With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it was about time that I write! Since the begining of the month I was asked by a several customers where to shop Made in Scotland Christmas gifts, so there it is!
2020 has been really hard for most businesses, and this is particularly true for us, small and independent ones. But as hard as it was, and still is, I think that more people have come to realise that they need us just as much as we need them!
In my opinion, nothing compares to locally handmade items, telling the story of its people and land. If you feel the same and want to support local, independent Scottish businesses who put all their love into what they do for your Christmas gifts, this post is for you!
Disclaimer: No one asked me to feature them. I am writing this post, simply to support brands and people that I love and know about. I have either personally bought some of their products, or seen them up close. 🙂
Treats from the Scottish islands
If you have read my previous blog posts, or follow me on Instagram, you know I have a soft spot for Scottish Islands! Magical places, with incredible landscapes. But also very talented people, protecting ancestral skills and traditions, as well as being creative and developing new ones! Here are some of the businesses I personally visited, and bought from most of them during my escapades in Scottish islands over the last 3 years!
– Hebridean tea store, is a company run by three women in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. They have an incredible collection of teas! My favourite ones are part of their Island Range , which are either their own blends, inspired by the Outer Hebrides, or have a close connection to either Scotland or the Scottish Islands (my top three being the Machair Tea, Bad weather tea, and An Àirigh – The Shieling!). All their suppliers “guarantee that the tea is grown, harvested and processed in an environmental friendly way, and that the farmers and workers have the best possible working conditions and wages”. Highly recommended and approved by many people around me. 🙂
– Mustheb, the Hebridead mustard company: Scottish mustard, made in the Outer Hebrides. As someone being born in Dijon, there is no kidding with mustard! I discovered them when travelling on Harris and Lewis islands back in June 2019 with my partner. While driving, we saw a wee shack on the roadside in the Glen between Leverburgh and Northton. We stopped, and were delighted to be able to buy “something different” and locally handmade. Have a browse through their shop, and let yourself be tempted by their tasty mustards!
– Isle20 : A social enterprise committed to supporting businesses in the Scottish islands. I already mentioned them in my blog post about supporting Scottish business in 2020 earlier this year, and it is even more relevant as many businesses have joined their ranks since April. There are, to date, 2000 businesses listed, 130 of them selling on the platform, and representing no less than 30 Scottish islands!
So, if you like Scottish islands and their communities, head to Isle20. What to expect? Tweed weavers, candle makers, gift shops, artists… you name it! You can shop by gift and product category, or by Island if you have a soft spot for one of them in particular!
– The Hebridean soap company: A company based on the Isle of Lewis. They sell handmade soap bars, creams and balms, candles and gift sets. I have only tested their soap bars but absolutely love them! Not only were they gentle to my sensitive hand skin, but they also come in many different scents! As a bonus, their soap bars do not contain any animal fats, nor have they been tested on, or involved cruelty to, animals.
– Made in Ullapool: A social enterprise that aims to support vulnerable adults in a work environment. They sell candles handmade on the premises, in Ullapool. We discovered them while waiting for our ferry bound to Stornoway, on our way to the Outer Hebrides. We got one of their candles when visiting and they were all beautifully made! You can of course shop online.
The company has thrived thanks to numerous individuals and businesses in and around Ullapool and is a truly wonderful project to support, while treating yourself with lovely Scottish candles.
– Duncan House : Garth Duncan started to learn metal work from a Navaho silversmith, Jo Madrid, at 15 years old. He then worked for jewellery and gem dealers in the USA, designing, making and perfecting his art. In 2001, he moved to the Scottish Highlands and since then runs Duncan House, where he sells his designs which are carved, cast and forged by himself, on location on the Isle of Skye.
From fine celtic jewelry, to Scottish Sgian Dubh and clan crests and brooches, Garth designs both traditional and modern pieces that will appeal to any celtic culture lovers! We stopped at his house on our first visit to Skye in 2017 and were really impressed by both his work and showroom! I look forward to going back.
Gifts from Edinburgh makers
– Mackenzie Leather: a handmade leather goods business, based at the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. They make timeless, stylish, individually handcrafted leather handbags, briefcases, wallets and accessories. You can of course shop online, but if you have the chance to pop in their premises in Edinburgh, you will be able to see both their showroom, showcasing many of their iconic pieces, and Simon and his team working hard in their workshop.
– Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers: A family run business making traditional handmade kilts and highlandwear, to the highest standards at the heart of Edinburgh’s old town (they are actually “neighbours” with Mackenzie Leather ! 😉 ). For those of you who follow my journey as a student kiltmaker, you know that my partner and I started a kiltmaking course at their Edinburgh Kiltmaker Academy at the beginning of September. We knew how special their kilts (and people!) are, but getting to learn this art ourselves with them has shown us just how incredible their work, dedication and sense of customer service are. If you are in a Christmas-y mood, Gordon’s wife, Louise, also makes the cutest Christmas decorations and socks with British textiles at Loully Makes!
– Atelier Escapades: Working from my home-based studio in Edinburgh, I have a selection of my own handmade products that will make lovely Christmas gifts for Scotland enthusiast! Using mainly Scottish tartan and Harris Tweed, as well as other Scottish textiles, I have different range of necklaces, small accessories as well as home decor items. I also take bespoke orders, so feel free to write me if there is any particular Scottish textile item that you would like me to make for you! 🙂
– Moo and You, a family run business based in Scotland. They create high quality beauty products. Ethic and sustainability are their core values, and their products are vegan, cruelty free, and most of them are made from 95%+ natural derived ingredients. I was gifted their Miracle Shampoo and Miracle conditioner by a couple of friends, and I have been using them since!
– Rhapsody in art: Raquel is an artist based in Edinburgh. She makes incredible bespoke prints, as well as her collection of prints featuring the beauty of Scotland and Galicia, ready to sell! I got to know about her work when one of my friends gave me a bespoke print made by Raquel for my birthday! An incredible print made just for me and depicting importants things and places in my life’s journey. A very special gift!
– Cheese Peasee: Cédric, a gourmet native from France, runs Cheese Peasee, a French cheese company selling its products both on local markets (I personally met him at Stockbridge market in Edinburgh) and online. He selects, imports and brings to your door (literally, I got delivered in less than a day at my last order) some of the best French cheese. While these are not “Made in Scotland”, they will surely be appreciated by food lovers. For anyone living in the Edinburgh area, you can treat your loved ones, or yourself, with a wonderful collection of cheesy delights for a proper Christmas feast!
– Fabhatrix: If you like stylish hats (any style, really!), head to Fabhatrix, a handmade hat business based in Edinburgh. The shop owner and chief milliner Fawn first started making hats for Edinburgh Festival Fringe craft markets back in 1983 and opened her shop on the Grassmarket in 2002. They have an incredible range of hats and headpieces for both men and women. Her own hats are individually hand-made downstairs in her workshop.
If you want to discover more, have a look at Artisans of Edinburgh, which is, in their own words: “a collective of city makers, designed to showcase the contemporary artisanal skill of fine crafts folk in Edinburgh”
Knitwear and unique experience in the Scottish Borders
– Photoshoot Scotland: Photoshoot Scotland is run by two amazingly creative individuals, Rose and Julien. If you have read this post down to here, you will already have seen many of their shots, as they work for a lot of local artisans and Scottish brands, helping them to feature their products at their best. But Photoshoot Scotland is all about photographing couples and families both during their big life moments (weddings, couple sessions, elopements), as well as in their daily life! My partner and I had the pleasure to be captured by this fantastic duo to celebrate our anniversary earlier this autumn. There is no word to describe how incredible it is to have people capturing such precious moments, in stunning locations. Plus, you get to spend an amazing time with the friendliest people you can find! So, if you want to treat someone with a lifetime experience, look no further and contact them!
– Wonky Woolies : A very creative brand making stylish winter hats, scarves and headbands! Colourful, daring, and super soft, their products are proudly made with care in their workshop in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. A perfect balance of tradition (tightly linked Scottish textile industry) and modern design! You can shop online, or at one of their local stockists like 239 The High Street in Portobello if you are living in the Edinburgh area.
– Lochcarron of Scotland: a historic manufacturer of Scottish tartan (used by local traditional kiltmakers as well as international fashion houses!). They weave and knit at the heart of the Scottish Borders, where they produce full of heritage and fashionable knitwear, ties, scarves and of course, tartan cloth! Most tartans that I use in my own products come from Lochcarron, and I personally cannot wait for my next visit to their mill and visitor center as soon as it reopens. In the meantime, you can shop all their products online!
I hope this wee list will inspire you for your Christmas shopping, whether you do it in person, or online! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add it in the comments of this post, or if you have any question, drop me an email, or a message on your preferred social media. 🙂