Gift Guide: 8 Gifts from Independent Makers and Small Brands (under $50)

Hey friends! Happy Friday.

To kick off the holidays, I cooked up this little gift guide for you (and for me). Each piece is by a maker or smaller brand that I’ve been enjoying this year — and that I thought you might like. You’ll probably see familiar faces on the list, but I hope you discover new makers.

Before I dive in, I want to share a quick note about how I curated this list and how I pick out gifts. It’s a quick trick that makes the whole gift-giving thing less stressful.

First, I jotted down a few criteria that describes what I wanted the gift to do or be. If the gifts didn’t meet all of the criteria, the didn’t make the list.

This took about 10 minutes. But saved me countless minutes of decision-making down the road. It also helped curb that feeling of confusion and anxiety over what to buy because the hardest decisions were already made. Once I had these criteria in hand, choosing the gifts was a breeze.

Here’s what I came up with. I decided each should be:

  • useful (but not too practical– gifts should be magical)
  • unexpected (but fitting for the person)
  • have or tell a story (who made it? How did it come about?)
  • around $35 (but under $50)

Every Day Oil

This all-purpose oil is a cult favorite for good reason. I use it as a body moisturizer and hand moisturizer, and I put it in the ends of my hair when it’s dry. The scented version is delightful and not too overpowering. They also make an unscented version. This is a little pricey at almost $50– but a bottle goes a long way. My bottle is still going strong after weeks of use. And the beautiful packaging in brown and gold is perfect for someone who likes good minimal design.

APPRVL Denim Repair Kit

If you have someone on your list who likes to mend and make, these denim repair kits by APPRVL a great gift. They come with a starter guide, so they are great for beginners.

On a related note, I also love these shashiko embroidery kits . The patterns are marked on the cloth, so they are an accessible entry into this hypnotic embroidery technique. I bring mine on planes to pass the time and zone out. I’m definitely going to have a pile of shashiko by the end of this year!

Beeswax Taper Candles

These candles by Blue Corn are the ones I burn all year, especially in the dark months. There are many options online and on Etsy– I like these here and here. The warm color of beeswax gives them a natural, mellow, feel that’s a nice change from white candles.  Tip: You can find glass, brass, and wood candle holders at thrift stores for next to nothing. Look for brass that has a matte finish for a more classic feel. I also like these geometric holders. I thrifted my holders via noihsaf_home on Instagram.

Half-Moon pouch and Triangle Pouch by Cuyana.

Cuyana is producing leather goods in beautiful shapes and colors this year. I would use these pouches to restrain my ever-unwinding earbuds, carry thumb drives, or pack jewelry on a trip. If you like good design and photography, their website and catalog are joy to look at even if you’re not purchasing anything this season!

Olive and Sinclair Smoked Nib Brittle

This made-in-Nashville chocolate is a luxury. Enough said. Even though it’s available through the year, it’s become a holiday treat in my house. If you’re in Nashville, you can take a tour of the tiny chocolate factory that is pretty magical.

Hand-Made Bowls by Up in the Air Somewhere

This Chicago-based ceramic artist consistently turns out beautiful work, pursuing simple colors and forms one at a time. These are perfectly imperfect pieces. Some of her work is high-end, but she also makes more affordable, every day pieces like this one. Her tiny bowls make great salt dishes or jewelry catchers. My favorites are these paper mache bowls that seem to just glow and the tiny gold leaf all-purpose vessels here and here.

Quilts and Pouches by Quilt Kween

Savannah-based maker Kwilt Kween has been knocking it out of the park with her contemporary quilts that are truly modern art. The full-size quilts are an investment. But you can get a similar vibe with these small pouches,  which run about $35. Every single one is unique. I saw her work in person last year and it’s an absolute design feast.

Paper Cut Cards by Jersey’s Freshest

If you’re looking for a card that is also a gift in and of itself, these paper-cut cards by maker Jersey’s Freshest are a favorite of mine. Her non-seasonal cards are a great way to send a letter and are also frame-able. If you’re looking for something holiday-themed, these antler cards and these pine cone cards are pretty dang delightful. The more detailed menorah card featured above might be my favorite.


Your Story

Do you have other favorite makers to add to the list? Are you buying or making home-made gifts this year (or skipping the gifts all together?) I’d love to hear your ideas!


The product photos here are from the makers. All other photos are by Every Day Clothes. This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through the links, you support Every Day Clothes. Thanks for being here!

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