Whether it’s custom succulent arrangement, homemade candles, graphic apparel or a place to play games and buy superhero figurines, new stores in Johnson County have something for almost everyone as shoppers prepare for Small Business Saturday.

The four boutiques featured below have opened in Johnson County in recent months.

Wild Sapphire Boutique

When Kiersten Armbruster went viral on TikTok for her handcrafted travel mugs, including cow tumblers, she knew she had the potential to start her own business and be successful at it.

She’s also made pillows, blankets, candles, sensory toys, bows and paint-pour clocks. For many of her creations, she surveys her followers during TikTok live videos, and their requests help her decide on her next designs.

Armbruster first opened a boutique in Greenwood just before the pandemic, but as was the case with many small businesses, it proved too much of a financial challenge. This year, she has had better luck so far. Her new boutique Wild Sapphire opened on Oct. 26 at 400 Tracy Road, Suite 2, New Whiteland.

“I took a few years off and was able to quit my full-time job after going viral on TikTok and making a few thousand dollars. Some of the vendors from the original store are still with us and the rest are from word of mouth,” Armbruster said. “We’ve got a lot of really good feedback from the community. It’s really busy pretty much every single day people see us here.”

Before opening her store, Armbruster sold her items at flea markets and craft shows, but the cost of setting up a tent at the markets outweighed the benefits. Now, with more experience in business under her belt, she feels more confident this time around.

“The first time we were winging it and this time around we know who to market to and what people are looking for in terms of the quality of the items,” she said. “This is a store you can go to and get gifts for coworkers and family members.”

For Small Business Saturday, the store will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will offer two for $25 candles, three for $15 room sprays, two for $17 for cork and threads and 10% off other items.

Faraday Toys

Twins Aaron and Matthew Wardell started new Greenwood business Faraday Toys with a longtime love of collecting figurines. After working in several game stores in the Indianapolis area, Matthew Wardell wanted to have something to call his own.

“I eventually said ‘I could do this myself, too’ and we figured out our collection was vast enough and we had opening stock. We put our money together and opened the store. It was a dream of mine to open a toy store,” Matthew Wardell said.

Aaron Wardell was an independent contractor for theatrical costume design before he and his brother started the business, which opened Oct. 8 at, 350 S. Madison Ave., Greenwood.

“During the pandemic, my costume design career halted, and it was a great time to branch off and try something new,” Aaron Wardell said. “Matthew presented me with the idea, and I said ‘let’s go for it.’ Both of us know toys, it’s a huge chunk of our lives, and it was the perfect opportunity.”

People can buy and exchange toys at the store and can gather to play games at tables set up for community play.

As collectors themselves, they know their customer base, Aaron Wardell said.

“As two longtime toy collectors, we understand how we want to be treated when we go into a shop, and we want to treat anyone who comes into the shop the same way,” he said.

The twins have plans to expand engagement with movie and game nights, as well as classes, Matthew Wardell said.

“We have gentlemen who will be running Warhammer tournaments through here, we will have a beginner Dungeons and Dragons class the first two Mondays of every month and I’ll be teaching toy customization and toy-making classes,” he said.

To keep up with the latest news about events and classes, follow the “Faraday Toys” Facebook page. The store isn’t planning anything specific for Small Business Saturday but will be open to welcome shoppers.

The Grove Botany Boutique

The inspiration for owner Rachel Alvey to start her Franklin business started during the pandemic and grew through an increasing customer base at festivals and the farmers market.

“During COVID, my little hobby of plants and gardening grew. We had time to be at home and I could put that time into planting my own seeds and propagation,” Alvey said. “It had taken over my whole house and garage and any other free space you could think of and my husband said ‘you need to do something with this.’ I decided to open a booth at the Franklin Farmers Market. I had one table and tent and had a succulent bar. I sold plants, vegetables and eggs. We raise chickens at our house.”

Alvey became known as ‘the succulent lady,’ and although she enjoyed her interactions with customers she wanted a more permanent location. She opened the first weekend of November at 71 E. Jefferson St., Franklin.

“Hauling everything around can be cumbersome, and sometimes it isn’t the greatest weather at some events. I wanted somewhere stationary,” Alvey said.

Now, along with the succulents, she has items in the store from local vendors including: Walker’s Homestead, which sells goat’s milk skin care products; Dirt Darlin’, which specializes in jam, salsa, and apple and pumpkin butter; Posh Botanical, which offers candles and handmade chunky knit blankets; and The Boho Garage, which centers around wicker furniture, pillows and home décor, Alvey said.

Alvey, who works alongside her two daughters and husband, keeps the store open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. The boutique will be offering discounts on both Saturday and Sunday this week, offering 10% off any purchase in the store and a gift with a purchase of $50 or more, she said.

At Home With Heartland

The boutique at 150 W. Jefferson St., in Franklin, is the second storefront for owner Jennifer Nelson. She has run a shop in Nashville by the same name for about six years.

At Home With Heartland includes handmade furniture and candles, along with wholesale clothes and accessories.

“I make almost all my candles, wax melts and shirts myself, and my father-in-law makes the furniture and does woodworking,” Nelson said. “I started off where we were 95% handmade items in the Nashville location. My family is full of carpenters and woodworkers and I started in that direction, but it grew to the point we could not keep up. We introduced other products with handmade furniture. I make my own candles and graphic shirts, and have a boutique line with men’s and women’s clothing.”

Nelson has nine employees who help with inventory, sales and marketing, and works with wholesale companies to fill the store with items to complement the homemade ones.

“As far as our success is concerned, it’s staying in tune with trends, with what people are asking for and not staying stagnant by doing the same thing every day,” Nelson said. “If it’s going well, keep it and if it’s not, move on to something new and try that. We do a lot of stuff based on feedback from customers and stores.”

The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Small Business Saturday. Shoppers who participated in the store’s holiday open house and spent $150 or more received scratch off tickets they can redeem today and Saturday for discounts. All other customers will receive 10% off all apparel and accessories.