Looking for that perfect little something?
No matter what time of year you’re planning to visit Estonia, it’s a safe bet that gift-hunting is going to be on your itinerary. Just about every conference-goer is on the lookout for special mementos to hand out to speakers or delegates, or for unforgettable, ‘made-only-in-Estonia’ surprises to take back to the family.
In keeping with our ‘Go Wild’ theme, we’ve listed a few of our favourite nature-inspired options.
Ööloom sleeping masks
Certainly nobody’s going to doze off during one of your riveting presentations (heaven forbid!), but after an intense string of meetups, everyone needs a little downtime. The wildest way to get some shuteye is with these animal-inspired sleeping masks designed by Karmen Heinmaa. Made of environmentally-friendly felt and flannel, they purport to use the ‘primitive power of animals’ to help you sleep.
Butterfly brooches by KUMA Design
Popular among fashion-forward locals, these skillfully-created butterfly brooches will keep you in a happy, spring-like mood no matter what the season. They come in several variations, so you can find one to match anyone’s taste.
Pots of honey
Honey holds a special place in the hearts of Estonians, thanks in no small part to its connection to nature and the traditional craft of beekeeping. It’s still common to see a pot – or these days a jar – of honey in homes and offices, where it comes in handy as an additive to tea and a remedy for colds. A number of producers sell cutely-packaged gift sets that are particularly sweet. On the downside, they may attract bears.
Champagne and other sparkling wines are of course made from grapes, a fruit that simply refuses to grow in our climate. To fill the gap, a local company called Nudist Drinks (you read that right) is producing high-quality bubbly made from more Estonian stuff, namely rhubarb, gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant.
Click and Grow
Combining the two things Estonians love most – nature and tech – Click and Grow is a tiny, indoor ‘smart garden’ that lets you grow up to three plants with next to zero effort. The sets come with built-in LEDs, timers and ‘smart soil’ that nurture your mini tomatoes, thyme, petunias or whatnot. They make for a sleek, and very Estonian, way to brighten up any home office.
Along the same lines as Click and Grow, but not quite so high-tech, is a product by well-known actress Tiina Tauraite labelled simply, ‘Grow your own chilli plant in this box.’ You can add your company logo to the box if you arrange things in advance. In case box farming isn’t your cup of tea, you can also opt for a bottle of her farm’s blackcurrant and chilli-pepper schnapps.
‘Go Into the Wild’ shopping bags
The phrase ‘mine metsa’ is a humorous – and very Estonian – way to tell someone to get lost. It literally means ‘go into the wild’, which makes it a perfect name for these hand-printed textile bags designed by Merle Suurkask and sold by her fellow artist Emma Leppermann. Featuring portraits of owls, wolves and other forest creatures, these bags are a stylish way of carrying a bit of Estonian nature along with you on your shopping journey.
Wooch wooden watches
Modern watches are synonymous with advanced, precision technology, but in 2014 a group of students from Tartu University decided to put an old-timey spin on them by offering hand-carved, wooden versions under the name ‘Wooch’. Nowadays these quintessentially Estonian timepieces are worn by over 3,000 people including well-known athletes and heads of state. In addition to being part of a niche fashion trend, wearing a Wooch is a constant reminder to slow down and reconnect with nature.