All hand-picked by members of The British Blanket Company team, we've enjoyed working with and shopping with these independents ourselves. By discovering them too, you'll find inspirational stories of hardworking people living in our region who choose ethical and high quality materials to create one-of-a-kind gifts to be treasured.
5 Reasons To Shop Small
As a small family business we're big fans of supporting local, independent businesses at Christmas. It's extra important this year, when many have been forced to close their high street shops right at the busiest time. Here are some great reasons to shop small.
1. Your gift will be unique and special
Not made en mass in a factory halfway across the world. It's the best way to gift a loved one with something thoughtful and personal.
2. It's better for the environment
Many smaller independent brands prioritise sustainable materials and ethical processes. You can also pat yourself on the back in the knowledge that your gift hasn't been racking-up a big carbon footprint, unlike products that are shipped across thousands of miles.
3. You can enjoy personalised service
Many small businesses are run by the very person who designed and created your gift. You have the opportunity to get to know the maker personally and, sometimes even request special commissions.
4. Shopping local builds your local community
By gifting something from a local business you’ll be having a direct impact on a real person's livelihood. It’s a chance to support your community and connect with others through the gifts you buy this Christmas. It also contributes to building the local economy which, in the long run, will also benefit you in return.
5. You're choosing quality
Buy well-designed pieces created by people who care more about making a great product than a quick buck. You’re investing in a piece of British heritage and supporting local craftsmanship and skills, some of which have been handed down through generations.
A Quick Tip: Start Early
Start your Christmas shopping early with small brands if you can. We don't mass produce or have armies of staff like retail giants such as Amazon have, so some items made in small batches can be in limited supply. More often than not, your gift will be hand-made, hand-wrapped, addressed and posted by the very person who owns and runs the business.
The South West Indie Christmas Gift Guide
Without further ado, here's our South West indie gift guide, celebrating brands in our region that we know and love. By the way, you don't have to live in the South West to shop with these brands - they all have e-commerce stores (which we've linked to) and excellent customer service wherever you are in the world.
Gifts for Kids
Avoid the plastic tat this Christmas and discover some unique, quality gifts that babies and children will love.
Frugi is a children’s clothing company dedicated to putting the planet first. They make beautiful, colourful garments using sustainable, organic materials. Their adorable range of Christmas themed pyjamas can be personalised making them a special, yet practical, gift for little ones. We also love their Christmas patterned Furoshiki cloth - an excellent waste-free alternative to wrapping paper.
Young babies can be hard to buy for - they're too little for toys and clothes last all of five seconds before they've grown out of them again! But Neu Oil's gentle, handmade essential oils are a wonderful way for both parents and babies to relax and reconnect. Their Baby and You Sleep Set makes a beautiful Christmas gift for babies and their tired mums. Based in Exeter and made in small batches, health and wellbeing are at the heart of these ethically-made baby aromatherapy oils.
Book Island is a small, independent publishing house based in Bristol. They hunt down award-winning, beautifully written and illustrated picture books from around the world to translate into English. A great gift for opening children’s eyes to other cultures, whilst supporting talented authors and illustrators.
Gifts for Homebodies
Home is where the heart is! If you know someone who loves a cosy night in, or a homebody who likes nothing better than to create a beautiful space around them, take a look at some of these independent brands.
The British Blanket Company
Yours truly! Our soft and snuggly blankets are the perfect winter gift. They come in a range of sizes and colours, so you can find the best match for the home they'll be going to. Our lambswool scarves also make fabulous cosy Christmas gifts... a blanket you can take on the move! If you can't decide, let them choose - our gift cards start from £20.
Liz Vidal Ceramics
For something truly unique, Liz Vidal Ceramics creates bespoke pottery pieces with gorgeous glazes that guarantee a one-of-a-kind gift for someone special. Choose from mugs, a striking vase or a larger piece for the kitchen.
Spoil her with a pair of the comfiest slippers she's ever tried. This Devon-based family business designs delightful footwear including gorgeous slippers in every style – ballerina, bootie or mule – you name it. Moshulu's bright, quirky patterns will put a smile on anyone’s face.
Gifts for Foodies
If you can't indulge a foodie at Christmas, when can you? The South West is renowned for producing fine food and drink. It was hard to slim down the selection, but here are just a few of our favourites.
The Bristol Cheesemonger
Fabulous, locally made cheeses are a sure win at Christmas, especially for a real foodie. Perfect for hampers, cheeses from The Bristol Cheesemonger make a great South West indie Christmas gift. All of their cheeses are carefully selected from artisan cheese producers in the West Country, plus a few favourites from around the UK. They even have expertly curated collections to pop straight on your cheeseboard.
The Exploding Bakery
If your friend has been missing their coffee shop sweet treats this year, why not order them a letterbox tray bake from this artisan bakery founded on a passion for cakes. The Exploding Bakery is a much-loved cafe in Exeter making all their cakes in house. Sour cherry brownies, passion fruit cheesecake or peanut butter brownie – to name just a few. What’s not to love?
True Start Coffee
Do you know some with a guilty secret preference for instant coffee over ground? Pushing back against the millennial culture of ground-coffee-snobbery, True Start Coffee is a British coffee brand that makes ethically and sustainably sourced instant, ground and cold brew coffee, all packaged in style. Guilt-free caffeine in an instant.
If there's ever been a year to take full advantage of all the local breweries and distillieries the South West has to offer, this is it. Take a look at some of these local tipples. We've generously tried and tested them ourselves to ensure you'll enjoy!
This exclusive micro-distillery in Bristol produces small batches of craft spirits, distilled the traditional way in copper stills. You could purchase Psychopomp's gin experience – a chance to tour the distillery, sample a range of speciality gins and even blend your own botanicals. A great way to unwind with a friend, once restrictions are lifted.
Dartmoor Whisky Distillery
A veritable treat for a refined whisky drinker – Dartmoor Whisky sell some fantastic single malts that benefit from the barley growing climate and naturally filtered Dartmoor spring water. Their whisky Discovery Set is a great Christmas gift option, with tasting notes and mini bottles included.
Beer Necessities offers a fantastic range of craft beers, all curated with expert knowledge by the owner. A selection of colourful cans makes a striking gift for the beer afficionado in your life. Their Wapping Wharf shop is also home to one of Bristol's cutest shop dogs.
Gifts for Adventurers
Those who love getting out in the fresh air and outdoor pursuits enthusiasts will love some of these gift ideas. Good, solid quality, British-made clothing and accessories for adventurers.
Nothing says indie Christmas better than these British bike makers, located on the edge of Bristol. If you have an avid cyclist in the family, bike accessories are a great go-to gift, since you know they will get plenty of use. As well as their expertly-made bikes, Temple Cycles sells a selection of cool cycle gadgets and clothing.
For sustainable, ethical outdoor clothes, this independent clothing brand is an ideal place to start. Founded by a husband and wife team, Wolfe Academy values sustainability and protecting the outdoor environments their products are designed to be enjoyed in.
A great way to picnic without plastic, these stylish, sustainable lunch bags and foraging bags from Bric Company make a fun Christmas gift for nature lovers. Machine washable with waterproof linings, each bag sold means one tree planted.
Crafted with care, Colville Leather's handmade leather belts, bags and wallets make an ideal gift for a man who wants something sturdy and reliable. Each piece is expertly hand cut and stitched by Matt in his Totnes workshop, using quality materials that will last a lifetime.
Gifts for Craft Lovers
From gorgeous knitting kits to apparel for artisans, these independent brands are experts in their fields. Gift the crafter in your life with something they can enjoy long into the new year and beyond.
Lauren Aston Designs
Another brand that brings cosy to Christmas, Lauren of Lauren Aston Designs creates knitted items with a contemporary twist. From adorable woollen Christmas decorations to chunky garments and accessories, the range is bursting with refreshing designs and original ideas. Her knit kits make a great Christmas present for crafters - from beginner to more advanced patterns, there's something for everyone.
Made by hand in Somerset these waxed cotton utility aprons are a great gift for keen gardeners, talented artists, cooks, potters and artisans of all kinds. Practical and sturdy, Fieldware Co make work apparel to be enjoyed in the knowledge that they have quality sewn into every stich. Their waxed cotton utility rolls make a thoughtful and practical gift for crafters to store the tools of their trade.
Luxury stationery is always appreciated as a Christmas gift, perfectly blending something useful and something beautiful. Athena and her team at Meticulous Ink in Bath create exactly that. From calligraphy pens and notebooks, to traditional letterpress greetings cards, each product embodies the stylish design intrinsic to the brand.
Gifts for Pampering
Everyone deserves to be pampered once in a while, a chance to take some 'me time'. Spoil loved ones with these gorgeous gifts for pampering - we can confirm that these products all smell amazing!
Jones and Modha
New perfume is a classic choice for a luxury Christmas gift. So why not make it even more special by going for a local, independent brand that breaks away from mass produced, synthetic fragrances? Instead, Jones and Modha blends together gorgeous naturally-derived ingredients. A real treat for the senses.
Quality, handmade soaps and skin products made by Soap Daze give the perfect excuse to unwind. Sharon makes the soaps in her Exeter shop using the traditional coldpress method and works hard to be a zero waste business. Look out for her new range of candles and vegan bath mylks.
Scents of Humour
Few things make winter evenings cosier than scented candles. With an eye for design, the founders of Scents of Humour have created these sustainably-made candles that look as good as they smell. Each tin has a quirky catch-phrase designed to raise a smile as it's unwrapped.
Cool & Quirky
There are so many interesting and quirky independent brands, creating exciting one-of-a-kind items. Here are some of our favourite brands embracing off-beat style.
Lionheart & Leopard Magazines
This publication that is passionate about bringing joy to its readers. It makes a wonderful Bristol indie Christmas gift featuring collaborations with local makers, artists and inspiring individuals. Whilst Lionheart magazine is for adults, Leopard is a magazine for kids that sparks craft projects, hobbies and curiosity. An ideal gift for a budding creative.
Mild West Heroes
Featuring illustrations by local West Country artists, these quirky t-shirts are all made from organic, ethically sourced materials and screen printed in Bristol. Mild West Heroes is a textbook case when it comes to promoting local talent, with all artists receiving a commission from the sales.
Jules & Clem
If you want something contemporary and on-trend, the bold jewellery made by this arty Bristol-based jewellery studio will provide you with plenty of choice. Jules & Clem makes colourful and unique acrylic pieces that stand out from the crowd. If your Christmas outfit needs more sparkle, look no further!
Loving these indies? Enter our Giveaway!
Would you like to win an amazing bundle of goodies worth over £580, featuring brands from our South West Indie Gift Guide? Of course you do!
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The giveaway launches on Friday 27th November and closes at midnight on 11th Dec (full T&Cs here).