Supporting local, independent businesses and artisans helps keep our community strong and prosperous. Studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. This domino effect ultimately continues to strengthen the economic base of our community. Shopping local really is a win-win!
Continuing on with our Vancouver Island Gift Guide, which gives you some great ways to shop local, this week we are focusing on gift ideas for those little ones in your life.
There are so many fantastic local artisans who cater to making products for babies, toddlers and kids. I urge you to check out this local talent we have here on the Mid-Island. And in case you are interested, all but one artisan in this group of ten is from Nanaimo!
If you don’t happen to see your favourite artisan below, drop me a line and perhaps I will be able to add them to next years Gift Guide.
Vancouver Island Gift Guide Part 2 – Local Gift Ideas for Kids
(Artisans are featured in no particular order – we don’t believe in favoritism here 🙂 )
Island Rustic Creations
Island Rustic Creations is a small home business, based in Nanaimo. Kyla creates custom rustic signs and small decor furniture for the home, nursery, or office at an affordable price. Each piece is unique and completely handmade. No two signs are ever exactly the same!
How it all Began
After renovating her home in Spring of 2015, there was a bunch of left over scrap wood. Kyla used some of the wood to create growth charts and other signs for her home. Eventually she started making signs as gifts for family and friends. After posting some photos of her products on Facebook, the orders started rolling in! Thanks to the support of her community, Island Rustic Creations has grown steadily right from the beginning.
The average price range of the products by Island Rustic Creations is between $10 and $50.
Example of products created:
- hand painted growth charts
- art displays for kids
- rustic signs of every shape and size
- sports team logo signs
- painted arrows
- baby nursery signs
- chalkboard signs
- business signage
- sandwich boards
- step stools for children
- cedar blanket decor ladders
- yard Yahtzee
- outdoor games
- Christmas and seasonal signs
- baby milestone blocks
- Vancouver Island and world map paintings…
The list is truly endless. Oh ya, and she absolutely LOVES doing custom orders!
Where to Find Island Rustic Creations
Products can also be found in the following local shops:
- Little Otters Den (children’s toy & clothing store), located in Ladysmith
- Charlie’s Closet (boutique shop in The Old City Quarter), located in Nanaimo
- Island-ish, (lifestyle boutique shop in Departure Bay), located in Nanaimo
Upcoming craft fairs & markets:
- Duncan Volunteer Firehall- Saturday November 12, 10am-3pm
- Mid-island Natural Parenting Expo – Parksville Community Center – Saturday November 19, 10am-3pm
Rcubed is a small Nanaimo business that has an array of west coast apparel and accessories for women and children. Living on Vancouver Island, Nadia feels it’s really important to give back to the community and appreciate where we live. Much of their clothing restyles are done from previously loved items. This is because Nadia wants to do her part in keeping as much out of the landfill as possible.
Where it all Started
Rcubed started in April of 2016, and is a bit of a butterfly story. Nadia was a stay at home mom struggling with postpartum depression. One of the therapy techniques suggested was to have a creative outlet. She started brainstorming ideas, and basically a couple late nights on Pinterest lead to the creation of Rcubed. Everything happened rather quickly after that, and things started coming together. Nadia relates it to feeling like kismet.
Nadia is truly humbled to have such a strong support system from the Vancouver Island community. She is finding that people are really supportive and encouraging of recycling pre-loved items, which are then turned into re-loveable threads. Most of her clothing restyles have a west coast theme, due to the general sense of pride among Islanders.
The average price range of items are between 10$ and 50$. Accessories range from 15$-25$, and apparel from 15$-50$.
The Mini Miss Necklaces are an exclusive product to Rcubed (shown in the above image). The necklaces are made for toddlers to be fashionable and fun, yet safe all at the same time. They are made with BPA Free – food grade silicone, non toxic hand painted wood beads, polymer clay, and bubblegum beads. They are also made on satin cording and feature a safety clasp for easy removal.
Where to Find Rcubed products
You can also find Rcubed in the following Vancouver Island locations:
- Left Coast Fashions, in Ladysmith
- Charlie’s Closet, in Nanaimo
- A Divas Closet, in Nanaimo
- Rock-A-Bear Baby Swag and Spa, in Parksville
One of Nadia’s favourite aspects of her business is being able to do markets and networking. She has a lot of pride in her art and loves to share that joy with others. During this holiday season you can find her at the following craft fairs:
- Mid Island Natural Parenting Expo – Nov. 19th – at the Parksville Community Centre
- Magic Of Christmas Craft Fair – Nov. 26th – at the City Centre Park in Langford
- A Christmas Fair – Dec. 10th – Cobble Hill – 3550 Watson Road
Follow Rcubed on her social media sites to keep up-to-date on December pop-up shops!
Sweet Peas Kids Krafts
Sweet Peas is all about fun stuff for kids. You can find soft and huggable stuffed bears, made from thrift store treasures; rag dolls made from beautiful unique cottons; aprons made from funky and unique tea towels; fun tooth fairy pillows; clothing and bibs hand stitched with whimsical designs; and, much more! Everything is made with a little piece of love, and handmade or hand appliqued by Kelly.
A few years ago Kelly started selling items on consignment at the Quilted Duck (Gift cottage and boutique shop in Nanaimo). After bringing a few items in one day, the manager of Quilted Duck told Kelly she should create her own kid’s line. And that she did! Kelly jumped in with both feet and started stitching and sewing in every spare moment. She became a part-time vendor at the Lantzville Market in 2013, and attended a couple of Christmas markets the same year where she received amazing feedback. And the rest is history!
Kelly’s latest passion is her Etsy shop. She is so proud to have been a member of the organizing team for the Etsy Made in Canada market last September, held in Nanaimo. Since then she has been working extremely hard to create a great shopping experience for potential customers on her Sweet Peas Etsy shop.
You can find teething rings for as little as $12, to activity pillows for as much as $50.
Where to Find Sweet Peas Products
You can also find Kelly’s products at Island-ish – a great store in Departure Bay that sells many local products.
She also loves to do artisan markets, especially Christmas ones. This winter she will be a vendor at the following locations:
- Mid Island Baby & Kids Market in Courtenay, on November 13th
- The Little Owl Kids Fair in Victoria, on November 19th
- Crafty Affaire Market at the Croatian Cultural Center in Vancouver, on December 17th
LuluBee Creations provides handmade fun and original clothing, accessories, and costumes for babies and children.
The Start of LuLuBee Creations
Shandra has been sewing creations since about grade three, and has always thought the idea of making children’s clothing would be fun and rewarding. But it wasn’t until 2014, when a friend suggested she start her own business, did the idea move forward. At the start she had no distinct path of where she wanted her business to go, but since then it has blossomed into some other great avenues, and she is truly enjoying the ride!
LuLuBee Creations makes everything from baby bibs to chicken dresses (a newer venture that is paying off). Her most popular item, however, is the ‘highchair bib’, which she promotes and sells at markets, on Etsy, and at Huckleberry Baby Shop in Nanaimo. She also sews satin superhero capes and fun tutu dresses, as well as beautiful flower girl dresses for the White Bridal Boutique in Lantzville.
There is quite a wide range of prices. You can buy a scrap bib for as little as $4, or pay $75 for the more intricate dresses (like the Elsa Dress). The majority of the prices, however, are around the $15 – $25 range.
Where to find LuLuBee Creations
Facebook: LuluBee Creations
You can also find Shandra and her products at the following markets this month:
- Mid Island Baby and Kids Market, November 13th, at the Native Sons Hall in Courtney
- All Decked Out Crafters Market event at Tigh-Na-Mara, November 18th-20th
And at the Huckleberry Baby Shop, and White Bridal Boutique (as mentioned above).
little kin + co
little kin + co is a small family run business based in Nanaimo. They make art, decor, and accessories for the whole family, including cozy fleece mountain pillows, baby and toddler headbands, art prints, and wooden teepee shelves for your little ones.
Where it all Began
Brenna and her Mum, Wendy, always dreamed about starting a creative business together. The decision for Brenna to be a stay at home mom allowed them to jump in with all four feet. The name of the business represents everyone’s “little kin” and families, but in particular Brenna’s own daughter, Kinley.
With the support of their family and friends, they applied for the Etsy Made in Canada Nanaimo market earlier this year, and have been busy ever since! They are so grateful to be doing something they love alongside the people they love.
Along with the above mentioned products, they also make modern wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery, including mugs, candle holders, sea urchin bud vases, starfish ornaments, and more. They have art print designs for every wall in your home, which can also be purchased as affordable digital downloads on Etsy.
Their products are offered at a wide variety of prices. Everything from $6 pottery starfish ornaments, to $45 wooden teepee shelves.
One of their feature products is the Mountain pillows (shown above). These cozy fleece pillows are perfect for a west coast nursery, kid’s room, or playroom. There are two sizes and styles to choose from – the two peak pillow, which is $30, and the three peak pillow, which is $35.
Where to find little kin + co
They will also be at the Natural Parenting Expo, on November 19th in Parksville.
Kootenay Bath Products
Kootenay Bath Products provides an extensive line of both fresh handmade bath and beauty products for every member of the family. There is Beard Oil for men, Fountain of Youth Facial Cream for women, and Bubble Bath Salts in a variety of delicious scents, great for kids. For Infants, there is a natural baby wash, as well as baby bum balms to soothe those tender bottoms. All of Kootenay Bath Products are natural, environmentally safe, never tested on animals, and most importantly are gentle for anyone with sensitive skin.
And despite the name, Kootenay Bath Products are handmade right here in Parksville.
How it all Started
Charlene started her company about 10 years ago in the Kootenays. She had a mad love for Lush bath and bubble bars, however the expense was just getting too much. This prompted her to start experimenting with making her own natural products using quality ingredients. Over a period of time, she saw the demand for the product line she was creating dramatically increase.
One of the more popular and personalized services Charlene offers is custom designed gift baskets for that special occasion.
Average Price Range
The price range for the product line in Kootenay Bath Products is very affordable in today’s competitive market. Products range from $3.00 for hand crafted lip balm, to $12.00 for shower gel.
The Baby Wash ($9.00) and Baby Bum Balm ($6.00), featured in the above image, comes in Chamomile, unscented, and Lavender.
Where to find Kootenay Bath Products
Facebook: Kootenay Bath Products
Etsy: Kootenay Bath
Kootenay Bath Products are currently sold in the following retail locations:
- Buckerfields (Parksville)
- Old School House (Qualicum Beach)
- The Curious Cat Unique Gifts on 5th (Courtenay)
You can also find Charlene and Kootenay Bath Products at the following Craft Fairs this holiday season.
- Mid Island Natural Parenting Expo, November 19, from 10-3 at the Parksville Community Centre
- Coombs Christmas Craft Fair, December 2 & 3, at the Arrowsmith Activity Hall
- Lantzville Christmas Craft Fair, December 11, from 10-4 at Costin Hall
Vanessa’s Clay Adventures
Vanessa’s Clay Adventures offers unique handmade and often custom buttons. A majority of Vanessa’s buyers are also crafters themselves, and use her buttons to accent scarves, slippers, cowls and many other knit and crochet items. Vanessa also creates many other items beyond buttons, including, crochet hooks, wall art, pens, magnets, pencil cups, re-purposed mint tins, and whatever else her muse wants to create.
Vanessa started her small home based business a number of years ago on a whim. She had been making beaded jewelry on and off for several years, but when she wasn’t finding the beads she wanted commercially, she attempted to create her own from polymer clay. It was a steep learning curve, but over time bead making gave way to making boxes, pens, and other products.
The business started out as a blog, which displayed what she made. The blog morphed into a Facebook page, which slowly attracted more buyers. Vanessa also attending a few markets each year as a vendor to get her products out there. In the last five years, the business has really come together.
Even with her growing success, she still calls herself a full-time mom and part-time artist. She has a 6-year-old son who is in his second year of homeschooling, which keeps her busy. She finds creating products gives her an overall sense of calm, so she tries to create in any spare moment she as.
Handmade buttons are around $3 each, while items like wall art are approximately $40. Pens and crochet hooks are in the $10 range.
Where to find Vanessa’s Clay Adventures
Facebook: Vanessa’ s Clay Adventures
Products from Vanessa’s Clay Adventures can also be found at My Favourite Fabric Store, which is a wonderful fabric store in Nanaimo on Wesley Street. Tanya, the owner, carries almost 200 pairs of Vanessa’s buttons in store, along with her re-purposed mint tins, trinket boxes, and pens.
Taryn’s Cloth Creations
Taryn sews handmade items for Eco-friendly families. Each item is lovingly handmade from start to finish in a smoke free and pet free studio. She strives to make things that are practical and durable, as well as simple enough for little hands to operate. She aims to make life a little easier for busy moms, and enrich children’s imagination through low tech play, all while being gentle to the environment and giving back to the community in the process. Taryn uses ecologically friendly materials, and shops locally whenever possible to support other small businesses. She also guarantees her work, which means if there is ever a problem with something it can be returned for repair or replacement.
How the Business Came to Be
Taryn has been sewing since high school. As she got older she started designing and making unique handmade gifts for her friend’s children. Taryn’s Cloth Creations, however, began almost by accident.
While making cloth diapers for her daughter’s doll, Taryn thought she’d make a few extra to post on the local mom’s swap group. Within 45 minutes she had 60 orders to fill. A friend, who does graphic design, suggested she open an Etsy shop and offered to make Taryn’s logo. Now Taryn’s array of products are available both online and in several local stores.
Products include reusable snack bags, cloth wipes, wet bags, low tech children’s play things, essential oil carry cases, and tote bags.
With two busy preschoolers at home, Taryn finds escape in creating after the children are tucked into bed at night. She works part-time during the week, and her creative endeavors allow the flexibility to spend quality time with her kids.
The average price range of Taryn’s products are between $5 -$35.
As for the products featured above, prices are as follows: snack bag $8, doll diapers $8 each, essential oil carry case insert $15, essential oil carry case $35.
Where you can find Taryn’s Cloth Creations
Taryn’s Cloth Creations can also be found in the following local stores:
- Huckleberry Baby Shop (Country Club Centre, Nanaimo)
- Departure Bay Aromatherapy Boutique (Wingrove Street, Nanaimo)
- My Favourite Fabric Store (Wesley Street, Nanaimo)
Taryn will be at the Mid Island Natural Parenting Expo in Parksville on Saturday, November 19th.
Bev Beese Tolly Togs
Bev sells and creates handmade quality doll clothes that fit a variety of dolls, including American Girl and Maplelea dolls, out of her Nanaimo home.
Where it all Began
Bev has always loved dolls, and especially sewing clothes for them. Many years ago (31 to be exact) Bev started making doll tents to fit Barbie and other similar-sized dolls. She sold them in consignment stores and at craft fairs. When the internet emerged, back in 1998, she discovered other people, like her, who collected dolls and sewed for them. And a small business began. Ebay was her main venue, and she sold mostly to adult doll collectors around the world.
In recent years Bev’s main focus is on online sales through Ebay and Etsy. She sells outfits for specific collector dolls, but the American Girl dolls are one of her favourites, so she makes sure she sews for them from time to time too. 99% of her business is outside of Canada!
You can find Bev’s doll tents and American Girl/Maplelea outfits on her Etsy store. The tents and American Girl/Maplelea outfits sell for $34.25, each.
Craig’s Wood Creations
Craig offers handmade toys, crafts, and some home decor. Most of his items are made using a scroll saw, and many are from locally sourced lumber. He does custom orders as well, and has the motto “You dream it, I’ll make it!”.
Where the Idea came From
Craig has always wanted to make things with a scroll saw, but it wasn’t until recently that his dream came to be. He now has the work space needed at his Nanaimo location. He works full-time at his regular job, so his wood creations are made in his spare time.
You can find products as low as 0.50 cents, for unfinished wood craft shapes, and up to $40 for more intricate wood creations.
The image shown above features some of Craig’s amazing work:
- Horse Stable set is $40
- The set of 3 wood vehicles sells for $15, and is made from pine and finished with an oil finish.
- Ornaments are $5 – $10 depending on size and details
- Unfinished Wood Puzzle – $8
Where to Find Craig’s Wood Creations
Facebook: Craig’s Workshop
Craig will be at the following Craft Fairs this coming holiday season:
- Randerson Ridge Craft Fair, November 18 – 19, at Dover Bay School
- Ecole Quarterway Craft Sale, November 26, from 10am – 5pm, at Quarterway School
- Bayview Craft Fair, December 17, at Bayview School in Nanaimo
I hope this Vancouver Island Gift Guide gave you some great local gift ideas for those little ones in your life!
I urge you to peruse through the featured artisan’s online shops, or find them at a local store or market, and fill those Christmas stockings.
Before you do, though, make sure to enter our fantastic giveaway!
What’s in the Giveaway Basket?
- A wood sign for your child’s room, donated by Island Rustic Creations
- Mini Miss Necklace, donated by Rcubed
- Bear Buddy, donated by Sweet Peas Kids Krafts
- Highchair Bib, donated by LuLubee Creations
- Two-peak Mountain pillow, donated by little kin & co
- Baby Wash and Bum Balm, donated by Kootenay Bath Products
- Ornament, donated by Vanessa’s Clay Adventures
- Reusable Cloth Bag, donated by Taryn’s Cloth Creations
- 4 wood cars, donated by Craig’s Wood Creations
This gift basket has a retail value of $170!!
Please show your support and appreciation to all those artisans who supplied items to our giveaway basket!
How to Enter the Giveaway
Sign into the giveaway below (either using your email address or FB), and follow the steps – (if you don’t leave a comment, your entry is not valid!).
Contest is only open to Vancouver Island residence.
I promise not to use your name and email for anything other than contacting you should you win. Unless, however, you decide to use the bonus entry and sign up for our newsletter.
The contest is open from now until midnight on November 21, 2016.
Best of luck!!