With over two months left to Christmas, it's admittedly a bit early to look for gifts - but when there are sites like these...

In the last few years online retail has gone off on a veritable tangent; where once huge global brands dominated the web, now it falls to online marketplaces such as Notonthehighstreet to bring the charm, individuality and unique attributes of gifts, crafts and homewares to the masses. Yes if you’re looking for something handmade that you won’t see replicated from here to kingdom come then these are the sites to peruse…
 
MADY BY HAND ONLINE

Contemporary craft website madebyhandonline.com sells and promotes the work of top British designer makers. Set up by friends Sarah James and Katie Honnor (who have 20 years in-depth knowledge of the craft sector between them), this engaging website will help you find the best in handmade homewares, fashion and jewellery from craftsmen and women across the country.
 
SEEK AND ADORE

An online boutique specialising in handmade and unique homewares and accessories, Seek & Adore sources all its goods directly from designers and makers all over Britain. It's a veritable treasure trove of stylish handmade gift ideas including decorative accessories, stationery, pots and containers, tableware, vases and vessels, contemporary jewellery, scarves and bags and more.
 
NOT MASS PRODUCED

Not Mass Produced by name, not mass produced by nature - the jewellery at this site is handmade by artisans from the UK and Europe and certainly won't be found in your run-of-the-mill high street store. The range of silver jewellery from Grace Designs is inspired by nature and features flower and leaf design earrings and pendants; there are handmade trinket bracelets and charm necklaces from Rachel Llewellyn's narrative collection; Daisy Florence's wearable textiles can be pinned to scarves and jackets or used to decorate bags. Or how about a Zoe Woods brooches, carefully crafted using traditional techniques? Whatever your poison it’s all there in abundance.
 
WOWTHANKYOU

Launched last year, WowThankYou helps give exposure and sales to small UK craftspeople and artisans. Set up by stay-at-home mums who wanted to champion home-grown talent, the WowThankYou website is now run solely by Tracey Kifford, who aims to encourage consumers to buy UK designed and made gifts, which have been made rather than mass produced. Tracey's long-term aim for the site is for it to become an online department store, where consumers can source pretty much anything, but where everything has been designed and made on a small scale within the UK.
 
FROM BRITAIN WITH LOVE

Buying quality British-made products is easy at FromBritainWithLove.com, the online shop and guide to the best crafts, unique homewares, original designers' fashions, locally sourced food and handmade gifts. The site is dedicated to showcasing Britain's most talented designers, craftspeople, producers and retailers, and trawls the nation's studios, workshops, factories and farms to find the best of the best. 

ETSY

Another stalwart of the industry is Etsy, the online marketplace that has been bringing a huge cornucopia of goods to the masses for as long as this particular business model hit the World Wide Web. The site is part of the B Corporation Movement, which means they use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems in the wider world. Altruism indeed.
 
ROCKPOOL TRADING

Rockpool Trading provides an engaging shop window for the work of talented artists and craftsmen from the West Country. As its tagline goes, 'Local design, global appeal', this recently launched online gift shop focuses on individual handmade gifts and homewares made from recycled, reclaimed, ethically sourced or organic materials.
 
MADE BY MUMS WITH LOVE

Made by Mums with Love is the site that devotes an entire platform to helping mothers of all ages, shapes and sizes to sell their carefully handmade wares. From personalised gifts and cards to homeware and presents for special occasions, you'll also find handmade children's clothing and accessories. Everything is handmade in the UK, under the watchful eye of founder Louise Grimes, who saw the ‘beautiful creations' of mothers in her friendship group and set about bringing them to the masses.
 
NOT ON THE HIGH STREET

And last but certainly not least, we mentioned them once and we’re mentioning them again because well they deserve it; notonthehighstreet are leaders in their field and for good reason - they came, they saw, they proved the business model worked and in the process spawned a whole host of copycat sites. They’ve even written a book about how to build a business from your kitchen table, and to top it all off co-founder Holly Tucker is presenting our awards. What more is there to say?
 
September 2013.