Boutique Chic: Distinctive Gifts for Uncommon Couples
Consider bypassing the big-box retailers and checking out the wares at these four independent emporia where style is paramount.
Although wedding planning falls on the shoulders of the happy couple, finding the perfect gift is up to the guests. You can, of course, go with traditional chain retailers, where many couples create gift registries. But when shopping for close friends with specific tastes, or if you’re a couple looking to register at a shop that carries one-of-a-kind goods, consider bypassing the big-box retailers and checking out the wares at these four independent emporia where style is paramount.
Home on Bishop, Dallas
“Unique” is the operative word at this gay-owned homeware shop in Dallas’ indie-spirited Oak Cliff neighborhood. “We offer one-of-a-kind merchandise,” says co-owner Ken Valencia. “We don’t replenish anything—once an item sells, it’s replaced with something different but just as beautiful.” Valencia and business partner Cody Ellison opened Home on Bishop in 2012, instantly earning raves for their smartly curated furniture, lighting, art, and jewelry. They focus on American-made goods, often made by local artisans. Valencia and Ellison are usually in the store and always glad to help zero in on the perfect wedding item. “One gift idea I’m particularly fond of are two modern-art abstract statues made from recycled materials,” says Valencia. “They are typically sold one male, one female. But, of course, we’re happy to sell a pair of male or a pair of female!”
502 N Bishop Ave, 214-434-1421, facebook.com/homeonbishop
“Practical objects and reliable, classic items” are among the finds at Spartan, a contemporary lifestyle shop in Austin’s historic Bouldin Creek neighborhood. Owner Currie Person stocks her store with both elegant and durable ceramics and glassware, handmade brass utensils, and tools from Japan and beyond. The stylish home accessories, textiles, and kitchen, bath, and bar goodies include familiar items transformed into objets d’art—like a shapely copper cocktail shaker and New Mexico–made knives with intricately inlaid wood. “One thing we’ve noticed with same-sex unions is a lot of times they’re couples who have been together for years and already have the domestic basics,” says Person. “So they come to us looking for handmade, unique pieces for their home, kitchen, and table.” You’ll find a great, user-friendly gift registry on Spartan’s website.
215 S Lamar Blvd, 512-579-0303, spartan-shop.com
The Tiny Finch, San Antonio
Located in the historic and stunningly updated Pearl Brewery complex, the Tiny Finch opened in 2013, stocking goods that impress even finicky newlyweds. “I opened my store because I was looking for things I couldn’t find,” says owner Courtney Beauchamp. Novel accent items and both globally and locally sourced decor deliver plenty of flair. For wedding gifts, Beauchamp recommends shareable household items like a boldly colored Moroccan wool rug or an indigo-dotted pillow fashioned from vintage African textiles. Be sure to include one of the cute letterpress same-sex wedding cards.
302 Pearl Pkwy, 210-253-9570, thetinyfinch.com
Manready Mercantile, Houston
From its Texas-centric, locally made flagship merchandise to handmade accessories, bar gear, and even distinctive drinkables like Charred Grapefruit Tonic, Manready Mercantile presents an eye-catching array of housewares and gifts that tilts to the masculine while still broadly appealing to anyone with discerning taste.
In Houston’s hip and historic Heights district, this handsome market feels more than a little cool. Think wood and leather accents, antique finishes, and apothecary goods—all with a style and sturdiness that honor Texas heritage in a man-ready kinda way.