Main Line Makers Gift Guide: The Art and Craft of Shopping Handmade
Handmade gifts always feel extra special. These locally made, handcrafted wares are ready to find, wrap, and give.
Did your grandmother knit you sweaters as a kid that you still treasure? Or maybe your mom built you a set of bookshelves now in use in your child’s room? Whatever your experience with handmade gifts and goods, you recognize the time, intention, and artistry of the maker intrinsic in each piece. That personal attention translates from the crafter to the creation, making handmade purchases and gifts all the more special.
The value of handmade goods is huge for Wynnewood resident Anna Welsh, the award-winning, teenage entrepreneur behind Little bags. BIG IMPACT and featured on the cover of the Main Line Parent 2019 Shop Local Guide. Anna officially launched her company in 2017 at the age of just 13 with a fun, funky, and functional zippered clutch and a two-part mission: to be sustainable, and to contribute to childhood literacy. Each attention-grabbing clutch bag, tote, cross-body bag, or sunglasses case delivers on sustainability in the form of rescued material, which would be otherwise destined for a landfill. And for every bag purchased, 15% is donated to Philadelphia’s Tree House Books in support of childhood literacy. When you gift a “littlebag” you’re giving not just once, but three times!
Our community is bustling with artists and crafters and designers like Anna, of unique and original wares to buy or gift. For more on local makers and unique gifting, from handmade jewelry to botanical art to textiles and more, check out our round-up of artists and designers in our community.
From original botanical art to prints, pillows, cards, and more, lifelong maker Sarah Atwater Bourne Rafferty’s nature-inspired pieces make beautiful gifts, AND eye-catching additions to your home decor.
Fiber artist Holly Guertin is the brains and hands behind this fun, quirky handmade gift spot. Wall hangings, jewelry, ornaments, and beyond add texture and uniqueness to any gift-giving occasion.
This Paoli-based team was started by a mother-daughter duo on a mission to make memories lasting and tangible through the creation of handmade keepsakes like quilts, pillows, blankets, and more, that incorporate meaningful materials, like baby clothes, wedding dresses, and favorite t-shirts.
Gigi is a mom-at-home artist and business maven. Her handmade clay jewelry is colorful, textural, earthy, and sophisticated – necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and even hairpins make memorable gifts and beautiful accents to casual or formal garb.
Henry & Etta offers handmade and uniquely designed clothing for littles by a mom who couldn’t find her ideal in kids’ clothes…so she envisioned and then made them herself! Using a combination of new and upcycled fabrics, and available for ages 0 – 5, these tiny togs are playful, patterned, and fun. Fantastic gifts for new parents!
Yum! Located in Narberth and online, these handcrafted chocolates are never far away. Delicious gifts to buy or send for any occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries to Valentine’s Day to just because, The Sweet Trading Company is full of gifts to savor including baskets, custom treats, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
If you know a “hat person” Tiffany Arey’s designs should be your first stop when gift-shopping. With her background in fashion, art, design, theater and costuming, Tiffany’s equine activities drew her naturally to millinery. From traditional to whimsical, from cloche to fascinator, in every size and style, you’ll find something to love in Tiffany Arey’s enormous selection of creatively constructed hats.
Narberth’s Lindsay Gradel uses bold prints to bring color and fun to her handmade children’s clothing line. The bubble skirt is her signature piece. Fabrics cover all the bases, from sports teams to your children’s most-loved film characters to florals and so much more. You’ll also find other great giftable pieces like blankets and gift cards.
Handmade, personalized, and custom-made gifts and decor! Garden flags, throw pillows, tooth-fairy pouches, and lots more articles and keepsakes to accent your home and make gifting occasions noteworthy.
With Stacey Fay Designs you’ll find locally handmade and upcycled jewelry that makes a statement, memorializes a moment, or works as a remembrance. Made in Narberth and Philadelphia, SFD makers use traditional methods like engraving, enameling, and filigree to enhance their artistry.
Bags, bags, and more bags! Visit the Paoli showroom or shop online for purses that fit your life, from a clutch to a tote, these make great gifts, but you’ll probably want to keep whatever you buy!
Shopping local supports our community, our neighbors, and the people around us. With all of these incredible makers within a quick ride and easy reach online, you don’t need to go far to find thoughtful, impactful gifts for the ones you love.
Lead photo courtesy of Anna Welsh.