It can be quite hard to shop for moms…by that time in a woman’s life, she might be fairly particular and settled in her tastes and not quite feel the need for additional items around the house. Sometimes all that moms want is your company, which really is better than any gift! Jewelry, a card or flowers are always a given, but sometimes they can seem so cliché. Many people opt for DIY gifts, but how many of us have the time nowadays to craft something up? Mother’s Day is one of those times when a special, unique gift can go a long way. Personalization is a huge option, but where can you go for something emblazoned with a personal message that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? I don’t know why Etsy is still often seen as simply a place where creative folks offer whatever crafts they deem special enough to purchase (which it kid of is, but..), because it’s seriously one of the best places to find quality items made with love to pass on to loved ones (or keep for yourself), that you can’t find anywhere else. I’ve written several posts featuring this fun shopping destination, featuring Valentine’s Day gifts, leather tote bags, Etsy shops by friends, and some of my favorite general finds. I love supporting independent artists a whole lot more than huge chain stores or brands! So I decided to curate a post featuring 20 unique last minute Mother’s Day gifts from Etsy!
So it’s been about a week and a half since my favorite event on the face of the planet: Lucidity Festival. For those just tuning in now, I am inspired so much by all of the independent apparel vendors at conscious festivals, especially this one! Since I started this blog writing about denim, it can be a difficult transition to mix a lot of these styles into my blog (although I’ll write about any of them that truly fit my style, as there are truly tons of great ones out there), but sometimes I find gems…handmade and sustainable brands that also use denim! One of these small businesses is one I saw last year at Lucidity and I was happy to see return to this year’s is Kinetic Couture.
I cracked up. I hope you did too! I love getting my little curated newsletters from Etsy…especially around major holidays. Two years ago (I skipped last year) I featured a Valentine’s Day gift guide from Revolve, but this year I’m enjoying all of the creative and personal Valentine’s Day gift ideas from Etsy! In fact, I should probably feature these more often! Significant others can be notoriously difficult to shop for, especially around Valentine’s Day when everyone’s expecting chocolate, fancy dinners and gemstones. Well, maybe not everyone, but it can be tough to find the perfect non-cliche, personalized gifts every time a holiday centered around love, family or friendship rolls around when our lives are as busy as they are. Rushing out to a fancy dinner also means dealing with packed restaurants, difficult-to-come-by reservations and slower service, and chocolate or jewelry often just seems so thoughtless or forced. Some people opt for DIY gifts, but why not go for something unique and thoughtful crafted by someone who specializes in such a thing, when our creative juices, time and energy are fried by our daily grinds…especially when there are adorably convenient options for personal customization?
Just like shoes (or jeans, in my case), almost every girl loves to have an assortment of bags for every occasion. It’s hard for someone fashionably creative to settle on just one or two, right? However, as full as a wardrobe may get with bags of every color, style or even brand, one thing holds basically true: just about everyone desires that one solid, quality bag that lasts through years and years, and possibly even gets better with use. As fun as it is to go crazy with collecting multiple styles, sometimes going back to basics is a tasteful move. I personally have my everyday bag (with a few alternatives if I feel like switching it up), a few evening bags to fit different occasions or moods, and some that are best suited for day trips or outdoor adventures like hiking, festivals or the beach.
Love it or hate it, the ’90s (and even a few more decades past) are back. Thanks in part to music festivals, now we’ve once again got bright colors, high waisted shorts and jeans, overalls, embroidery, culottes and more. I find it interesting watching fashion evolve; it seems to have gotten more minimal over the current modern years, with clean embellishmenet-free designs, toned down neutral shades and timeless pieces that probably won’t ever go out of style. That still exists, but styles that once were “out” always revolve around and come back “in,” and in they’ve come. I’ve heard many people verbally roll their eyes at this new trend, but I welcome it with open arms. The ’70s, ’80s and ’90s were about having a great time, and with the growth of music festivals combined again with a bit of political turmoil, these modern years seem to have taken that turn once again as more and more people just wanna have fun.
I just love perusing through Etsy sometimes, and looking at the favorite shops and items of my favorite sellers…you never know what new awesomeness you might find! It just blows my mind how some of these amazing brands don’t get the recognition they deserve, but that, as I’m sure you know, is one main point of my blog. Every year after feeling fresh and inspired by the open and limitless creativity behind Lucidity Festival (and the vendors, especially), I’m always digging even deeper into the nooks and crannies of the internet to find even more independent artists to feature here or inspire me into any possible future creative ventures. There is some ridiculously impressive stuff out there!
One of my most recent finds is Soul Path Shoes, a Canadian brand run by artisan Nathan deBridge Bowes, who specializes in custom moccasins and sandals. I mean, these pieces speak for themselves…just look at the detailing! Long ago, Nathan was inspired by searching far and wide for the perfect handmade artisan footwear that was unique, comfortable and natural, to no avail. So, he was inspired to venture on his own path into creating his own, and mirrors genuine ancient practices and pours a ton of love, patience and skill into his work. From sharpening and maintaining his his tools (like tuning an instrument, as he says) to taking the risk of tedious custom fitting, Nathan stays true to his strong beliefs on the real value of old fashioned hard work, quality and customer satisfaction which is becoming more of a rarity these days.
Nathan uses supersoft 8-9 ounce buffalo leather for the main body and trim of his footwear which is 2-3 times thicker than regular leather. He also implements a traditional moccasin full leather outer sole with a Vibram rubber sole as an option, and a removable insole of wool felt and orthotic cushioning on a leather base. Every item comes with your choice of buttons (with several beautiful metal pieces to choose from) and main color, trim and heel cap colors. Other options include additional arch support, extra trim layers, added piping, leather or Arbutus wood buttons, cuffs, other custom artwork, and so much more! How gorgeous are these?! For the amount of work and custom options put into these, I’d say they are also priced incredibly well, at around $300-$600 before any custom options are included. Honestly, I’d just buy what I see right off the virtual racks.
Here are some of the moccasins and boots that catch my eyes the most from Soul Path Shoes! As usual with most of these talented artisans I discover, it was tough to narrow it down.
“For years I searched for real artisan footwear. I knew what I was looking for: A handmade leather sandal, shoe, boot or moccasin that was unique, natural, and comfortable; classic leather footwear with timeless beauty and functional elegance. Where did I find it? I found the heart of the craft in the pride of craftsmen of days gone by, I found ideas in the functional designs of ancient civilizations… But no one I could find was making what I longed to find. Or at least not yet… It was then I knew I was on the right path, a path of discovery and creation, and a path with Soul.”
“I love the work I have chosen to do… It is a pleasure for me to work with beautiful, soft leather, and to feel a good tool in my hands as I connect with an ancient tradition of sandal, boot, and moccasin making. I love old, quality tools, and handmade tools and knives the most, as they ring with quality and carry the energy of the maker.”
“It is a skill to learn to sharpen a blade for the task at hand; akin to tuning an instrument – it cultivates patience and presence of mind, and good work may be produced only once the tool is finely honed, as good music will only be produced once the instrument is finely tuned.”
“Making good footwear is difficult, and a custom fitting is more demanding still. One need not wonder for long why this trade and these skills have nearly disappeared – it is hard work, and risky in this day and age. So I am taking the risk of doing what I believe in because I know the value of real quality, and in this modern desert where people are beginning to feel the thirst for quality, some of us are creating an oasis.”
Take a look into the beautiful artistry that makes up Soul Path Shoes.
I love creative people. Etsy is one of my favorite websites because I just love perusing all the colorful passions people have in the form of art, clothing, jewelry…you name it! I used to love going out for big shopping trips, but honestly now, shopping brick and mortar shops gives me a little bit of anxiety. Shopping online is far more fun to me, one reason being I can put something aside and think about it without feeling pressured, but also because I can discover all of the independent, up-and-coming artists that better fit my tastes and definitely deserve more recognition! With all of the crap going around in the world today, it’s also theraputic to me to see the passions and talents of others shining through, and I much prefer supporting them over mass-produced goods. I also find it quite inspiring!
The Etsy Shops of My Fellow Creatives
I can spend forever and a day perusing Etsy and filling up my various favorite lists…denim is fun and it’s fascinating to me how much can be done with the simple concept of a pair of jeans, but I think I find the individual talents of independent creatives even more wildly interesting! I find it sad that there are so many amazing artists out there who are completely underrated and underexposed, being lost in the flood of online (and offline) entrepreneurs, both budding and successful alike. It’s gotten harder and harder to market yourself over the years and finally catch a break!
Dark Modern Minimalist Pieces by marcellamoda
I remember rummaging through countless racks of fast fashion shops as I grew out of high school, obsessively experimenting with different looks to try and find what settled with me best. Over time I ended up getting rid of most of that evidence of excessive consumerism, settling more on that occasional piece that I felt screamed my name. Still though, as I grew older, the desire to simplify my wardrobe grew stronger and continuously battled with that voice inside that wanted to keep shopping and dropping as often as I could. I still feel that battle, but it’s gotten a lot better, and now I do abide more to the thought of buying less and spending more for those pieces that I put a little more thought into so I know they will last me through washes, wears and seasons. My style itself has kind of become more simplified too, and I’m more drawn to minimalist looks as they not only can be surprisingly more creative and eye popping in their own way, but they are easier to dress, I don’t get the “I have nothing to wear!!” syndrome as often because they work with a wider range of outfit configurations, and I just generally find them more calming. Like with denim, I am impressed how such a simple concept can be so vast when it comes to the range of creative possibilities. As I’ve mentioned before, I also prefer to support the independent designers who, rather than mass producing their wears, put thought and love into their handmade goods. I also tend to be more attracted to the darker, more street goth, rock n’ roll or punk-inspired pieces.
Favorite Finds from Etsy
As I’m sure many of my readers know by now, I am a huge fan of Etsy. I love the big brands…they are fun and exciting and all, but I really have a high respect for the struggling independent artists and love to give them exposure and support as best as I can! I have purchased many items on Etsy and am always super impressed by the obvious quality and love put into them. I’ve favorited so many items and shops on Etsy and continue to do so every day, even though I know there’s no way I’ll ever be able to get to all of them! So I figured for a fun Friday post I’d make a collection of some of the cool items that have been hanging out in my Etsy favorites for awhile. Many are clothing items (mostly from artists who craft with organic cotton, bamboo or hemp), but there are several gift items in there like jewelry, posters and more. I think I might do this on a regular basis with other items I obsessively bookmark, not only with Etsy but in other online shops as well…now that I’ve discovered this neat little slider plugin! You might recognize some items that I’ve blogged about before (like MeDusaBrand) and they were definitely special enough to me that they needed to be mentioned again. So without much more ado, I hope you enjoy my little culmination of twenty (oh there are many more) of my favorite finds from Etsy!