Gift-giving season — which, let’s be honest, is all year — is the perfect time to get to know your local entrepreneurs.
There are endless benefits of choosing to shop at home, from supporting small businesses to ticking off the eco-conscious, ethically made boxes. With renewed COVID-19 restrictions in place in Toronto, it’s even more important to put your hard-earned dollars back into the local economy.
Highlighting the uniqueness of Toronto creatives, we’ve compiled a list of local Etsy shops making everything from cute and quirky ceramics to plant-based plastic planters, culturally inspired downloadable prints and woodworked accents for your home. Remember to allow for ample shipping time to avoid the disappointment missed shipping deadlines.
Here are the 14 Toronto-based Etsy shops that make shopping online, locally, a breeze.
The Made & Found
Using bright colours and abstract designs, the Made & Found, which started in 2011 as Carrie Ng’s passion project, offers buyers an attractive place to keep their most basic necessities. Treat your friend to a light-green cotton makeup brush roll or the perfect zippered pouch for travel essentials. Each piece is thoughtfully designed and handmade in Toronto to bring a little brightness into the every day.
Brighten up your space with stunning graphic design prints that are equally empowering as they are aesthetically pleasing. An award-winning illustrator and artist, Jenn Kitagawa’s downloadable prints feature femme silhouettes, mindfulness mantras and put a much-needed spotlight on female friendships. Her designs are the perfect gift to show your best friend how much you love them. Buyers can print off their purchases as soon as payment is confirmed — ideal for the impatient or last-minute gift-giver.
Glamour has a little something for every jewellery lover. An expert in earrings, Ashley Shawongonabe’s handmade creations draw inspiration from Anishinaabe beadwork and worked-on leather traditions using a combination of vintage and new materials.
Tell Them It’s Vintage
This local Toronto vintage shop — owned and operated by Torontonian Elizabeth Lima — is for the woman who dresses for her mood. Tell Them It’s Vintage is a dreamy collection of curated, unique finds from the early 1950s into the 2000s, for those who love the glamour of the mid-century or the kitsch of the Y2K nostalgia. Put a little history into your wardrobe.
Diana Watters Handmade
Diana Watters is the visionary behind these quirky cross-stitching kits that are perfect for young, first-time and veteran crafters alike. Her shop’s kits and pre-made pieces of art feature cute animals and seasonal symbols, and make the perfect gift for a crafty kid, or an excellent way to pass the time during quarantine.
Drawing inspiration from her own Islamic culture, Maiyra Wasid’s company goal is simple: She wants to make stickers she wished she’d had growing up. Her artwork at BloomaMind is both empowering and humorous, with one sticker featuring two embracing women that reads “Girl Power” and another, a plate of curry and naan that reads “Naan of your business.”
Using 3D-printing technology, Tectle manufactures made-in-Toronto planters crafted from plant-based plastic. Not only are they eco-friendly, they’re stunning, too, featuring twisting, modern designs in a broad colour palette that will suit every taste.
Trade in your single-use cotton rounds for 100% organic cotton reusable ones that are both aesthetically pleasing and kind to the environment. Better yet, Nancy Mac’s designs — including scrunchies and low-waste nail polish remover wipes — come in different prints and textures to suit all styles.
Wear your jewellery like armour with handcrafted, wearable art by Toronto designer Jordan Clarke. Her breathtaking line of timeless silver and gold jewels feature unique shapes, hammered metals and statement necklaces for those who want to stand out.
This is your one-stop shop for high-quality prints and apparel of your favourite NBA teams. Pick up a nostalgic Raptors purple baby onesie to raise a Kawhi Leonard fan, or snag one of creator Mark Serrano’s artistic prints featuring championship trophy silhouettes and Canadiana motifs.
Kroft Studio crafts handmade wooden accents, from shelves and benches to wall hooks and mirrors, with one philosophy in mind: how we live influences how we feel. Dustin Kroft would know, after leaving an 11-year career in business to pursue his passion in design and woodworking. These unique, detail-oriented designs elevate the home and promote easy, creative and functional living. The company, born from a desire to connect and express, wants clients to love the space they live in.
Give the gift of handmade soaps and candles that are just as beautiful as they are useful. Made by hand and in small batches, no two bars or candles are the same and are made-to-order using such natural ingredients as sweet almond and apricot oil to healing elements such as activated charcoal and turmeric powder. These unique creations make the perfect housewarming gift: a reminder of your love with every hand wash or strike of a match.
Black Cat Label
For the lover of handmade paper and journals, there's Black Cat Label. The small store, launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, crafts 100% cotton paper in a variety of textures and colours to give every note character. Buy a pack of journals built from unique leftover scraps, or pick up a bundle of assorted papers, tags, stamps and stickers.
Whimsical and guaranteed to make you smile, Beardbangs designs and crafts the sweetest ceramics, from bowls to holiday ornaments. The brainchild of Josiah Henderson and Alicia Zwicewicz — the beard and bangs behind their clever company name — Beardbangs aims to bring a bit of quirk into everyday life, all while being eco-friendly and promoting local business by keeping production and material sourcing right here at home.
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