painless shopping

21 Gifts Under $50 From Queer-Owned Brands and Businesses

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

No matter who you’re shopping for, a thoughtful gift doesn’t need to break the bank. To help you find something affordable that is guaranteed to still delight your giftee, we put together this list of gifts under $50. And as a bonus, with each purchase you’ll be supporting a queer-owned brand or business. (And if you’re looking for even more gift options, we have gift guides from Black-owned brands, Hispanic- and Latinx-owned brands, Indigenous-owned brands, and AAPI-owned brands, too.)

Boy Smells candles are a perennial Strategist favorite and a good gift for just about anyone. Cowboy Kush is a heady mix of saffron, suede, patchouli, white leather, and pot leaf that the brand describes as a “tumbleweed” of a scent.

For the college student just trying to make it to finals, this bag of coffee beans from Couplet Coffee should do the trick.

$25 for 2

New York’s Coming Soon is one of our all-time favorite design shops. Its under-$50 section is chock-full of surprising gifts, but we were particularly charmed by these rubbery resin coasters from designer Gaetano Pesce (a favorite of model Paloma Elsesser). They come in sets of 2 for $25, so you can buy your favorite dinner-party host a set of four and still be on budget.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you might be looking for a piece of jewelry for your partner. This solid 14k gold ring is available in sizes 2 to 16 and comes in yellow, white, and rose gold. It’s from NYC-based fine jewelry brand Automic Gold, which makes all its pieces from reclaimed gold.

If you’re sourcing lingerie for your sweetheart, in our roundup of the best plus-size lingerie, style expert Corissa Enneking recommended Origami Customs: a “gender affirming, super inclusive brand making lingerie that is truly for everyone,” pointing to its custom sizing and trans-friendly styles as two things that “are moving the lingerie world forward.”

And if you’re looking for something else to bring into the bedroom to show your partner how much you care this year, Early to Bed is a Chicago-based sex-toy shop with plenty of affordable options. Satisfyer’s Lucky Libra — which makes some of our favorite affordable toys — utilizes both air-suction technology and vibrations that can be used alone or together for a range of sensation.

Or try this pressed pearlescent highlighter from KimChi Chic Beauty that comes in a cute heart-shaped compact.

The be.come Project, founded by SLT alum Bethany C. Meyers, releases one Pilates routine per week with a focus on accessibility. Each one comes with easy-to-understand demonstrations for how to modify every move, perfect for the friend looking to move their body with more intention.

For the CBD-curious, this tincture from Xula — which third-party tests all its products to ensure potency — is formulated with a 1:1 ratio of CBD and CBG.

Back in 2020, Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst dubbed Blk Mkt Vintage the best new store in Brooklyn for its focus on Black ephemera you won’t find anywhere else. Founders Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart also sell a line of merchandise in addition to antiques, like this tote bag that is the perfect size for running errands.

This fragrance-free body bar from Alder New York is formulated with one percent exfoliating glycolic acid, nourishing sea kelp, hydrating jojoba oil, and shea butter. Pair it with the brand’s handsome soap dish and you’ll still be under budget.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel’s makeup brand is known for its super-pigmented formulas and fun packaging. This eye shadow palette is no exception, with nine matte shades, one frost shade, and two pressed biodegradable glitters in a range of neutral earth tones and more bright yellows and pinks. Plus it’s vegan.

If you’re shopping for someone who prefers a more understated look, Noto Botanics multiuse pigment pots will add a flush of color to their eyes, lips, and cheeks. The formula is enriched with jojoba oil, shea butter, rose-hip-seed oil, and vitamin E for a hydrating, dewy finish.

Otherwild is a Los Angeles–based store, design studio, and event space that is “dedicated to carrying products made with care, concern, and awareness of their impact and design.” We love this slim lighter from Edie Parker covered in dainty flowers and suggest gifting it to the roommate who is always borrowing your BIC.

Wildfang Beanie
$18
$18

The loved one in your life who always runs cold will certainly appreciate a warm knit hat in a charming powder blue.