Shopping via Instagram but, not in the way you might expect
I am an advocate for doing the food shopping at the local farmers market and browsing little independent, near-by stores for gifts, but, I have also discovered the magic of Instagram when it comes to finding something unique and personal.
I have always found joy in finding gifts for people, there’s something so rewarding, and yet challenging, about choosing something they will cherish forever. This doesn’t always mean buying them either. I have made a lot of Christmas and birthday cards over the years and have put together boxes of memorabilia, printed out photographs and organised surprises.
When it got to Mother’s Day this year (I know it was a while ago now) I was determined to find something original, something personal. My mind went blank. But this time, unexpectedly, it was Instagram that came to my rescue. I wasn’t lured in by ads or sponsored posts and I didn’t even try searching for #uniquegifts (we know that won’t work). To be honest I wasn’t even thinking about Mother’s Day at the time. I was simply browsing through my ‘explore’ feed when I came across @bloomsbury ‘s magical work.
Ava Zulal, owner of Bloomsbery Designs, paints and sells beautiful watercolour bookmarks and her designs usually include a short quote in black ink that adds a little extra something to her already unique creations. My mum reads a lot so it was the perfect fit. After sending a private message to Ava I heard back straight away and we got chatting about how the whole process works – I was keen for Ava to design something completely bespoke if possible and she was more than happy to do so. It felt great to be part of the design process and to come away with something so personal. I chose the colours I liked and the quote to go on the bookmark and Ava created this for me...
I was over the moon with my first find but wanted something else to go with it. I continued my search and luckily came across the talented Agnes Becker who owns We Are Stardust. Agnes paints beautiful cards and prints and I got in contact to ask, again, if she would be willing to create something bespoke. Again, my request was met with a quick response and a “yes of course”! We discussed details and settled on a simple, yet delicate tea plant painting. Agnes kept me up to date via Instagram throughout the process and was kind enough to then send the painting quickly for the day I needed it.
I have since discovered a whole world of unique shop owners and creative businesses who display their work on Instagram in such wonderful ways and who genuinely care about their customers. It makes such a difference purchasing a gift in this way. It eliminates the need for shopping malls or giant online providers like Amazon and helps to support small businesses.
If you're looking for the perfect Christmas gift this year here are just a few of many lovely accounts I would like to share with you who might just have what you've been looking for.
I would love to hear if you make any purchases or if you find any makers that you think I'd like so do leave a comment below to let me know.