‘Shop small’ is a mantra we should practice all year round. There are so many locally-owned gift shops in the area that the great supply chain disruption or a delay in shipping should never be an excuse for shoppers ever again. These stores carry everything from home goods and accessories, to spiritual and wellness tools, to clothing and games. There is something for everyone on your list, no matter the occasion. Read on to learn more about all these gift shops throughout Essex County.
Alchemy | 30 Church Street, Montclair
(Photo credit: @alchemy.scentbar)
Alchemy is a scent bar offering patrons a completely custom and hands-on experience. Customers can shop from a wall of over 100 fragrances, choose their vessel, name their scent and create a label for a one-of-a-kind gift. The store also carries a selection of premade candles and retail items for those who need to grab and go. Alchemy is available to book for private parties and frequently hosts events in conjunction with other local businesses.
Culture Couture | 53 Church Street, Montclair
(Photo credit: @culture_couture)
Culture Couture’s mission since 2003 has been “to give people a positive experience to feel good about themselves and the world around them.” The shop, which focuses on environmentally friendly and ethically sourced goods, has a wide array of spiritual tools such as crystals, tarot cards, and candles in addition to plants, accessories, and other items of the like. Lisa Johnson, owner and curator, hopes her store can convert mass-market consumers to conscious shopping and living.
Giftbar | 465 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @shopgiftbar)
Ted Lasso Christmas ornaments, beer-making kits, and a Soprano family cookbook walk into a bar… Giftbar that is. This trendy store is filled with greeting cards that will make you laugh before even opening, retro-style board games, and even handmade jewelry among other things. Sisters and co-owners Carli and Jordyn are self-proclaimed pop-culture fanatics so customers can trust the products for sale will not only satisfy the ultimate recipient but provide a good laugh for the gift-giver too.
Kokoro | 172 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood
Translated in Japanese, Kokoro means “heart” and that is an accurate representation of everything about this store in downtown Maplewood. Owner Susan Onuma hand-picks every single thing on display and always considers the diversity of her shoppers while doing so. There is something for every price point, every age, and the numerous cultures represented in the local community.
Read More: A List of Must-Shop Boutiques in Montclair
Love Letters | 2 West Northfield Road, Livingston
Parents be forewarned – walking into Love Letters with children may result in unplanned toy purchases and a sugar high, for you and the kids. The Montefuscos have been running the store, which is filled with games, candy, party favors, stationery, and seasonal items for over 20 years. The store also offers personalization for some of the items, great for kids’ birthdays, as well as gift-wrapping.
Main Street Cottage | 678 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona
(Photo credit: @mainstreetcottage1)
If the changing home decor based on the seasons is a hobby that brings you joy, a stop at the Main Street Cottage is a must. This one-room store is packed with candles, wall decor, pillows, and similar items produced by a mix of local and independent artists. Think Santa and snowmen statues for Christmas, plush turkeys and pumpkins for Thanksgiving, and florals for the springtime.
Meus | 98 Baker Street, Maplewood
(Photo credit: @meusshop)
Meus began as an online shop in 2014 and has quickly outgrown not one, but two brick and mortar locations ever since. Owner Marichelle is passionate about bringing people together, creating community, and surrounding customers with the things that bring joy to their minds, bodies, and souls. The store currently carries a variety of home decor, self-care and wellness items, and jewelry among other things all created by independent artists and creators. Shoppers can put multiple products together in a care package for a curated gift with a personal touch.
Mind Your Beads and Seeds | 147D Valley Road, Montclair
(Photo credit: @mindyourbeadsandseeds)
Owner Nia West-Williams started creating her own waist beads at home at the height of the pandemic shutdown. After sharing them on Instagram and receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback, Nia made it a business. Mind Your Beads and Seeds is what Nia likes to call a gift garden, which carries items like candles and soaps often made by local artisans, and of course, beads and plants. Follow the store’s Instagram for tips on plant care and upcoming events.
Parcel | 608 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @shopparcel)
The allure of a store like Parcel is not only its contents but also the shopping experience. Opening the small cubbies of vintage toys, grazing through shelves of stationery, and spinning wheels of ribbon or racks of greeting cards make customers feel as though they are on a treasure hunt. The treasures include a variety of paper goods and tools for wrapping and crafting, which are sprinkled with vintage objects throughout.
Pazzazed | 11 Midland Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @pazzazed)
Pazzazed is a boutique gift shop offering a selection of goods from Papyrus, Michael Aram, and other nationally recognized brands in addition to artists from all over New Jersey. There are candles and picture frames, which make great housewarming gifts, light fixtures, wall decor that add character to any space, and coasters and hats beaming with New Jersey pride.
Perch Home | 9 Highland Place, Maplewood
(Photo credit: @perchhome)
Even simply walking into Perch is a delight to the senses. The incredibly scented bath products and colorful array of items make it hard to not touch everything in sight. This luxury lifestyle shop is filled with everything from handmade mugs and jewelry to vintage art and decor. Every nook and cranny is filled with goods, making it nearly impossible not to pick something up. A bath soak or shower steamer paired with a face mask and a cup of tea together makes the essential self-care kit.
Pink Bungalow | 211 Bellevue Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @pinkbungalow)
Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, expressing appreciation, sending congratulations, or a get well soon gift, Pink Bungalow has exactly what’s needed. The store carries popular brands such as Alex & Ani, Corkcicle, and Voluspa. Pink Bungalow also offers monogramming, which gives any gift an extra special and personal touch. What’s not to love?
Pretty Handy | 175 Franklin Avenue, Suite 202, Nutley
(Photo credit: @prettyhandynutley)
Joyce Lin & Rob Noone are the power couple and craftspeople behind the local gem, Pretty Handy. Everything in the store is either handmade by them or made by another local artisan. Pretty Handy specializes in custom engraving and printing home goods and decor. From mugs to cornhole boards to wooden spoons to hammers can be personalized for that special someone on the receiving end. Look out for DIY tutorials and kids’ workshops to learn the tricks of the trade.
Smith & Company | 343 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell
(Photo credit: @smithcogifts)
From jewelry to hot cocoa bombs, leather accessories to home goods, Smith & Company has it all. This nationally recognized gift shop has been perfecting the art of giving since opening in 2007. This shop offers gifts for every age from newborns to adults and at every price point, making it hard to walk out empty-handed.
The Eclectic Chic Boutique | 547 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @theeclecticchicboutique)
This two-time Best of Essex winner has brought together over 30 local artisans, entrepreneurs, and creators since its inception to help them develop their brands and grow their businesses. In addition to the goods for sale at the store produced by the artists, Eclectic Chic offers patrons access to workshops, craft classes, and product demos. Locally, it is highly regarded as an inclusive space and creative outlet for all.
White Rabbit Black Heart | 219 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @whiterabbitblackheart)
When passers-by see the window of White Rabbit Black Heart, they are almost compelled by the stunningly intricate display to walk in and take a closer look. “Stop by and create a great story,” is what the store owner and Montclair native, Paul Giordano, encourages shoppers to do. The interior is stocked with jewelry, candles, and cards representing over 30 different women-owned businesses across the U.S. and U.K. Treats from Sweet Home Montclair, Giordano’s other brand behind the deliciously handmade chocolates known in town for over 10 years, can also be found here.