I’m a shopping blogger and writer, which means that I spend most of my time checking out online stores. There are so many stores in the world that most of them obviously never make the cut around here as it’s just not possible to talk about all of the stores all of the time. This holiday season I wanted to make more of an effort to share some of the off-the-beaten-track stores that I personally check out when I’m in need of unique, interesting, or more personalized gifting options.
One thing that sets these 13 online retailers apart from many of their counterparts is that many sell items you will only find in their stores. Some work directly with artisans and some have products designed specifically for their stores or have their own labels. Whatever the reason, the sheer number of products that you won’t find elsewhere means you should go ahead and bookmark all of these fabulous websites.
In no particular order, here are 13 of the best stores for purchasing unique gifts online.
Where to Buy Unique Gifts Online
Just a warning: Browsing at Of a Kind can be addicting because a limited quantity of each item sold is available, which sometimes means that you have to shop fast! As the name suggests, a small number of each item is made by designers that are hand-picked by Of a Kind. Each piece sold on the site is made specifically for Of a Kind, so the items you purchase will truly be unique! You will mostly find items for women, as well as home goods, at this online store.
Depending on your store, you may have seen Of a Kind products on sale at Target earlier this year. The two launched a home goods collaboration, though I’m not sure if that’s an ongoing project or was a one-time deal.
Uncommon Goods has long been one of my absolute favorite stores to browse online because they have such a vast selection of interesting and unique gift ideas for absolutely anyone who could possibly be on your shopping list! Per their website, “We’re on the lookout for designs that serve a purpose, solve a problem, stun us with their beauty, or make us wonder why no one thought of it before.” Looking for a gift for someone hard to shop for, like a teenager? No worries! Uncommon Goods has 177 gift suggestions for you. They really do a great job of providing suggestions.
We included a couple of items from Uncommon Goods in our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide (and in all of our other gift guides!), including the Pistachio Pedestal, which I think is a gift I could get for most of the men in my life!
While ThinkGeek probably isn’t ideal for everyone on your list, it’s a great store for any self-proclaimed geek or anyone with a love of entertainment like Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who or comic books. They sell lots of branded items, for instance, many of the gifts on our list of Star Wars Gifts came from Thinkgeek, but also a bunch of unique items you won’t find at many other stores. It’s not just anywhere that you’ll find an I’m Here Because You Broke Something T-Shirt (a perfect gift for your favorite IT geek) or a messenger bag that looks like an old leather book.
I’ve been to my fair share of museums and I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes my favorite part of the museum is the museum store. (Hello, lifelong shopaholic here!) Hands-down the best museum store in the country belongs to The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The MoMA Store, which is filled with so many unique gift items, can almost stand on its own apart from the museum. The store is its own destination!
The MoMA Store carries far more than just art replications. It’s one of only a few stores where you’ll find the Lumio Book Lamp, which all five sharks fought over on Shark Tank. The Sky Umbrella is sure to keep rainy day blues at bay. If anyone is wondering what to get me, I’d gladly take the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman… but then again, who wouldn’t?
One of the things that makes The Grommet such an interesting place to shop is that some companies actually use the site to launch their products, so it is not uncommon to find items here that you will find absolutely nowhere else (at least for a time). Another awesome feature of the site is that you can shop by “values,” for instance, it is simple to only browse items that are made in the U.S.A. or that are made by underrepresented entrepreneurs if that is important to you.
While there is a “gift” section on the site, nearly everything sold by The Grommet is gift-worthy. My favorite item is the Let’s Color America Really Big Coloring Poster. If my son were about 10 years older it would so be his. Looking for something your favorite hostess and frequent party-thrower is sure to love? These Wine Glass Shades are sure to be a hit!
They say that people that are shopping online really want to see videos about the products they’re considering, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Joyus. The site is similar to HSN or QVC in that you’ll find short little video segments about most items listed on the site. These aren’t your everyday run-of-the-mill items though. Most of the items on the site are unique and can’t be found at many other stores.
Fancy started off, I believe, as a place for people to share cool products that they found on the internet. While you can still do that, you can also go to Fancy if you want to shop for interesting things online. For instance, it’s not everywhere that you can find Santa’s Flask. Or a Mega Hammock.
Just a word of warning: Many items on Fancy feature curse words or are adult products so if that’s not your thing I would probably skip this site.
I wrote a more in-depth review of Mouth.com a few weeks ago and I’m obviously still smitten with this site! Be sure to add Mouth to your list if you’re interested in gifting delicious food and beverage items to anyone on your shopping list. Just be careful that you don’t end up purchasing one of everything for yourself because the photos are that enticing!
Tops on my list is the Holiday Indie Mouthful, which is full of artisan treats from across the country. Since this isn’t all about me, I don’t know many men who would object to being enrolled in a Bourbon of the Month Club! Or what about a Cookie of the Month Club?! Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any selection from Mouth!
Cool Material is the store for men who are too cool for school. Don’t expect anything even remotely feminine in this shop, though you’ll find plenty of quirky and unique gift ideas for men! I don’t know that men get all that into candles, but he might change his tune for a West Coast IPA Beer Candle. And what guy wouldn’t like to know how to make his own hot sauce? Give him the hot sauce knowledge with this Hot Sauce Kit.
If you love the handmade movement but are looking for a more curated aesthetic than you might find at Etsy, Brika is your store. At Brika you will find a fantastic selection of handmade items, as well as stories about those products and their makers. You’ll feel good about shopping at Brika and the bright and colorful store is fun to shop, too!
Aha is one of the best stores for purchasing unique gifts online and it is where you will find modern, quality-designed items that have been sourced from around the world. You’ll find so many unique items on this site that you’ll probably want to hide your wallet before checking it out. Whenever I check it out I find so many new products that I’d never heard of before but suddenly need.
The types of items found at Aha include artwork, household items, jewelry, and accessories and believe me when I say you could spend all day on this site.
When Fab first launched it positioned itself as a new online sample sale site (this was back during the height of the sample sale mayhem). It didn’t take long, however, before it transitioned into a more traditional online store featuring quirky, unique, and interesting products.
Some of the products are going to make you, or your intended recipient, chuckle. For instance, a Cher and Dionne Doll?! What girl who grew up in the 90s wouldn’t find this amazing?! Perhaps the world traveler would enjoy The Classics Cocktail Kit Pair, which will provide the recipient with everything they need to make a Moscow Mule and an Old Fashioned on the go!
For those focused more on quality than quantity, there’s Zady. Zady is a pioneer in the “slow fashion movement,” and every item sold on the site is from a designer “who is conscious of where and how their products are made.” Not only that, but every brand featured on the site is required to sign a contract verifying the location of the company, the manufacturing city, and the source of the raw materials. Finally, every item on the site is personally vetted by the founders of Zady before it is added! While you might think that such high standards would be reflected in the price of items, the majority of items are about on par with what you’d pay at J.Crew.
In addition to clothing, Zady also has home items, jewelry, and beauty products.
Do you have any other favorite shopping destinations we should know about? Where do you go to purchase unique gifts online?