Celebrate Small Business Saturday by shopping local from one of the many makers in Pittsburgh. We rounded up a few of our favorite locally made gifts and picked something for even the hardest-to-shop-for people on your list.
Your sister who returns everything? She’s going to love this dainty skyline necklace. Your boyfriend who likes to look good but can’t tie a bowtie? We’ve got an idea. Your Grandma who says she doesn’t want anything? Go sentimental with a book sculpture. Your Secret Santa gift exchange? Check — pierogi soap on a rope.
For all of them, and everybody in between, here’s how to shop local no matter your budget and score something special enough to be beloved into 2018. Need some more inspiration? Check out one of the dozen holiday markets around town to find even more local gifts.
Pittsburgh Crush Gift Box
For the Pittsburgh newcomer (or for the person who’s in a long-term relationship with Pittsburgh but it still feels like puppy love), the Pittsburgh Crush Gift Box fits the bill. It comes all wrapped up in a gift box and includes a crocheted cactus by Plant Lady Wannabe, a mini sketch book by toomanysparkles, a Pittsburgh sticker pack (look at the pierogi stickers!) by Emily McGaughey and a love, Pittsburgh pencil. This Mt. Washington shop sells a variety of Pittsburgh-themed gift boxes, so you can spend more or less, depending on your budget. Everything in the shop is created by local artists and makers.
Pittsburgh Skyline Necklace
Celebrate your favorite Rust Belt city in sterling silver with this handcrafted Pittsburgh Skyline Necklace from Frost Finery. Melissa Frost blends old and new influences, using metal laser cutting, 3D design and traditional metal-smithing practices in her work with recycled silver and responsibly sourced stones. You can find her jewelry on Etsy, at an upcoming holiday market or at one of these shops around town.
Pierogi Soap on a Rope
Regent Park Naturals
This slogan wins it all: “Makes every bathroom a Pittsburgh Potty.” But this pierogi-shaped soap on a rope is far more than a tchotchke. It’s an all-natural soap handmade locally in several different scents, such as Monongahelan Winter and Allegheny Forest. Andre Parquette founded Regent Park Naturals in an effort to handcraft soaps from the botanical ingredients he forages while working locally as an archaeologist. You can find his soaps here or at The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts on Fifth Avenue.
A stone laptop skin
Stonify Labs’ MAGMA Case
$69-$79, depending on laptop size
This East Liberty-based startup launched this fall with a passion for bringing the look and feel of real stone to digital devices. The layers of stone used in the MAGMA Case laptop skins are peeled from rock without sanding or shaving the stone to create a flexible laptop skin. “It’s a really sleek and stylish way to bring a little piece of nature everywhere you go,” a company rep said. You can place an order online.
A natty necktie
$45 to $77
Homewood-based Knotzland makes bowties out of fabrics and materials rescued from local designers and upholstery shops. There are a variety of options at different price points, but we at The Incline are (naturally) inclined to love the Inclined 013 model, which features up-cycled gold jacquard with a black velvet backing. Buy online or find Knotzland at this Small Business Saturday pop-up today.
Body positive pins
Theresa Baughman launched Fizzpop in January in the wake of the presidential election “as a nod to the Women’s March and movement and a way for anyone who identifies as marginalized to celebrate their identity and body.” “Plus,” she said, “they’re cute, silly, fun, and affordable.” Her pins and patches are all about promoting body positivity and smashing the patriarchy along’ the way. Order ’em online or at Royal in Bloomfield.
A journal of writing prompts
“Listen, Lucy: Write It Out,” Jordan Corcoran’s journal of writing prompts released earlier this month is designed to “help your soul feel better,” per a news release about the book. “Throw it in your bag and keep it with you. Write it out. Be brutally honest. Use it as an escape from your own mind.” In addition to her work as an author, Corcoran is a nationally recognized motivational speaker, mental health advocate, and National Alliance on Mental Illness keynote speaker. Grab a copy of the book on her website or on Amazon.
Life & Reminiscence Book Art Sculpture
Pittsburgh Paper Girl
Erin Gardner, aka Pittsburgh Paper Girl, turns discarded old library books into works of art. For this piece, she used an unwanted library book from the 1960s to create a sculpture sure to warm any bookworm’s heart. She sources books from the throwaways from local schools or libraries, then uses other old book pages to hand cut and fold the flower decorations. Gardner inherited stacks of old books, maps and music sheets after her grandmother died, and she couldn’t bear to throw the old pages away, so she began experimenting with flowers and folding and then turned book sculptures into a business she launched about a year ago. Find her work on Etsy and at vendor shows throughout the year.
A taste of Pittsburgh
Locations and prices vary
Maybe you’ve got a Pittsburgh ex-pat on the list who would love a taste of home but can’t get back for the holidays. A few local restaurants have got you covered. For example, you can ship a Primanti Bros. sandwich, an order from Penn Mac, or even a Vinnie Pie, named Ultimate Pittsburgh Pizza by Incline readers.
A hometown experience
Locations and prices vary
Perhaps the most cherished gift of all: Time spent with someone you love. Try an experience gift this year, like theater passes, concert tickets, a food tour, museum memberships, or admission to a sporting event. Pittsburgh has plenty of options in each one of those categories — think a day at the Children’s Museum with your nephew, a glass-making workshop with your best friend or an evening at Phipps with your parents. Snap some photos, and keep the memories into 2018.