The 10 Small Businesses To Know & Follow In 2022

1. AquaVault

Where do you put your valuables when going for a swim? You probably remember these guys from SHARK TANK as the friends that got robbed while going for a swim and decided to invent the AquaVault which is the portable safe that locks onto lounge chairs to secure your valuables. Chances are you’ve seen their safes at many of the hotels, theme parks, waterparks, and cruise ships around the world. Fast forward a few years and here they go again revolutionizing an industry in need of a face-lift. The inventors Jonathan Kinas, Robert Peck, and Avin Samtani decided to create a portable charger the size of a credit card that fits in your wallet. They realized that countless people had portable chargers but were leaving them at home. The reason being is that nobody likes carrying around a device that’s heavy, cumbersome, and built like a brick.

“Bulky portable chargers are certainly functional, but when you leave them at home doesn’t that defeat the purpose?” The AquaVault founders explained. The ChargeCard, which they cleverly named it, has the look and feel of a credit card while only weighing 2.2 ounces. It’s literally so thin and tiny that it fits in the credit card slot of your wallet. In addition, the charging cables are built-in. That means you no longer have to worry about wrapping your six-foot charging cord around your charger. The ChargeCard can also charge both iPhone and Android as each charger comes with multiple charging cables in the box. These guys simply figured it out and designed a powerful little charger that provides unlimited freedom. You can go anywhere in the world and never worry about running out of battery. Whether you’re skiing the slopes in Aspen or meeting your friends at a cafe in Italy, you never have to worry about battery life again. It can even be incorporated into your everyday routine at the gym, on a bike ride, at the grocery store, or on the golf course. Just pull out your wallet, slip out the ChargeCard and instantly begin charging your phone.

It is clear that the driving force behind AquaVault’s innovative products is the perpetual desire to challenge the norms and disrupt industries. These guys clearly think outside the box and constantly look to identify inefficiencies in the way markets operate. Over the years, they’ve been featured on billboards in Time’s Square and in countless outlets such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Fox, and Good Morning America to name a few. The founders of AquaVault have certainly made a name for themselves in the travel security space and following the overwhelming success they have seen from their flagship invention which is the portable safe, it’s safe to assume that they will continue to innovate products that deliver the optimal solution to travelers around the world.

2. Sigma Financial Excellence

Established in 2021, Sigma Financial Excellence is the brainchild of Billy Guan, a seasoned financial coach based in California. After navigating self-sustained success for years, Guan observed the misinformed maneuvers carried out by new entrepreneurs in the heat of COVID-19 and sought a resolution. Noticing a loud enough gap in financial education, Guan works with a team of experts to guide these new ventures, along with advice for individuals and their journeys. “Sigma” comes from the Greek letter, meaning the summation of all numbers, or, in Guan’s case, a culmination of experiences. With a team of elite financial professionals that belong to the Six Figure Club, Sigma Financial Excellence provides a platform for education that speaks to generations of people who were taught to keep financial stability on the back burner, and Guan works to correct those narratives, revealing the possibilities unique to each situation. Guan himself has witnessed near to full recovery in financial debt amongst his clients, approaching every scenario from a place of understanding and tutelage. The reality is that most people don’t know what they don’t know, and just as professional athletes take direction from their coach, we should also look to visionaries like Guan and Sigma Financial Excellence to help us play the game correctly and come out with a win.

3. Amazing Hair Saviour

Founded in 2020 and based in Ontario, Amazing Hair Saviour’s story truly began six years ago, when Amber Khan started her own journey to healthier, stronger hair after being diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. Her battle with prescribed medication and creams, which are generally pumped with 40+ ingredients, inspired a switch in perspective, harnessing her love for gardening to develop the all-natural formula that would eventually become Hair Saviour’s botanical serum. Simply crafted with clean ingredients, the ultra-hydrating oil is comprised of almond, coconut, rosemary, and Nigella Sativa. Nothing more, nothing less. Khan’s tender story of self-recovery drives the authenticity of Amazing Hair Saviour, whose supreme goal is to educate and supply the masses with premium grade oil for the scalp, where hair growth and tenacity truly begin. On Instagram, Amazing Hair Saviour demonstrates active transformations and working formulas that tackle different circumstances, and Khan herself has documented her own growth and success in her homegrown solutions. The serums are handcrafted in Canada but are available to ship across the United States, and through vulnerable metamorphosis, Khan and her natural oils are adding wings to those seeking elevated hair health.

4. Squishy Faces

The name of the game is pawprints with a purpose, and Squishy Faces is doing the legwork to supply grade-A apparel and accessories that directly support rescue efforts across the nation. Founded in 2016, this family-run operation deals in quality direct-to-garment printed shirts, sweaters, and pet-themed gifts that include everything from hand-stitched baseball caps to tote bags and tumblers. Each month, Squishy Faces partners with a different rescue to design merchandise that speaks to their vision and donate a portion of the proceeds to that rescue, and as of March 2022, the company has already donated over $75K to select rescue efforts across the nation. Inspired by her own dog squad, Tracey Dockery launched the business after realizing the struggles that rescues face to support their furry friends, including medical expenses, food, and adequate space for temporary lodging. While Squishy Faces works primarily with dog and cat rescues, their product line features a dynamic selection of gifts and treats that any pet-lover would enjoy, as they’ve also worked closely with horse sanctuaries and exotic animal rescues in the past. We all have a friend or family member that loves their pets and animals, so the next time you find yourself needing the perfect gift for the squishy-hearted, give support to those who work to make a real difference in the best friend category.

5. Artera Home

Driven by light and a love for natural shapes, Artera Home is a fresh purveyor of home goods lifting our spaces to incorporate earthly elements that enhance the home beyond simple interior design. Their all-natural wicker baskets, placement mats, and wall ornaments reflect the intimacy of earthbound relationships, allowing us to coexist with natural components in a way that’s aerial, uplifting, and creative. Artera excels in organic interior design that complements existing shapes to brighten your personal space, offering plenty of advice on their blog covering entryway enhancement, minimal kitchen arrangements, and sculpting a space that breathes relaxation and inspiration, among other things. Artera believes that every home should feel like a sanctuary, and their all-natural, handmade baskets pepper any space with a gentle, clean aura sourced from mother earth’s pantry. The makers and weavers of Artera deal in an otherworldly market of handcrafters that specialize in old trades of gold, resurrecting the artisanal skills of our ancestors that get better with time. With Artera Home, your own sanctuary glows with handmade charm and functional beauty unrivaled by anything other than nature itself.

6. Zuri Furniture

If you’re looking for the most direct, up-to-date resource for tasteful furniture and decoration, step into the swirling arena of Zuri Furniture, a Texas-based purveyor of modern classics that go beyond chasing trends. With an ever-growing catalog, they’re sure to surprise you with each visit. Having sustained a flourishing business since 2006, Zuri boasts two grandstand showrooms supporting the exploding online business. Zuri’s online, eCommerce presence is well-rounded and equipped to fill any kind of space.  With a centrally located warehouse in Texas, innovative delivery and last-mile network, and more pieces in stock than most retailers,  Zuri is able to offer free shipping on all items nationwide with many items arriving in 2 days or less. Zuri makes it easy to dive into your desired corners to build out home spaces, offices, commercial rooms, and residential quarters to match a variety of styles and influences. consistently updating their online inventory to reflect the most dynamic pieces on the market at competitive prices. In addition to supplying an arsenal of cutting-edge furniture from around the world, Zuri also deals in self-expression services, including custom upholstery, contract office installations, and residential and commercial design consultations. With efficient execution, plenty of happy customer reviews, and money-saving offerings at the helm, Zuri has been leading the industry for over a decade and has already staked a claim to the future of design you won’t want to miss.

7. Styled By Maj

Styled By Maj is an independent apparel line designed and executed by Majesty Qiydaar, based in Baltimore, and launched in 2018 to critical online success. This creative streetwear brand leans heavily into familiar pop culture icons and the nuances of video games, especially of the fighting kind. Qiydaar sought elevated self-expression in graphic design when he made the first round of sketches that would become the debut collection for Styled By Maj, unsatisfied with market offerings, finding most of them to be too vulgar, inappropriate, or stagnant. The label offers print-on-demand and custom design services for those looking to make a statement, be it unique spins on classic names like Coca-Cola or household characters like Space Rider and Kid Buu from Dragon Ball Z. Styled By Maj excels in honest, straightforward streetwear that harks on childhood nostalgia with added finesse in personal strength and positive reinforcement. Their lifestyle approach comes in the form of many treats, from unisex tees and sweatshirts to mugs, facemasks, and original wall prints, reminding us to keep the gloves up and do it with class.

8. Real Boks Gifts

The real estate market is hot right now, with buyers and sellers making moves at record rates. The pandemic inspired a nomadic shift in homeownership, and realtors have their work cut out for them, no doubt. Leagues across the market processes, gifting is the final step that often gets overlooked or undervalued, and that’s where RealBOKS Gifts come in handy. Founded in January of 2021, this homegrown service is the fruit of Joe Potier and Shauna Morrissey, Seattle-area transplants who now operate from their Kentucky-town homestead, bringing small-town charm to a nationwide venture. RealBOKS Gifts offers artisanal, handcrafted gifts for real estate professionals to give to their clients as a final piece of gratitude, sealing the deal on what is sure to be months of hard work and negotiations. RealBOKS makes the entire process streamlined and curated to fit the personality of any and all future clients, settling for nothing less than top-shelf quality. The boxes themselves are keepsake items, emanating true pastoral craftsmanship. The RealBOKS team offers full-scale consultations on potential gift bundles and treats tailored to your client’s interests, and the menu is expansive enough to include everything from 100% wool-clad coasters and dark chocolate truffles to pinstripe aprons and cotton kitchen towels. In addition to curated gift bundles, RealBOKS also provides an entire retail domain dubbed The Marketplace, fit for any occasion. RealBOKS is here to cement that new sale and show clients that a home goes beyond curb appeal…it’s where the heart feels the warmest.

9. GoNanas

The women-owned banana bread brand, GoNanas, is mixing up our perceptions of nutritional treats, and the unlimited possibilities that roll over when we learn to listen to our bodies first and reward them with healthy delights. Founded in 2016 while attending the University of Michigan, best friends Annie Slabotsky and Morgan Lerner united over a love for family-spun recipes on banana bread, but a fluent struggle in sourcing quality loaves that didn’t sacrifice nutrition for flavor, and vice versa. Based in Chicago, their vegan, gluten-free, and top allergen-free banana bread has caught the hungry eyes of people at Forbes, USA Today, Buzzfeed, and Nosh, surprising consumers with lovelorn batches like Gingersnap, Blueberry Crumble, and Chocolate Chip banana bread, among other mouthwatering mixes. At the forefront of their craft, Annie and Morgan propel a positive mindset that rejects the “diet mentality” of limiting your body’s cravings by force-feeding unenjoyable provisions for health’s sake, reminding us that good food can also be good for you, the way your Nana would’ve wanted them to be.

10. Les Fantome Palette

LA-based streetwear unit, Les Fantome Palette, has become the banshee of bold statement pieces, making plenty of noise locally and overseas with their modern apparel that challenges archaic systems in favor of premium self-expression with no regrets. Translated from the French “ghost palette”, the designers behind LFP collect the discarded nuances of street threads and apply them to refreshing shapes and silhouettes, holding court over the rebellious side of fashion. The label focuses on subtle details and powerful charms in the fabric that provokes speculation and conversation surrounding familiar motifs like earning a spot on the Dean’s List (what, if anything, does that prove?). With two fully-fleshed-out collections available for your indulgence, LFP is sweeping the fashion industry quietly and with gentle aggression that’s already making waves. Heavy metal imagery and the essence of sharp, delicate defiance inspire each piece and yield high-quality garments of substance that are sure to bring color to your conversations.

Written in partnership with Ascend