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

two mugs
credit: Pawena Studio

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:

four white candles
credit: Pigeon Toe

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.

yellow grid towel
credit: MINNA

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.

three blue speckled trivets
credit: Slash Objects

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.

ceramic cup and coaster
credit: LGS Studio

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.

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.

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.

two mugs
credit: Pawena Studio

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.

coasters with multicolored pattern
credit: Etsy

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.

pennant with phrase "moon marked and touched by sun"
credit: Rayo & Honey

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.

ceramic pet bowl
credit: Neenineen

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.

pillow cover with fruit design
credit: BFGF

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.

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.

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.

four patterned napkins
credit: Dusen Dusen

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.

bathtub seen from above with graphic bathmat nearby
credit: Cold Picnic

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:


Eva Recinos

Eva Recinos

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