Photo-Illustration: Strategist; Photos: Courtesy of Retailers
Shipping is lightning fast from Denmark and free, and the seller is so communicative and helpful. —Lauren Ro
In general, I’ve found searching by manufacturer rather than designer turns up more fun surprises — try Artemide, Cassina, and Kartell. Some great stores include Kooloo Modern, Midage Vintage, Retroxl, and WestEst Studio. Glas Atelier 69 is especially good for lamps; try Franzs Favorites for handles, drawer pulls, hooks, and other small home-décor items. —Erin Schwartz
My family has an “original” whale and an albino beluga in our home menagerie, and I can’t recommend them enough if you want to splurge on a gift for an extra-special kid or ocean obsessive of any age, as they would look just as handsome as a sculptural throw pillow on a well-appointed sofa. —Jen Trolio
Most are made by Anchor Hocking and Libbey (the latter of which still puts out some of our favorite glassware), so keep an eye out for those brand names and then just pick what you like best. —Emma Wartzman
One recently sold on 1stDibs for $320 more than what Batterby is asking. —Chelsea Peng
Saving the item also means you’ll get notified if it goes on sale. —E.S.
Lady and the Leash makes custom patches that you can iron or sew onto sweatshirts, bags, or whatever else you like (I got one for each of my two cats and stitched them onto Christmas stockings). I also adore the custom stained-glass portraits from Mind and Mineral, which once lovingly captured my sister’s dearly departed Saint Bernard, Charlie. —J.T.
[Editor’s note: The owner of Miss Maddy Makes is currently taking a break, but they expect to reopen in June 2023.]
It’s home to the mouse Strategist writer Lauren Ro put her littlest one in for his first Halloween, and the sweetest strawberry that the head of public relations at the Sill approves of. —Ambar Pardilla
I own three of these shirts with chaotic prints of postage stamps, tennis gear, and Christmas brownstones. It’s my favorite lesser-known Etsy fashion niche, and one that’s fun to revisit when brainstorming gifts for friends with particular interests. There’s one seller called Hooked on Honey that typically has lots of options in stock. —Caroline Weaver
Bathen co-founder Hannah Zisman has a pair from a trip to Marrakech and also several from Etsy, which she says are just as lightweight and stylish. —Arielle Avila
I had red-leather shearling-lined ones made for my family with a silly crest embroidered on them and was blown away by the quality. It’s the only option for custom slippers I’ve found online that aren’t cheap hotel-style ones! —C.W.
I just can’t pay for designer sneakers when they so closely resemble the much cheaper original. —Chris Black
This Japanese seller reworks vintage European and Asian workwear using boro patchwork and sashiko embroidery in a palette of mostly indigo and neutrals. It can be hard to find vintage workwear in petite sizes, but the patched and visibly mended jacket I bought from them is a perfect fit. —Winnie Yang
They are handmade in Latvia from fabrics like GOTS-certified organic cotton and merino wool. —W.Y.
You can restore a rusted skillet yourself with some time and elbow grease, but there are plenty of sellers who will do the hard work for you (and charge accordingly), using century-old cookware that is lighter and thinner and has a smoother cooking surface than what you find in new cast-iron pans. I got my beautifully restored Griswold skillet from Forgotten Foundries, but Cast Iron Archaeology is another highly rated and knowledgeable seller. Just be sure to check sizing info before buying, since old cast iron generally follows a numbering system. —W.Y.
If you buy new, most sellers will allow you to customize the fit and sleeve length, and you can add extra rhinestones for a fee. —K.L.
Listings with poorly lit, low-res snapshots with little to no editing — that’s where you’ll find the real hidden gems. —Kitty Guo
Sheer Potted Plants came through with a modern glass option that includes a saucer and is a fantastic upgrade to plastic nursery pots. —J.T.
Jazz up rolling luggage, your AirPods case, or any other smooth, nonporous surface with your name or initials. —J.T.
Author Minh Lê turned us on to these portraits painted by award-winning illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka when we spoke to him about the best gifts for grandfathers. —A.A.
I ordered a batch that said “Family” for my parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents a couple years back from this seller in the U.K. and it was a hit for Christmas. —A.A.
They range from the generic to the very specific (like if your friend is wanting a honeybee-themed shower). —A.A.
I like kitschy ’70s Wamsutta designs or anything old Marimekko. The Wamsutta “tomorrow’s rainbow” pattern is always a hit, if you can find it in reasonable condition at a good price — it was featured on Stranger Things. —Katherine Gillepsie
It has lived on my left-hand middle finger for close to a decade now, as bright and shiny as the day I bought it. —Kitty G.
These wide, multipronged forks are just perfect for lifting long and flaky little fish from the tin without it falling apart. In the meantime, there are loads of vintage sardine forks and lifters on Etsy. My favorites are the mid-century German kind with actual fish-shaped handles (here’s mine, currently sold out). —Katherine G.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.