I am very privileged to live in an area with loads of independent traders, and I seem to have many friends who are unfairly talented and creative.
Wouldn’t it be pleasant, I mused, to spend some of the Christmas shopping money I would normally throw at massive online retailers and soulless high street shops, with some smaller concerns instead? And wouldn’t I get far more pleasure in giving friends and family gifts made with care and talent individually?
Yes! Is the enthusiastic answer to that, of course. So for anyone else who fancies a bit of a change in their shopping this year, here are some handy links:
Kid’s stuff (mainly)
Handmaids can be found at the farmer’s market in Stroud on the 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month, and sells a lovely variety of children’s boutique and regular wear clothes, toys, jewellery, and all sort of other beautiful things.
Crafty Fairy Designs not only make the most intricate nappy cakes and babygro bouquets, they also do super home “finishing touches”.
Ethos Kids will need no introduction to any Stroudie; fantastic quality preloved children’s clothes and toys, and an amazing range of one-off hand-made clothes, plus a wonderful collection of unusual gifts for children.
Boof does beautifully soft comforters for babies; perfect gift for a first Christmas.
Mother Goose is a dangerous shop for me to walk into as I always seem to find a dozen new things I *need* to get, either for my own crafting or for things to do and make with Son & Daughter. A must-visit.
Blue Skies is not only a great escape on rainy cold days, but the shop there stocks all sorts of ethically-sourced goodies, not just for children.
A bit more grown-up
Eva’s Leaves is a new company to me, but oh my goodness this takes a family tree to a whole new level of beauty. Yes, this is on my Christmas list if you’re asking…
Danidot Designs is not exactly local (unless you happen to be spending Christmas in Australia) but I love these unique beads and bits.
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshops are REAL bookshops, with sofas and places to browse, and things for children to play with. They’ll order you in anything physically possible, and, in extremis, have lent me scissors and tape so I can wrap purchases to give as gifts immediately. Go!
Cotswold Craftsmen always makes me realise how much time I would have to invest to even become half as good at doing anything, as these craftsmen are. Items beautifully made, for almost any budget too.
Made in Stroud is full of all sorts of everything. Pottery, handbags, clothes, prints – you just have to go in and see what takes your fancy.
Stroud Farmer’s Market has been voted the best in the country for a reason. Not only great food, but clothes, pottery, cosmetics, jewellery, and all sorts. Make a morning of it and treat yourself to brunch while you’re out and about (I’m not going to recommend the doughnuts as they’re clearly unhealthy. Yes. That’s why I always buy one, obviously…)
It’s worth mentioning that although some of these places are very local and not accessible to those who live further afield, they nearly all would be happy to mail order anything specific that takes your fancy. Not the farmer’s market though. That’s a bit too big to post.
So, there you go. That’s my starter list of places to browse. Have you got any more you could share?
I’m very fond of Intrigue of Stroud – not made locally, but an independent retailer of everything I could ever possibly want to wear ever, apart from when swimming. Bramleys in Merrywalks are a great source of seasonal veg, a local mini-chain there. Stroud bookshop is very nice, and indy. And so many cafes for when you need a rest!