UPDATE: 1000 Markets and byhand.me both folded, so I had to remove the links from this article. Where possible I have linked to current shop locations.
The holidays are coming up fast for many of us who have committed to having a Handmade Holiday. Now’s the time to find and order those handmade gifts that will bring originality to your holidays as well as brighten the season of the artists you’ve chosen to hand make your gifts. But where to start?
There are innumerable blogs and sites with handmade gift choices, but you can spend hours browsing before you find one that gets you. I personally am partial to the markets of 1000Markets in part because the curators/market managers tend to pick the best available handmade work in their particular area, and it’s easy to pay through Amazon (with their A-Z Guarantee). In addition, you don’t have to sign up at the venue to purchase. So bearing that in mind, here’s my go-to list of especially well curated gift guides:
The Try Handmade Market is curated by our own Erika Jurney. She personally adds each item so you can be sure they’re the best artisan goods available. The work is organized into collections for easy browsing, and there’s a forum if you have a question or need some help. Payment is through Amazon, and you don’t have to sign up to purchase if you already have an Amazon account.
The Succulent Wife’s Marketplace is a gift market that has it’s own Cheery Holiday Gift Guide, with original gifts chosen by the Succulent Wife herself. If you don’t find something in the guide, check our the other collections organized by type of gift recipient, for easy holiday shopping. Payment is through Amazon.
Holiday Gifts the Artisan Way is the gift guide curated by 1000Markets. It’s divided into numerous collections of gift categories that are fun to browse, including ‘Artisan Gifts Under $50’ that will help you stay on budget. Payment is through Amazon.
Etsy has the granddaddy of handmade gift guides. The Etsy Gift Guide is a good place to look if you’re already an etsy member or don’t mind signing up to purchase, and have loads of time to sift through it all. The Guides are organized by price, and by just about every other category imaginable, which is great if you like tons to look through but can be a bit overwhelming if you’re in a rush. Payment is normally through PayPal although other options are available through individual artists.
If you’d like to purchase a gift that’s shipped directly to your gift recipient with a hand written note, try searching any of the major handmade venues for the term “GiftShipper”. These are artists who will create and ship your gift, with a note of your choosing, directly to the person you designate. Often they will gift wrap as well (sometimes for an extra charge). To narrow things down you can add search terms such as “giftshipper jewelry” or “giftshipper pottery”. Don’t forget to mention GiftShipper when you order, and specify the contents of your note.
If you’d like to search all of the major handmade venues at the same time for specific items, try the search at byhand.me. [UPDATE: byhand.me is now gone – try Best of Handmade instead.] It’s powered by Google but lists items only from handmade venues, with photos and pricing. It’s not a complete listing, but is good for those who prefer less exhaustive search results. If you know what you’re looking for, this search will give you a good variety across all of the handmade venues without overwhelming.
Do you have a favorite Gift Guide? Is there something that would make handmade gift shopping easier for you? Tell us about it in your comment below!