December is in full swing, and our calendars are packed with parties and get-togethers. There’s hardly any time left to shop, and our gift lists are getting longer and longer.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of local artisans whose products are available in shops right here in western Queens. That way, you can save time on your shopping excursions while supporting the artisans and businesses in your own community. And it doesn’t hurt that these gift ideas — made by local fashion designers, chefs, beekeepers, artists and more — are so unique that your friends and family won’t find anything else like them under the tree.
We hope this guide inspires you to hit your local shops and finish your last-minute shopping!
(AB&C) Astoria Bier & Cheese
3414 Broadway; 35-11 Ditmars Blvd.
(ABS) Astoria Bookshop
31-29 31st St.
(TBO) The Brass Owl
36-19 Ditmars Blvd.
(IA) Inside Astoria
28-07 Ditmars Blvd.
(MIQ) Made In Queens Pop-Up Shop
27-24 Queens Plaza South
(LS) Lockwood Shop
32-15 33rd St.
For The Fashion Forward:
SHOP SANDRA SMITH – (MIQ)
If your loved ones enjoy displaying their personalities through accessories, the quirky bags and home goods from Sandra Smith could be your go-to gift. Queens seamstress Sandra Smith leads this female-staffed business and is passionate about providing products that are well made, beautiful and unique.
Facebook: Sandra Smith Handmade
CECILIA BY CECILIA MOTWANI – (MIQ)
Special man in your life? Want to influence his wardrobe?
Check out “Project Runway” alumna Cecilia Motwani’s stamp on the fashion map of Queens. Using detailed hand-stitching and quality tailoring, with an eye on the diversity of the borough, Cecilia by Cecilia Motwani is set to bring stylish ties, shirts and blazers to LIC.
ROCKAWAY GYPSEA – (TBO)
A self-described “crafty babe,” Randi has been making different kinds of home décor and jewelry forever. Drawing on inspiration from Rockaway Beach and the “gypsea” in all of us, her designs reflect her natural Brooklyn girl roots with a nod to her current Queens home.
For The Sweet Tooth:
BIGGIE’S CRACK TOFFEE – (MIQ)
Originally created as a treat for herself and friends, this addictive, specialty toffee is now on the 2016 list of Oprah’s Favorite Things! Using the best ingredients available, CEO Stephanie Golden is proud to provide an additive and preservative-free toffee candy handcrafted locally in a Long Island City commercial kitchen.
Facebook: Biggie’s Crack Toffee
SWEETCICLE’S SOFT CHEWS – (MIQ)
If licorice and a gummy had a baby, it would be a Sweetcicle’s Soft Chew! Plant based, animal-free, fruity and just the right amount of sweet, you can feel good about gifting this locally made candy confection!
For The Dinner Party Host:
COCKTAIL CRATE HOME COCKTAIL MIXERS – (AB&C) (LS)
If you are looking for a beverage gift with a homespun story, Cocktail Crate Mixers are for you! Cocktail Crate was founded in 2012 by Alex Abbott Boyd, a young drink connoisseur looking to make and sell a product he loved. Initially started through crowdfunding, with the products made and labeled at home and delivered by NYC subway, the business has literally grown with Boyd.
Facebook: Cocktail Crate
NATIVE ROASTERS – (LS)
Already available at popular neighborhood joints Flattops and Queens Comfort, this small-batch local coffee roaster is about to take the borough (and beyond!) by storm. Pick some up for your holiday host gift!
Facebook: Native Coffee Roasters
FOOD SNOB HARISSA – (AB&C)
Want to turn up the heat with an adventurous gift?
The brainchild of hard-working chef and avid traveler Ygael Tresser, this Queens-made harissa sauce is prepared in small batches using quality ingredients from around the world, devoid of additives and preservatives. It’s made with a variety of peppers: red jalapeño, fresno, cayenne, cherry bomb and finger house.
Facebook: Food Snob Inc.
WILK APIARY’S ZIP CODE LOCAL HONEY – (AB&C)
Give a gift with a nod toward environmental consciousness.
Wilk Apiary was started in 2012 to help save the honeybee in our urban Queens neighborhoods. Beekeepers first, they also sell honey and related products to help put money back into this cause. The honey in every jar of Zip Code Local was removed from the hive, hand extracted and bottled by head beekeeper Tom Wilk. Each harvest is labeled according to the ZIP code in which the particular apiary is located.
Facebook: Wilk Apiary Inc.
For The Bookworm:
‘THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS’ – (ABS)
This memoir by Tara Clancy, popular host of NPR’s Snap Judgement and The Moth Mainstage Live shows, is the first book by and about working-class New York native women to be published since “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” was published 73 years ago.
It’s a compelling tale of a class-jumping city childhood spent shuttling between her Irish cop father’s run-down shack in Broad Channel and her mom’s boyfriend’s luxurious Hamptons summer estate. The stories are populated by an extensive cast of longtime New Yorkers: family members with strong Irish and Italian roots, regulars at the Queens watering hole where Clancy’s dad hangs out, scrappy public school kids and endless cousins attending First Communion parties. A must read for any Queens-loving resident.
Facebook: Tara Clancy
‘ALL STRANGERS ARE KIN’ – (ABS)
Interested in stories with the ability to transform?
Astoria author Zora O’Neill is longtime traveler, interested particularly in languages and traditional foods. Her latest literary journey is a grand tour through the Middle East. Her stories of learning language and culture while expanding her circle of friends will make you laugh, think and expand your understanding of the global experience.
For The Neighborhood Rep:
QUEENS THREAD – (MIQ) (LS)
If you love your home borough, why not display it?
Queens Thread celebrates all that is fascinating and diverse about Queens, New York City’s largest borough. A hotbed for sports, food, art and music, these streets have given birth to world-class artists, performers, designers and athletes. Queens Thread pays tribute to them all by keeping their production in the neighborhood, and partnering with vendors who reflect this idea of inclusion and camaraderie.
Facebook: Queens Thread Inc
DUTCH KILLS KLOTHEING – (MIQ) (LS)
Looking for a throwback look with a modern feel?
Inspired by the old buildings and vintage advertisements of the Dutch Kills area, Eva Weiss and staff use public domain images and personal photos to reflect an “old-world flavor” that appeals to the masses. Dutch Kills Klotheing is a true reflection of the evolution of Queens printed with the newest ink techniques on soft, high-quality fabrics!
Facebook: Dutch Kills Klotheing
For The Art Lover:
YOU ARE HERE STUDIOS – (IA)
Gift a piece of local art that will be sure to be a talking point in any home! You Are Here Studios is the work of Alex & Lisa, two Queens photographers who combine retro ideas with current popular images to create unique artistic visuals. Past meets present with a true New York feel.
JAMIE CLAWSON – (MIQ)
Known by many as the designer and craftsman of beautiful premium leather phone and computer accessories, Jamie Clawson is also the artist behind a line of laser-etched skateboard decks.
These unique and handmade works of art depict some of New York’s most iconic images, including Queens’ own Hellgate Bridge.
For The Music Aficionado:
DEAN GORDON GUITARS
Because every true gift guide must have that original and distinctive luxe option, Astoria is home to Dean Gordon Guitars.
Dean Gordon makes fully customized, one-of-a-kind guitars made with the quality tonewoods and top-of-the-line parts. Gordon works on each guitar himself by hand to ensure you get the best possible guitar for your needs. Gordon also heads repairs at the legendary Chelsea Guitars in Manhattan. His goal is not just to make a guitar that looks different but one that also holds all of the tradition and feel of the classics with a modern and sculpted twist.
Facebook: Dean Gordon Guitars