This holiday season, try to keep your shopping local. With so many talented makers and small business owners in the Coastal Bend, it’s easy to find something for everyone on your list — from handmade jewelry to exceptional woodwork. Here are just a handful of local makers to check out when making your list and checking it twice.
Lavender & Lee
Samantha Thurman is a self-taught jewelry artist making beautiful creations for locals in the Coastal Bend. Lavender + Lee’s small batch designs incorporate 14-karat gold fill, sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones for earrings, necklaces and permanent jewelry.
“My absolute favorite pieces I make are from The Cloud Line. They’re these special hand-carved stones from India in the shape of a cloud. I create one-of-a-kind earrings from them. They always have different precious gemstones like yellow sapphires, fire opals, emeralds, Herkimer diamonds and pearls. So, they come in an array of colors ‘raining down’ from the cloud stones,” said Thurman. Add some sparkle to your loved one’s stockings with Lavender & Lee.
The Cilantro Sauce
Made with fresh ingredients including onion, peppers, garlic, a variety of spices — and, of course, cilantro — The Cilantro Sauce is a multipurpose topping that can be used as a dipping salsa, aioli or marinade. Maria and Coronado Treviño decided to put their family recipe for this delicious sauce out into the world after sharing it with their friends at cookouts.
“We get a lot of ideas [for using the sauce] from our customers. They make green spaghetti or use it on fish, shrimp tacos and barbecue,” Maria said. The Cilantro Sauce makes the perfect host gift … but trust us when we say you’ll want to snag one for yourself.
Clover & Leaf
Husband and wife duo Aislinn and Keegan combine their passions for weaving and woodworking to offer unique handmade gifts through Clover & Leaf. Keegan grew up working on his family’s tree farm in southern Missouri, and learned woodworking from his father. His woodwork features mid-century art deco shapes and combinations while being functional. Aislinn fell in love with weaving during her undergrad BFA in fiber arts, picking up cross-stitch to create while her loom was unavailable.
“I think the thing that really sets us apart is where we get our materials for the wood [pieces.] We like to joke that our cutting boards are farm to table … but in a different way,” said Aislinn. “Being able to support our family’s small lumber business by buying our wood through them in Missouri, that’s very important to us and something that sets us apart.”
Dr. Hugo’s Soap
This locally made soap brand delivers a calming cleansing bar with excellent therapeutic properties for skin issues, including sensitive skin, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, inflammation and even rosacea.
Dr. Hugo’s non-GMO all-natural and detergent-free hemp soap contains 100% certified essential oils for fragrance, CBD isolates and an embedded loofah. “It’s soap on one side and loofah on the other; it’s an all-in-one,” said Dr. Hugo. “I have repeat customers who have issues with eczema that say it’s really working.” Dr. Hugo’s Soap is available in 12 different scents, such as orange blossom, cinnamon leaf and lemon — making it the perfect gift for the skincare enthusiast this holiday season.
Salty Vibes Pottery
Salty Vibes Pottery offers functional pottery with a nautical theme to elevate any interior style. Artist Adriana Ortiz-Presley says all her pieces have some attachment to the sea, sea life or beaches. “I tend to make the things that I love. I have a love of the sea and the beach and anything nautical. I think it’s very calming and beautiful, and it goes well with the area we live in.”
In addition to functional pieces like mugs, bowls and plates, Salty Vibes Pottery also offers whimsical, sculptural pots made for air plants, such as hanging jellyfish and mermaid tail planters.
Local brand Textile Mamii creates original fiber art, textiles, tufting and punch needle pieces. Inspired by her love for the outdoors and vibrant colors, maker Loren Miche’s creations range from earth tones to pastel to animated hues. In 2020, Miche started with punch needling as her primary textile medium, which evolved into tufting rugs, wall hangings and coasters — designed for low-traffic areas such as the walls or on tables.
“I think it’s so important to shop small, and I try and do it myself all the time, because so much time, effort and love go into everything that we make,” says Miche. We completely agree that people should start small when holiday shopping.