9 Reasons To Buy From Designer-Makers

This week I wanted to highlight the importance of buying from designer-makers and independent brands here on the blog. Every order means so much to us, and although it may cost a little more hopefully the reasons below will help you realise why shopping independent is worth every penny.

1.  ETHICAL.

Buying from a designer maker most likely means that each item is handmade meaning in turn that each item has been ethically made. You can rest assured when you buy from an independent like Sky Siouki that nothing even remotely resembling a sweatshop has been involved in the process of making your item and I hope you’ll agree that’s a piece of mind worth having.

Sky Siouki Hand sewing cushions

2. HIGH QUALITY.

Most of us designer makers really care about the products we make and so we want them to be the best quality possible. We don’t intend on making something that’s only going to fall apart by the end of the year because we’ve put our sweat and tears into those products and we want you to be able to cherish them forever. Besides that we’d be doing ourselves an injustice by spending hours and hours over designing something, only to produce it using materials that make it look cheap or sub-standard.

3. UNIQUE.

You have the opportunity to find something ever so special, and perhaps even one of a kind, if you buy from a designer-maker. I think most of us can agree how exciting it feels when you discover something so beautiful and unusual that no-one else you know has and has an ethereal quality like no other thing you’ve seen before. Take these needle-felted sculptures by The Whispering Wild for example, each one is one of a kind and has taken hours to produce.

Whispers of Wild Needlefelt Hare

4. SUPPORT INDEPENDENT.

Behind each product is a person who is trying their absolute hardest to make their passion and talents into a business. Designer-makers are not money hungry business owners trying to get rich quick. We have chosen the road less travelled against all odds and it is by no means an easy feat so each and every customer is incredibly valuable to us and your support honestly means the world.

5. SUPPORT LOCAL.

When you buy from a designer-maker in your country, or perhaps even the same county or city if you often buy at markets, you are supporting your local economy too. By supporting local economy you help to boost your community and may even get to know the real person behind the product.

6. PERSONAL.

If you’re looking for an extra special item many designer-makers can even make something personalised just for you. Love this adorable cat couple commission by ceramicist Little Birdy for someone’s wedding cake topper! Who else but an incredible designer-maker could create such a thing?!

Little Birdy Cat Wedding Cake Toppers

7. THOUGHTFUL GIFTS.

When you give someone a gift made by a designer-maker you’re going to make the recipient feel all the more loved for it. To go to the effort to find something so much more rare, unusual and beautiful than something simply found in a high-street store shows that you have carefully considered what to get that person and spent time picking it out especially.

8. BEAUTIFULLY PRESENTED.

Designer makers almost always go the extra mile when it comes to our packaging and finishing touches. We want your item to arrive with a bang, or maybe a sparkly flurry, when it reaches your doorstep! As well as the product being handmade, so is the packaging, so the box is most likely going to look almost as exciting as what’s inside which is perfect if it’s a gift.

Paly Glass Botanical Frames

9. STORY BEHIND EVERY ITEM.

Behind each item or design there is no doubt a story in some shape or form making that item all the more interesting. For me each of my designs take their own journey through their process of creation and each bird has it’s only little story to tell within that. For other products, their stories may lie in their subtle imperfections or perhaps a wild dream the designer once had. I like to think that Little Birdy must have some amazing dreams looking at her Mer-puss and Narwhal creations!

 

So there you have it. Remember next time you’re gift shopping that buying from a designer-maker supports others and spreads kindness. Love and care has been put into each and every piece you buy from a designer-maker, care to design it from the heart, craft it well out of the best materials, and present it in the prettiest package.

 

TOP 5… Father’s Day Gifts from Bristol Designers

Father’s Day is less than two weeks away already so I think now is probably a good time to give you all a firm nudge and make sure you get your dad something nice! I’m really excited about this week’s blog post because while I was sat here scratching my head thinking ‘where am I going to find some good, unique Father’s Day gifts?’ it suddenly occurred to me that I know lots of amazing Bristol makers who offer brilliant man suitable gifts to feature!

So not only does this feature solve all your father’s day gift idea woes, it also promotes lots of lovely and talented fellow Bristol based designer-makers – the majority of whom I know personally and can totally vouch for as incredible ladies who fully deserve your support! What could honestly be better than that?!

 

Fiona Clabon Motorbike Coaster Father's Day Gifts

1. Norton Motorbike Coaster by Fiona Clabon £4.50 – I’ve always admired Fiona’s retro inspired collage designs even before I knew her! …And what dad hasn’t always dreamed of having his very own motorbike – even if it does only support his morning brew! This coaster would make a great affordable gift, or you can get the whole retro themed set or perhaps a gardening design instead if that’s what your dad is into.

 

Karve Design Timepiece Cufflinks Father's Day Gifts

2. Timepiece Cufflinks by Karve Design £25 – These cufflinks are something truly unique and special made using real watch parts! I’m usually next to the lovely Chitra of Karve Design when I do The Frome Independent market and so it’s lovely to see her incredible jewellery and accessories are always popular since each piece is entirely unique.

 

Girl & Bird Personalised Map Print Tablet Case Father's Day Gifts

3. Personalised Map Print Tablet Case by Girl & Bird £24-£27 – Annah of Girl & Bird sews all of her products by hand herself so you can even opt for a personalised choice of map and backing colour for this tablet case! She has a huge library of maps available to choose from so if your dad is at all like mine and likes his gadgets, he can be sure to keep his iPad protected in style with a beautiful case like this.

 

Little Paisley Designs Garden Birds Mug Father's Day Gifts

4. British Garden Birds Mug by Little Paisley Designs £12 -Eleanore much like myself is a big nature lover and sells a beautiful array of products featuring her cute and colourful wildlife illustrations. My dad has always been an avid bird watcher, these days especially, so whenever I see gifts covered in birds I always know they’ll most likely be a hit with him!

 

Alice Shields Save The Honey Bee Clay Badge Father's Day Gifts

5. Save The Honeybee Badge by Alice Shields £12.44 – The last of my five amazing Bristol designer ladies is one I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting but am a big fan of her work. I love that she is donating 10% of sales of this handmade product to the Bee Guardian Foundation and I expect lots of dads would appreciate that too! Besides birds my dad also loves bees, as well as all other insects in fact, so the message to ‘save the honeybee’ certainly seems like a good one to wear on a badge. Plus it’s a gorgeous design and made of earthenware clay!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope I’ve helped you find your dad a gift this Father’s Day or at the very least introduced you to some brilliant designer-makers from Bristol to order from in future! Don’t forget to browse the Sky Siouki online shop for Father’s Day gifts too! My next TOP 5 feature will be something super Summery… I’m thinking cocktails?!

 

TOP 5… Big Blue Mugs

I love a good mug. Who doesn’t?! In fact I’ve always said I’m unlikely to trust any Brit who doesn’t drink tea. It’s simply a staple of our diet, right?! So I’m doing a fun little TOP 5 feature this week with five favourite mugs I’ve found online today all available to order online from the UK. …And If you don’t like tea, I guess you can use them for coffee or a fancy-pants hot chocolate but you’ll have to work hard to gain my trust. 😉 I’ve picked extra big and extra pretty ones for this post because I love to have a decent sized cuppa and I love to own beautiful homewares so hopefully you’re all with me on both fronts there!

Kebaya Mug - Anthropologie

1. Kebaya Mug from Anthropologie – £12

Anthropologie have to be the queens of mug beauty. So many beautiful shapes, so many beautiful colours, ahh bliss! Love the ethnic style patterns on this one.

Ida Mug - Oliver Bonas

2. Ida Mug from Oliver Bonas – £12

The colour and textured glaze of this mug is just heavenly and they have other colours to choose from too! Techincally more of a green than blue I know, but I’d say it’s on the cusp, and this was my fave!

Indigo Drop Mug - Decorator's Notebook

3. Indigo Drop Mug from Decorator’s Notebook – £12.95

Love the unusual short and wide shape of this mug. Simply yet edgy, and it’s made fair trade so rest assured this one is a loving cup.Antique Floral Print Mug - M&S4. Antique Floral Print Mug from Marks & Spencer – £8

I couldn’t find my all time favourite mugs that I have at home on the M&S website unfortunately so perhaps they’ve stopped doing them but this one is equally lovely. A nice traditional floral on a contemporary shape, I think this is a winner for a mum gift!

Handmade Grey & White Glaze Mug - Megan Louise Ceramics

5. Handmade Ceramic Grey & White Glaze Mug by Megan Louise Ceramics – £18

So soft and organic, these handmade mugs make me think of tranquil sandy beaches. Love that there are never two quite the same with artisan items like these. Sorry I haven’t included more independent makers in this post. Like to keep a bit of variety going and keep a range of prices in these features so it’s not always easy.

That’s it for my Top 5 mugs feature today! Hope you’ve enjoyed, comment and follow below if you liked it. Next week I’ll be dedicating a post to a fellow designer-maker, stay tuned to see who it will be!

TOP 5… Bunny Gifts

With Easter coming in only a week already I couldn’t resist another Easter bunny themed TOP 5 gift guide! I just love rabbits so if you’re looking for a special Easter gift that will last longer than a chocolate egg then look no further. I’m trying my best to promote purely independent UK designers with these gift guides. Buying ethical, lovingly made products means high quality, lasting products that are unique and ultra special so why wouldn’t you choose to shop indie!?

 

Sam Pickard Rosetta Rabbit Cushion

1. Rosetta Rabbit Cushion by Sam Pickard

Absolutely love this gorgeous coy black rabbit hand screen-printed onto natural linen and made to order! Truly special and would look fantastic on any sofa. Sam Pickard is based in Devon, and you may have even seen her appear in George Clarke’s Channel 4 series Old House, New Home!

 

Red Bird Makes Porcelain Jack Rabbit Necklace

2. Porcelain Jack Rabbit Necklace by Red Bird Makes

Think I may have ended up featuring Red Bird Makes in my gift guides quite a few times now, but having seen these gorgeous necklaces in real life in Objets De Desir in Bristol where I also sell my work, I know just how delicate and special they are! This rabbit is just adorable with it’s little white socks and big eyes and ears.

 

Dora Designs Bob Rabbit Sitting Doorstop

3. Bob Rabbit Sitting Doorstop by Dora Designs

This doorstop is the perfect combination of cute with luxury style. Love the silky sheen of the brocade fabric he’s made out of it and the silk tassels around his neck. What a wonderfully stylish way to keep the doors open!

 

Rabbit A4 Giclee Print Sky Siouki

4. Rabbit A4 Giclée Print by Sky Siouki

A cheeky little inclusion of one of my own prints. This print of one of my original hand drawn illustrations of a wild rabbit would look lovely hung in a nursery or little girl’s bedroom. Illustrated using a combination of pencil, fine-liner pen, and watercolour.

 

Alice Mary Lynch Spring Harlequin Rabbit Doll

5. Spring Harlequin Doll by Alice Mary Lynch

I discovered Alice Mary Lynch’s amazing dolls a while back in a copy of Elle Decoration and haven’t forgotten them since. There is something truly magical about each and every one. All handmade and entirely unique, these dolls would make incredible keepsake gifts for special occasions. She offers to do bespoke commissions too. This Spring Harlequin rabbit seems the perfect choice for Easter with his wonderful spotty ruffles and jewelled check jacket!

There you have it, my TOP 5 Easter bunny gifts! Would love to hear more ideas for TOP 5 gift guides if anybody has any suggestions, please do comment below or on social media if there’s anything you’d like to see next. Next week I’ll be posting a little news update with what’s been happening at Sky Siouki HQ so stay tuned…!

 

MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS… TOP 5 Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is only a few weeks away now! (Which also means The Bristol Artisan which I will be selling at is very soon too. Eeee!) Anyway if you’re after a unique and special Mother’s Day gift for your mum this March then you are in the right place. I just love finding feminine handmade presents so putting together this little TOP 5 list was a delight. I’ve only featured artisan UK companies since I am all about supporting locals and independents and because I know mum’s appreciate things that are extra special and thoughtful. So without further ado here are my TOP 5 Mother’s Day Gifts.

Mother's Day Gifts - Handmade Pink and Gold Bowl

1. Handmade Pink Bowl with 24 Carat Gold from Att Pynta

I have to admit I have such an obsession with little bowls but I swear there are few woman in this world who don’t have a million uses for little pots and bowls like these including all the mums out there! Use them for dips, nuts, fruit, jewellery, pins, keys, anything! What’s even better is when you find a beautifully handmade bowl in a stunning dusky pink or midnight blue glazed with real gold around the rim like these ones made by Marie L Sundegren in colloboration with Att Pynta. I love that each one is slightly different with it’s minor imperfections showing that they are lovingly hand crafted.

Mother's Day Gifts - Siberian Husky Hair Wool Socks

2. Siberian Husky Hair and Wool Hand Knitted Socks from The Gorgeous Company

Maybe socks may seem like a clichéd gift but when socks are this good, who wouldn’t want a pair! These just look so incredibly soft and snuggly, made from husky hair would you believe! The huskies are just brushed during moulting season so no need to fear, these are totally ethically made.

 

Mother's Day Gifts - Needle Felted Snowdrop Sculpture

3. Snowdrop Pair Needle Felted Sculpture from The Whispering Wild

I recently discovered the amazing creations of The Whispering Wild and am in awe of each and every one I see. Her handmade needle-felted plants and animals make truly unique and beautiful gifts for mothers to treasure for years. She creates a lot of bespoke work so get in touch if your mum has a favourite animal you’d like made in felt for her. Here are some snowdrops in honour of Spring blossoming in March.

 

Mother's Day Gifts - Ladies Floral Purse

4. Waterproof Floral Ladies Coin Purse by Jiggle Ma Wiggle

Jiggle Ma Wiggle have a lovely selection of vintage designs available on a variety of zip pouches and bags. All waterproofed and with sweet little tassel zip pulls attached. This floral pattern and delicate mix of pink and ochre struck me as an ideal choice as a gift for a feminine mum. Just like bowls, there are always a million handy uses for little purses like these!

 

Mother's Day Gifts - Minimal Copper and Faux Leather Necklace

5. Minimal Copper and Faux Leather Necklace by Katie Betty

If you have a stylish mum who likes to stay on trend then these handmade necklaces from Katie Betty fit the bill perfectly! With a lovely subtle variety of colour combos available and simplistic geometric shapes these necklaces would look great with everyday wear and evening outfits too. She’ll feel really special knowing her necklace is unique and handmade.

I hope this gift guide leaves you feeling a little better equipped for Mother’s Day this year! If you’re still in need of ideas why not check out Peach Hamper’s gift guide here, full of thoughtful ideas with a personal touch. And if you’re still stuck, why not bring your mum to The Bristol Artisan on Mother’s Day instead and buy something of her choice from one of the fantastic 50 designers who’ll be selling there all weekend at The Arnolfini! See you there!