For many a small business, the holiday shopping season determines whether the store survives into the next year. According to the National Retail Federation, sales in November and December average roughly 20 percent of annual retail sales. But there’s no need to shop at a Texan small business only out of the goodness of your heart. Independent boutiques across the state spend all year curating their own unique collections of shoes, jewelry, clothes, and home goods. From in-house designs to vintage fare to locally sourced, handmade items, their products are ones you likely won’t find elsewhere.
“Going to a local boutique, you’re really getting the joy and expertise of the person that’s curated what’s inside those walls,” says Kyle Hawley, owner of Letterpress Play, a stationery boutique in Austin. She adds that boutiques “really bring a fully finished thought [to shopppers]. . . . That’s what makes the difference—the thoughtfulness.”
Boutique owners understand that busy customers may not think to shop locally at first. But once you’ve gotten a look at their wares, it’s clear that big-box stores just can’t compete. “We hope that every year we’re doing enough to make everybody feel like it’s special,” says Amie Sikes, cofounder and owner of Junk Gypsy, in Round Top. “And I do know that we have things here that you’re not going to find in other stores and other big department stores.”
Whether you’re looking for an unforgettable gift or simply treating yourself, here are eleven boutiques across the state to check out this holiday season. After all, nothing says “I love you” more than a Cher ornament from a local woman-owned business.
Run by educator and chaplain Enda Jean, this Black- and woman-owned store carries all kinds of books “written for women, about women, and by women.” Including everything from works by Michelle Obama to books about the Black Panther series, the Booktique’s diverse collection includes stories for readers of all ages. On Saturdays during the holiday season, Jean discounts select new titles to $10 or two for $15.
Dolly Parton Christmas cards, rhinestone cowboy boot ornaments, and pillows with mushroom wreaths—need we go on? With locations in Dallas, Houston, and Colorado, minichain Favor the Kind features a wide selection of trendy women’s clothing, fine jewelry, and quirky home goods. There’s something for everyone: a Dallas toile ice bucket for the cocktail enthusiast, fuzzy rodeo slippers for the cowboy in need of some self-care, and an instructional book on cheese plates that, let’s be real, everyone could benefit from.
Inspired by the dramatic skies and open space of the Marfa landscape, this furniture, ceramics, and clothing shop “grew out of the soil of Marfa” in 2003, says co-owner Constance Garza. Garza Marfa is owned by a husband-and-wife duo: Jamey Garza assembles the furniture and Constance designs. The two work together to create a “Texas meets Cali” look with bright colors, saddle leather, and unique ceramics. Their biggest-selling line is the Desert Collection of scarves, blankets, and ponchos, featuring hand-woven and -dyed cloth.
When it comes to curating the items in her Round Top store, Amie Sikes says it’s all about the story. This mindset has led to not one but three distinct holiday collections: Cozy Cottage Christmas (think cottagecore, woodland vibes), Pink Champagne Christmas (lots of faux fur), and Jingle Belle Rock (sparkly but grungy). Make sure to check out the pink ceramic Christmas cactus, and while you’re there, take a look at the mulberry-wood garland and the vintage wreath drop earrings. The boutique also sources from vintage-goods sellers and local artisans, meaning you won’t find that special gift elsewhere.
After receiving numerous compliments on the traditional Mexican clothing she scored on trips home, Jalisco-born Ruby Hernandez decided to share her passion for her heritage at La Casa Frida, a women’s boutique. Hernandez visits Mexico three to five times a year to connect with local artisans, hoping to preserve and portray Mexican art techniques in modern and fashionable ways. Inside a vintage Airstream trailer, the store sells hand-embroidered art pieces in the forms of handbags, jewelry, clothing, and accessories.
Nestled in a South Congress bungalow, this stationery store centers its letterpress pieces around a sense of wonder and play. Calendars, posters, and more are printed and assembled in Austin with a zero-waste policy. “I’m inviting people to not be afraid to make crafts even if you don’t feel crafty,” says owner Kyle Hawley. “When I’m curating for the shop, I’m thinking: ‘Is there something illuminating in the experience of having this object?’ It’s both beautiful and useful.”
Austin, Dallas, Houston
Jewelry designer Nina Berenato went viral on TikTok last year for her permanent-bracelet bar, where Austinites line up for custom-fitted gold bracelets that are then welded on. She’s also designed jewelry for celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, and Chloe x Halle, who once wore Berenato’s jewelry to perform at the Video Music Awards. For a unique piece of jewelry fit for any millennial or Gen Zer on your list, be sure to check out the lip and ear cuffs, ear daggers, and body chains. The shop’s fourteen-karat gold plating is warrantied for life, and replating is free for items over $70.
Sneaker-heads, we’ve got you covered. Located in Houston’s Rice Village, this Insta-famous boutique curates everything from street wear to candles to the latest Nike Dunks. Apart from quintessential street-wear brands like Adidas and Huf, check out the accessories of Melody Ehsani, Cölle, and New Era for some gifts that are sure to impress the hypebeast in your life.
If you’re looking for some cowboy boots with a bit of personal flair, try designing your own at Rocketbuster. These custom creations may be a bit pricey, at $1,500-plus, but the boot boutique is not short on styles. From baroque designs to birds to bluebonnets, the options are endless. As these are completely custom, order sooner rather than later.
This luxury Italian linens shop offers more than just sheets and duvets. Interior designer Karen Pulaski collaborates with fine artists to not only create the shop’s designs, but also source collections exclusively for the boutique, such as silk pillows fashioned from vintage Hermès scarves and whimsical, hand-painted papier-mâché urns. Its inventory can be found at Arsin Rug Gallery and on the Tribute Goods website.
Hoping to reestablish older methods of penmanship in “an increasingly digital world,” this eclectic shop offers unique gifts perfect for writers and artists. It carries quill pens (made from feathers such as turkey, peacock, and parrot), inks, books, scrolls, wax seals, and vintage pen nibs, some of which date back to the late 1800s.