When I’m looking to buy a gift for a special occasion I’m often a bit lost for inspiration. Faced with a sea of mass produced stuff on the high street, nothing feels exactly special. Seeking out beautiful handcrafted pieces takes time and research. Well recently, I discovered Uncommon Goods – an online treasure trove of eco-friendly loveliness. You can find an amazing range of unique gift ideas from Uncommon Goods; whether you’re looking for a beautiful wedding gift, a quirky present for a special man, or a charming bridesmaid favour, you’re bound to find the perfect gift.
Uncommon Goods was created as an online community to connect artists with people looking for truly special pieces. Sustainability is at the heart of the company, and the team works with artists to make their products in a more socially and environmentally responsible way. They use sustainable or recycled materials whenever possible, including using environmentally friendlier packing materials. Since its founding, Uncommon Goods has never sold products containing leather, feathers or fur. They are “committed to selling products that do no harm to people or animals”.
Each item description features a photo and background information about the artist, and the story behind the piece. You can also find interviews with designers and artists on the Uncommon Goods blog. I’ve selected just a few of my favourite pieces to show you, starting with gifts for couples (top photo). Personalised gifts are perfect for newly weds and couples celebrating an anniversary. From preparing dinner on the personalised chopping board or whiling away the time playing the four-across game, you can put your own individual stamp on it.
I love terrariums because they bring a little bit of the outdoors inside, helping to keep us in touch with nature. The “Love Grows Here” terrarium has a little figure inside it holding the words “I love you”. You can choose either a male or female figure. Also inspired by nature is the range of Lumen Oil Candle Shadow Projectors. The oil candle casts an enchanting shadow on the wall from the stainless steel tree. As the flame flickers, the shadow of the tree moves as though a light breeze is rustling its branches. Quite mesmerizing.
The “I’ll Be There” necklace makes a beautiful gift for a close friend or family member. The gold-plated brass and sterling silver piece is inscribed with the words “If it hurts too much to look back, but you’re too scared to look ahead, just look beside you and I’ll be there”. Who wouldn’t love to receive that?
Everyone loves to receive flowers, but sadly they don’t last long. Encapsulating them in a piece of jewellery means you can keep them close to you forever. The birth month flower cuff is made with real flowers that have been sourced from around the world. Each flower is dried, pressed, and showcased beneath clear resin, set against the bold sterling silver plated cuff.
As you probably all know, I’m obsessed with jewellery, so I picked out another bracelet too. I love the colours in the handmade beaded bracelet. It features solar quartz stones and beads crafted from old records! The upcycled cotton robes each have a multitude of stories to tell. They are handmade by a cooperative of artisans in a village outside Rajasthan, India, using pieces of reclaimed saris, ensuring every garment is truly unique. Purchasing one of these provides Indian women with the opportunity to create a better standard of living for themselves, their children, and their communities.
I don’t know about you, but I find choosing gifts for men particularly difficult. Either they have everything they want and need (apart from maybe a sports car!) or they have very specific tastes that you can’t second guess. That’s when finding something unusual that you definitely won’t see in all the shops is called for. Being able to browse a curated collection of impeccably designed pieces online saves so much time. Most men (well in my experience anyway) love to BBQ. My husband has been the happy recipient of a set of BBQ tools on a number of occasions. These grilling baskets would be a great addition to the collection. Great for camping trips too.
For the star-gazing enthusiast, the Planisphere Watch would make a fantastic gift. The time-telling chart maps the night sky, and also looks incredibly stylish. It features a glowing Swiss dial and is water resistant up to 3 ATM. For those who prefer a practical gift, the 5 in 1 pen tool is just the job. The streamlined gadget features a screwdriver, capacitive touch stylus for smart devices, an integrated bubble (spirit) level, ruler, and pen with clip.
Buying a gift that’s made in an environmentally responsible way makes it so much more special. I’m trying to reduce buying mass produced goods and move towards supporting up and coming designers when I can. I’m certainly more conscious now of the origins of what I buy. As well as supporting emerging artists and designers, Uncommon Goods created the Better to Give Program in 2001. This allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from them at the checkout. So far, UncommonGoods has donated over $1,000,000.
*This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own and unbiased.
**The 5 in 1 pen tool and the terrarium are not available to ship outside the U.S.