Part two is here! In this list we’ve rounded up the best local handmade gifts from bath and body products, eco-friendly kitchen accessories, gift boxes, handmade clothing and more! Each of these Vancouver Island businesses are all about strengthening their community, creating a more sustainable world and showcasing the beauty of this incredible Island. Shop online or in-person when available and give gifts that are made with love!
Bath and Body
Born and raised on Haida Gwaii, owner and operator Valerie, whose Haida name Slin-ga_a_Jaad means “creative girl”, has a passion for bringing parts of her home and culture to the world through soapmaking. With distinctive colours, incredible textures and unique Vancouver Island scents, RavenSong has taken the soap making world by storm winning national and international soapmaking awards.
This tiny Parksville based business really takes the cake (or soap) when it comes to small batch, handmade soaps. Made with high-quality ingredients that are sourced as locally as possible as often as possible, this little local business is a great place to grab great treats for all your loved ones!
Food, Pottery and Kitchen
While Frazer, founder of Vancouver Island Gift Box may have been raised on the Island, it wasn’t until he left it that he realized what a truly remarkable place it is. With endless outdoor activities, incredible agriculture, food, wine and a thriving artisan community, Vancouver Island might be small, but it’s got a big personality. The Vancouver Island gift boxes are packed with goodies from Vancouver Island to give to the people you love. Whether you want to introduce them to a taste of Island life or if they’re as much a fan as you are, these boxes make a perfect, thoughtful gift this holiday.
How to order: go online and choose one of the pre-built boxes or build your own and ship to anywhere in North America for free with a purchase of a premium box!
If you’re looking for high-quality, sustainable kitchen fabrics and accessories that are fun and functional, this is the place to shop! From trendy beeswax food wrap and reusable snack bags, to aprons and reusable paper towels, Evercoast handmakes all the latest in reusable kitchen fabrics right here on Vancouver Island.
How to order: get one of their ready-made items from their online shop, contact them to place a custom order and choose shipping or local Victoria pickup for anyone staying in an EMR Victoria properties. For anyone staying in the Comox Valley, you can head into Little Village Store in Cumberland and pick up a few pieces in person!
Based in Nanaimo, owner and operator of FaeGarten Clay, Brenda Schnell uses the wild and imperfect beauty of nature to inspire her one-of-a-kind pottery. Without the use of a potter’s wheel, Brenda creates pieces that have their own unique, beautiful asymmetry and charm. You can find mugs, tea bag holders, vases and whimsical decor all with a distinct West Coast flair.
How to order: go to FaeCarten’s Etsy shop or find them in-person at Neck of the Woods in Ladysmith, Island-ish in Nanaimo, Sea Thrift Artisan Boutique near Parksville, and The Tea Emporium in Victoria.
If you’re looking for amazing children’s books, look no further. Vancouver Island author and illustrator of Bread + Clutter Books, Lindsay Ford, is revolutionizing the way we think of the world, the people in it and how we can talk to our kids about it. Her children’s books are all about changing the world we live in just by celebrating differences with every turn of the page. The series allows kids to approach difficult conversations like mental health, aging and gender norms and how being weird is wonderful.
How to order: shop directly through the website!
This amazing online shop is owned and operated by “slay-at-home-Mom” Jessica who fills her days with four kiddos and her nights running her clothing company. This Nanaimo based company is positively packed with fun clothing, mugs, hats and more for everyone on your list.
How to order: shop online to grab some incredible gifts!
If you’ve walked around anywhere on Vancouver Island you’ve probably seen more than one person wearing a Cowichan sweater. They’re distinctive in the natural palette of grey, brown, cream and black and mirrored, geometric animal design. Cowichan knitters also make touques, socks, slippers and scarves all with the same palette and distinct designs. These items are all handmade using skills and traditions passed down through generations with all-natural fibers making them incredibly warm, water resistant and durable. In fact, many sweaters are passed down through families on Vancouver Island (I have one from my father), a testament to their longevity. In recent years, these items have seen a rise in popularity as a younger generation adopted them to both ward off the winter chill and as a fashion choice for everyday wear. Many global clothing brands have made their own versions of the Cowichan sweater, but there’s nothing quite like the quality and sentiment of a genuine article of Cowichan knitting. So if you’re looking for a Cowichan sweater, consider purchasing from one of these vendors who have personal relationships with the artisans who make these incredible items.
In heritage downtown Duncan you will find the Judy Hill Gallery, a space that ensures that the works of the Pacific Northwest First Nations artists are displayed as what they are: art. If you’re looking for an authentic Cowichan Sweater, this long-standing, little gallery in the Cowichan Valley is a great place to start.
How to order: with worldwide shipping available, simply use her website to contact her about purchasing options.
There’s no doubt that the best way to purchase an item of Cowichan knitting is directly from the knitter themselves. Jennifer ‘Jenny’ George learned how to knit by watching her mother, helping wash, dry and card the wool to get it ready for spinning. Today, Jennifer is thankfully able to outsource much of the time consuming work of washing, drying and carding but she still insists on choosing only the highest quality raw wool and spinning it herself. Buying something from Jennifer means that you can give the gift of wearable art.
How to order: you can browse her knitting on her website and contact her directly for ordering.
For over 50 years, Cowichan Trading on the corner of Johnson St. and Government St. has been supplying Victoria with a large selection of authentic First Nations art, clothing, jewelry, baskets and more! Buying everything in stock directly from the artists themselves ensures that when you purchase an item of Cowichan knitting, you’re getting an authentic piece and helping to support local artisans!
How to order: shop online or head to one of the downtown Victoria locations to have a look around!