When I was a kid on family vacation, the ultimate “get” for a souvenir was usually a T-shirt. Nothing against T-shirts. Admittedly, even now as a full-fledged adult, I’ll buy a souvenir T-shirt from time to time. Lately, however, when I’m visiting someplace new, my retail focus has shifted to something else. Something special. Something that has a story attached to it. A uniqueness that is wonderfully tied to my getaway spot. And when I find it, I treasure it, knowing it will be my own little piece of happy long after that T-shirt can no longer be worn in public. Lucky for you, when you visit historic Savannah, you’re right in the thick of an artisan hub like no other where uniqueness abounds and we’d like to share just a few ideas with you to make sure you take home your own piece of happy, too.
There’s something about leather. It’s timeless. The more it weathers and ages, the better it gets. Just ask the Satchelettes at Savannah’s own handmade leather goods store, Satchel. The key word there being “handmade” and trust me – this is the real deal. I’ve been to their sewing space in downtown Savannah – exposed brick, canvas aprons, piles and piles of leather scraps, and smiling artisans happily sewing what could be your very own prized keepsake.
Founded in 2006 by Savannah College of Art and Design graduate Elizabeth Seeger Jolly, the Satchel boutique at 4 East Liberty Street is a beautiful spot to browse freshly handmade leather creations or even collaborate with a Satchelette to customize your very own bag! But if you’re looking for a foolproof find, Katherine Dagen, head of customer relations, recommends one of Satchel’s reversible leather cuffs: “With two bracelets in one you can rock one side with jeans and a T-shirt and then wear the other side with a great dress.” And if you can’t choose just one, go ahead and get a few – you won’t regret it!
Leather bracelets may be unique to Satchel, but you’ll discover bracelets, earrings, necklaces – jewelry collections of every kind – when you step into Zia Couture Jewelry at 325 West Broughton Street. At the young age of 24, Zia Sachedina opened his store in 2005 and has since created countless jewelry pieces and chic collections, all influenced by his diverse, multicultural upbringing and extensive travels throughout the world. One step into his boutique and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Pieces as unique as the customers who love them, owning one of Zia’s designs beautifully embodies the idea of travel while reminding you of your one-of-a-kind Savannah experience.
I’ve never been one to turn down leather or jewelry (who does?) but lately, my vacation souvenir obsession has become candles! The scents from a destination are like an old song that can take you back again and again. For the perfectly scented memory of your stay in Savannah, you’ll want to seek out Salt & Shore Company. Founded in 2016 by Lowcountry native Mandy Mathis, even the names of Salt and Shore candles conjure up fancies of the South like “Midnight Oaks” and “Salty Kisses.” There’s even a “splendid Savannah” candle sure to transport you back to the hostess city with every flicker of the flame. Visit their website for a list of local Savannah retailers or buy online to tap in to your vacation memories any time you choose.
Let’s continue our scent-ilating journey with a stop at Nourish, located at 202 Broughton Street. Every salt scrub, soap, bath fizzy, essential oil and more that you see is all handmade right here in Savannah from the best ingredients Mother Nature has to offer. “Our bar soaps are a crowd pleaser,” said owner Shoshanna Walker. “The soaps are how we got famous and continue to be a favorite with their natural base of skin moisturizing oil in a variety of scents.” And just think, every time you use your Nourish products at home it’s like being back in Savannah – plus you’ll smell amazing and your skin might just say, “ahhhh” – that’s one amazing souvenir!
What if you could find one spot in downtown that showcased art, jewelry, sculpture and more, all handcrafted by some of Savannah’s most prominent and favorite artists? You can! Just stop by Kobo Gallery at 33 Barnard Street. This award-winning artists’ cooperative has been showcasing some of Savannah’s most unique creations for more than 11 years and offers you an inviting, relaxing space to find the piece that’s as unique as your stay.
Just as Kobo Gallery bring talents of many artists into one brick-and-mortar location, Make Savannah brings together a diverse collection of unique creativity into one online source! It is self-described as a curated collection of inspirational brands and the people behind them that make Savannah distinctly special. Without a doubt, Make Savannah is all about keeping it local and encouraging a creative entrepreneurial spirit from the city’s many “Makers” as they’re known on the site. Among some of the featured Makers you’ll find endless delights from Salacia Salts, founded by Savannahian Cari Phelps. With its environmentally responsible ingredients and packaging, Salacia Salts offers natural skin care products inspired by native Southern botanicals and the spirit of the sea (and I hear once you try their ‘kiss my grits’ lip scrub, you’ll be hooked!). You can browse all of Salacia Salts’ products online or at its downtown Savannah studio located at 208 West Hall Street.
Another featured Maker is Colas Modern, innovators of handcrafted furniture and home goods. Founded by David and Lara Colas, each piece is made from materials sourced locally with custom finishes applied by hand. Talk about unique! From a beautifully simplistic end table to a tuxedo-influenced cutting board, you’ll want to browse Colas Modern. In addition to its online store, Make Savannah also hosts various events throughout the year where you can meet the makers while browsing their many creative wares. Check the Make Savannah website and Facebook page for up-to-date details.
Take home one or all! Whatever keepsake you choose, you’ll have a beautiful memory of your stay in Savannah when you shop these inspired products – all uniquely handcrafted in Savannah. Have fun!
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