Editor's Note: We're rolling out 10 Days of Indie Merchant Gifts, in our annual celebration of the artists, craftspeople, designers and other independent merchants who make one-of-a-kind products. See yesterday's list of gifts for pets.
In choosing our top picks (all priced under $50), we gave a lot of weight to the stories behind the products. After all, the story is how independent merchants can stand out from the mass-produced big guys. How often, when shopping in a big-box store, do you hear how an artist was inspired to create a pair of pretty earrings, or a dangly necklace? Probably never. So we factored in our merchants' tale of inspiration, plus we chose items for their uniqueness and value.