Lockdown 2 has officially begun in the UK, running at least until December 2nd. However, it’s not all doom and gloom – many of us are getting into the festive spirit early and are looking forward to Christmas instead! Whatever type of Christmas we’re allowed to have, giving gifts is a great way to celebrate and let your loved ones know what they mean to you. Specialising in creating beautiful gifts, we’re getting to know Otter and Moose, Unnaaty & My Ooo Bear better – three of Pedddle’s lovely stallholders who are sure to share some festive cheer.
You may have seen the phrase ‘start early, shop small’ shared on many creative maker’s Instagram channels as we head into the festive season. As lockdown ensues, not only will starting your Christmas shopping early cheer you up but it will help the postal services keep up by spreading demand. It also means that you can help small businesses by giving them plenty of notice to create the unique gifts your loved ones deserve, and it gives you plenty of time to shop around and find something really special.
Giving a gift shows someone you care, that you know them well and want to make them smile with something thoughtful. This sentiment is especially important this year – it’s much more than something material, it’s gifting with intention.
We’re here to help you shop small, and whilst markets aren’t running currently, we’ll help you find plenty of small businesses who offer something special. Read our Q&A with Otter and Moose, Unnaaty & My Ooo Bear to find out more…
Pedddle: After such a turbulent year, it’s nice to have Christmas to look forward to. Will you be starting Christmas early, or waiting until December? Some people have their tree up already!
Otter and Moose: I absolutely love sourcing our Christmas products and I’m always looking for decorations in September for styling photos! I guess this fulfils my Christmas obsession so I’m happy to wait until December to decorate our house – much to my husband’s relief!
Unnaaty: I will still be waiting until December to start the festivities, as right now I’m preparing for Diwali (the festival of lights in India) which is on the 14th of this month.
My Ooo Bear: I think we can all do with a little Christmas cheer a bit earlier than normal this year – but I am a traditionalist at heart so my tree will come out as normal on the 6th of December – but I might just go a bit more crazy with my decorations!
Pedddle: We’re focusing on giving special gifts this Christmas to bring a bit of cheer. Why is giving to others so important right now?
Otter and Moose: I’m a big believer in the power of the perfect present! There’s nothing so touching as receiving a present, however small, that tells you that the giver has really thought about you and what you like. This year I think that matters more than ever. We’re all feeling a bit isolated and missing family and friends, so the arrival of a special gift on your doorstop has the power to convey friendship, warmth and thoughtfulness and really can brighten someone’s day!
Unnaaty: I believe there is no better joy than in giving something to someone. It can be the smallest of things, but if gifted with all your heart, it can make a lot of difference in another person’s life. It’s more important to send a special gift to someone this festive season because almost everyone is going through a really rough phase in their lives and sending a thoughtful gift is a way to remind them that they are special, are being missed and most importantly they are not alone.
My Ooo Bear: I think this year, more than most, we feel the need to connect with friends and family. Since we might not be able to spend time with each other this year, a lot of us are looking for that special gift to tell them just how special and unique they are to us, to get something we know they’d love. I know this year I have sent little gifts at completely random times of the year just to say I love them and so much more so this Christmas.
Pedddle: Tell us a little more about your business – what kind of gifts do you create?
Otter and Moose: We’re based in lovely Bedfordshire and try to source as many products as we can from Bedfordshire and the surrounding counties, creating varied gift sets for different occasions. However, I realised long ago that there’s so many fantastic products available from the whole of the UK that we can’t possibly restrict ourselves to shopping locally completely! All of our products come from small UK businesses and I love finding new suppliers from Etsy and Instagram – we all support each other.
I love to put together new box combinations but I’m also very happy to put together whatever customers would like in a beautiful box! That way you really can create the perfect gift for your family and friends, which suits your budget and is full of lovely treats.
Unnaaty: Unnaaty is a premium online store that curates eco-friendly fashion, bath and body and home decor products that pass at least one objective from our core value test; environmental friendliness and/or contributing to your wellness. Environmental friendliness is especially important to us.
We source all of our products from small businesses that sell eco-friendly products or social enterprises based in the UK that employ people who are challenged physically, have learning difficulties or are otherwise disadvantaged.
So, each product that you buy as a gift for someone from Unnaaty, gives you the joy of making someone feel special and also the joy of giving back to the community and the environment.
My Ooo Bear: We have a variety of Luxury Handcrafted Keepsakes (pictured below) but our Ooo Bears are what we are known for. We offer lots of ways to personalise the things we make too, so you can get something completely unique.
Each one of our Ooo Bears is unique and has its own special story to tell. They are a big emotional buy and are as much a gift to your children as to yourself. We use fabric that means something to you, to create a keepsake that will last forever. They bring together all your favourite items of clothing and the emotions attached to them, sewing them into a keepsake bear and allowing your beautiful memories to be on show so that you can talk about your memories and bring them back to life for years to come.
We also make bears for bereaved parents and families, these bring special energy to the Ooo Cottage and return home to offer much needed comfort, cuddles and memoires which are sometimes to hard to remember at first, but beautiful to remember in the future.
If you would like to gift a bear to someone, you can contact us for personalised gift vouchers to the amount you would like to gift. We have a luxury box option too, so you can gift them directly to a friend so they can buy what they’d like.
Alternatively, we all have that special outfit that we can’t bear to part with, let alone take a pair of scissors to it. With this in mind, we have created our very own unique range of Cut Out wall art for you to place over your special fabrics, letting your precious moments be relived, retold and remembered, so that you don’t need to get rid of an outfit or stash it away in a drawer, but can have it as a lovely memory on display. This makes a perfect gift for new parents or grandparents, or for a nursery decoration with a twist. You can choose from a Giraffe, Elephant or a Lion and create these amazing pieces of art with that one special item of clothing with NO cutting is needed!
In your opinion, why is it so important to shop small, independent and local?
Otter and Moose: Oh, where do I start! Firstly I think small independent shops are what makes High Streets now. To have a potter in little indie shops and stop off in a local coffee shop is one of the joys of life!
Secondly, when I started Otter and Moose I realised that there were so many wonderful local small businesses out there that I had just never heard of! There’s a whole community of creative businesses that have to fight for attention in an increasingly busy online space and I wanted to give them another way for buyers to find them. That’s why I’m so passionate about supporting local businesses and why it’s so brilliant to take part in national marketplaces such as the wonderful Pedddle!
And finally, shopping local really does make a difference to the local economy and to real people. I know it’s been said many times now but small businesses really do little jiggles of delight when you buy from them!
Unnaaty: I have always been a firm supporter of shopping from small and independent businesses. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a little luxury but I make a careful choice before I use the power of my wallet. Each time I personally shop small or independent businesses, I know I am buying a story, which makes the product more special. I also know that that purchase will help someone continue with their dream or expand it as the case may be, and there can be no better a feeling than that.
At a time such as this, it becomes even more important to support someone’s dream and livelihood if one can, when everyone is struggling.
My Ooo Bear: It’s important to shop small and local because each one of us makes every item with love and care, we go the extra mile and send you a little part of ourselves with your gift, and you don’t get that from big companies. We take the time to listen to our customers and offer a personal service AND it literally makes us do a happy dance in the kitchen while dunking a chocolate digestive biscuit into a cup of Yorkshire Tea… need I say more!
Whether you make small businesses do happy dances or jiggles of delight from buying their products, thanks for supporting them this Christmas! Check out our stalls page to shop from Otter and Moose, Unnaaty & My Ooo Bear or find other small businesses near you, and look for that perfect gift from an independent trader.