As professional Brooklyn boosters we’re firm advocates of doing as much holiday shopping in the borough as possible. All of the small businesses and local artisans are part of what makes this place tick and there’s nothing we like better than giving Brooklyn-made gifts this time of year. That being said, it’s also an insanely busy season, and sometimes you don’t have time to hit six or seven small shops, or you just can’t face the crowds at one-stop shopping experiences like holiday fairs (though we’ll publish a round up tomorrow for you power shoppers out there). Here’s some of our favorite accessible-by-couch Brooklyn shopping. What you’ll spend on shipping you’ll save by avoiding impulse buys.
We’ll be adding to this gift guide over the next week by themed mini-guides on our blog for Book Nerds, Foodie Fiends, Sexy Santas, Fashion Forwards and more types of giftees. For now, here’s the best Brooklyn has to offer, all at your fingertips. No lines, no waiting, no Amazon guilt.
Turns out, in Brooklyn we smell good. Or at least, there are a number of people making stuff that will help you smell good. Soapwalla Kitchen makes organic, vegan, skin-nourishing bath and body products. If you’re looking to treat someone special check out the Lavender Love gift set with a lavender-eucalyptus scented face and body bar, body wash and bath salts ($50). We are also huge fans of their totally organic deodorant cream ($10). So, it’s not exactly a romantic gift, but it’s so far superior to other hippie deodorants and no aluminum salts or other scary chemicals, if you know, things like that worry you.
We also super love the eclectic, memory-stirring scents at CB I Hate Perfume. Williamsburg-based olfactory wizard Christopher Brosius makes perfumes that smell like memories. Or memories of dreams. Or memories of entire summers. It sounds pretentious, but seriously, his scents are like experiences, not brands and they are amazing. In addition to staple scents, like Fire from Heaven, which we often wear, CB creates limited edition scents including Gingerbread for the holidays. It doesn’t make you smell like a cookie so much as, well, Christmas magic. Perfumes come in water-based sprays ($75-100) and more concentrated “absolute” formulas. You can also buy 2ml samples of the absolutes for $10-20, which are perfect stocking stuffers.
Another local perfumist, Anne McClain of MCMC Fragrances, just introduced the perfect gift for the moustached, goatee-d or bearded man in your life: scented beard oil. The fragrance, with notes of Virginia cedarwood, green coriander and pink peppercorn, was originally designed as a cologne for her then-boyfriend, now husband. He’s the one who decided to roll it on beard, so really, any man can use “Dude No. 1.”
Greenlight Bookstore–another one of our favorite small businesses–just got into the online game. The process isn’t exactly as easy one-click ordering, but staff picks for fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks and kids makes for a savvier selection process, and all the categories are chock full of Brooklyn authors.
If your favorite reader has a taste for the sartorial, check out Novel Ts. Take the American literary canon. Now imagine as a series of baseball teams. Now make super-soft t-shirts for those teams. Yes, there’s a t-shirt with a whale on the front and the name “Dick” on the back. Our favorites are the two new Vonnegut-themed shirts ($24.95). In this literary world, Kilgore Trout is on the same team as Gatsby. Not only are they made in Red Hook, one dollar from each shirt is donated either to 826NYC, a non-profit supporting arts education, or to Doctors without Borders.
The Brooklyn Kitchen recently updated their website and online store, so you don’t even have head to Williamsburg to get your hands on a new Sodastream or copper pan (if you’re feeling spendy) for the cook in your life. This French carafe with four glasses is designed so that the glasses (easily replaceable at any kitchen store, so no worries about breaking up the set) stack right into the neck of the bottle. At $30 it’s perfect for wine, water or whatever you’re drinking. Fill it with margaritas and carry it up to the roof come summer. At $30, we’re not sure who wouldn’t want this as a gift. Brooklyn Kitchen also sells gift certificates online, so your recipient could choose to take a pickling, canning, baking or cooking class in one of their two kitchen labs.
Sourced from upstate New York, and treated and sealed to be food safe, Brooklyn Slate is a totally original take on the classic cheese board, and this season, on their site only, they’re offering gift-basket-esque presents called “pantry collectives.” There are three to choose from, and all feature some variation of Castleton Crackers, a Ted & Honey condiment, Shelburne Farms Cheddar and a slate cheese board for $50. It’s like the locavore’s answer to Harry & David.
Supermarket is an online indie design megamart. It’s less overwhelming, and much better curated, than Etsy, but still, it’s a rabbit hole. There are three Brooklyn designers on Supermarket who we especially love. Build Your Block sells pillows silkscreened with the likeness of Brooklyn buildings (as seen at the top of this post), in a variety of pop-y colors and sizes. We’re also digging this print from Mélangerie of line drawings of foods representing each state. And, while designer and ceramic artist Kim Westad works in the Bronx, we love her elegant bowls, cups and vases enough to include her in a Brooklyn round-up.
Brooklyn-based Design Glut offers another online treasure trove of design-y gifts, from housewares to jewelry. There are stocking stuffers like the $8 cubic switchplate, globally minded jewelry like the currency bracelet ($24) or the world necklace ($60), and really smart storage options like the jar tile ($30).