Made-To-Order: 5 Canadian Companies That Put The C in Custom-Made

Creating something, anything, from scratch requires time, patience and skill. Buying from local artisans who do this not only supports them and their business, but also guarantees you’ll be spending your hard earned cash on quality versus quantity. This season “C” not only stands for Christmas but for us it means “custom-made.” Here are five Canadian companies who specialize in making custom-made, artisanal items that will make awesome holiday gifts for you or your friends and family this season.

1. Sonder Mill

If you’re thinking about heading to Ikea to pick up a piece of furniture for your place, think again. Who wants to sit, sleep or use something made cheapo particle board? Not you or anyone else you know. For quality craftsmanship head over to Sonder Mill an online marketplace which sells premium handmade goods by independent artisans based in North America. From clocks to dinnerware to décor and furniture, all items listed on the site are made-to-order, no two are alike. One piece we’re eyeing is this retro-looking, leather chair by Magnolia perfect for your man cave, a study or home library. sondermill.com

2. Biko

Enough about buying yourself a holiday present, it’s time to think about the females in your life and nothing will make them swoon like a piece of jewellery. For show-stopping and affordable wares, Corrine Anestopoulos is the woman to turn to. She started her company Biko in 2004 and has quickly become favoured by the country’s fashion crowd. The jewellery she makes – necklaces, bracelets and rings – are designed to evoke memories from the past and all are hand crafted with care in Toronto. Our gift pick is the Marni necklace made from hand casted vintage bronze. ilovebiko.com

3. Wildwood Insect Framing & Trading

They’re creepy and crawly, and many people would scream like a teenager if an insect, such as a Caucasus Beetle was within two feet of them, but Keith and Helen Warren have made a lucrative business out of framing six and eight-legged critters by turning them into works of art. Partners in life and business, they started framing butterflies in 1978 which later evolved to include other creatures such as beetles, spiders and scorpions – oh my! They prepare and mount all specimens creating collector quality pieces that would make a pretty awesome holiday present. wildwoodinsecta.com

4. The ReCYCLEr

Gears and gadgets guys will appreciate Gilbert Vanden Heuvel’s fixation on turning metal and bicycle parts into functional furniture, décor and every day household items. A native of Goderich, Ontario, Vanden Heuvel started out working with metal as a hobby and soon combined it with his passion for cycling. He’s turned gears into lighting fixtures, bike chains into colourful bottle openers and used bike spokes in wall art, as well as a feature piece in this funky bistro table. therecycler.ca

5. Slate Works

When you want to bring the outdoors indoors Calgary-based Slate Works is who you’re gonna call, as well as shop. Marie Hermanson started the company in 1997, turning grey river rock into ultra-cool home and garden accessories worthy of any dapper man cave. All of her pieces are handmade ranging from utensil holders, message boards and these sleek set of four coasters; just picture resting your favourite glass of scotch on this bad boy when you come home after a hard day of work. slateworks.ca

Kimberly Lyn

Kimberly Lyn is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her worked has appeared on StyleList Canada, 29 Secrets and GlobalNews.ca. She is also founder of the highly successful fashion blog The Souls of My Shoes, where she provides insights and thoughts on this world with a concentration on footwear. Find her at www.thesoulsofmyshoes.com and on Twitter @kimberly_lyn.

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