Yes, it's true. There are some products that simply cannot be found in Amazon's giant marketplace. And they are wonderful. Durable. Beautiful. Functional. And often, inexpensive.
I'm talking about handmade goods from the world's artisans.
When I lived in New York City, finding one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts (usually for myself) was easy. Besides numerous independent shops in my neighborhood, there were large open-air markets and street fairs with goods from every imaginable source. Outside the city, things get a little trickier, but you can still find many locally made products at markets and fairs. On the Vineyard, we have the Vineyard Artisans Holiday Festival and Featherstone Art's Holiday Gift Show making a wide array of beautiful Vineyard-made products available in the winter season.
If you are looking for something a little farther afield, there are still more options. Many of us are familiar with Etsy, a marketplace for primarily North American and European artists and artisans. A new marketplace--funded in large part by Deepak Chopra--has come online to help artists in remote or impoverished areas market their products to a global audience. The platform, called Globe-in, connects a network of "Artist Helpers" with artisans living in places where access to technology is limited. Globe-in's helpers provide photography, writing, and technological support to help the artists reach international buyers through the online platform. Globe-in even offers a subscription box highlighting a geographic area each month.
Of course you don't have to cross the ocean to find great handmade products (ok, maybe just Vineyard Sound). If even that's too far for you, many Island artists and artisans have web stores, and I am working hard to bring new talents online through Tisbury Turkey. In the meantime, take a moment to visit some of our favorites available online: Rebeccah J, Martha's Vineyard Sea Salt, and Blanchard Photographic Impressions. Of course, you can order a hand-selected assortment of Island-made goods to be delivered to your doorstep seasonally when you order a Vineyard Seasons Goodbox right here on Tisbury Turkey.
So there you have it: some pretty amazing gifts you won't find on Amazon, but you will find online, all supporting independent artists and artisans on the island and across the world.