Valeria Crescenzi

Holiday Gift Guide: support small businesses and independent brands

Hello dear readers and welcome back to my mini-series of Holiday Gift Guides! This edit rounds up gift ideas that support small businesses and independent brands.

2020 proved to be a very tough year but, fortunately, we are infinitely creative beings and small businesses continue to flourish. Even in stay-at-home times like these, I’ve (virtually) met some professionals I think are talented and working well. They design and sell high-quality products (with high regard to sustainability).

In my own little way, I’ve always been a supporter of new projects and, especially this year, I want to do my part by introducing 8 brands and shops I’m sure you’ll love and will be of inspiration when you’ll go hunting for gifts. There is no need to go out if your country is in lockdown now because all these brands have online shops that ship in many parts of the world.

Enjoy the hunt for gifts and share this guide with friends who are looking for unique gift ideas!

Vit Living

WHO: designers Valeria Mirarchi (from Italy) and James Conathan (from the USA) founded Vit in 2020 bringing to Italy the best in Scandinavian home decor and lifestyle products.

WHAT I LOVE: the selection of high-quality and beautiful products that really embody the spirit of Scandinavian homes. Their love for the Scandi culture is in every single product they select: from decor items to beauty products. Valeria and James also pay particular attention to sustainability, offering consciously made items. I personally saved in my wishlist the Nappula candle holders and vase (Iittala) and a couple of natural beauty products from Hetkinen.

WHERE TO BUY: online here (currently shipping to Italy only)

{UPDATE as of November 2021: This shop has been closed by the owners}

Clockwise from top: candle holder Nappula small (Iittala) // Nappula vase in beige (Iittala) // Soap ball eucalyptus-lemon salt (Hetkinen) // Pine-coffee lip balm (Hetkinen)

Lykkefund paper

WHO: Daniela Karin Raffl is an Austrian illustrator living in Zürich. I met her for the 4th Design Apéro last year when she designed a lovely Christmas card for the guests.

WHAT I LOVE: her illustrations are memories on paper. I’m particularly in love with the mini-collection of illustrated plant ladies (I have some for myself) and the posters that picture homey scenes. She focuses on greeting cards, invitations, and posters.

WHERE TO BUY: online here

Clockwise from top: Sunflower bouquet – All time greeting card // Anna’s table poster // Fiddle Leaf greeting card (Plant Lady Collection // Cozy at home poster

Robynn Storgaard

WHO: Robynn Storgaard, ceramist (Copenhagen).

WHAT I LOVE: can you perceive texture from a photo? I would say yes! This is what happened to me the first time I stumbled upon Robynn’s ceramics on Instagram. I love her sculptural pieces with a soft color palette and the quiet beauty they convey. She produces only in small batches so every time you visit the shop you’ll find something new.

WHERE TO BUY: online here

Clockwise from top: Raw carved plate and mug (the edge of the plate is unglazed) // Raw carved vase // Raw carved pitcher // Plate stack




Edith Beurskens

WHO: Edith Beurskens, visual creative (The Netherland).

WHAT I LOVE: the textures of her 3D artworks made using plant-based PLA and painted by hand. The pieces have an earthy look that goes well with a home decorated under the sign of the so-called New Mediterranean style. Never heard of this interior style? Find the namesake book here.

WHERE TO BUY: online here

Clockwise from top: different 3D shapes (each artwork is one of a kind)



WHO: the Tramonti family, together with art director Leonardo Fortino, create functional and playful metal objects and small furniture pieces (Italy).

WHAT I LOVE: their collection Roommate inspired by Maestro Castiglioni’s idea of creating objects that are real companions for our everyday life. All the pieces of this collection have a sleek and architectural look and are coated in vibrant colors that highlight their playful character.

WHERE TO BUY: online here

Clockwise from top: Multi-level cake stand Coral, Roommate collection. Design: Chiara Ricci // Magazine rack Pura, Roommate Collection. Design: Studio Zero // Bookend Damasco, Roommate collection. Design: Næssi Studio // Giratempo Clock, mirror, and tray all in one, Roommate Collection. Design: Leonardo Fortino.


WHO: Sarah and Marta, designers and founders of Arturo (Rome, Italy). They design and produce lovely, sustainable socks for women, men, and kids.

WHAT I LOVE: they take sustainability and durability into high consideration. The supply chain (except for the harvest of cotton in Egypt) is entirely based in Italy. I love the simple yet detail-oriented designs and the color palette. From nature-inspired socks to geometric patterns, there is something for everybody. Another thing I love? With each purchase, they send needle and thread to darn your socks in case you’ll need to do it in the future.

WHERE TO BUY: online here

Clockwise from top: Woman socks Arturo quadra tutto // Men socks Arturo riga dritto multicolor + Arturo stellare // Packaging Arturo socks // baby socks Arturo riga dritto

Schneid Studio

WHO: designers Julia and Niklas Jessen (Germany). Schneid is German for ‘being bold’.

WHAT I LOVE: their Eikon lamps and Unison ceramics. The studio works with great regard for craftsmanship and sustainability: they create timeless pieces covered in pastel color shades that help to create a welcoming space.

WHERE TO BUY: online here

Clockwise from top: Eikon Shell Peach Sherbet lamp // Unison ceramics (bowls and pitcher) // Eikon Circus lamp


WHO: Lucia del Zotto and Federico Manias (aka Studio Creta, Italy). Their studio focuses on art direction and graphic design projects. Mejo is a very recent project launched in May 2020.

WHAT I LOVE: the surreal architectures of their very first collection of puzzles ‘Architetture immaginate’. Each puzzle consists of 500 pieces and is produced in a limited edition of 100 copies with each box numbered by hand. A beautiful gift idea to carve some offline time together with friends and/or family.

WHERE TO BUY: online here

Clockwise from top: L’ozio puzzle // L’Arrivo puzzle // Il Sogno puzzle // Puzzle packaging

This article is part of a mini-series of 4 Holiday Gift Guides. For more gift ideas read here:

  1. Holiday Gift Guide: Home & Kitchen Edit
  2. Holiday Gift Guide: Top 20 interiors and design books
  3. Holiday Gift Guide: beautiful ideas for kids
  4. Holiday Gift Guide: support small businesses and independent brands


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