Geeky Gifts and Where to Find Them
Gift giving, let alone Geeky Gifts, can sometimes be problematic. It’s pretty difficult to get an interesting gift when you don’t have much to spend, especially when you don’t want just any old generic junk from the High Street and none of us wants to be the person who does THIS to someone:
That is what I got from my Secret Santa at work. A friend of mine suggested that my being a Geek had made me hard to buy for and that non-geeky people just “Wouldn’t know where to start” and “People might be intimidated by the Geeky merchandise sites, they’re all really dark in colour and everything costs a small fortune” I have no idea what sites they were talking about but it got me thinking; If you weren’t into the fandom/convention/geeky culture yourself you may not know where to start with getting a thoughtful gift that won’t drain your bank balance when shopping for Geeky Gifts.
The following websites (listed in no particular order) are all market place style, multi retailer sites with no specific Geek or Nerd affiliation. I’ve used the same generic searches – the key word `Geek` and upper price band £10, the least specific search I could think of – and all came out with loads of choice. This list is great for Geeks and Non-Geeks alike but is more geared towards helping out those who may really be struggling for ideas, as well as being on a budget. Next time someone tells you you’re hard to buy for, send them one of these links to help them on their way to Geeky Gift giving!
Folksy has set itself up to be the British version of Etsy, although seeing as how Etsy has British sellers and a UK based site, I feel like the comparison is a little moo. This site is for British buyers only – if you’re from across the pond you’ll have to make arrangements with sellers should you want something.
I do really like a lot of the products I saw in my search results and there were some pretty creative Geeky Gifts, although there were one or two clangers that my only thoughts on where “I could make that and I could make it look nicer” but that was really an exception to the rule. Plus, on a multi-vendor, market place style site you’ll have to expect there to be a few duds. Over all though, I was impressed with the content and although I had to use the site’s own cost brackets (my search was £5 to £15) you can browse by more than just how much an item costs – you have the option to browse via materials used, practised used (like if you’re looking for something in the wood carving area) or just by category.
You’ll also find how-to guides, which could help you solve the “I think I can do better” issue.
Artfire is an American hosted site, so prices will come up as dollars and not every seller will ship to the UK. I searched around the results on the `random` setting and looked at a few things I thought were pretty cool, they were all really well priced and most looked like good quality – however I noticed that some sellers set the shipping costs at more than double the price of the item.
One of the biggest issues I have with this site is that every time I wanted to move onto the next page of results it would clear the price filter, leaving me with a page full of more expensive Geeky Gifts. The user interface of this site was a bit problematic but even though, personally, I wouldn’t buy form there (mainly due to the shipping thing) it was a great way to get ideas for gifts.
Da Wanda is a Europe based site with very few US sellers, so those of us in the UK will have to worry less about postage making the overall cost of the gift skyrocket. But do keep an eye on what each seller has as their postage prices.
The prices are all, unsurprisingly, in Euros – so keep an eye on the exchange rate and buy when sterling us up against the Euro and you may be able to nab yourself a tidy little bargain.
I like this site a lot, it’s easy to use and offers a lot more features; the site has special staff picks, lists current trends and showcases different shops and if you’re REALLY struggling to find that something special there’s even a section of the site where you can pose your gift buy problem and the community will work with you to find the solution. This could be the best option for a layman trying to find the perfect Geeky Gift and as a site feature I think it’s a great idea.
MadeItMyself seems to be more of a selling forum that looks like it came out of the late 90’s/early 2000’s. The site (I think?) is still in its beta version though and you’ll find navigational aspect to be a little confusing.
Usability is rather lacking and I noticed that a number of the sellers don’t even bother to put up a photo or add a product description. Prices differ widely and when I used the site I wasn’t able to filter by price, in fact I’m not sure I was even able to filter by keyword as putting Geek into the search bar threw up confusing results, I even tried a few other key words and still got either no returns or just random pieces nothing to do with the search.
I’m guessing MadeItMyself is more of a “Stumble upon something great” than nice, clean searches and filters that help you with your browsing. I know I won’t be buying anything from there but I think, if you put the time into it, you may find a real homemade gem.
Silkfair is probably my least liked site on this list, if I’m honest I kept it on here so this list would be an even number. Silkfair feels more like a cheap ebay, and considering the site offers the `market booth` sellers the option to merge their ebay stores with their Silkfair booths you’ll most likely find people are using the site as another extension of that worldwide carboot sale.
Whereas the other sites on this list have thrown up multiple pages of results for Geeky Gifts Silkfair gave me nothing, I even changed my key word to nerd and even then I only got two (rather pitiful) results. I decided to give the site the benefit of the doubt and tried using their pre-set featured categories. I used Movies & Music and filtered by types Handmade and Collectables and left the min/max amount blank; I got nothing. Zilch.
But, you know, if you want to buy a second hand copy of a Madame Butterfly LP for $8.50 then I say go for it.
I have a little soft spot for Not on the High Street, I must admit. I’ve not used the site overly much, in fact I’ve only bought from it twice; Once for a personalised gift for my Mum’s Birthday where, at a loss for what to get her I typed `Sicily` in the search bar, I’m so creative I had to use her place of birth to get gift ideas and when I was shopping for my own recipient of the office Secret Santa who I knew only one thing about, having only started working for the charity less than a month before hand (take note, crappy hair clip gift giver – I literally only knew the woman’s name and an animal she liked yet still managed to get her a nice gift for only £6)
When searching for Geeky Gifts you do get quite a bit of the generic stock image of some black, thick framed glasses with a slogan that’s goes “Something, something GEEK something, something” on everything from a baby’s bib, coasters and jewellery. And sometimes you have to wonder at the choice of spelling some seller make.
However, there’s still plenty of other really neat gifts in the £10 and under price range and the level of quality you get on this site makes you forget that these are all different vendors – you don’t get the total duds I’ve seen on some of the other sites and all the items are listed with professional looking photos and informative descriptions.
Another plus for this site is that it regularly runs sales and you can even filter by discount percentage.
Geeky Gift website bonus list!
The list of six sites above are all Geek nonspecific to help the uninitiated (so to speak) find Geeky Gift ideas and are even just great places to kick start the imagination when buying for others, but I couldn’t end this article without a nod to some sites that do cater towards the Geek side of things. These ones aren’t all market place style websites but they do all have some great stuff for when the budget is a little tight or you’re looking for some stocking filler type Geeky Gifts.
- My Geek Box
My Geek box has plenty to offer and has a `Gifts under £10` page
- I Want One Of Those
I Want One Of Those (Or IWOOT) has been on my shopping radar for about as long as I’ve had a debit card, they too have an `Under £10` gift section!
- This Is Why I’m Broke
I pretty much want ALL THE THINGS from here. I’m not sure if every product they list comes from an external site (when you click to check things out you get taken to Amazon, etsy, vendors own site etc) And, what’s this? Oh look! It’s a Geeky Gifts under $20 page!
Ah, Firebox. The site I turned to before Christmas to help me find interesting, but not bank breaking, presents for my siblings! And by now I know you’ll be expecting this – Pow! A gifts under £20 page!
- Totally Funky
Although Totally Funky doesn’t have a specific `Under £XX` page, it DOES have one to help with your Geeky Gift shopping.
- Genie Gadgets
Genie Gadgets also doesn’t have a specific budget buying page but it is chock full of pretty awesome stuff!
And that’s all from me on the subject of Geeky Gifts and Where To Find Them! If this list saves even one* person from utter gift humiliation then I think it’s safe to say that I’ve done my job!
*And quite frankly I hope that person is me. I mean, come on!
GS Blogger: Fia / @madame_fifi