7 Small Businesses With Products You Need

  1. Unicorn Gang Shop

Why walk when you can gallop? When Christina Smith, founder of unconventional beauty brand, Unicorn Gang Shop, launched her line of vegan, cruelty-free glam treats, she did the leg work to ensure her designs were as captivating as the individuals who beat them, seeking to buck industry standards and offer a platform for the silenced and steel-plated creators of modern makeup. UGS supplies dynamic tools of the trade that enhance any and all who are brave enough to join this stampede of creatives, pushing the envelope on what is considered acceptable and en vogue in beauty application one swath at a time. Smith collectively employs decades of experience in the industry, perfecting her product line through innovative experimentation that elevates the average look to something of true currency. Much of UGS blurs the line between everyday self-expression and professional artistry, speaking to both enthusiasts and MUA alike. Since its founding, UGS has been recognized by The Indie Mood and Cruelty-Free Kitty, and Smith’s efforts to make noise for the silenced continue to inspire all walks of life in embracing their unique possibilities. For MUA, the offerings #defythestandards by leaning into our natural shapes that flatter both on and off a mirror. For cosmetic creatives, the sky’s the limit, and you need only your uni-tusk to lead the way.


  1. Chris Ploof Designs

Since its founding in 2004, Chris Ploof Designs has remained the envy of the jewelry-making community, executing homegrown strategies that soar leagues above market competitors and creating ornate pieces that last a lifetime (and beyond). Their founder, Chris Ploof, discovered a passion for premium, wearable art when he was working a day job at a bicycle shop. After one fateful adult workshop in lost wax casting sealed the deal, the wheels began spinning and Ploof set out to solidify his vision into a reality. The artisans of CPD employ ancient techniques that produce hyper-modern designs, even procuring their own materials from scratch through recycled metals and reclaimed gemstones, all of which bloom brightly through the solar-powered operation. Consisting of a small, dedicated team of skilled craftsmen (and women), CPD is based out of Massachusetts and sustains full autonomy in their work, producing their own raw materials that are often sought after by competing manufacturers. The designs of every ring, wristlet, and, yes, shaving razor, are carefully crafted to reflect infinite luxury, for it is Ploof’s mission to offer jewelry and accessories that outlive their counterparts. Held firmly together by their code of ethics, the studio promises only the finest anatomy for their pieces, never trading quality for the likes of plastic, wood, or crushed gems that often break down over time. Having received multiple awards and recognitions from the Santa Fe Symposium (if you know you know), Chris Ploof Designs offer a treasure trove of glittering creations that remain a highly coveted standard for weddings, engagements, and any special occasion. Your next chapter begins with a statement, so you’d best make it with staying power and a little bit of luxury at the heel.

  1. Rolling In Dough Bakery


Lifehack: always eat the cake, but do it with decadent flair. This becomes especially true when working with a family-owned, luxury bakeshop, Rolling In Dough, which made its mark in Las Vegas in 2017 as the premier destination for artfully crafted cakes and desserts baked with top-shelf beauty and attention to detail. Their creations are as delectable as they are striking, commanding any space and fit for any setting, from weddings and graduations to anniversaries and birthday parties. The secret to Rolling In Dough’s undeniable success is the preservation of decades-worth of family recipes hailing from The Philippines. Alexis Pascual, co-owner of Rolling In Dough Bakery, is originally from Manila, while her family hails from Bicol, a region just south of the capital. Growing up, Pascual would often wake up early in the morning to help with opening side work at the family-owned bakery, laying out bread trays before going back to sleep beneath the cake shelves. Today, Pascual’s own bakery enjoys sweet success, having been featured in Thrillist in December of last year. On the docket, Rolling In Dough whips up larger-than-life creations that leave a lasting impression at any gathering, for the labor and love is pre-baked into every recipe with opulent, artistic indulgence.

  1. Candelles

Although officially launched in February of 2013, Candelles’ founder, Kelley Major, has been lighting candles with an intention for most of her life, and upon learning of her grandmother’s terminal cancer diagnosis, Major set out to supply the masses with quality candles that burned brighter for the ones who need it most. Based in small-town Pennsylvania, Candelles brings big league, non-toxic flame to your personal space, making use of soy wax which solicits a cleaner burn and a longer candle life, so you can enjoy your favorite scent without exhausting the wick. Among her roster of intoxicating smells, Major deals in phthalate-free, creative candle work that ignites a time and a place, such as “Magnolia and Pistachio” or “Cactus Flower”, so no matter what your landscape looks like, the warmth of a hand-poured candle is blooming close at bay. From the very beginning of her hobby of crafting candles, Major made herself a promise to provide grade-A products that didn’t burn a hole in your pocket, introducing a beautiful line of eco-friendly creations that people of all backgrounds could enjoy. In addition to their savvy online presence, Candelles is available for purchase in over 750 retail stores nationwide with plenty of punny favors to gift to a friend or treat yourself to a soft glow, rain or shine with your favorite #CandellesAtHome.

  1. Austin Air

For three decades, Austin Air Systems has been the gold standard for clean air purification, serving and supplying an array of different markets that are tethered to the same fundamental principle of circulating breathable air. Upon introducing its first model, the flagship Austin HealthMate, in 1990, Austin Air Systems absorbed the necessary responsibility of standing as the nation’s first call-to-action in reversing poor aerial quality and elevating personal and professional spaces. Now, in the wake of a global pandemic, Austin Air Systems remains the only viable solution in securing a future that’s clean, efficient, durable, and concrete in its delivery. Since its founding, Austin Air Systems has grown to supply more than 100 countries across the globe, carefully manufacturing its products out of Buffalo, NY. Today, Austin Air Systems remains the leading choice, thanks in large part to its combination of HEPA and Carbon technology, unrivaled by any other supplier in the world. For over 30 years Austin Air Systems has worked relentlessly to improve our quality of life where we need it most, and at the top of 2022, the company is proving itself to be a necessary utility in more ways than one.

  1. Secret Sauce

The success of Secret Sauce is no secret at all. In fact, their Success Stories are marqueed on Instagram, where thousands of hungry consumers hope to cook alongside some of the most coveted treats in the resale market. Since its debut in 2020, Michael Schneider, CEO and Managing Partner, has executed razor-blade shreds to scores of high-end markets without cutting any corners, securing the best, most sought-after pieces in pop culture. As of late, that includes the Nike Union Dunks and the Yeezy Foam Runners. The team works around the clock to stay ten steps ahead of the game, offering 24/7 insight and support to its members who remain the envy of the streetwear scene. Devoted comrades are rewarded handsomely for their dedication, and the trick of the trade is quite simple: trust your tribe, the feast will follow. To the untrained eye, the Secret Sauce Group is that unit in school with the only driver’s manual available, navigating high roads at a faster rate than their counterparts. Though mostly remote, the Shoedio is located in Los Angeles, but by invite only, of course. Dropping new releases every week, the group keeps its audience alert and dressed with the best, unveiling rare grabs like NFTs and skate decks amongst the usual artillery of top-shelf sneakers and streetwear. Their momentum is bombastic, and it’s only just getting started. Still interested? Join the club.


  1. Babe Lash

Babe Lash is the Salt Lake City-based beauty outfit that excels in bulletproof utility that enhances our natural allure through cruelty-free cosmetics with distinguished charm. Their arsenal includes the eponymous lash serums and solutions, hydrating liquid eyeliner, and volumizing mascara, all of which perfect the art of striking engagement…it’s all in the eyes. Additionally, they carry the supple Plumping Lip Jelly, a glossy coat that brings your most delicate asset to voluminous levels, hydrating and cooling your lips with an intoxicating, tingly feeling that softly lingers in the lush. Babe Lash promotes a life lived luxuriously, however you define it, and their performance-based beauty line allows you to command the day’s work flawlessly and 100% original because no one wears the look the way you can. The company is relatively small, considering the scale of its outreach, and product production takes place entirely in-house, ensuring that each tool of the trade is executed professionally from start to finish by a dedicated team of beauties who celebrate our natural flair. This Summer, give your style a bonus bite of artistry and join this babe brigade because life’s more fun when you treat it with good taste and a glamor kiss.

Written in partnership with Ascend