We all know the advantages of shopping locally: It's an investment in your community, an important way to keep money local during trying economic times, and a way to lessen your carbon footprint. But, what if you prefer to do your shopping from the sofa?
Never fear: there are still ways to shop close to home without actually leaving home.
Etsy, a website for vintage and handmade wares, is a great resource for the online shopper. The site has sellers from all over the world, but includes an Etsy Local page where you can select your location and only shop close to home.
Check out the lists below for jewelry, soaps, scarves, dog treats, spices, art, clothing, journals and other holiday gift ideas—all made in the Northwest Philly area and surrounding region.
- Bathtub Jungle, from Philadelphia, offers some unique jewelry items, like this handcut Octopus In Claw Bathtub necklace ($45), or similar necklaces with teeth, kitchen utensils or whales. There are some tamer pieces too, like this LOVE Necklace ($70).
- Charla Platt-Dobie: Charla is a Philadelphia-based artist who has her fingers in a little bit of everything. Her shop features a lot of jewelry, including a healthy amount of antique brooches and necklaces, but it also deals in general antiques and paintings, such as this Wissahickon Valley painting, going for $35. Visit her shop here.
- Paul Carpenter Art: Paul Carpenter takes recognizable Philadelphia touchstones and puts his unique spin on them. You've never seen a Phanatic that looks quite like this, and his interpretation of the Philadelphia skyline takes a cramped, almost Tolkien-esqu spin on the view of downtown. Among his prints and t-shirts, he features a design of the Indian Statue found in the Wissahickon Valley Park that can be yours for $20 plus shipping. Check out his store here and his website here.
- Real Fruit Jewelry: Philadelphia-based Real Fruit Jewelry takes nature's candy and turns it into nature's jewelry. The shop takes real fruit slices, rice, beans and lavender and turns them into pieces of jewelry through a process of preservation and finishing. A personal favorite is this cool-looking Kiwi Pendant, going for $38. Check out the store here and its second website here.
- Leah Creations Vinyl: In keeping with the theme of making jewelry out of non-jewelry, the Philadelphia-based LeahCreationsVinyl takes out vinyl records from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s and turns them into belt buckles, earrings and cufflinks. Leah takes custom orders and will accept shipped records if you've got a Steppenwolf album you'd like to wear around your neck. Check out her store here.
- (From reader Kevin Watkins) Another great local Etsy site is FoundRW which is based in Wyndmoor, but all it's influences are geared to Chestnut Hill. FoundRW attended the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts this year and sold out of everything by 1 p.m. We specialize in reclaimed furniture and sewing machine base tables and what not's along with push-pin boards. We just started updated the site with new items, check the site in the weeks to come.
For a non-Etsy gift, consider buying a gift certificate from Group On, Living Social, or another similar site. Both offer great deals on local restaurants, spas and businesses that can be used for yourself or bought as a gift. Living Social also offers another incentive: buy the deal, get three friends to buy the deal from a special link, and then yours is free.
Know an Etsy store with a Chestnut Hill or Mt. Airy connection? Tell us about it in the comments or by emailing Nathana@patch.com