By Jorri Roberts
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
If you still haven’t gotten gifts for your friends and loved ones yet this year, there’s a good chance you’re panicking. Don’t have time to make trips to the mall? Don’t want to cop out with gift cards? Sick of getting your girlfriend yet another bath-and-body gift set each year?
Here at BTR, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most interesting, unique websites to help you with that frantic, last-minute holiday shopping.
A New York-based company founded in 1999, UncommonGoods’ mission is to offer “creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices.” This means everything from ticket stub diaries to independent card games to mugs with feet. The website provides hand-picked gift guides and indicates gifts that are homemade or made with recycled materials, matching the company’s aim towards sustainability and individuality. Many if not most of UncommonGoods’ products are also under $100, rounding out their merchandise as an all-around good choice—affordable, personal, and green.
This website is for the fashion fanatic that already has everything. Hailing from Los Angeles, Apliiq is a company focused on the “fight for creative consumption” against popular labels—all clothing is handmade in Los Angeles from a revolving stock of patterned fabrics. On the website, users can either pick from premade pieces or customize their own Apliiq clothing, individually choosing the base piece, color, fabric, and patches of various shapes & sizes. Know someone who would love a purple hoody dress with a hamburger pattern on the kangaroo pocket? Apliiq can accommodate that.
Vat19 was originally launched in 2001 to promote the company’s collection of independent DVD productions, but after gaining success with selling non-DVD products, the website now offers odd and entertaining gifts first and foremost. Their best-selling and most famous product by far is the World’s Largest Gummy Bear, clocking in at a whopping five pounds and 6,120 calories. Each item on the website has a page bearing a comical description of the product, including Youtube videos showing examples and more information about the item. Dubbing themselves “purveyors of curiously awesome products,” Vat19 definitely lives up to its title.
4. Brooklyn Brew Shop
As its name suggests, the Brooklyn Brew Shop is based in New York and is a relatively recent company with its 2009 founding. The business sells individual beer making kits designed especially for stovetop brewing, a choice inspired by the little space and opportunity that New Yorkers would normally have for such a pastime. The company’s goal is to show that making beer “can be simple, tasty, and most important, fun” with its kits, which include a how-to guide plus all necessary materials and ingredients. Brooklyn Brew Shop’s products are the perfect gift for not just the recipient one might automatically think of—men—but for anyone who enjoys a nice tall glass.
Plasticland, started in 2002 in San Diego as a boutique and now as a Texas-based online business, is the equivalent of a lovechild between ModCloth and Hot Topic. Focusing on retro, punk, rockabilly, and gothic styles among many others, the company offers not only clothing and accessories but also kitschy gifts and objects hailing from the realms of Lewis Carroll and H.P. Lovecraft; think skulls, mermaids, octopi, and other whimsical creatures and motifs. Who knows? Maybe the pin-up parasol or the raven fob watch will be perfect for that Bettie Page fan or Poe enthusiast that you know.
6. Young Republic
Young Republic is a database featuring a global marketplace in which independent designers and emerging labels are given “a voice and a platform to grow their brands,” namely through the sale of their products. One can shop and sell simultaneously on the website, which features everything from evening gowns to wall clocks to handmade jewelry. Since the sellers price the items, some products can get pricy, but deals can simultaneously be found as well. Young Republic is a great option for anyone on your list who loves staying up-to-date on the fashion scene or appreciates supporting small independent businesses.