We are a small business that supports small businesses. Our company started almost 30 years ago, with two employees in a tiny office the size of a closet. We know the hard work, long hours, creativity, success and failure that goes into building a business with integrity.
Running a small business is always hard, but the past 20 months it has been brutal. We wish we could throw around cash to everyone. But the best we can do is what we do best…marketing! So here is our glowing praise and detailed review of 8 local small businesses that we love. Some of them are our clients, but not all. But at least one person on our staff has purchased something every single one of the businesses in this guide. This isn’t sponsored, we don’t get any commission, we just genuinely love these companies and want to share them with you.
Below is a detailed shopping guide. If you want the quick version, follow us on Instagram @onestep_oc and look at our “small biz sat” story highlight.
Name: Hart Inspired Sweets
Specialty: Homemade Hot Cocoa Bombs filled with homemade marshmallows.
How to Order: Instagram @Hart_InspiredSweets // Online: https://hartinspiredsweets.square.site/
Why we love them: Owner Nadia Hart is an elementary school teacher who is turning her love of baking into an awesome side hustle. Nadia is committed to
What we recommend: Her peanut butter and milk chocolate bomb is sensational. She also just released a Grinch bomb that is so cute and would be perfect for a Grinch themed movie night or holiday party.
How to gift it: Every year you have that list of people that you want to give a gift to but you don’t know what to give them so you just grab a $10 Starbucks card. RIGHT? Gift them cocoa bombs instead! It makes for a much more heartfelt, unique and fun gift!
Name: Kona Loa Coffee
Specialty: Taste fo the Big Island here in Southern California
How to Order: Order Online https://www.konacoffeedistrict.org and/or visit their Mission Viejo location. Instagram: @konaloacoffee_mission_viejo
Why we love them: High quality coffee, unique blends and a variety of cafe style foods.
What we recommend: For coffee, we highly recommend the smores latte and the rose latte. The smores latte has an actual burnt marshmallow on top! For food, you can’t go wrong with the avocado toast. It’s delicious. They do not skimp on the avocado, and they add chili flakes and honey which gives it a really unique spicy/sweet flavor. While we haven’t tried the Spam Masubi, every time we are in there another customer has ordered it, so we are guessing that is also a great one to try!
How to gift it: Give a gift card to all the local coffee lovers in your life. They’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness of finding a unique high quality coffee spot instead of a chain.
Name: Domineco’s Italian Restaurant
Specialty: Pizza! As well as a variety of Italian and American inspired dishes.
Where to find them: Long Beach and Mission Viejo. dominecosrestaurant.com
Why we love them: Great family friendly atmosphere. Their Mission Viejo location has patio seating with a view of the lake. Super friendly staff, affordable pricing. And of course, great food.
What we recommend: Our staff has eaten there several times, and some of our favorite dishes are: the gnocchi, the rigatoni pasta with sausage and tomato cream, chicken parmigiana and tomato bisque soup. Also, the kids mac n cheese is the best I’ve ever had, no joke.
How to gift: They do offer gift cards and they also have space for moderately sized gatherings. Might be a great place for Christmas Eve dinner or a New Years lunch with family and friends.
Name: Poppy Jack Shop
Specialty: Personalized and engraved wooden home and party decor. Signs, ornaments, cake toppers, drink stirrers, name tags, place cards, invitations, etc.
Where to find them: On Etsy! Etsy.com/shop/poppyjackshop Instagram: @poppyjackshop
Why we love them: Courtney, the shop owner, is an OC local. Her business started out as her giving calligraphy classes to some friends in college, and over the years it has blossomed from a side hustle into a career. Courtney is incredibly creative and partners with party planners to create some fantastic looks. Her shop is full of unique gifts, and Courtney herself is so friendly and gives exceptional service.
What we recommend: Everything on her shop is so stinking adorable! She has some great ornaments on sale right now for Christmas. Last Easter I ordered wooden tokens to put in my kids Easter eggs. They had little prizes written on them like “movie night, you pick!” or “free book.” I loved having something other than candy to put in the eggs. These tokens would also make great stocking stuffers.
How to gift: If you are a real estate agent, check out Poppy Jack Shop’s house ornaments that celebrate the first Christmas in a new home. They can be personalized for your buyers and make great closing gifts. She also has ornaments for Baby’s First Christmas, Couple’s First Christmas, etc. Also, if you are planning a holiday party, check out her party decor!
Name: Yard Pop OC
Specialty: Yard Cards to celebrate every occasion!
Where to find them: Online at yardpopoc.com and on Instagram @yardpopoc
Why we love them: Owner Megan McDaniel has been our client for years, and we have loved partnering with her to create her signs. After being a high school teacher for 15 years, Megan left the classroom to stay home with her 5 kids. She began dreaming of starting her own businesses, and started Yard Pop OC as a way to bless others and share in their joy.
What we recommend: Megan has a ton of different letters and flair in stock to create a truly customized sign. She can also create something completely unique! I threw my sister a Mandalorian themed baby shower, and Megan created a “Baby Yoda” flair for me. It was adorable and my sister got to keep that flair (all of Megan’s in stock letters and flair are rented).
How to gift it: Yard cards make such fun surprises! Megan will come to your house and night and set it up for a fun surprise in the morning. She also has lots of holiday signs and can set up signs for company holiday parties, school holiday parties, fundraisers, etc.
Name: 7th Street Candles
Specialty: Hand poured, small batch, soy wax candles
Where to find them: Online at 7thstreetcandles.com and on Instagram @7th_street_candles
Why we love them: Owner Jenna is a school teacher who makes these candles by hand out of her home (are you noticing a theme? We LOVE teacher run businesses). She is always coming up with unique scents and ideas for making her small shop unique and fun. She also cares a lot about candle care and safety, and we’ve learned quite a few things we did not know just by following her Instagram. We love her commitment to quality and her craft!
What we recommend: The Egyptian Amber scent is our favorite! And we love the look of her dough bowl candles.
How to gift it: One of these candles would make a great hostess gift! Stock up on a few to bring to those who are hosting your holiday gatherings. Also great for gift exchanges with friends, teacher gifts, housewarming gift or simply wrapped under the tree for someone special.
Name: The Bloom of Time
Specialty: Bouquets, decor and floral arrangements for weddings, parties and personal gifts.
Where to find them: Online thebloomoftime.com and on Instagram @thebloomoftime. Their design studio is located in Orange County.
Why we love them: Great service and super fast. We ordered a bouquet after closing and it was ready first thing in the morning. They also offer local delivery service for just $5. If you an include a message with the bouquet they will handwrite it, which is a really sweet personal touch.
What we recommend: We ordered a “Blue Skies and Sunshine” bouquet for a team member who was recovering from surgery. It was stunning!
How to gift it: This would be a really thoughtful hostess gift. It would also be sweet to send to someone you know is struggling this holiday season, maybe because they are sick, or dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Name: New Life Moving Services
Specialty: Every moving service imaginable! Measurements of your furniture to be moved, measurements of your new home, furniture planning and arrangement, sorting, downsizing, and packing boxes for the move, mover coordination, unpack boxes and place items in cabinets, closets, and furniture, remove all packing materials and boxes for disposal or future use, and price includes most packing materials.
Why we love them: Owner Marlene truly cares about her clients and knows how overwhelming moving can be. She tailors her services to match the needs of every client. A couple of our staff have used her services and confirm she is trustworthy, kind, efficient and super super helpful!
How to gift it: This would be a truly unique gift for real estate agents to give to their clients, whether buyers or sellers. If you happen to know someone moving this holiday season, they certainly don’t need more stuff, so offer a service to move their stuff instead!