Cool Stuff by Cool People

Just in case you need a few more gift ideas for awesome people in your life, allow me to make a few suggestions from some of the coolest people I know.

Restrepo Leather makes bags, belts, wallets and other leather accessories. The company was started by Robin and Jerry Tolochko, two good friends I knew in DC who moved to Bogota, Colombia. Curious to hear more about their story? You’re in luck, because they also have their own House Hunters International episode! Their leather goods are strictly handmade by talented artisans in Bogota, and they’re so awesome that one of their bags was featured in GQ magazine’s Best Stuff of 2013.


I wrote about Kancha before, and thanks to their successful crowdfunding campaign, their online shop is now open! Felt and leather sleeves for smartphones, tablets and laptops in a variety of colors and designs, produced fairly and ethically in Kyrgyzstan and Germany. I still use my smartphone sleeve every day.


Brooke lived in Bishkek before I moved there, which sparked a Twitter friendship and a few meet-ups whenever she swung through Central Asia. She writes a couple of travel-themed blogs and now she has started her own line of travel-friendly perfume sticks called AROAMAS. The genius part about these is that they fit perfectly in your suitcase without the risk of shattered glass and spilled liquid every where, not to mention it won’t count as part of any liquid restrictions in your carry-on. Way to go, Brooke!


And if you’re looking for something truly unique, my brother-in-law, Steve Fast, makes the most stunning custom furniture and accessories from different types of wood. Check out Fast Industries’ website or Etsy page to see some of his work!



So let’s see, if you’re interested in buying something local, I have a pretty solid chunk of the world covered for you. Nobody paid me to write this, I just wanted to spread the word about some of the cool things my friends are making that you can buy for the cool people in your life this holiday season!