Gift Your Gift Cards to Indies

It's all over. Now you can spend that cash and those Visa gift cards on yourself to make up for the awkward present your aunt bought you. But why not spend your money with small businesses that lovingly craft products instead of giving more to H&M and Nordstrom? Here's a short list of places with some of the best handmade products around:

Simple linens are an underestimated luxury. They're not expensive, and unless they've been printed on, they're not fancy-looking, either. But linens will outlive you, and they're gratifying to touch after a few washings. Plus, you'll find a surprising amount of absorbency for the thin material. Small Batch Production hails from upstate New York and makes classic tea towels and aprons for men and women. You'll feel so cute wearing these things you'll actually want to do housework.

Words such as reclaimed and upcycled get thrown around enough that they've begun to lose their luster. But Peg and Awl take it to a whole new level. The husband-and-wife team from Philadelphia makes bags and home goods from Victorian-era canvas, old gun slings and wood from abandoned barns. Their products can be on the pricier end, but the craftsmanship is impeccable. What's $150 if it'll last you forever?

This couple sews idyllic, sylvan purses and backpacks that'll make you want to take a picnic in the mountains and read Thoreau. The combination of denim and the softest leathers and textiles feels lovely in your hands, but it doesn't take away from the durability. I've used my Taplin purse every day for two years, and it's still holding up. Plus, if you're in the market for a grown-up playhouse cabin, Shelter builds those, too.

Ankle boots are as hipster as hipster can get, but Love Jules makes its like a work of art—and it's not something the person next to you also bought at Urban Outfitters. A team of two make every pair by hand with only the help of a sewing machine and wood-burning pen. The boots are made to order using rich, earthy leathers, thick laces, buckles and sometimes even genuine Pendleton fabric.

Follow me on Instagram: @lp_hastings.


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