With staffing and material shortages, small businesses need our help now more than ever. Fortunately, independent brands also offer some of the most beautiful, delicious, and thoughtful gifts you can buy for your loved ones this holiday season. From handmade ceramics and tasty condiments to fun games and scented candles, you can purchase a small business-made present for every person on your list. So do everyone a favor and shop small this year — business owners will be grateful and so will your recipient.
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Atelier Saucier's one-of-a-kind 'kins (short for napkins!) are sustainably-sourced, rescued, repurposed, and locally made in Downtown Los Angeles with small-batch production that ensures no excess inventory or waste. That means you can feel doubly good about purchasing these gorgeous rainbow-edged denim napkins.
Haand crafts all its ceramics with a proprietary zero-waste dip-glazing application process in a former hosiery mill in downtown Burlington, NC. This eye-catching, three-bowl nesting set is made with blue and white clay that nods to historic Wedgwood Jasperware and mimics the blue, cloud-streaked sky of a North Carolina afternoon.
Designer Stefan Beckman's new lab takes visual cues from the pop colors of '60s California art and the supergraphics movement of the '70s. The result is a geometric, post-modern line of goods, like these Lego-reminiscent, speckled rubber coasters that will upgrade any cocktail party.
In the Hudson Valley, artist Elise McMahon builds sustainable furniture and decor that deserve to be displayed. Her work, which she sells online and at her LikeMindedObjects store, is bright, playful, and always conscious of the environment. We're especially partial to this undulating laser-cut steel candlestick holder that's powder coated with a durable, glossy finish.
Born and raised in a pizza shop in Italy, illustrator Marianna Fierro has always been obsessed with food. It's no wonder, then, that most of her designs revolve around fruits, vegetables, and even cured meat. For a taste of mortadella in your kitchen, consider these funky, graphic tea towels.
Product designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen, who spent a decade working in London and Paris before landing in New York, is known for her whimsical glassware collection. Her popular cylindrical pitcher with a delicate, wavy handle comes in multiple color combinations, making it nearly impossible to choose.
Yes, designer Susan Alexandra makes the most drool-worthy beaded handbags, but did you know she also has a small home goods line? Her sparkly, fruity napkin rings are made by hand to order, so be sure to factor in a three-week lead time if you want to gift these tabletop treasures.
Yasaf, lit. uses vegan ingredients, cruelty–free fragrance oils, and eco–friendly wooden wicks to create its soothing candles that are packaged in sustainable, matte-frosted vessels. The Brooklyn-born brand's J'Armm scent is perfect for a chilly winter evening, with warm, sensual notes of cashmere and vanilla.
Chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal launched Brooklyn Delhi with her take on the Indian pantry staple achaar, a bold condiment made with vegetables, fruits, aromatic spices, and chili peppers. Her tomato version, which is meant to be used in the same way as Sriracha or harissa, improves everything from rice and curry to eggs and grilled meats.
Named for the 16th-century term that originally referred to the daughters or wives of fishermen and evolved into a gendered insult for brash, foul-mouthed women, Fishwife offers ethically-sourced, premium tinned seafood. The company's smoked Atlantic salmon is raised in the icy Arctic circle, brined in olive oil and sea salt, smoked in small batches, and hand-packed on the central coast of Washington.
Inspired by Chengdu, China's hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are so popular that they attract people like flies, Jing Gao founded Fly By Jing to bring the flavors of her hometown to America. This trio of the brand's Sichuan condiments features all three bestsellers: spicy chili crisp, sweet and tangy Zhong sauce, and numbing Mala spice mix.
Los Angeles-based Masienda partners with hundreds of traditional farmers to grow single-origin heirloom corn that's made into their masa flour — the key ingredient for a stellar tortilla. Combine it with warm water and a tortilla press, which is included in this starter kit, and you can craft the corn tortillas of your dreams.
Sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham make it easy to cook authentic Asian dishes at home with their Omsom meal starters. The complex flavor packets (basically pantry shortcuts that combine all necessary sauces, aromatics, and seasonings) are accompanied by ingredient lists and recipes so you can whip up dishes like Vietnamese lemongrass BBQ, Thai larb, Japanese yuzu miso yaki, and Korean spicy bulgogi all on your own.
Chef Ashley Rouse's vegan, low sugar, preservative-free jams are available through her Brooklyn-based company Trade Street Jam Co. Each of her creative, fruit-forward combinations is incredibly tasty, but we especially love the flavors in the holiday gift set: sour cherry ginger, plum and rose, and limited edition cranberry raspberry sage.
Fun and Games
Self-care can be fun, right? With products from superfood-focused, Brooklyn-based wellness brand Golde, it sure is. Get in on all the healthy, pampering goodness with this bundle of essential turmeric latte blends and face masks that will have you feeling like a brand new person.
Artist Livia Cetti is behind paper flower studio The Green Vase, which sells the magnificent floral creations she and her team make in the Bronx. Of course, you can buy an expertly-crafted pot or bouquet, but it might be a fun challenge to try your hand at assembling some hibiscus flowers yourself with the company's handy kit.
Though the objective of this game has nothing to do with winning, it's bound to get heated. After a year of social isolation, creative marketplace Lady Sargeant designed the 54-card truth-or-dare game deck to help us connect more deeply with ourselves and others. With questions like "What is a lie you tell yourself?" bonding is all but guaranteed.
Founded by Areaware alum Michael Hunter and photographer Alistair Matthews, recently-launched Le Puzz grew out of the duo's love for vintage puzzles and collection of quirky items. Hand-drawn and random cut from FSA-approved paper sourced from sustainable forests, puzzles like this 1,000-piece artful array of matchbooks will surprise and delight.