At Buffer, we're determined to help small business owners grow their brands on social media and beyond. As a result, we’ve come across so many companies doing incredible things. As we finish off this year, we wanted to share some of our favorites.
Wondering how we chose them? We particularly admire brands that:
- Have established a solid brand identity: The best brands ensure that everything from their products to their website and social content to their community engagement is consistent with an overarching brand strategy. This includes visuals like logos, packaging, and product photography, as well as the business’ values and voice. (Here’s our advice for creating your own impactful brand.)
- Pursue a higher purpose: At Buffer, we love businesses that have a mission to positively contribute to their communities and the world in some way. As it turns out, consumers like this, too. One study shows customers are four times more likely to buy something from a mission-driven brand. The brands below all give back in some way, such as donating with each purchase, providing free education and job training, and elevating marginalized voices.
- Maintain a strong social presence: Regular social media activity is key to becoming a top-of-mind brand, and these companies keep the great content coming. (We know creating consistent, high-quality content can be intimidating, so we put together some tips for doing so.)
If you’re looking to create a memorable brand and grow your business in 2022, take a cue from these 21 brands that have truly impressed us (in no particular order).
21 Small Business Brands We Love
1. The Peony Collective
This woman-owned business aims to help female entrepreneurs hone their Instagram skills and grow their businesses. To that end, The Peony Collective’s Instagram account is full of inspiring advice that helps female founders push through tricky entrepreneurial times and stay focused on their goals.
2. Fréres Branchiaux
Started and managed by three brothers, Fréres Branchiaux makes eco-friendly candles. They have a customer recycling program, donate 10% of profits to homeless shelters, and have a meaningful, joyful social presence.
3. Made with Local
This food provider sources ingredients from local farmers and partners with an organization that helps those with intellectual disabilities find employment. They also have some of the best food photography we’ve seen.
4. Askinosie Chocolate
Askinosie wants to make the best craft chocolate in the world. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. On Instagram, they provide followers with a behind-the-scenes look at their farming and direct trade practices, in addition to showing how they give back to communities around the world with Chocolate University.
5. Paynter Jacket Co
Paynter’s founders are adamant about not producing any more waste. That’s why, despite increasingly high demand (which they achieved by building in public) they only release a limited number of jackets four times a year and recycle the leftover fabric and water used to make them.
Partake offers delicious snacks every child can enjoy because they don’t contain the top eight food allergens, GMOs, or preservatives. Through their partnership with the Food Equality Initiative, Partake also helps ensure families in need have access to healthy food.
This personal care company helps people address their sweat. In addition to partnering with Sad Girls Club and Sad Boys Club in an effort to destigmatize mental health, Hiki makes sure to infuse positive mental health messaging throughout their social media feeds.
By bringing delicious and authentic Southeast Asian and East Asian flavors to every kitchen, the Vietnamese-American sisters who started Omson are elevating and celebrating Asian American communities. And their bright, bold branding, which pops out on their packaging and all over their Instagram account, makes trying these flavor packets even harder to resist.
The Morins started Wonderpuff during a period of heightened social unrest in the U.S. They wanted to lead with love and bring more joy (and glitter) to the world. Wonderpuff’s platform also aims to promote and support others, specifically Black, Muslim, and female voices.
KANKAN puts soap (and other personal hygiene products) in a can in the hopes that their refillable model will help reduce the use of single-use plastics in the world. Almost as inspiring as this mission: the beautifully designed Instagram grid.
11. Bed Threads
All we can say is, wow. Bed Threads has one of the most breathtakingly beautiful social media feeds we’ve ever come across.
12. Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books
The owners of this bookstore and cafe wanted to create a space for underserved communities. Their social media is the perfect combination of promoting books, their community, and the causes they’re passionate about (and coffee, too, of course).
This children’s boutique focuses on making kids of all colors, abilities, cultures, and backgrounds feel like they belong. Their events, like story time and dance classes, allow parents and kids from all over the world to connect in a safe space.
14. Sh*t That I Knit
Their products are warm, cozy, and look good. They’re handmade by working moms in Peru, and the company donates “Knit Kits” to young adults going through cancer treatment.
15. Ground Up Nut Butters
Each adorably packed nut butter is made by a womxn overcoming adversity. Ground Up provides a six- to nine-month employment training program to help them develop skills and move onto the next step in their job journey.
These beautifully-designed combs aren’t just a hair styling tool. They’re a symbol and celebration of Black stories, culture, and solidarity—and this is exactly what you can find on their social platforms, as well.
Kiramoon’s skincare products exclude harmful ingredients and help reduce the mental health stigma. A portion of every order is donated to a non-profit called Bring Change to Mind.
Purchasing home decor from Jungalow can add some joy and color to your life, as well as add new trees to the planet. (So far, the company has planted almost 77,000 trees!) Jungalow’s bold, colorful patterns and designs make them an instantly recognizable and unforgettable brand.
19. Red Bay Coffee
The founders of Red Bay Coffee are equally passionate about two things: high-quality coffee and radical inclusivity. In addition to making sure their farmers receive fair wages, they also focus on hiring people of color, those with disabilities, and the formerly incarcerated.
20. inkWELL Press
inkWELL’s planners and accessories help people stay organized. The company also regularly donates their products to teachers, women’s shelters, and residential treatment centers.
21. Raven Reads
The books and gifts included in these boxes are created by Indigenous authors and entrepreneurs. The goal is to elevate Indigenous voices, cultures, and histories, both in the products they sell and the content they post online.
Want even more inspiration for growing your business in 2022? Check out the latest episode of Buffer’s Small Business, Big Lessons podcast.