Liz Canady and Susan Bush from Blue Atlas Marketplace share their top gifting tips for the holiday season
Tell us about Blue Atlas Marketplace. How did the company get started?
We are friends who are now family, married to cousins, but truly sisters at heart, as we have been in each other’s lives for thirty years. Collectively, we have enjoyed many years of working at iconic companies, including St. John Knits, Conde Nast Publications, Jude Frances/Sloane Street Jewelry, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and Apple. We have also loved careers as mothers to our four grown kids and our lovable dogs. Through all the businesses (both corporate and entrepreneur) and parenting, we have learned how to research, create, and produce lasting impressions and memories with our clients, family, and friends.
One day we were shopping and wine tasting in Napa Valley and came across a small boutique that carried a fabulous bag manufactured by a company with the proceeds going back to women in Botswana and later that day we visited a new boutique winery with fresh and unique wines. Then, Blue Atlas Marketplace was born! From that moment, we started curating a list of unique products that we loved and made them available to friends and family, who always asked us for our ideas for upcoming holidays, birthdays hostess gifts and other special event.
Have you noticed any general gift trends this year?
Personalizing gifts have been a big as well as our go-to tech gifts, portable charger and speaker water bottles.
Here are some gift ideas we recommend for the traveler in your life:
A friend who loves to travel:
There are many great options - a luxe wrap and eye mask (go to for carry-on when you are traveling by air or train). A leather pocket wallet and field notes holder - taking notes and keeping them together with your credit card is so convenient and a great travel tool. Assouline travel books are colorful and fun if someone has visited one of the highlighted locations. The clutch charger is great as the thinnest charger, which comes in handy when you travel.
A spouse or partner who loves to travel:
The leather-bound Atlas Obscura from Graphic Image.
Someone needing a child-friendly travel gift:
Travel set of dominos - games are such a big hit this season!
A college student:
The personalized canvas weekender is a favorite and always a perfect gift. Also, you can add a cozy throw (personalized, too) for a dorm or apartment.
What do you do when you struggle to find a gift?
When struggling for a gift for someone, usually, if you sit down and think of a couple things that they enjoy, you can always think of a book that corresponds with their interests - that is always a sure thing!
Is there a popular gift you would suggest people stay away from?
Every gift has special meaning whether practical or out of this world. So, I can't think of anything to stay away from.
You have traveled a lot yourselves – what is your favorite place to visit?
Having the opportunity to travel is one of the best gifts ever! Our favorite place is usually is the last place we visited. Part of Blue Atlas Marketplace's mission is to travel and find treasures all over the world. Recently, we went to Paris to shop the flea markets where we found antique cabinet hardware and antique posters for a client’s home we are designing. We then went to Morocco to shop the beautiful markets for hand-painted dinnerware, festive pillows, and colorful glassware. It is truly magical when you can bring special items from around the world back to our clients. In Morocco, we also met with a women's collective, where we spent an afternoon with women learning how they make healthy argan oil from the seeds and create oils.
What do you love about having a women-led business?
It has been amazing being part of a women-led and women-only business. The two of us launched almost three years ago and have expanded to include nine of us from the store, social media, concierge directors around the country, and our accounting and administration team. We start the day and end each day celebrating the opportunity to do what we all love!
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
We have been entrepreneurs for as long as we can remember - there is something special about creating a business and a brand from what you love. Being an entrepreneur just means that you are creating something that is a passion, dream and making it a reality of a business. Just take what you love and follow the yellow brick road it takes you on - everyone's is a little different and not always straight but will take you to where you want to be.
Where can people learn more about Blue Atlas?
Blue Atlas Marketplace is currently a place to find treasures and gifts for those you care about, love, or just want to let them know you are thinking of them. We can be found at www.blueatlasmarketplace.com or @blueatlasmarketplace.
Any other gifting tips this holiday season?
Giving a gift for the holidays consists of finding something that is personal, and many times personalized for the recipient that is receiving it. Whether you shop near or far, for a little or a lot, the intention of the gift is the most important thing!