In 1999, their founder Dave Bolotsky visited a Smithsonian Museum craft show in Washington D.C. and was captivated by the variety of unique handmade goods and the talented people behind them. He saw there was a significant public demand for beautiful design. At the same time, he realized that the artists working to make those pieces were often traveling great distances in order to sell their wares at the show. Inspired by his experience, Dave had a vision to create something that had never existed before—an online marketplace to connect makers and their creations with individuals looking for truly special goods, regardless of the physical distance between the maker and the shopper. Dave turned this idea into UncommonGoods. He continued traveling to craft fairs and trade shows, meeting artists and finding stand-out merchandise, while running the business out of his home on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Before long, the company had outgrown Dave's apartment, and moved through three successively larger offices in downtown Manhattan, eventually settling in our current location in Brooklyn, NY.
Here are some of our favorite travel and/or fitness gifts...
Anti-Theft Backpack. What a great idea for travelers! You'll feel more calm and confident on your daily commute with this high-security backpack keeping your valuables safe. Its stylish exterior camouflages a range of anti-theft features, from hidden zippers to slash-proof materials. Clever pockets tucked into the straps and back allow you to easily access your transit pass, cash, and other quick essentials. Roomy interior pockets not only keep your laptop, books, pens, and peripherals organized, but they also balance the weight carefully against your back, making it feel up to 25% lighter than the same load in a standard pack. The exterior is water- and spill-proof, with a layer of spongy, breathable cushioning against your back. For those long days on the road, an integrated USB port lets you access your phone while connected to your charger (not included) inside. And for those whose rush hour is spent pedaling, there's illuminating reflective strips to keep you visible.
Oh, the places you've gone! And the adventures that are still ahead of you! Travel can make the world feel smaller but also more grand and beautiful--which is exactly how this interactive map presents it. The map is printed in a refined gold-and-black palette, but take an eraser and scratch off the places you have visited, and vivid bursts of color are revealed underneath. Additional discoveries can be made along the bottom of the map, which features a row of infographics with interesting facts about world geography. Printed on sturdy cardstock. Made in the UK.
Running, fetching, and showering your human with love can be thirsty work. Designed just for dogs, this water bottle keeps your canine companion well hydrated on the go. With just a squeeze of the bottle, the attached dish fills with water at an inviting height for dogs to drink. This patented design is leak-proof and excess water drains back into the bottle to minimize waste. The adjustable velcro strap lets you attach the bottle to a backpack, belt, or wrist. Fits any standard car cup holder for easy one-handed access when driving. Food safe and BPA free. Made by Gary Ross in California.
Phone Charging Bracelet. Your nephew flew across five states to visit, and boy is he cute. Moments you want to capture: 987. The charge in your phone battery: 0. Luckily, you're wearing your Phone Charging Bracelet. With its lightweight, minimalist styling and polished metallic shine, it’s so cool you forgot it was a tool. You juiced up its rechargeable lithium battery two months ago, and the hidden LED indicators say it’s still charged. Slip off the bangle, insert the hidden Lightning Connector into your iPhone, and charge it up to 50% (depending on the model) in just 40 minutes. After you've distracted him awhile with candy (his parents don't need to know), it's time to record that joyful sugar high before he crashes. Designed in New York City.
According to the traditional Hindu system of medicine, the Water Element nourishes our self, soothes and softens us, and protects us from damage. This body-conscious bottle seeks to do the same thing for you. Not only does the double-walled, insulated bottle keep water at the ready when you're on the go, but it also has a textured, high-density foam sleeve that transforms the bottle into a portable massage roller for those overworked muscles and joints. Such a mindful multi-tasker will be especially welcome at the gym or yoga studio, or even at work after a taxing commute. The sleeve is removable for easy cleaning, and the stainless steel bottle can keep 25 ounces cool up to 24 hours, or hot up to 12.
Recycled Wetsuit Yoga Mat.
Retired from surfing and diving duty, neoprene wetsuits complete their California life cycle in this yoga mat. The cushioning, insulating material is recycled to create generously sized, premium quality mats that make great companions for your practice. Neoprene is a closed cell foam, so it won't accumulate dust and bacteria from yoga studio floors. Production of these mats keeps wetsuit waste out of landfills, and the mat itself may be recycled when its yoga days are done. Made in California.
Collar Perfect-Compact Travel and Touch-Up Iron. Jet-setting go-getters won't leave home without it. Studio apartment dwellers adore its compact design. This compact travel and touch up iron makes it easy to subdue stubborn curling in collars, puckers between buttons, and other hard to reach spots. A morning routine necessity with 5 temperature settings and international power support, this unique winged design allows for smoothing creases on the fly and rotates to offer a traditional shape for when your work duds need an all-over wrinkle eradication. Designed by Brandon Dierker.
Pocket Bike Pump. Sometimes, to move forward all you need is a little air. This compact bike pump fits in your pocket or pannier bag, keeping an easy supply of air at hand. Made from a tough but lightweight aluminum alloy and just 4.75 inches long, the pump fits any Presta valve tire and provides 90 PSI for on-the-go emergencies. It's a smart addition to your road kit that won't weigh you down
42291 Solarpuff Light. Keep the mood at the campsite bright with this inflatable SolarPuff™ that harnesses the sun's energy and provides up to 12 hours of illumination in three settings. With its sturdy shell made of water-tight sailcloth and weight of only 2.6 ounces, this versatile tool can weather any storm, and a flat-packable design allows it to slip in seamlessly with your camping gear, car glove box, or emergency kit.
Men’s and Women's Organizing Travel 4-Packs . Travel is complicated enough without fishing around in the bottom of your luggage as you try to find your specific items like charging cords and pairs of shoes. But it gets a lot easier when you're using these stylish pouches from designer Jennifer Jansch. Inspired by the pleasure of unwrapping a gift, she created this set of handy travel bags, each printed with a bold, black-and-white image of its content and sealed with a grosgrain ribbon. Use them to pack your shoes, blow dryer, lingerie, and laundry, and everything you need will be neatly contained, untangled and right where you need it.
Bike Multitool Keychain. Keep your keys on this beautiful stainless steel keychain that also happens to have a bottle opener and other utilities built right in. A pocketful of keys can be heavy, bulky and uncomfortable. That's why Michael Khamsot invented this handy multi-functional tool that not only keeps your keys organized and tucked away, but even keeps your prepared in an emergency. It starts with a stainless steel cast, stone tumbled and hand-finished for smooth, rounded edges. The eye at one end allows you to include bulky keys, such as some car keys, via the included keyring. The opening on the other end allows you to slip it seamlessly onto your belt loop. In addition to all of that, there's even a built-in bottle opener, for refreshment emergencies. Made in Portland, Oregon.