If you’ve ever wanted to send a gift basket to a friend or family member, but didn’t want to go through an impersonal internet business, Madrona Gifts is a perfect solution. Run by Kirsten Lutes, the online shop’s goal is to support local businesses from Whatcom County and the Salish Coast while remaining environmentally responsible.

“I’d always wanted to start a business of some kind,” says Lutes. “I was excited about accessing all the great local products that I was already familiar with through local arts and farmers markets. It just took off because it kind of had a life of its own.”

Lutes goes on to share that the increase in online shopping during the pandemic initially concerned her, but ultimately inspired her with the idea for her online business, Madrona Gifts.

“I have a really hard time with e-commerce, which is kind of ironic considering my business is e-commerce, but I wanted to offer a way to do it differently. A way to buy online but in the process to support your local community. You’re not just buying from these international conglomerates from who knows where across the globe, you’re making purchases that actually have some kind of impact on your local community. That was important to me.”

Lutes has always valued shopping locally.

“I love the idea of community commerce,” she says. “I’ve always done that for gifting anyway, and would just pull together my own gifts from things that I’d gotten at markets or crafts fairs. I started to realize that this would be a really good service potentially for other people, and would support the makers and crafters in our community.”

Lutes wants to sell items that spread joy to other people.

“We all need gifts to extend well wishes, greetings, and gratitude,” she says. “This was something I felt good about offering as an online business.”

Finding goods to sell was the fun part, as Lutes researched local makers and artisans.

“Our region is rich in a culture of crafting and creativity. I couldn’t stop finding all these great makers and all their great products,” she says. She offers edible goodies like chocolate from Chocolate Necessities, local honey, coffee from Maniac Coffee Roasters, and smoked salmon from Lummi Island Wild, as well as botanical and aromatherapy products, soaps from MW Soapworks and Samish Bay Soaps, soy candles, and hand-printed tea towels. Customers can create their own gift packages with the Build-aBox option, or buy various themed curated gift baskets (packaged in hemlock boxes for local delivery).

One of her most popular options is the Whatcom Select gift basket, an all-edible assortment of goods entirely from
Whatcom County, with the Home Sweet Home gift a close second. Lutes’ personal favorite collections are the Happy
Glamper and Outdoorsy, which include items designed to get people outdoors, like enamel mugs, beanies, or citronella soap. There are also collections for new babies with onesies and toys, and a Pampered Pup gift with a hemp toy and a dog bandana. Curated packages can be personalized with additions from the Build-a-Box section, plus there are some options like choosing drip or whole bean coffee, or swapping out different chocolate bar flavors.

Madrona Gifts ships nationwide, with free shipping for purchases over $79, but in the interest of avoiding extra packaging and waste, they also offer free delivery within central Bellingham. Gifts can be picked up directly from Madrona Gifts’ studio as well.

112 Ohio St., Ste. 117, Bellingham