The Small Business Edit: Fashion, Jewelry, and Self-Care Brands for the Conscious Consumer

THE LISTBy 2023-11-17T12:26:27-05:00November 17th, 2023|
  • Graphic by Ashley Pena.

The air is finally cooling, the holidays are approaching, and what we like to call Treat Yourself Season is upon us. For this month’s edition of THE LIST, we’ve gathered ten standout small businesses and independent designers to support on Black Friday, including one-of-a-kind jewelry from Hernan Herdez and OCHIO, handmade footwear from Kkco x Volver Workshop, self-care indulgences from Nopalera and Fara Homidi, and few of our favorite slow-fashion boutiques.


The Sea Ball necklace, courtesy of Hernan Herdez.

Hernan Herdez is the jewelry line by Melissa Hernandez, an artist who designs her jewelry line in her native Puerto Rico and manufactures by hand in NYC. Hernandez’ pieces are beautifully crafted, drawing inspiration from the sea, fresh produce, and Modernist Design. Hernandez works with silver, gold, pearls, and precious stones to create gorgeous adornments that celebrate simplicity, beauty, and the perfection of nature.

Where to shop:


The Amelia Mini Baguette, Courtesy of Santos by Monica.

Monica Santos Gil is the founder and creative director behind Santos by Monica, a small brand out of New York City. Santos uses organic materials to produce her leather-like goods, swapping cow for cactus. All of their products are made in the US out of cactus-based biomaterial and dyed using only biodegradable organic pigments. Santos’ designs are brilliant as well, we love their Amelia Mini baguette for its retro-futuristic shape and stunning colorways. Santos by Monica has donated profits to the Women’s Prison Association and has an ongoing partnership with One Tree Planted, and has planted over 250 trees where they’re needed most.

Where to shop: or at 22 Ludlow St New York, NY 10002


Courtesy of GNLA.

GÉNERO NEUTRAL is a Los Angeles concept store that opened in early 2021 by friends Jennifer Zapata and Ashley S.P. Their store, an intersection of fashion, community, and art, stocks a small selection of works from emerging designers. The founders crafted a space where “streetwear, new luxury, and cultural interests are housed under the same roof, presented by us for everyone.” Echo Parkers will recognize the swan boats on their Swan Shop Tee, and we also love their shop airbrushed Baby Tee.

Where to shop: or in person at 1816 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026.


Courtesy of Nopalera.

Everything in Nopalera’s small product line is made with the prickly-pear cactus as its star ingredient. Their Dulce de Cuerpo set, a shower gel plus a body cream, boasts a floral yet smoky scent that’s quite gentle on the skin. We love that Nopalera pays homage to founder Sandra Velasquez’ Mexican roots. The use of copal, for example, references the Magicos of Mexico’s pueblos, “transporting you to the spiritual realm of festival, sacrifice, and celebration.”

Where to shop: or at 3118 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 until December 2023.


The Essential Lip Compact in Nude 2. Courtesy of Fara Homidi.

Fara Homidi, a New York based makeup artist, is known in the fashion world for her beautifully executed minimalist makeup. Naturally, everything in her brand’s small line (there are only three products, the Essential Lip Compact, the Lip Pencil, and the Lip Brush) is perfection. Think raw sophistication for cuties on-the-go. We also love the Pochette, FH’s new buttery vegan-leather makeup bag that looks about as chic as it does cozy.

Where to shop:


Courtesy of Tumbao.

Tumbao is the retail destination for some of Latin America’s most innovative designers. Once a pop-up seen in NYC and Mexico City, Tumbao has established a permanent location on NYC’s Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Tesoritos are abound in the basement-level space, where shoppers can find clothing, accessories, jewelry, and more from emerging artists from all over Latin America. The space is also dedicated to community, hosting regular salsa lessons, pop-ups, and art openings. We love to see spaces dedicated to Latin American talent, like the handmade shoes and bags of deMaria, corsets by Mariana by Alba, earthen jewelry from Crudo Caan, and much much more.


The Lazo Necklace by OCHIO Metals. Courtesy of the brand.

OCHIO, a jewelry line by Venezuelan designer Ornella Chiosonne, offers beautifully crafted pieces that “highlight flaws over perfection.” OCHIO, pronounced “oh-key-oh” exists in contrast to mass production, instead focusing on “the elevation of the human hand, organic shapes and sensual contours, metals and photography.” We love the Lazo collection of gold and silver earrings and necklaces, which balance the hardness of metal with a soft, coquette style.

Where to shop: and at Tumbao NYC.


Kkco’s Pierced Lulu Flats in black. Courtesy of the brand.

Kkco, the Los Angeles-based apparel studio by Filipina designer Kara Jubin, has created a small collection of handmade footwear in collaboration with the Brooklyn-based atelier Volver Workshop. The duo crafted 5 styles; a Mule, a Sandal, a Slide, a Flat, and a Mary Jane, all of which combine the “masculine and feminine, sport and special occasion, function and form,” a.k.a. Kkco’s bread and butter. We love these shoes because they’re hand-painted, designed, and made in the U.S. with love and purpose.

Where to shop:


Ghetto Rodeo’s Guadalupe T in black. Courtesy of the brand.

Ghetto Rodeo, the Chicano streetwear brand out of L.A., makes the hustle look sharp, casual and comfortable. With designs referencing Latin barrio culture, Ghetto Rodeo designs apparel pa’ la cultura. The brand is on a come-up not dissimilar to what we saw from designer Willy Chavarria’s early pieces, which challenged euro-centric silhouettes with heavy references to chicano culture. We love the Virgensita sweats, the Guadalupe cropped Ts (pictured), and the FUCK ICE T shirt.

Where to shop:


Courtesy of LCD.

Shop LCD is an independent concept store supporting young contemporary designers in fashion, accessories, homewares, and beauty. LCD describes its store as “a playground for exploring ideas such as slow fashion, gender neutrality, sustainability, and inclusivity.”

Due to post-pandemic financial strains, Shop LCD is closing its doors at the end of 2023. As the founder Geraldine Chung put it in a statement on Instagram, “the maths in retail aren’t mathing anymore.

Where to shop: online at or in person at 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd Ste 4 Venice, California 90291.


Gil Rodriguez’ Lou pant in cherry. Courtesy of the brand.

Gil Rodriguez is the eponymous slow fashion brand by Argentinian designer Eliana Gil Rodriguez. Their garments, luxurious basics made from impossibly comfortable stretch cotton, are custom-knit in Los Angeles. Gil Rodriguez believes that “the future of [the fashion industry] lies in changing the way we consume, choosing pieces that will last in both quality and style, and moving away from fast trend cycles and disposable fashion.” Everything in this store is a treat, but we especially love Gil Rodriguez’s French High Cut Brief (bundles available) and the Lou pant (shown above).

Where to shop: or in person at 3929 Fountain Avenue Los Angeles CA, 90029.

Gabriella Aguirre is a writer, filmmaker, ceramicist, and Editor of LATINA.