Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Holidays 2019 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.
Bridgett Beckwith’s friends and family can expect some amazing holiday gifts each year.
The business owner, marketing consultant and avid shopper from Traverse City prefers shopping for gifts.
“I really am more a shopper (for) gifts for other people; I’m not a big shopper for myself,” she said. “That’s why I like to find unique things at local shops — gifts that are personal and not cookie-cutter.”
Beckwith attends the Traverse City Shop & Sip handmade holiday craft market each year in order to find great gifts.
“My daughter Izzy and I have been going since it officially opened seven years ago, and it’s grown and evolved since then. I really love the concept of being able to go and have a glass of wine, and shop these local vendors and artists,” she said.
“The thing that’s cool about this event is how selective the person is that puts it on. She has really good taste and she only has quality items at her show.”
Natalie Byrne, organizer of Shop & Sip, has known Beckwith for years and said it’s always great to see “repeat offenders” at the show held in November at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
“She (buys) a lot of jewelry, and I know she does a lot of gifts,” Byrne said.
This year marks a new beginning for Beckwith and her daughter at Shop & Sip, as Izzy is selling her jewelry in a booth at the craft market. Beckwith said Izzy was inspired by the vendors she saw there over the years.
“That fed into her desire to do something with her art, and just seeing people be successful at that, it inspired her to do it herself,” Beckwith said.
“It’s kind of cool that it’s evolved that way,” Byrne said of Izzy’s transition from young shopper to teenage entrepreneur. “We really like to encourage young makers to follow that gift they have in making things, and to go out in the world and have a little entrepreneurship going on.”
In addition to the craft market, Beckwith has found certain local and area shops that fit her gift-giving needs for her family.
“Brilliant Books is always super helpful to help you pick out the right thing — whether it’s for my teenagers or for my husband who reads five books at any given time,” said Beckwith, who also frequents Coastal in Glen Arbor and The Front Porch in Suttons Bay.
She said local shops also are particularly helpful when looking for a gift for an acquaintance.
“When I’m stuck and don’t know specifically what to do or what to get somebody, I literally just go downtown and go in different shops and see what jumps out at me,” she said. “You can get something unique and quality.”
Beckwith sees the value of local stores in vetting their merchandise.
“You feel like they’re personally invested in the product they’re carrying — you already have somebody who has spent time going through tons and tons of products and pulling out the best ones,” she said. “If you go and shop online, it’s endless; where do you start and where do you end? If you shop locally, you already have somebody who’s done that legwork and they’ve found the ￼best products.”