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11 Handmade Gift Ideas, Presented By Leandra Doing Squats

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When the Man Repeller Holiday Gift Guide went live last week, little did you know that the gifting oven had already been preheated courtesy of New York’s Renegade Craft Fair.

The fair is a curated showcase of independent craft and design, a.k.a. beautifully handmade giftables. Leandra Gum-Chewing Medine attended this year to interview some of the artisans on PayPal’s Local Selects New York livestream. The result was essentially an auditory gift guide that highlighted emerging and established designers alike, annotated by Leandra’s questions and the artisans’ commentary.

The point of all of this, as facilitated by PayPal, is to allow people like you and me who may or may not have been able to physically attend the fair (but have a keen interest in artisanal soaps regardless) to make purchases virtually in a matter of taps — all from the comfort of home, my favorite destination.

Leandra visited a total of 11 vendors, and each one was chock full of very cool things you quite literally can’t find anywhere else. That’s the neat thing about original designs born out of a personal story. I highly recommend watching the entire livestream here, especially if you like watching Leandra do squats. If you don’t have time, though, I’ve listed each vendor for your efficient gift-shopping pleasures.

1. Sarep + Rose

Where you can find many an SLG (that’s “small leather good,” for the uninitiated) handmade by members of the Fulani tribe in Africa.

2. Makers Market

A purveyor of handcrafted home goods that Leandra followers on Instagram (and where she bought three pillows for her new ivory couch on the spot).

3. Soukenberi

A line of personal aromatherapy products that may or may not lower your cholesterol upon consumption (just kidding you’re not actually supposed to eat them just smell them and boy do they smell good).

4. Bee Raw

Possibly my favorite vendor of the bunch, partially because my mom is a beekeeper but mainly because in addition to taking Leandra on a culinary journey featuring 1,405 or so different types of honey, the founder Zeke Freeman also imparted top-notch advice for making the perfect soft-boiled egg (five minutes in and out).

5. Elements Truffles

An Ayurvedic chocolate company started by a former Wall Street trader whose introduction to spirituality led to a complete career overhaul.

6. A.K Threads

A menswear label leading the charge in making ethical clothing affordable without compromising on quality.

7. Sunday / Monday

A textile brand established by wife and husband Nisha Mirani and Brendan Kramer (who met freshman year at Brown!) to produce handmade items that honor India’s ancient craftsmanship traditions.

8. Raconteur Kid

Whose booth included a real, live (sleeping) baby with the cutest pucker this side of the Pacific Ocean and whose founders hope to instill a deeper sense of imagination in parents and children through their collection of children’s clothing.

9. Beach House Towels

A company that proves towels (in this case, Turkish towels) have a whole lot more to offer than simple drying-off capabilities and can actually double as a scarf or even a sarong if you let them.

10. The Wavertree Co.

Where quirky, minimalist shelving in rounded teardrop shapes abound (happy or sad tears to accommodate any and all emotional journeys, as Leandra pointed out).

11. Le Petit Elefant

Greetings and illustrations to awaken the kid in all of us, hand-drawn by the founder (Genevieve!), who handles nearly every aspect of her business, from designing and illustrating to printing, scoring and packaging.

And there you have it! PayPal makes it easy to shop these local artisans wherever you are, so don’t let geography hold you back. Get your mother-in-law the bathrobe she doesn’t even know she’s missing, and maybe a few jars of honey for yourself while you’re at it.

Feature image by Krista Anna Lewis, originally shot for this 2015 MR story about holiday party outfits and sparkly tops

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