I’m notorious for starting to send signals about my birthday a good month in advance so it’s about that time. (In reality, I’ve been culling these gift shops together for a while.)
There are a lot of sites out there that attract people looking for “unique gifts,” but not all of them will deliver what you’re probably looking for. For example, one website I found they listed “endangered species erasers” as the top suggestion for mother’s day gifts. Another listed paper weights as a gift for women. I may not know your mom but I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend you try one of these below instead. Though, I should warn you that while I value “unique,” it usually means it makes me laugh which often means it’s useless as you can see from some of the product examples here.
- Uncommon Goods: I especially love this company’s mission “to change the way business is conducted by making sustainability a part of every decision.” They are also impressively a founding member of B Corporation, which is “an organization created to help customers understand the social and environmental impact of their purchases.” Explore all their site has to offer including these notable highlights: back to school socks and a retro phone handset.
- Etsy: “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade” - from woodworking to candles. An eBay-like company founded in June 2005, Etsy’s mission is to “enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.” They’re a super transparent company with an artist community and a craftivism section on their storque. You could spend hours on this site exploring all the sellers and kinds of goods they offer, plus you can feel good about yourself for supporting independent business owners.
- Vat19: I discovered this site looking for a housewarming and thank you gift for my sister and her roommate. To sell their “curiously awesome” products, they employ a killer philosophy: “to present killer products with killer photography, killer video, and killer descriptions.” The selection may not be quite as large as some of these other sites but the interface is really well done, they have great stuff and you can search by topic or price range. I got Carolyn and Kerry two of these gigantic gummy bears on sticks, and some other stuff of course because buying candy as a housewarming gift is pretty weak. The video about how they got their name (posted today actually) is fun.
- Perpetual Kid: Other than their tagline, “entertain your inner child,” I couldn’t find much about this site. I did discover that they’ve been featured in a number of magazines including Parents and Hooters. Seriously. What kinds of products apply to such disparate audiences? Check out Chopstick Kids, We Met On Facebook Gum and these $32.99 glass water bottles.
- World Of Good (by eBay): I have heard good things about WOG. Similar in some ways to Etsy, this site is a “marketplace to convene thousands of People Positive and Eco Positive sellers and products all in one place, empowering you to shop in ways that align with your personal values.” They use a clever product nutrition label called a “Good Print” that defines something as animal friendly or people positive, etc. Unlike some of these other sites, they have food products as well like coffee.
- Disappointment in a box: Speaking of perpetual kids…I know this isn’t exactly a “gift” site but it’s certainly unique and for $24.95 they deliver “it” in a box. I haven’t bought a disappointment box yet but if you do, please let us know what comes. All it says on the website is (emphasis not mine): “This Box Contains An Array Of Odd Things. Somethings May Be Recycled Some Things May Be Brand Spankin’ New! It’s A GRAB BOX! Are You Familiar With A Compilation Of Weird Things In One Box? You Need To Be! Get Close Up And Happy With Disappointment in a Box Today!” I’m very curious.
- Curiosite: Two brothers founded this company in September 2008 as “a site that offers inspiration to keep the art of gift giving alive.” I love this picture of a kid with his “Airfork One” and just may be able to find a use for a plush t-bone steak.
- Red Envelope: A go to favorite for me. You’ve probably heard of it so no explanation needed of this company that considers themselves your “partner in giving.” They offer “a unique and wide-ranging collection of thoughtful gifts for every occasion and everyone on your list.” A good choice especially if your gift receiver doesn’t quite have a sense of humor for all the silly things above.