Thanks to Lola Hoad of Lola Hoad Design for letting us use her artwork, you can see her lovely Christmas cards and prints here. I agree with Lola that it is important to shop independent and not just at Christmas but throughout the year. Admittedly as a small independent online business owner I am biased but I fear that if we don’t our high streets will become the same countrywide. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for larger brands but there should be room for the smaller independents, with handcrafted, artisanal products, too and in London, in particular, rising rents are forcing the smaller independent shops out and global brands are taking over.
So I am shopping independent this Christmas. Here are some of my go to independents for gifts:
Cambridge Imprint, for beautiful printed notebooks, wrapping paper and office accessories. The printed box files and filing trays just make me want to get organised.
Gift vouchers from Bread Ahead, a bakery in Borough Market, London,which makes the most delicious artisan breads and unbelievably light custard-filled donuts.
Travel sets in beautiful Japanese prints and traditional travel slippers from Keiko Uchida. The room shoes are perfect for pottering around at home and lightweight for travel. They have padded arches so are great for anyone who spends the day in heels.
Handcrafted Gifts With A Story Behind Them
Stuck for a gift for that person in your life who is always jetting off to exotic locations? Why not give them a handcrafted gift with a story behind it? A travel-inspired gift which will evoke memories of their travels or create a desire to visit new places. Here are some suggestions:
1. First we head to India for these handcrafted copper seed pod tea light holders. Each piece is carefully crafted from copper by a Tambat craftsman in Pune. Each tea light holder comes in a presentation box and makes the perfect gift. Available in small £24 and large £28. By purchasing one of these tea lights you are helping to preserve the traditional craft of the Tambat coppersmiths which dates back to the seventeenth century.
2. From Mexico, choose from a selection of striped cushions hand-woven and hand finished in the heart of Chiapas by Mayan women using traditional back strap loom weaving techniques. £75 each. By purchasing one of these cushions you are providing an income for Mayan weavers and helping to fund health and education programmes.
3. From a cooperative in southern Morocco, a beautiful hand thrown ceramic bowl edged in copper. The distinctive glaze on these bowls, which creates a myriad of different greens, is created from a secret formula known to only twelve members of the cooperative. Each piece is unique. Small £40.
4. To Swaziland for large open ribbed hand-woven baskets from social enterprise Gone Rural. Contemporary design meets traditional weaving techniques in these versatile baskets. Each basket has three circles of ribbing, a complex technique, creating the illusion of three baskets in one.. One size £112. Gone rural employs over 700 women and through its charity BoMake provides health, water and education programmes for 10,000 women artisans and their communities.
5. Vintage Berber wedding blankets from Morocco. A favourite with interior designers, these blankets are guaranteed to add sparkle on the foot of the bed, over a sofa or chair or framed on the wall. Various sizes £380.
Photos 2,4,5 Kristy Noble.