Shopping is inevitable. So why not support the work of other Maine women—crafters, entrepreneurs, designers and women who simply had an idea and ran with it. Dianna Pozdniakov designs stylish handbags that can make you a better—or at least, better organized—woman. Jewelry-makers Sarah Crawford, Mary-Theresa Tringale and Nichole Brown adorn, inspire and commemorate. Gabrielle Melchionda of Mad Gab’s makes the yummiest smelling stocking stuffers. Alanna York, inventor of Controlled Chaos, is a heroine for curly-haired ladies. Heather Lux of True North Beauty developed a blend of wild harvested Chaga and luxury oils for healthy skin. And Ellen Okolita has delighted thousands of children by giving them wings.
KA ORA Bracelets
KA ORA bracelets, founded and designed by Audrey Lovering of West Paris, are hand-embossed bangles that reflect positive thinking to empower the dreamer, celebrate the rebel and support individuality. Each bracelet is made individually, with no two exactly alike. KA ORA’s signature bangle is called The League of Extraordinary Women, symbolizing that behind every successful woman is a league of extraordinary women. There’s something for every woman on your list, whether you show your affection with the XOXO bangle, remind her of home with the 207 bangle or honor her faith with the Cross bangle. Bangles are made of silver-plated jeweler’s brass and are $37.
I Am Auntie Mary Designs
Etsy jewelry maker Mary-Theresa Tringale of Portland is inspired by the power of the two little words “I Am.” She creates hand-stamped inspirational jewelry. An aluminum cuff that says, “I am strong. I am alive. I am fearless. I am unstoppable.” A bangle that says,“She believed she could so she did.” Or a pendant that says, simply, “I am loved.” What better gift to give than affirmation?
For this custom piece, I AM STRONG is hand-stamped on a gold-filled bar hung from a gold-plated chain ($49).
Sarah Crawford Handcrafted
Native Mainer Sarah Crawford designs bohemian-style beaded necklaces with accent pendants inspired by Maine’s rugged beauty: antlers, an acorn, a pine cone or tourmaline. Her necklaces, bracelets and earrings are handcrafted of Japanese glass beads that won’t fade and strung on wire for durability. You can live in them! Custom orders welcome.
Sarah Crawford Handcrafted beaded necklace with pine cone pendant, $68 per stand, $128 per set.
State Plate Designs
When Nichole Brown of Portland lost her father, Bruce, she turned his Maine Veteran license plate into three bracelets and a keychain for family remembrances. Nearly three years later, she’s made state plate cuffs, earrings, keychains, ornaments and repurposed signs for thousands of Mainers and out-of-staters using tin snips and sanding and buffing by hand.
State Plate Design cuffs are $28 each, a little more for harder-to-find vintage plates.
Five Islands Body Care
207–837–1044 // five-islands-body-co.myshopify.com
Margaret Morris, the midcoast mom who founded this natural skincare line, uses raw ingredients from wholesalers with certified organic, kosher and vegan facilities; natural essential oils, not lab-made perfumes; and minimal—but cute!—packaging by a Maine designer. Available online and at select gift shops from Kennebunk to Bar Harbor.
At $9.75, the Lip Balm Trio is perfect for gift giving. Choose three from Rosemary-Mint, Grapefruit-Bergamot, Cinnamon-Tangerine, Citrus-Lavender, Caffe Latte, Carrot Cake Pumpkin Spice.
Long Winter Soap Company
11 Friendship St., Waldoboro // 207–449–2394 // longwinterfarm.com
Amanda Nelson protected her daughter’s super-sensitive skin by making her own soaps. Recipes were perfected and pretty soon there was an Etsy shop. More than a decade later, Long Winter Soap Co. products, from soaps to perfume oils to lip balms, are still made in small batches with skin-loving ingredients. Resist lip balms are a great stocking stuffer for liberal gift gifting, with $1 from each $5 lip balm going to Planned Parenthood (cranberry juice flavor), American Civil Liberties Union (soda), National Park Service (waffles), Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (tea and cookies) or Transgender Equality (strawberries, vanilla and blueberries).
1–800–547–5823 // madgabs.com
Long before the first tin of Moose Smooch was ever poured, sealed and shipped from the Mad Gab’s factory in Westbrook, Gabrielle Melchionda was making lip balm in her mother’s kitchen, just for the fun of it. Her company, Mad Gab’s, now headquartered in Yarmouth, has been producing natural and organic body care since 1991. Kids still love those whimsical Moose Smooch lip balms, and Mad Gab’s has branched out into body balms and foot balms to keep skin hydrated through the Maine winter. Pick some up at Hannaford for stocking stuffers.
Mad Gab’s has expanded to include MG Signature Body Balms and Foot Balms to keep skin hydrated through the Maine winter ($8 each).
Abigail Carroll needed something to treat her naturally sensitive skin, which was suffering from her new life working on the water at her oyster farm, Nonesuch Oysters, in Scarborough. Of course, she was surrounded by Maine seaweed, which is packed with antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals essential to health, inside and out. She didn’t find marine products on the market that reflected her core values: clean, natural, eco-friendly and aesthetic. So, with the help of skincare scientists, she started making them herself. So now she’s an oyster farmer and the founder of a skincare company whose products contain a proprietary Maine Seaweed Serum designed to treat even the most stressed out skin.
Nonesuch Body Oil ($40) and Nonesuch Face Oil ($70) are fortified with locally harvested organic Maine kelp.
Dulse & Rugosa
Mother and daughter Claire and Carly Weinberg harvest seaweeds and botanicals from Gotts Island, off Acadia National Park, hand picking each flower, leaf and piece of seaweed that goes into their soaps, lotions, scrubs and oils.
Like summer in a soap, Garden Thyme is a luxurious blend of botanically infused oils and butters that will leave your skin clean and moisturized. Each bar is infused with the power of sugar kelp, a powerful moisturizer that helps protect your skin against day-to-day environmental damage—like winter!—and hand-picked petals of peony, lavender and thyme ($10).
True North Beauty
Shortly after turning 40, Heather Lux experienced unwanted changes to her once-healthy skin and set out to design something both luxurious and nature-based. Inspired by Chaga mushrooms in her backyard, Lux started making and selling products at the Portland Farmers Market. Now grown far beyond Deering Oaks Park, True North Beauty boasts a variety of products containing Chaga, which is high in antioxidants and is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial—all essential for healthy, clear, younger-looking skin
Perfect for all skin types, True North’s four-piece petite collection includes travel-ready Solid Cleanser, Hydration Cream, Oil Cleanser and Face Polish, each formulated to work together to clean, exfoliate and hydrate ($32).
Head Games Salon for Hair & Body // 116 Free St., Portland // controlledchaoshair.com
Nearly a decade ago, Head Games Salon owner Alanna York developed a hair care line for curly hair: Controlled Chaos. If you’re tired of uncontrolled frizz or crunchy curls and want your curls to be soft, touchable and frizz-free, get on the Controlled Chaos website to order a 5-ounce tube for $24.99 and view the styling tutorials. Or just stop by Head Games and pick some up.
Tree & Vine
Also available at Daytrip Jr., 4 Dock Square, Kennebunkport // treeandvine.etsy.com
It all started with a little girl who wanted to dress up like a flamingo. Her mother, Ellen Okolita of Gray, soon switched the focus of her sewing business to costumes made of Eco-fi felt, which is made in New Hampshire from recycled plastic bottles. Tree & Vine costumes are inspired by nature’s winged creatures, with all manner of birds, bats and butterflies. Costumes range from $40–$150 for the wings (baby through adult sizes) and $60–$225 for a full set with wings, mask and tail (again, babies through adults). Because there’s nothing more stylish than strutting around like a cardinal.
BAG IT UP
46 Lisbon St., Lewiston // sofiafima.com
Daughter to Russian immigrants—her father, Fima, is a master tailor and her mother, Sofia, was a consummate fashionista—Dianna Pozdniakov developed a passion for meticulous Old World construction and impeccable style at an early age. In her own career as an architect, Pozdniakov remembers the three-bag schlep: carrying a purse, a laptop bag and a bag for her lunch, change of shoes and umbrella and other random stuff. She’d walk into a design meeting and fumble around, looking for what she needed. That was her epiphany (even before she became a mom and had more than one person’s stuff to carry). Pozdniakov designed Sofia Fima, a brand of stylish handbags with organizational inserts, to make it easy to find everything you need—whether you’re with the kids, at work, traveling or heading to the gym—without clumsily carrying everything you own. Order online or visit the Sofia Fima storefront in the renovated Lewiston Deposit & Trust Building on Lisbon Street.
The Main Squeeze Tote is available in navy (as shown), blush and grey ($465).