When I was a young girl, one of my favorite lazy Sunday activities was going through the weekly circulars while my Mom read the newspaper and dreaming of all the things I would buy if only I had money. (This anecdote is telling of my inevitable career path in retail buying!) I would weigh the pros and cons, compare prices, and even clip out pictures of things I deemed truly worthy and a MUST-HAVE to tape to my locker as motivation to save up my baby-sitting money. Unfortunately, those circulars were always from big-box stores, and there were only a few independent retailers in my small mid-western town, so the options for buying local were limited. Oh, how the tables have turned! This year, I have resolved to buy each and every one of the gifts on my Christmas list from a small business as a show of solidarity and a way to stick it to the man. Hopefully, you too will eschew the Amazons of the world and find your own favorite boutique to support, thereby putting money back into your own neighborhood and keeping that unemployment rate in Portland just a little bit lower. For this blog post, I’ve decided to share with you some of the truly amazing gifts I’ve purchased this year from the vast array of exceptional merchants that comprise our vibrant local economy.
1. Una – Every year, some of the lucky ladies I work with get Gift Certificates to Una. You could easily take the time to pick out something more personal for that woman on your list whose taste is flawless and style is irreverent. Last year, the only item on my own personal wish list was a gorgeous necklace by aesa, and I’m happy to report that my husband took the hint! I have never gotten so many compliments on a piece of jewelry before.
2. Alder & Co. – The only problem with this wonderfully curated gift shop is that I have a hard time resisting the urge to buy something for myself! This is the place to go when you don’t know what to get for the stylish homebody that has everything. Perfect for in-laws, children, siblings, and newlyweds who appreciate Japanese linens, handcrafted soaps and paper products that make you resolve to start writing letters again.
2. Nationale – We might as well be in Paris, with all the Francophiles in this town! I love their Marseille soaps, hand towels, local artwork and fantastic selection of rare books. Definitely a great place to shop for your college friends (especially if, like me, you went to art school.)
3. Sword & Fern – Every visit sparks a new discovery in this treasure box of locally-made jewelry, beauty products and vintage trinkets. You may not know what you’re looking for when you go in, but you’re sure to leave with something lovely.
4. Machus – For years, I would go to Local 35 for that something special for my husband, but now that Machus has opened up on East Burnside, right by Lille, I have an even closer spot to hit for high-end bags, soft scarves and great denim.
5. Blackbird – This stylish new addition to Portland has the most amazing apothecary selection, including my favorite candles (Diptyque!) and the amazing “In the Library” perfume by Christopher Brosius.
6. Summerland – This was a new discovery for me this year, found on the Honey Kennedy blog, and I’m so happy I checked it out! They have a great selection of affordable gifts with a focus on locally-produced goods, so you can send back a little piece of Portland to your friends and family, even if you can’t make it back this Christmas. Happy Holidays!