15 Small-Batch Gifts for the Friend Who Thinks Mass-Produced Is the Worst

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Check out the full Hunker Holiday Gift Guide for more ideas and inspo. Whether you're shopping for midcentury modern lovers, ceramic fiends, self-proclaimed foodies, or budding astrologers, we can help.

Most of us can name one person who seems to already have everything, aka the person that always makes our shopping list a little harder. That doesn't mean we dislike this person — in fact, we love their style, their penchant for the one-of-a-kind, and their insider scoops on cool makers. It just makes it a little tough to add their gift to our Target baskets.

For those unique decor lovers, we present the following solution: the small-batch gift. It's a conversation starter, especially for the friend sho loves to know who made their decor and where it comes from. And they're gorgeous pieces, too.

Just know that because these are small-batch items — many of them handmade through complicated processes — you can expect a higher price tag than you would for mass-produced items.

Check out some of our current favorites:

Pigeon Toe Mini White Crawl Candle, $18

The female- and sibling-owned Pigeon Toe Ceramics hand-makes its objects in a Portland studio. The brand also shares its headquarters with a few other Portland makers, creating a small community. You can find everything from decor to lighting in its online shop.

Minna Grid Towel, Gold, $28

Hudson-based, queer woman-owned MINNA creates items inspired by vintage textiles and Bauhaus art, among other things. The brand collaborates with artisans in Central and South America to create its easily recognizable items, ranging from kitchen towels to pillows to rugs.

Slash Objects Hex Trivet Set in Royal, $36

In its New York studio, Slash Objects merges post-consumer recycled rubber with chic materials like gold and marble. Browse its site for dining ware like coasters and placemats, as well as decor items like mirrors and baskets.

Tephra Cup and Coaster, $82

LGS Studio crafts ceramic pieces often inspired by nature and history. The idea for the business originally came up in a garage in Portland, but now the brand operates out of Los Angeles. Its candles, planters, and lighting are earthy yet unexpected.

Melanie Abrantes Cork Double Vase, $60

We've previously chatted with Oakland-based Melanie Abrantes about her carefully crafted wood and cork pieces. Abrantes usually starts with a sketch, then uses the lathing technique. She basically carves away parts of the material she doesn't need to reveal items like a vase or bowl.

Slowdown Studios Depeapa Eno Throw, $230

Choosing to stay in for the night is easier when you have a cute throw to keep you company. Slowdown Studio works with artists around the world to create textiles (and other home goods) that are also works of art. Its woven blankets are spun and woven in the U.S. with 70% recycled cotton.

Pawena Studio Dark Green Stripe Cup, $50

Pawena Thimaporn lives and works in Los Angeles, crafting exquisite ceramic items as Pawena Studio. Her hand-thrown mugs, planters, pitchers, and more often feature a muted palette with bursts of saturated color that come together in geometric patterns.

Tramake Coasters, $30

A husband-and-wife duo powers the Chicago-based Tramake. The brand pulls from printmaking and art history to design bold coasters, trivets, trays, and more.

Rayo and Honey Pennant, $50

Roachele Negron hand-cuts, presses and sews each pennant for her brand rayo & honey. Her shop also features pins and tote bags; all items take inspiration from Black pop culture, literature, and affirming mantras. Each piece is created in her Brooklyn studio.

Neenineen Duplo Pet Bowl (Small), $42

Queer designer and ceramicist Ninon Choplin creates whimsical and playful items that are chock-full of personality — whether it's a pet bowl or a mug. They currently craft these pieces in Los Angeles.

BFGF Fruit Pillow Cover, $90

BFGF is the brainchild of artist Lilian Martinez, who has worked on everything from a pop-up in Poketo to a mural for the Nike Los Angeles store in West Hollywood. We first spotted Martinez's work at the Casa Antonieta hotel in Mexico City.

Rachel Saunders Wave Incense Holder, $35

Artist and designer Rachel Saunders creates modern, clean ceramic pieces that are both functional and pleasing to the eye. She makes all her objects in her studio on Vancouver Island.

Cindy Hsu Zell Small Form Hanging 7, $200

We chatted with Cindy Hsu Zell about her intricate wall hangings in a past interview, and couldn't stop thinking about her pieces. Zell hand-dyes and spins the rope of each piece, resulting in works that look straightforward but are made through a complex process.

Dusen Dusen Napkins (set of four), $42

Something about the bright textiles of Dusen Dusen instantly lifts our mood. Ellen Van Dusen started by designing womenswear before branching out to home decor, and we love these bold and cheerful pieces that are hard to miss.

Cold Picnic Poolside Bathmat, $60

You probably recognize Cold Picnic's pieces from Instagram. Founders Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer took their love for nature, art, and film and used it to fuel their textile and home goods brand. All pieces are designed in the brand's Brooklyn studio, in collaboration with artisans in India and a family-owned company in New Jersey.

Looking for more gifts? Try:

15 Giftable Mugs for Every Personality Type

Hygge Up Your Space With These 23 Winter Gift Ideas

15 Gifts for the Artsy Person in Your Life

10 Candles for the Friend That Prefers to Stay In


Eva Recinos is an associate editor at Hunker. You can reach her at eva@hunker.com

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