(The Shopping List)
I’m A Fashion Editor — These 12 Instagram Brands Are My Go-Tos For Gifting
You’ll want something for yourself, too.
Every time I come across a cool, small brand that I’m unfamiliar with on Instagram, I save it to my account. (Many of these Instas have less than 100k followers, if that.) Over the years, I’ve accumulated a list of businesses, ranging from fashion to home, that come in handy when I want to treat myself to something that’s not from mainstream retailers or when I want to get creative with my gifting for friends and family. This holiday season, especially, I’ve found it useful to browse my list of small brands from Instagram for unique gift ideas.
If I wanted to buy a candle for someone, I’d look to YUI BROOKLYN — a Brooklyn-based brand that specializes in Kawaii candles. (They come in different shapes and sizes, from flower silhouettes to a mold of a woman’s figure.) Or, for my friend with the green thumb, I’d present her with a cute little bonsai tree from Dandy Farmer. It’s important to support small businesses year-round, and I credit Instagram for introducing me to ones I’ll continue to buy from forever.
Ahead, I share the 12 brands I discovered via Instagram that have a great selection of products. Whether you’re looking for a special present for someone (Salamat Ceramics offers amazing vases) or want to pick up an item for yourself, you won’t regret buying from the shops below.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
This brand popped up on my Instagram explore page one day and I was immediately taken with the cow print shoulder bag. The accessory's minimalist vibe and silhouette will appeal to those who also love labels like BY FAR and STAUD. All the vegan bags retail for under $100, with my fav — the cow print style — priced at $36.
This Los Angeles-based label was started by designer Yitai Geng in 2016 and it specializes in artisanal knitwear. The unisex garments, more often than not, come in splashy vibrant citrus hues and whimsical floral designs. YITAI even offers a small sample of pet accessories, so you can gift something to your favorite pooch, too.
I love a well-curated online marketplace because it really helps to narrow down the best of the best. GOODEE — founded by designers and entrepreneurs Bryon and Dexter Peart (the duo previously started the fashion label WANT Les Essentiels) — boasts a unique selection of lifestyle goods. You can find everything from a hand-embroidered pillow to skateboards featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artwork. As for me, I have my eyes on this handblown Ikebana Vase.
For knitwear that also looks like a piece of art, check out PH5. You’ll recognize the label’s ready-to-wear instantly via its architectural elements like a wavy design on a knit skirt. The next time you’re tempted to buy another neutral-colored cashmere sweater, redirect yourself to PH5 for a more out-of-the-box option.
I never thought I’d call a puzzle set “chic,” but that is exactly what Piecework Puzzles has managed to do to this pastime activity. Its founders Rachel Hochhauser and Jena Wolfe set out to create visual designs that were not only interesting to solve, but also enjoyable to look at. The result was puzzle sets full of life and color, perfect for displaying on your wall in a frame or just out on the table after you’ve completed them. The Rise & Shine 1000-piece puzzle would make for a cute housewarming gift.
I had a green jade pendant when I was little and I rediscovered my love for this gemstone through seree. The brand modernizes jade jewelry for millennial fashion gals like myself, offering chunky rings and dainty earrings. I especially love the styles in the non-green variety like the Mandarin Orange Jade Stone ring or the Sesame Gray option, below, which I wear almost every day.
During my search for new outerwear this year, I discovered HALFBOY via Instagram. The label was founded in Milan in 2019 and designs its pieces based on the style aesthetic of the late 1980s and 1990s. You’ll fall in love with its luxe varsity jackets and shearling leather coats. As for me, I am obsessed with the Vintage Gilet vest.
If you’re going to gift a candle, let it be colorful, whimsical, and decorative. You can find all these qualities in the waxy options from YUI BROOKLYN. The candles are made with natural materials such as soy wax, dried flowers, and essential oils. And they’re all super Kawaii in their designs, which is a nod back to founder Yui’s Japanese roots.
I was watching my favorite OG influencer Aimee Song’s Instagram story one day when I came across her post about Salamat Ceramics’ plates. Upon perusing the brand’s Instagram, I came across its donut-like vases, which I love even more. They’re calming to look at and they embody that minimalist vibe. Since Salamat Ceramics is a small-owned business, the items sell out quickly and take time to remake — so if you see something you love, buy it ASAP.
One of the easiest ways to liven up a space is to add some greenery. Dandy Farmer specializes in selling delicate Bonsai trees in all varieties. If you have a friend or family member who lives in a big city (like NYC) or lives in a place with little access to nature, gift a mini tree to them. They will feel so much more connected to the outdoors.
I’ve discovered so many Black-owned brands on Instagram, including NiLu. This Harlem-based online lifestyle label offers books, candles, posters, and other thoughtful goods should you need a stocking stuffer filler or a unique present for someone special. If you want to support Black-owned businesses, add NiLu to your list of places to buy from.
I always fall for Instagram ads and that’s how I found Barcelona-based label eikō ai. Its ready-to-wear pieces are light, and vibrant. You can find sheer lace tops, crisscross bralettes, printed button-downs, and silky sets you can actually wear to work. For the hard-to-please fashion lovers in your life, present them with any piece from eikō ai and they will surely become obsessed with the brand.