Light Up Night and Black Friday are both behind us, and it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts, Pittsburgh. But fear not, because we’ve put together a list of gifts made in Pittsburgh by Pittsburghers, so you can avoid the malls and feel good about supporting local businesses.
There are a lot of Pittsburgh companies making a lot of cool things: from 4Moms baby gear to All-Clad’s spectacular cookware, to Shark Tank sweetheart Simple Sugars’ skincare products, Pittsburgh makers come in all shapes, sizes and industries. So it wasn’t hard to find great Pittsburgh products that make great gifts. We’ve got antique mustache combs, fine whiskey and rum, and sexy iPhone cases and more for quirky and unique gift ideas for the hardest-to-buy-for Pittsburgher (or Pittsburgh-phile) on your shopping list.
Holiday greeting cards 5-pack, $15
Known for their irreverent T-shirts that pay homage to all things Pittsburgh, South Side-based screen printers Commonwealth Press opened a second shop this year in Mt. Lebanon, and is as quirky as ever. Their line of holiday cards sticks to their theme of Pittsburgh as center of the universe, with inscriptions that include the phrases “Are Yinz Movin’ Back Yet?” and “May your holidays be warm and filled with potatoes and cheese.”
Mustache combs, $68; Brass & Badger Shave Brush, $140; Silver and Brass Handmade Safety Razor, $398; Cuffs: from $44; Tie bar: from $40; Keyhooks: from $50
Everything at Braddock-based Studebaker Metals is hand-forged in their workshop. Their mustache combs are particularly gift-friendly for the bearded gentlemen in your life, but their cuffs, key hooks, tie bars and custom pieces are all uniquely Pittsburgh (and have the stamps to prove it). Read more about Studebaker Metals’ recent move to Braddock here.
Custom Wood Six Pack Puzzle, $34.99
(beer not included)
Based at TechShop in East Liberty, Puzzle Pax makes wooden puzzles that fit together to create fun and functional six-pack holders, with no glue or tools required. If you start drinking the beer before you put the puzzle together, don’t worry: They have an instructional video that takes you through the process step by step. They also make coasters from their scrap wood because they hate waste.
The Backpack No.2 – $197
Moop bags are designed and hand manufactured in the company’s studio on Hatfield Street in Lawrenceville. They’re all about small batch manufacturing, and design, make, pack and ship every bag they make. Their latest bag, The Backpack No. 2, is all-purpose, suitable for daily adventures or just plain old school books. It’s leather-free, made with a waxed canvas shell and nylon lining. A 15-inch laptop fits comfortably.
Spalted Beech iPhone 6 case $159
Recently featured in The Wall Street Journal, Kerf makes wooden iPhone and iPad cases, using sustainable sourced local wood. “Kerf” refers to the thickness of material removed from a saw blade, usually measured in thousandths of an inch. A quick internet search for gift ideas for 11 y/o girls will show you that this bag is truly trending and all the young ones want it. The phones are held inside the cases using only friction, so the entire front of the phone is unobscured. So those “Netflix and chill?” text message requests will be that much easier to see (and ignore).
Rounder’s Share Barleywine wheat whiskey, 375 ml. bottle $32; 750 ml. bottle $51
Strip District-based distillery Wigle has a slew of new beverages coming out in December, because they want you to feel as merry as possible. Upcoming releases include an absinthe (called Absint Minded), and a grappa. They’re also planning a limited release (only 1,300 bottles will be for sale) of their new Rounder’s Share, an Allegheny Wheat Whiskey aged in barleywine barrels from East End Brewing Co., which comes with a custom label by local illustrator Daniel Gurwin.
How’s that for locally-sourced?
Shampoo bar, $10 (yes, shampoo in a bar form. Who knew?)
Wilkinsburg-based Lovett Sundries makes soap and other cleaning products without all the chemicals you’ll find in big brands. Their shampoo bar is made of olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil and lye, and then cured for six weeks. The result? A shampoo that won’t strip your hair of natural oils so you won’t need a conditioner to follow. There’s more from this conscientious company: handmade home goods, and prints by local artists, as well as a curated selection of vintage and retro housewares. Pink-topped vintage shaker, perhaps? Or how about a spice shelf?
P is for Pierogi Baby one piece Bodysuit $20
(baby not included)
This super cute onesie is part of Garbella’s specialty food alphabet line (C is for “cannoli,” E is for “empanada”) of baby and home items designed by screen print artist Amy Garbark in her Lawrenceville studio. She even has a dish towel design with “Pittsburgh I love you” imprinted on it. But we really wanted to use this photo of a very cute baby. Can you blame us?
Natural coffee uplifting anti-wrinkle eye cream, $69.95
Uptown-based Renovo makes all-natural skin and hair products that are environmentally friendly: Most products are vegan, and all are cruelty-free and gluten-free. This eye cream featured here gets raves — it feels heavenly and smells heavenly, says one reviewer, and who can resist this description? “Organic Fair Trade coffee beans produce a fragrant, complex, and nutty vanilla bouquet. Anti-aging silk protein and stimulating caffeine help prevent wrinkles and reduce dark circles. Protect and uplift delicate skin around the eyes with this antioxidant rich eye cream.”
Check out their line of moisturizers, too, most around $15.
Spiced Rum $29.90 (Pa. residents only)
With its award-winning rum distilled from scratch behind their bar in the Strip District, Maggie’s is a fine representation of Pittsburgh’s past and its present, with the company’s origins dating back to before Prohibition. The spiced rum, an excellent cold-weather option, has eight different spices, vanilla bean and orange zest. Ask for some of their outstanding drink recipes such as hot buttered cider, perfect for the holidays.
Spiced Wine Jelly, Cran Persimmon Jam, $5 for a 4-oz jar, and $9 for a 8-oz. jar
Saxonburg-based Batch makes all of its jams and jellies in small batches, from produce they’ve either grown themselves, or that’s locally sourced. Think of them as a general store, suggests the two women who started it (you’ve seen them in Market Square for farmers markets) and know that their offerings change with the season and the moods of co-owner and cook, Jessica. Don’t miss the Monkey Butter and Pinot Grigio with rosemary. They also carry a wide assortment of candles, pillows, soap, lotions and jewelry, all good for gifts.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention shopping at the I Made It! market this weekend and the granddaddy of them all, Handmade Arcade on December 5th. You’ll find scads of made in Pittsburgh items to round out any list. And to make your shopping both fun and artful, check out the many wonderful museum gift shops in town as well as the exceptional shops at The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, The Pittsburgh Glass Center and Society for Contemporary Craft.
Love a Pittsburgh-made product we didn’t name? There are plenty so here’s your chance. Let us know in the comments.