Pop-in or pop-up, shop for local gifts this year

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COVID-19 has struck a double blow on holiday shopping by simultaneously disrupting the global supply chain and stimulating historically high demand for housewares and clothing. While these setbacks may hamper seasonal sales for big box retailers, they have created an opening for independent merchants and manufacturers to fill the gift gap, says Toronto designer / stylist Robin Daprato.

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Inspired by a handful of friends and creative collaborators with merchandise to sell, Daprato hosted a one-day pop-up event on November 20. Online registration is required, as is proof of vaccination, and the address will be communicated the day before. Go to @rosesonadelaide on Instagram for more information.

Pop-ups are going to grow, Daprato says, in part because storefront rents are out of reach for most of his younger peers. Some are also disappointed with the anonymity of Internet sales. “They’re frustrated with the online interaction, they want to get in touch with people. I decided this would be a great way to support them by doing a pop-up.

This event also allows Daprato to test the location, organization and style of its workspace (which was presented in the Toronto sun and Therapy Apartment ) for photo ops and events, which she plans to do in the New Year. Daprato will also host indoor / outdoor tarot reading sessions – another side activity of his daily work in the film industry – including readings combined with custom candle-making workshops.

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Part of what attracts its cohort to this type of sale is the involvement of companies that share common ethical and environmental values. “It’s really great that everything there is going to be durable or used / vintage. Everything is of ethical origin, with an emphasis on the local.

Merchants include @chelseamazurvintage , which sells designer and contemporary clothing, jewelry and accessories; designer of lounge and intimate clothing @evaparrell (also doing an inventory sale for her ethical womenswear business @peoplesproduct ), @custombycare eco-friendly handmade candles, and @ sidemuse.objects , which sells great vintage decorations and accents for the home. To learn more about these emerging creations, visit www.autourdelamaison.ca

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Locally sourced consumables can be deliciously simple to give. nibble www.nibblcheese.com , for example, makes it easier to send collections of boxed cheeses along with crackers, spreads and icings. They make the perfect gift for cheese-loving friends and are perfect for hassle-free parties.

Nibbl also sells serving platters and plates.
Nibbl also sells serving platters and plates. Photo by provided

Many products are regional, including extremely excellent cheeses from Alexis de Portneuf (the cheese maker with Quebec roots dating back to 1842), Woolwich Dairy and Saputo. They are complemented by Raincoast Crisps from Vancouver and Duhaime Gourmet spreads from Quebec.

For interactive and outdoor-themed giveaways, look for independent retailers with a good regional reach. Urban Nature Shop www.urbannaturestore.ca , for example, has multiple locations carrying a range of birding and nature viewing equipment. Affordable do-it-yourself bird bases and houses, some of which can be painted, are some of the lovely educational toys for kids.

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Chances are there is an artist in your neighborhood who can give a unique gift, like fine art photographer Kristin Sjaarda (@ksjaar on Instagram), who photographs her own still lifes of flowers and birds. . These richly saturated layered images nod to the Dutch masters, who found beauty and meaning in the ephemeral beauty and vitality of nature.

TIP: do entirely discount on a large box or local drugstore as a source for made in Canada gifts. My favorite items available at mass merchants this year are from Magic bag www.magicbag.com , the Canadian company that has been manufacturing hot / cold compresses for 30 years. The new ultra-soothing slippers come with grain-filled bags that can be reheated in the microwave and then slipped into a pocket on the slipper. Especially delicious after a bath, when you’ve coated your feet with cream and put on a pair of cotton socks. An eye mask made from organic, compostable oat grains is infused with eucalyptus or lavender essential oil.

In-person transactions, wherever they occur, have a seasonal spark that online commerce cannot replicate, Daprato explains. “People crave human interaction,” she says. “They want to feel connected to the manufacturers, as well as to the products.”

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