guys) who wants to bring softness and shine to their locks after lightening their hair, to get rid of frizz, or if they want healthier hair! Give yourself (or your favourite person) the gift of beautiful hair this holiday season!

DM me on Instagram to purchase a gift card (at holiday rates for a limited time) for your next service post-lockdown!”

For the artsy friend

Always one step ahead of the latest trends, these student-run creative hubs will help your artistic loved one stand out from the crowd:

The Skilled Hand

“My mom wanted to do something to help out people in need in these difficult COVID-19 times. So, she taught herself amigurumi with the idea that 50 per cent of the proceeds will go to people in need. My nieces helped set up [our] page on Instagram and to keep up with the changing demands and needs of the modern world.”

Forget Me Not Canada

“Hiya, I’m Abbey: a second-year business student and the owner of Forget Me Not Canada. We are a metaphysical practice business featuring healing crystals, jewelry and statement pieces inspired by beloved stories of classic fairytales and legends.”

Classic Castro

Stickers available through Classic Castro, a student-run sticker shop.
Photo courtesy of Sabrina Castro (@classiccastro).

“My Classic Castro sticker shop is new but I’m planning to collaborate with growing artists like myself, plus a percentage of proceeds will support a charity. 

Humber & Guelph-Humber students should support my Classic Castro sticker shop this Christmas because 100 per cent of proceeds from my next sticker pack will go towards safety for families affected by the typhoon in the Philippines.”

KLND Studios

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by KLND STUDIOS (@kalondsgns)

“KLND Studios is a Canadian-owned small business run by three close friends wanting to share our creative journey. From brainstorming to designing and producing products, we handcraft everything with love, care and much thought. We hope you join us on our journey!”

Abbey Cole & Collective Arts

“My business is unique because it’s an online art gallery featuring a few artists that are hoping to sell. It’s an online store – but the products are so beautiful, it feels like a gallery. Guelph-Humber has helped me expand my sales range by improving my writing and graphic design skills. Supporting me this holiday season provides a unique gift – some are even one-of-a-kind.”

For the friend who has everything

We all know someone who’s nearly impossible to shop for. These student-run small businesses are here to set you up with a priceless personal touch:


“Mexskeletons is a company with a mission to bring hand-made creations of Mexican tradition and culture to the world. The one-of-a-kind hand-painted liquor bottles take the artist about four hours to complete. We are committed to build[ing] a company where artists will be paid a fair price for their remarkable work. We hope buyers know that by buying this product this holiday season they are also supporting a family in Mexico to meet their needs.”


“Rugmart is where you’ll find custom one-of-one rugs, wall hangings and patches. All pieces are handmade (tufted and hooked) with lots of love ([and] lots of yarn!) by your rug dealer.”

Solas Creative

“Design today is easy! We’ve got it all online. But, it’s hard to have a one-of-a-kind look. We provide services that help you and your small business be more ‘you‘ with affordable, negotiable and tradable prices. We got you!”

Lettered by Rach

“Lettered by Rach seeks to create unique products that are personally tailored to everyone and all lettered by hand. Humber and Guelph-Humber students should shop small and shop local this holiday season because your support would mean the world in helping my business grow!”

No matter who you’re shopping for, Humber and Guelph-Humber’s student-run shops have the perfect products. And, when you buy local, you buy into your fellow students’ futures.

Moira Rose says, "When one of us shines, all of us shine."

Now that your holiday shopping is sustainably squared away, you can fulfill your true winter purpose: drinking hot chocolate and watching literally all the Hallmark movies.

Holiday shopping stress you out? Here’s how buying nothing can help you and the planet.

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