Melissa says... Shopping ideas for Christmas Words - Melissa Forsyth

Photos- J Forsyth

I don’t want to get all preachy, but in light of recent, well-publicised tragedies including factory workers in Bangladesh, many of us are looking beyond the massive, global retailers to small, local retails and artists for gift ideas. Here are a few Melbourne based companies we think will hit the spot because of their locality and their talent.

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Flower Boys, Chapel Street St.Kilda East - Flower Boys is a florist, but not the type where you walk in and buy your mum a bunch of week old flowers. Flower Boys is an experience, a taste of a different, quirky, creative lifestyle. You can buy cut flowers, but you can also buy pot plants, terrariums and gifts. You can even buy a loved one lessons on how to make those cool moss ball pot plants.

Lark, Gertrude Street Fitzroy - Lark started life as a wholesale brand, selling Lark home wares and accessories to independent boutiques around town before opening up a store in Daylesford. Luckily for us, they are now located in Gertrude Street. The store is packed with cool bits and pieces - picnic sets, welcome mats, art, kids toys and accessories.

Obus, Northcote - If you want to buy clothes this Christmas, perhaps you could check out a local designer and support the local rag trade instead of visiting the big guys on Boxing Day. Obus is designed in Melbourne and locally made. Classic cuts, beautiful fabrics, bold prints and original, what more could you ask for?

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Spacecraft, Gertrude Street Fitzroy - A little bit pricier than the others, Spacecraft sell contemporary art, home wares, furniture and accessories. If you want something original and if you like colour, pattern and texture, visit Spacecraft.

The Big Design Market - Exhibition Building - The Big Design Market is held once a year and brings together small local and international labels and artisans selling everything from women’s clothes, accessories, home wares, jewellery and stationary. I don’t want to sound like a cheap catalogue, but you really will find gifts for all your loved ones at The Big Design Market. It ends on Sunday so you better skedaddle!!!

American Vintage on Brunswick Street has the most amazing boot collection you will find this side of Texas. John is keen to help, discuss your foot type and run you through how all the sizes work. Get on down.

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Use your dollars wisely good people.