Founded in Brooklyn in 1999, Uncommon Goods is an online retailer with a focus on awesome design and handmade gifts. Aside from having a super-user-friendly site and an excellent curation of cool gifts, bits and bobs, a lot of their stances and practices are rather admirable. They focus on being kind to the environment and avoid things that cause harm to people or animals. They also support smaller makers, artists and designers with much of what they sell being made in the States and by hand. Around a third of what is sold on the site uses upcycled or recycled materials. And, really, there's something poetic in gifts that are unique or special but also imbued with respect, integrity and good practices, in giving something devoid of cruelty, problematic associations or suffering.
They also have the Better to Give programme which donates a dollar of each purchase to one of the charitable organisations that they work with (like RAINN, American Forests, Women for Women International and Reach Out and Read) of your choice. This scheme has already raised $1,000,000 for these charities thus far.
Ridiculously cool as all that is, however, Uncommon Goods is still a retailer and it would be remiss to ignore just how cool a retailer they are. The site is broken down into sections offering items under headings such as Gifts, Home, Fun, Kitchen & Bar and more. You can also search with particular people, events, price-ranges and more in mind. For example, if you're looking for gifts for women, see here, and if you're looking for gifts for men see here.
One of the best parts of Uncommon Goods, for me, has to be the selection of personalised gifts. I'm a bit of a sentimental sap, so I do love a good personalised present. However, I was picking out a present for myself so I decided to forgo anything from that section in this instance. After much deliberation I decided on a Lomography Diana Camera (which I'd been thinking about getting for ages) and a (surprise, surprise) scented candle from From the Page. The camera is pretty cool as it also comes with a book about the history of the long-standing film model. (Although, be fore-warned, it doesn't come with film.) And I'm kinda obsessed with the candle. Inspired by literary classics, mine is an ode to Pemberley in "Pride and Prejudice", which means I'd be a fan even if it smelled crap (it doesn't).
Shipping was super-fast and the packing was thorough so everything managed to get from New York to Dublin completely in tact and perfect.
I actually, genuinely cannot say enough good things about this brand. If you're looking for something special, for someone special, check it out!
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