The Guide to Artisan Gifts in Los Angeles
Gifts by LA artisans and small businesses
Los Angeles is rightly famed for its diverse and hugely influential creative communities. There’s no better place to shop for handmade, unique gifts - especially at a time when artisans and small businesses need all the support they can get. From fashion and jewelry to home decor and gourmet ingredients, read on for some of the best places to give the gift of LA culture.
Arts & Culture
KATHRYN PITT PET PORTRAITS
Pet portraits make fantastic gifts. They are singular celebrations of our beloved pets in life, and beautiful mementos and memorials thereafter. Plus, you get to see them on the recipient’s wall whenever you visit! Kathryn Pitt is a transplanted Brit who paints colorful and witty pet portraits with rare passion. The owner of a rescue dog herself, she aims to capture the personality of her subjects and honor their connection with their owners. Social media has made it easier than ever to surreptitiously download a photo of a friend’s or relative’s pet and then surprise them with a portrait painted from it. Drop Kathryn a line and she’ll be happy to explain the process. Browse her work and order ASAP in time for holiday gifting, with prices starting at just $180.
Museum gift stores have come a long way from just selling fridge magnets and postcards. Today, they are some of the most fascinating and eclectic shops anywhere, often stocked with items that you’ll seldom see elsewhere. Comprising more than 65 museums across the region, SoCal Museums publishes an annual Holiday Gift Guide that boasts a diverse range of inventive and whimsical ornaments, prints, puzzles, catalogues and more - all priced under $50. Gift ideas from local artisans include LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Ornament, celebrating the museum's 10th anniversary; Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe, the first extended monograph of L.A. artist Alison Saar, at Armory Center for the Arts; and vintage Catalina Island postcard imagery on a mini surfboard, from the Catalina Museum for Art & History.
Fashion & Lifestyle
3RD SEASON DESIGNS
3rd Season Designs creates adventurous textiles and fine goods, primarily aimed at women, which are handmade right here in L.A. Founded by two college friends in 2012, the company is forever experimenting with using modern ways to translate traditional methods in textile innovation. Tapping into the Mexican and Malaysian heritage of its Angeleno owners, 3rd Season explores varied materials and processes influenced by traditional craft, extensive research, and travel. Committed to ethical production and size inclusivity, 3rd Season’s designs complement a wide range of lifestyles and body types to bring bold and beautiful apparel to all. If sizing is a concern when gifting, 3rd Season also offers an array of tastefully colorful accessories – silk scarves, socks, and a delightfully unfussy hand-painted pouch – and even limited-edition art prints, all with the brand’s nuanced and highly cultured sense of shape and color.
Launched in June 2020, Post 21 was founded by Hilltop Coffee co-owner Blair Paysinger and her mother, Juana Williams. Their vision was to create an online marketplace that's focused on modern and design-forward products from Black-owned businesses. The Holiday Collection includes Clarence Claus apparel, natural fiber ornaments, and tribal wrapping paper. At her studio in Baldwin Hills, LA native Whitney Alix creates socially conscious clothing using eco-friendly materials - she donates a portion of sales to hands-on community organizations worldwide. Items featured on Post 21 include the Galaxy Cropped Poncho, Linen Dress, Vibes Cropped Poncho and Wide Puff Headband.
Y-QUE TRADING POST
This longtime underground fave silk screens every one of its distinctive t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, ashtrays, magnets and more in its Los Feliz store (1770 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 90027). Y-Que (“so what”) is best known for humorous t-shirts referencing stereotypes of L.A. neighborhoods – Laurel Canyon’s is a coyote, DTLA gets a shopping cart, Compton is repped by shoes over a power line – and pop-culture phenomena present and past (from “Free Britney” and “Pluto: Never Forget,” to “Be Kind, Rewind” and the perennially-popular “Free Winona”). Y-Que’s products are great gifts not only for Angelenos, but also for distant folks who might enjoy a sense of the city’s self-image and lesser-known everyday realities. Designs that don’t catch on are often drastically reduced, so there’s something at Y-Que even for that “obligation gift” to that silent but kinda hip colleague.
Health & Wellness
Hand washing is now a thing, and many of us are choosing to make it a much more pleasant thing – something to savor, rather than just a safety-first chore. So, the distinctively velvety and moisturizing soaps by Los Angeles-based AMASS make timely and thoughtful gifts. AMASS founder Morgan McLachlan grew up among the forests of the Canadian Pacific Northwest with a passion for plants, which was initially channeled into distilling and more recently, botanical self-care products. Enriched with natural oils, AMASS soaps are gently hydrating, delicately scented, and free of sulfates, parabens, and dyes. Choose from Four Thieves (cinnamon, allspice, clove, eucalyptus), Basilisk Breath (basil, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme), or Pseudo Citrine (lemon, ginger, grapefruit, lavender). Part of the AMASS Holiday Collection, the Soap Scent Set features three 16 oz pump bottles for $99 (a $114 value). Other holiday self-care sets include Candle Discovery, Detox, and Herbal Hour.
DARK MOON FABWORKS
For the very special cyclist in your life (which could be yourself!), Dark Moon Fabworks hand builds one-off steel and aluminum bikes that should last a lifetime. Owner Carlos is the former head fabricator at Santa Barbara’s Stinner Frameworks, and since going it alone he's crafted some truly stunning special-order SSCX, all-road, and hardtail mountain bikes for discerning enthusiasts in his Wilmington workshop. With all the talent, work and experience that goes into them, Dark Moon bikes aren’t cheap – think four figures – but a deposit will get you started on the most memorable of gifts for the hardcore two-wheeler.
NAPPILY NATURALS & NNAKED
Located in the heart of Leimert Park, Nappily Naturals (4342 Degnan Blvd, Los Angeles 90008) was founded by husband-wife team Umaar Askia and Sharon Williams-Askia in the fall of 2018. The Nappily Naturals line offers a wide range of natural beauty and wellness products, from Apothecary to Hair & Body Care and Spiritual Cleansing. In February 2021, the store expanded to open the adjacent Nnaked, a zero waste refill store. The eco- and veg- friendly products available at Nnaked include Home Goods; Oils, Vinegars, & Syrups; and Spices & Seasonings.
A hidden gem in Glassell Park, the Bauer Pottery Showroom (3051 Rosslyn St, Los Angeles 90065) is a favorite of bargain hunters seeking samples, one-offs, discontinued items, and factory seconds. The final weekend of the 20th Annual Holiday Showroom Sale is taking place on Saturday and Sunday, December 18-19 with 30% off the colorful MId-Century ceramics.
THE PLANT PROVOCATEUR
After launching The Plant Provocateur as a pop-up at local marketplaces, Hank Jenkins opened a brick-and-mortar in Silver Lake that recently closed after a five-year run. Jenkins pivoted TPP to an online model and now offers constantly rotating, seasonal collections of plants. Contactless delivery is available for free in Silver Lake; delivery is $15 for orders of $100 or less and included at checkout. Follow @tpprovocateur on Instagram for upcoming events like the recent TPP Botanical Holiday Pop-Up at Gilly Flowers. DM Jenkins for pricing, details and delivery info for his Custom Holiday Wreaths.
Handcrafted in Canyon Country by Kathleen Nikolopoulos, JustBreatheZen offers an incredible range of gemstone jewelry unlike anything you’ll find in mainstream outlets. Along with a huge selection of necklaces and bracelets based around stones like turquoise, obsidian, carnelian, citrine, and tourmaline, Kathleen also offers gem-topped pens including Crystal Affirmation, Dream Journaling, Crystal Manifestation, and Law of Attraction designs. Imaginative pet- and zodiac-themed pieces, plus fundraising items – not to mention fantastic customer service from Kathleen herself – further set JustBreatheZen apart. Super-fast shipping is free within the U.S. on orders over $35. Kathleen’s latest creations can be seen on Instagram @justbreathezen.
SOL SEARCH JEWELRY
Sol Search Jewelry features sterling silver, gold and brass jewelry handcrafted by Marissol Martins. A native of Brazil, Marissol offers her pieces in four collections: Amethyst, Tiger's Eye, Gold-Filled, and 3-1 Mask Chain. There's also Statement Rings made with sterling silver and gemstones (labradorite, tiger's eye, turquoise, lapis lazuli, onyx, carnelian). Marissol also owns Miss November Studio, which was originally founded by designer Sandra Logan and specializes in custom stacking ring sets. Follow Marissol on IG for new designs, discounts, sales and giveaways: @solsearchjewelry and @missnovemberstudio.
SULLIVAN FARMS MUSTARD
Former Power Rangers actress Alyson Sullivan started making sweet and spicy mustards in her Echo Park kitchen in 2014. Based on a family recipe and born from a passion for throwing holiday parties, her gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free Sullivan Farms creations soon caught the attention of retail outlets and can now be found at Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres, Standing’s Butchery on Melrose, and at Atwater Village’s Bon Vivant. This holiday season Alyson is offering cases of twelve 10oz jars of her distinctively nuanced mustard direct from her website for $96, plus shipping. She’ll mix and match the three flavors (Original, Smoke, Amber Ale) in any permutation, thus solving your gift-gifting dilemmas for neighbors and workmates, while also enhancing your own seasonal dinners, all in one hit!
Founded by Jocelyn Ramirez in 2015, Todo Verde is a WOC-owned catering company that serves plant-based dishes inspired by Latin American roots and flavors. Launched in September 2021, Todo Verde's 100% Hecho con Plantas Seasonings are available for $14 each in Al Pastor, Carnitas, and Tinga flavors. The La Familia Trio features all three seasonings for $36 - the set makes more than 100 tacos! Priced at $60, the Familia Favorites Bundle adds a signed copy of Ramirez's cookbook, La Vida Verde.
BLUDSO'S BAR & QUE
The grill master on your list will love the Sauce & Rub Gift Set from Bludso's Bar & Que. Priced at $38, the 4-pack includes 16 oz jars of Hot and Mild BBQ Sauce, and 8 oz jars of Brisket and Pork Rub. The sauces and rubs are also available separately for $10 each. If you're gifting yourself a hassle-free holiday gathering with friends and family, Bludso's has you covered with ready-to-heat holiday dinners and a la carte hams, turkeys, smoked brisket, pies and all the fixings.
The James Beard Award-winning Guelaguetza is offering its famous moles in gift sets for the home chef. The Holiday Mole Bundle includes Black, Red and Coloradito Mole Starters - each jar makes enough mole for up to six people. For the chocoholic, the Mole Jar + Chocolate Bundle has everything to make a mole dinner and hot chocolatito for dessert. The bundle includes a 16 oz Mole Negro Starter, 500g Oaxacan Chocolate, and a handmade wooden Molinillo.
OTOTO chef-owner Charles Mamba is paying homage to the classic Japanese Christmas Dinner with the JFC (Japanese Fried Chicken) Set. Priced at $58, each package serves two and includes:
- 5 pieces bone-in buttermilk sansho fried chicken (breast, thigh, drumstick)
- daikon salad with ume shiso vinaigrette
- cabbage slaw with sweet potato vinegar
- shrimp & macaroni gratin
- one large biscuit from All Day Baby
- strawberry roll cake from Konbi
Order the JFC Set at Tock for pickup on Wednesday and Thursday, December 22-23.
Having spent 11 years behind bars, L.A.’s beloved bad boy actor-turned-restaurateur Danny Trejo knows only too well the joys of receiving a surprise care package. Now the Echo Park-born star of Machete and Heat is returning that heartwarming sensation with Trejo's Tacos gifts for fans, including an autographed Trejo’s Tacos cookbook; Trejo’s Hot Sauce, Trejo’s Whole Bean Coffee (House Blend or Espresso), and a $50 Gift Card that's good for any Trejo's Tacos or Trejo's Coffee & Donuts location. Displaying the sense of humor behind his tough-guy rep, Trejo is even offering a 100% cotton Ugly Holiday Sweater adorned with the iconic actor’s mugshot, brand name and – what else? – tacos.
Wine, Spirits & Beer
A Silver Lake institution, Bar Keeper (614 N. Hoover Street Los Angeles 90004) is renowned for its vintage glassware, bar tools and showcasing locally-produced spirits like the women-owned Future Gin; Mulholland Distilling, co-owned by actor Walton Goggins; and Our/Vodka, distilled in the Arts District. Bitters are like the salt and pepper of the bar world, and Bar Keeper's extensive collection includes LA-based Miracle Mile Bitters - a favorite of craft bartenders. The knowledgeable staff can help you put together a nice set for the cocktail enthusiast on your list - self-gifting is OK!
Kevin Osborne is a former home brewer who got really serious. Having honed his talents at Golden Road Brewing and Stone Brewing Company, he founded Cellador Ales (16745 Schoenborn St, North Hills 91343) with his wife Sara in 2015. Cellador is widely celebrated for its adventurous sour, wild, and mixed-fermentation beers. It’s the only place in town that oak-ages all of its beer, which creates a rustic complexity and allows flavors to be blended in imaginative ways. The Osbornes and their small team use locally-grown organic fruit, herbs, vegetables, and spices, plus distinctively SoCal foraged ingredients, from barks and leaves to berries. Featuring beautiful artwork and often brewed in limited runs, Cellador Ales are unusually gift-able, with eGift cards also available. Drop by their sleek storefront in North Hills or order online, with free delivery on orders over $75 within LA County.
Located next door to Bar Keeper in Silver Lake, Vinovore (616 N. Hoover St, Los Angeles 90004) is a wine and goods shop with a focus on female vintners. Among its hundreds of unique and handpicked bottles are fierce wines for every palate, including numerous California varieties. Vinovore specializes in gifting, with themed gift boxes or totally custom “beast boxes.” Shop their site to build your own box or bag option; call for expert advice on the process; or stop by the store on Hoover. Vinovore’s pre-made, ready-wrapped gift boxes feature much more than just wine itself - variously including books, nibbles, and games to augment the imbibing experience. From corporate clients to besties and lovers, there’s something sure-to-please at Vinovore (and if you don’t dare second-guess their tastes, digital gift cards are available from $10-$500).