September 07 2010
Remember the satisfaction derived from truffling out an unexpected treat in a street market or finding a really unusual present for a friend in an off-the-beaten-track boutique? Sadly, the experience is all too rare these days, but a visit to this online marketplace might bring about a similar pleasure. With 35,000 products designed, made, or selected by 1,600 independent small businesses, logging on to Not on the High Street is a bit like entering Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar – although considerably easier to navigate and altogether less hassle.
There are plenty of departments to click with – or, if you’re in a hurry, handy shortcuts will whisk you to “favourites”, “what’s new” or “personalised items”. Refine your quest in a matter of moments as you shop by recipient, occasion, personality or category.
And there’s plenty of inspiration here for all tastes. Does your partner fit the “style savvy” category? A Bugatti espresso coffee machine (£599) might be just the thing. Know an eco-warrior friend who is “inspired by the seaside”? A deckchair covered in recycled sailcloth (£120, first picture) could be the perfect present.
As for children, in the “traditional toys” category you can rediscover almost forgotten joys such as a pink stripy hobbyhorse (£20), a smart, shiny, vintage pedal fire engine (£165, second picgture) and even an old-fashioned classic bike horn (£4.95,third picture).
Instant solutions to gift-buying dilemmas make this website one to bookmark.