I’m going to ease you all into the whole “Christmas” thing with a little blog about shopping small and local at this time of year. It can be so easy to only go to all of your usual large retail shops when Christmas shopping, or if you can’t deal with tackling the shops, grabbing your laptop and a cuppa and shopping online with big name online stores and there's nothing wrong with that. However I am going to challenge you all to try something a little different this year by shopping small and/or local, even if it's only for a few gifts. There is nothing like finding the perfect gift for someone, something that will bring them happiness for years, something they didn't even know they wanted. This year enhance your gift buying with soulful shopping and meaningful purchases from some small independent brands, makers and designers....
Step out of the shopping centres and get to know your local community this year. Explore some of the smaller independent shops in your local area. Small shop owners know that the items we surround ourself with can be a source of joy and they stock their shops with items that do just that. You'll be sure to find unusual, quirky gifts that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else on the high street, making it easy to find the ideal gift that you know the recipient won't already have. Independent shops also have their own personality and atmosphere. Rather than feeling busy and hectic they have a more laid back vibe, making you feel a bit more relaxed in the midst of frantic festivities.
Evidence from numerous surveys shows that people receive better customer care and service in local shops. These shops survive through recommendations and repeat visits so they will want to give you the best possible service. Independent retailers are passionate about what they do, they KNOW their shop and their products, it is likely that the have personally made, designed or handpicked the lovely gift you are about to buy. So if you have a question or aren't sure about something, they will be more than happy to help you with their knowledge and expertise, often going above and beyond. Great service, often with a personal touch means less stress for you!
If you are in Dundee make sure you check out Dock Street Studios, Quirky Coo, Indigo House, Bella and Pretty Fly Workshop (for unique gifts, accessories, homeware and handmade items), J.A Braithwaite (for coffee lovers), Abandon Ship, MC Boutique, Cartocon, Haylay Scanlan, M Boutique (for clothing and accessories) as well as Grouchos, Assai and This Way Up (for the music and book lovers).
and head to these stockists to shop Kirsten Manzi Jewellery in person. (Keep an eye out for new stockists coming soon!)
Whether you're searching for a last-minute decoration or desperately seeking inspiration for your gift buying, local christmas markets and pop-up shops will have you covered! Forget getting stressed while traipsing through the same old shops, head to a market or pop-up, grab yourself a mulled wine and opt for something a little more laid back. These kind of shopping events offer a unique experience to buy directly from a variety of independent makers and designers. Meaning you can meet and talk to the actual person who made the gifts you are going to buy! Makers and designers put HOURS of work, love, care and craftsmanship to ensure you receive beautiful high quality pieces that you won't find anywhere else. The meaningful purchase of a handmade gift can enhance the gift giving experience. Imagine waking up on christmas morning and being able to tell a little story about meeting and talking to the makers who personally designed and made the gifts your friends and family are opening.
You may also be surprised by what you can find at the markets; giving you new ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Buying from independent makers often means you can get things customised, maybe add initials to a pair of cufflinks or commission a design using your loved one's favourite colours.
You’ll end up with gifts that can’t be found elsewhere and I guarantee your friends and family will be impressed.
You can find Kirsten Manzi Jewellery as well as a number of other wonderful makers at the following events this year:
Tea Green Pop-Up Boutique at Taypark House 30th Nov - 24th Dec
The I.D Pop - Up Store at The Lighthouse 2nd & 3rd Dec
CRAFTED Market at Dundee Contemporary Arts 2nd Dec
Tea Green Market at Kibble Palace 10th Dec
If you do want to do your christmas shopping within the comfort of your own home why not look for independent makers. Almost everyone has their own website. If you're not aware of many independent makers at the moment you can explore Craft Council's Makers Directory or browse sites like Etsy, Folksy, Not On The High Street, Made By Hand Online and shop through ASOS Marketplace rather than the main site to find pieces by independent brands. Take a look at the makers who are exhibiting at markets and pop-ups, or stocked in the shops in your local area and look them up online. You can also shop online with independent brands and galleries like Home by Kirsty, Tom Pigeon, DCA who will stock a variety of lovely alternative gifts! Many small businesses make products by hand, often with years of expertise behind them.
Browse my online shop here for handcrafted silver jewellery.
I will probably be making a lot of gifts this year, it’s fun and can be done on a tight budget. If you have a bit of time you can DIY a lot of gifts, they don’t have to be complicated or expensive! Make up a little spa with homemade bath salts or shower tabs, soap and a candle, create a terrarium or hanging planter for the plant lover in your life or try your hand at making your own gin or beer. Take a look at my D.I.Y Christmas board on Pinterest for inspiration.