The items at tumbleweed in Kensington are neatly arranged in themed sections with an uncluttered feel that makes it easy to browse for gifts. Owner Amy Johnson, who opened the store in June 2018, says she sources roughly 90% of the products she sells from U.S. vendors, and most are things she has purchased and enjoyed before seeking out the vendors for her store’s inventory. Pick up a bottle of The Three Queens Honey (made in Silver Spring) or olives or jam as a hostess gift. You can also scoop up dish towels, bibs and burp cloths from Two Coconuts, a Kensington-based business, and wooden pens and coasters from Kensington artisan David Codner. Along with candles, soaps, lip balm and seasonal home decor, you’ll find items that feel more personal. Inspirational quotes printed on thin cardboard about the size of a business card are $3 (metal frames to hold them are $12). Small hand-painted pottery plates feature whimsical birds and squirrels and sell for $18.
10506 Connecticut Ave., Kensington, 240-558-3433, tumbleweedrustic.com
Olive & Loom
When you step into Olive & Loom, which opened last March at Pike & Rose, you might not think the small shop can cover all your gift-giving bases. But poke around a bit and you’ll find that owner Ferzan Jaeger stocks items—from a cute “garden in a bag” and jewelry to baby blankets, aspirational books and scarves—that can check off a wide range of recipients. Jaeger, an astrophysicist who worked in project management at NASA for eight years before going into the retail arena with her first store in 2015, sells many products under the Olive & Loom brand, from textiles to bath and body goods. Find dish towels, bathrobes, baby ponchos and burp cloths made from a soft cotton woven in a double gauze style. A throw blanket made of Turkish cotton goes for $64. You can mix and match olive oil soap bars (in scents such as honeycomb, jasmine and olive leaf) to create a gift set of three for $22. If you buy a candle that comes in a tin or a glass jar under the Kin & Care label, you’ll be supporting the women—refugees who’ve been resettled in the U.S.—that Jaeger hires to make them.
11815 Grand Park Ave. (Pike & Rose), North Bethesda, 240-558-3190, oliveandloom.com
Potomac French Market
Two Potomac moms, Teri Troxell and Rene Redfield Shaw, own Potomac French Market, a roadside shop in an old barn turned retail space. Opened in November 2018, the business started as an antiques store but now mixes vintage finds with new items. The outside of the store gives off a rustic French country vibe, and the inside is packed with gifts at a wide range of price points, including a colorful box of men’s socks for $30 and an aluminum bowl for $190 that is oven- and freezer-safe but looks just like silver. Montgomery County vendors are well represented. Wooden bowls created by Potomac teen Matthew Hagger would work well as fruit or salad vessels. Glass vases by Philip Valencia, who lives in North Potomac, come in fun shapes and colors. Local artwork, including abstract paintings in pastel colors ($95 to $1,000) by Christine Zmuda of Potomac, is peppered throughout the two-level store. You’ll also find skin care products from Skincando, a company based in Silver Spring, and hand-crocheted baby blankets and hats (including owl and pumpkin designs) made by Leanne Tijero. Vintage items include china and crystal. There’s furniture for sale, too (in case it’s a self-gifting day). Note: The store is open Thursday through Sunday, and by appointment on other days.
12211 River Road, Potomac, 301-807-9945, potomacfrenchmarket.com