Christiana Vardakou's Christmas Shopping List of Small Businesses

Christmas season is approaching and there are only a few weeks left to choose the perfect gifts for the special people in your life! With everything that has happened this year, I hope you will choose to support small businesses around the world. 

I chose a few artists/makers/designers I love, to share their amazing work with you. I follow all of these makers closely and love what they do as well as what they stand for. They are all ethical businesses I admire. Hopefully you will find presents for your dad, mum, grandparents, siblings, children, boyfriends and girlfriends, I've tried to include items for everyone!

As a strong believer of slow living my advice to you is that something in the self-care area is always a thoughtful gift, and especially now, we all need it! Also, people are now spending a LOT of time at home - so I think homeware as well as comfy clothes are really important especially for the year ahead of us. 

Some of the products listed ship from abroad. If you decide to order, please mind shipping deadlines. If it’s too late for these gifts to arrive, you could still follow these brands on instagram and be prepared for the year ahead! 


(Photos below)

Antigone MacLellan @maclellan_jewellery 

A very good friend of mine, Antigone makes beautiful contemporary jewellery in Athens. She mostly uses silver but also corals and bronze. From necklaces, to rings and bracelets, I'm sure you will love her work. My personal favourite: the pebbles collection (inspired by pebbles found on the islands of Santorini and Anafi). (photo 1A)


Vassilis Margaritis @vassilis.margaritis

Another really good friend of mine that's also based in Athens, Greece. His work can't really be described. He works like an artist, each piece is unique and beautiful. For me, he is a miniature sculptor, focusing on every single detail. He uses silver, gold, sapphires, rubies and I am sure that he could make anything you asked him, with any material you requested. (photo 2A)


Maggoosh @maggoosh -

Margarita is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. She is the designer behind this amazing brand. I literally want all of the pieces she designs. She works with gold and silver, and for me what makes her pieces so unique is the fact that there is a movement, and a flow. It's like these jewellery pieces are dancing, complementing your every move. Really special christmas gift. (photo 3A)


Textiles By Phia @textilesbyphia -

Saphia studied with me at Chelsea College of Arts. She makes beautiful hand-crocheted earrings but she also takes on commissions and makes beautiful punch needle hoops, macrame wall hangings and machine knitted bags. (photo 4A)


Charalampia Concept Items @charalampia_official -

We both took part at the Fashion Room Service show, and her work was one of my favourites. Charalampia creates jewellery from silver and gold and adds elements from traditional folk costumes of Greece using cross stitch and embroidery.  (photo 5A)


Kiwie Jewelry - @kiwiejewelry 

Kiwie is a jewellery brand that is based in Cyprus. I found them through instagram and I am obsessed. The design is simple, yet elegant and they can all be worn at any point of the day, and on any occasion. (photo 6A)


Thalia Maria Silver - @thaliamariasilver -

Silversmith artist from Athens, Greece who works with natural materials to create unique pieces of art. I absolutely adore the 2021 lucky charm, "Heroes of '21", which as Thalia Maria says "is for us all". You should read the story behind it. She also makes amazing spoons, and I can't wait to get my hands on some! (photos 7A+8A).





Leonie's Ceramics - @leoniesceramics - 

Leonie is another very talented friend of mine. She has an amazing studio in Psychiko and makes beautiful ceramic vases, bowls, cups, plates and candle holders. Her work is very colourful and the shapes of her items are always fun and unique. (photo 1B)


Ariadne Strofylla - @ari_strof 

Ariadne teaches ceramics at the Mum Institute, in Athens. She makes beautiful ceramic bowls and plates that she hand-draws. If you've ever been at Alex the fresh pasta bar, then you've seen her beautiful ceramics! She takes on commissions and she also teaches private group classes, which could also be a really nice Christmas present!  (photo 2B)


Ioanna Ritsou - @heyjane_ceramics

Ioanna's work is also amazing, I love the simple design and the colours she uses to paint her handmade items. Her big bowls are definitely a must! (photo 3B)


Basia Grzeszek - @monti.pots -

Basia's studio is based in Berlin. She opened her online store a few months ago, and I have ordered two vases from her in the past. Her work is also very simple and the colours are very natural and earthy, with a lot of grey, black, brown and beige. (photo 4B)


Fotini - @circle.f.ceramic 

Fotini is a ceramicist based in Nicosia, Cyprus. She makes amazing mugs, vases, plates and bowls. Some of her pieces include one line drawings of people - they are my favourite! (photo 5B) 


Ceramic studio Tochka - @tochka.ceramics -

Another amazing ceramicist I discovered through instagram, she is also based in Nicosia, Cyprus. I love her colourful mugs, teapots, plant pots, bowls and plates. One of my favourites is a leaf tray for candles but all of her work is amazing! (photo 6B)




Other Homeware Faves


Kedros Carving - @kedros.carving

Danae and Chloe are two of my closest friends. Their work is absolutely incredible. They make hand crafted wooden objects with wood they forage around Greece. From cooking spoons, to bowls, to hangers, to honey drizzlers, to butter knives and my new favourite product: vases for dried flowers. Definitely worth a look! (photo 1C)


Nata Concept Store - @nataconceptstore -

Anna and Tatianna started making candles during the first lockdown. At their online store they sell their candles, vintage goods as well as trays, pillars and lace collars. I already have four of their candles. My favourite is  their yin and yang candles in beautiful pastel colours! They work best as sculptures in a room; if you get one I am pretty sure you won't burn it. (photo 2C)


Lotta Blobs - @lottablobs -

Sculpted mirrors handmade in London. These mirrors are so pretty and I can't wait to have one in my room! They sell out very fast, so if you see a shop update coming up, set your reminders! They are very special mirrors that are a must have! (photo 3C)


Votani Natural Scents - @votani_natural scents

Natural aromatic products made in Cyprus. One of my favourites is the cinnamon blended with grapefruit and vanilla. These candles are a great Christmas present and they will make your house smell amazing! (photo 4C)


Maza - @bymazauk -

Ornamental soy wax candles hand-poured in London, vegan and cruelty free. Obsessed over these candles too! One of my favourite designs is the shell and I love all the pastel colours, especially the ones that have an ombre effect and fade from one colour to another. Make sure to check them out! (photo 5C)


Katie Gillies - @ktgillies_surfacedesign -

Katie designs lovely terrazzo items like trays, mirrors, tables, candle holders, mugs and plates! Can't wait to get my hands on some of these! Her instagram account is one of my favourites, because of all the colour. (photo 6C)


Airth Body Oils - @airthbodyoils -

Handcrafted body oils for all skin types, made in the magical island of Tinos. Perfect Christmas self-care present! I'll definitely be getting some of these! (photo 7C)


Christiana Vardakou - @christiana_vardakou -

I am including my work in this post as well. I think the pillows are a great Christmas gift, they will brighten up a room and they are comfy and soft! There are also eye pillows available on my website and that's a great Christmas self-care gift. (photo 8C)




Tapuh - @tapuhclothing - 

Claudia and I went to university together! She just started her brand Tapuh clothing, which offers unisex slow fashion items, encouraging a seasonless wardrobe. The trousers, the knot bag and the masks are all must haves!  She also does custom orders. I just ordered a pair of the red trousers and I can't wait to wear them! (photo 1D)


Alice Albergaria Borges - @aaranhalice -

Alice was also at my class in university! She makes beautiful hand-woven and crocheted items that are definitely worth a look. I absolutely adore her naturally dyed hand-woven scarves, but she also makes tops, earrings, necklaces and more. (photo 2D)


Alexandra Bissa - @alexandra_bissa -

Alexandra is a fellow Greek weaver that produces beautiful hand-woven objects. From scarves, to pocket squares and bags, to pillows and more. I love the way she combines colour and all the different textures she creates on her loom. Definitely take a look at her beautiful creations! (photo 3D) 


Tamay & Me - @tamayandme -

This is one of my favourite brands, it is very close to my heart. I met Tamay while I was in Sapa, Vietnam and she told me about her collaboration with Hannah. Hannah (like me) travelled to Sapa in 2008 to learn about traditional Mien embroidery. They sat together for three months working on one tiny piece of embroidery, they became friends and they have been working together, helping women in Sapa earn a sustainable living and maintaining their textile heritage. My absolute favourite is the embroidered jackets. Definitely have a look at the website and learn more about their work and their story! (photo 4D) 


Valia Gabriel - @valiagabrielsandals -

Valia has been best friends with my sister since junior school. I absolutely love her sandals and buy a pair every single year. They are made from really soft leather and when you wear them it feels like you are barefoot. The designs are classic and minimal. Even though it's not very wintery I definitely suggest you have a look at these handmade beauties! (photo 5D) 


Lefko - -

Lefko is a brand that creates ethically hand-made garments with refugee workers in Athens. They make garments that are made to last and are seasonless. The materials are 100% biodegradable and traceable. They believe in connecting the consumer to the maker so for each garment you buy, you get a postcard which can be sent back to the maker to say a little thank you or a hello. I am so happy brands like this exist in Greece and I really want to support them! (photo 6D) 


Maelu - @maeludesigns - 

Maelu is an ethical women's apparel line designed in Portland. The textiles are handmade in India using traditional artisan techniques such as block printing, hand-weaving and screen-printing. I absolutely love all their  geometric patterns, they will be so much fun to mix and match. (photo 7D) 


Christiana Vardakou - @christiana_vardakou -

Jackets, silk kimonos, headbands, scrunchies, scarves, belts and more are available on my online store! The items have been naturally dyed or digitally printed only once (to keep their uniqueness), so everything is one of a kind. (photo 8D)




Other great small businesses: 


Loop Knitting - @looplondonloves -

I used to work here for three years when I lived in London. This shop is heaven. Beautiful yarns, hand-crocheted shawls, haberdashery, craft books and magazines, as well as beautiful project bags and more. Definitely have a look here, perfect gifts for makers! (photo 1E)


Mei Mei Design - @mei_mei_design 

Mei designs modern and colourful knitted homewares. I can't wait to get a hot water bottle cover! The pillows are so colourful and squishy too. Go have a look, the colour combinations are divine. (photo 2E)


The Greek Stitch - @thegreekstitch -

I love these hand-embroidered hoops! My favourite ones are the ones that have some leaves, flowers or plants embroidered on them. (photo 3E) 


Camille Auclair - @camille.auclair 

Cami worked at Loop with me a few years ago. She now lives in Mexico and makes the most beautiful bags!! I can't wait to get one. Her colour combinations are the best and I love how she translates her drawings and prints into knits. Definitely check them out! (photo 4E)


Philippa Clegg - @philippa.clegg -

Philippa's work is so pretty. I love her paintings and drawings of women. She also makes ceramics that she hand-paints. Her work is amazing and you should definitely check her out. (photo 5E)



I hope you enjoyed reading through this blog post and that you found some nice gift ideas for your loved ones! Even if you've already bought Christmas presents, make sure you check these small businesses out. Their work is very unique and their items are incredible. 

Remember - when you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance!

Happy shopping! xx


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