Why Everyone Should Source Handmade for the Holidays

As the holiday season of 2022 approaches, your business is probably on the lookout for additions to the gift catalog. While sourcing gifts can be fun, it can also be tricky, as you have to choose right now about what could become a best-selling gift in a few months. We don’t doubt your affinity to the taste of your customers but we’d gladly help you on the way to source unique gift-worthy items that come with a story. 


In the past few years, we’ve seen a surge in demand for handmade items. E-commerce platforms such as Etsy have experienced a boom in sales and retailers and small businesses are ready to jump on the bandwagon, and definitely should. 

Handmade implies a story behind an object, taking a step back from mass-produced stuff that can be found in every cookie-cutter home. With more personal homes on display through social media, customers want artisans to furnish their unique spaces.


Qartaj has been invested in sustaining artisan businesses in Tunisia since 2015 and has created this platform to give them a global platform. Their handcrafts deserve a space under the Christmas tree, and in your customers' homes.  


As director of product development, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite and gift-worthy items, from new items by young artisans to best-selling classics, to help you source a great gift assortment for the holidays of 2022.


1. Fair Trade Olive Wood


Produced from organic waste wood, the olive wood products of Tunisia are known for their durability, anti-bacterial properties, and beautiful color and pattern. A true durable wood for kitchen use, it proves to be a great investment and great gift.

Our Sourcing Recommendations

1. Everyone needs one, but not everyone has a luxurious handmade set of salt and pepper mill. 

2. Small decorative items for the home are great gifts and this decorative olive wood bowl is perfect to fill a spot on shelves or in the kitchen.

3. For those loving good wine, we have a unique olive wood bottle stand balancing the bottle in a way you haven’t seen yet

4. To go with: a cute bottle stopper from 100% olive wood keeping your wine from going sour.

2. Fair Trade Textiles


Artisans use wooden looms to create textiles, a craft that is centuries old in Tunisia. Often taught from generation to generation, it is a true staple in Tunisian households and an excellent gift. Qartaj offers both the world-renowned lightweight fouta spa towels with countless different designs and sizes and the luxurious heavy woolen blankets known as batania. The environmentally friendly locally sourced wool will last a lifetime and the purchase gives back to the people of small agricultural communities.

Our Sourcing Recommendations

1. A Christmas Tree green fouta

2. A luxe feel dark blue fouta with a paisley pattern looks like wrapping paper.

3. Minimalists will love foutas for their lightweight and compact design, this white one is the perfect one to invest in.

4. A fouta with a soft pastel blue and white design that goes with everything.

5. A baroque print blanket in a lovely orange color that can be used to warm you up or as a bed throw in cold months.

6. This extra-large and extra thick black and white blanket looks good with any interior style. 

7. A thick warm blanket for the winter season in undyed natural wool with bobble details.


3. Fair Trade Jewelry


Rather new in our assortment are the mosaic-inspired necklaces by a one man operation in the city of El Jem, which is known for it’s ancient amphitheater. The designs are diverse and can be adapted to your taste. It’s a perfect gift for those that love Roman history, which the country of Tunisia reflects so beautifully. 

Our Sourcing Recommendations

1. Black and white abstract mosaic necklace ethically handmade in Tunisia.

2. The tiniest mosaic in a timeless circle design with silver and leather closure.

3. A beautiful small box for trinkets and jewelry, decorated with tiny mosaic in multiple designs.

4. Fair Trade Natural Fiber Bags


The halfa (seagrass) bag of “koffa” is a staple in Tunisian culture and is found on markets all over the country. They are woven by hand in small communities where other items such as hats, mats and lamps are also made. The koffa’s by Qartaj are made in the southern region of Gafsa by a young artisan called Rabia. She started her workshop a few years ago and she has since employed 6 other women in her workshop, providing financial support to 6 families and giving the women the opportunity to develop their self-sufficiency.

Our Sourcing Recommendations

1. A rectangular koffa bag with leather straps and a fun zigzag design.

2. A timeless addition to any handbag collection, this sturdy minimal koffa will be the perfect gift for many.

3. Function and simple beauty inspired this natural fiber envelope bag, which can be used for laptops and books.


5. Fair Trade Bath Maths 


Useful items for the home are always a successful gift. While we are specialized in large, 100% woolen handwoven rugs, we also got artisan lady boss Sihem from the region of Kesra on board of Qartaj. She has a startup that produces smaller cotton rugs with fun designs and pompoms perfect for any bathroom. Her workshop has 15 women artisans working on high-quality rugs, teaching them the ropes and providing financial independence. 

Our Sourcing Recommendations

1. Bring the sunshine in with this yellow striped bath math.

2. A gem-colored blue bath math that will add some luxury to the bathroom.

3. Bohemian will never go out of style if you ask me, and this soft brown bath math will complete the style for a bathroom.


6. Other Fair Trade Gifts To Consider Sourcing 

1. Tajines are a staple in North African tableware. It is used to cook and serve food and offers a unique flavor and cooking process. Tajines were popularised throughout the last decades all over the world and we've got locally handmade ceramic and clay tajines for you. Unicolor, natural clay or colorfully decorated... You can even customise tajines in design, size, and color.

2. Ceramics are always a great gift, especially if they're as unique as handcrafted Tunisian ceramics. Their traditional design in multiple colors bring a bit of mediterranean to any house or dinner table.

3. As a gift or to host elaborate dinners during the holiday season, olive wood cheese boards are the way to go. Their natural honey colored patterns add lots of depth and stay beautiful for many years.

We hope that this list has given you some inspiration for your own holiday catalog filled with gifts with a purpose, a story, and incredible handmade quality. You can give back when investing in a catalog that creates a fairer world for those in need. Invest in the lifework of highly skilled artisans looking to grow their businesses and benefit their community. Invest with Qartaj, your fairtrade partner.