For a one-of-a-kind souvenir to take home with you after your visit, there is no better option than buying handmade. With artisans of all varieties specializing in everything from pin-striping and leatherworking to more traditional art pieces, in the ViBe Creative District and beyond, Virginia Beach has the goods for a truly unique and long-lasting memento that will always be treasured.
For custom, hand-painted signs and pinstriping, check out Igor’s Custom, a ViBe District favorite, whose work is found all around town. His designs are done the old-school way, so you won’t find any computers in his studio. To have something personalized, just stop in and talk to the artist, himself. While Igor’s work is worthy of a place on your wall on it’s own, add in the fact that Igor is personally responsible for the logo design of a many local and regional staples, including Virginia Beach’s Bay Local Eatery, Three Ships Coffee, and Back Bay Brewing, among many, many others, and how could this not be the perfect souvenir?
Located next door to Igor’s, in a strip of shops called The Alley, which also includes the awesome custom-designed, handmade furniture shop, Benevolent Design Co. and Three Ships Coffee, one of our favorite spots for a house-roasted pick-me-up, North End Bag Company is crafting handmade luxuries you will be proud to take home with you. Their specialty is leather bags from scratch, using a variety of multi-era vintage sewing machines. From when the design is sketched to when the sewing machine whirs to a stop, no detail is overlooked in building these timeless and sturdy bags. Whether you use them to hold your wet swimsuit or stuff them with sand dollars straight off of the beach, these bags are built to last on your next beach adventure and more.
For some beautiful wood and metal work, you can take home with you, check out First Landing Woodworks, whose mantra is that no product should be disposable, but instead well-made and worthy of passing down for generations. For the perfect accompaniment to your Virginia Beach vacation, don’t miss their pristinely made oyster shucking knives or hand-crafted bottle openers you’ll want to show off to your friends. The attention these guys pay to each and every product they make is astounding and well worth the investment.
Stop by the Sawdust Road coffee shop and art gallery, in Pungo, which offers a place to relax and appreciate the local craft with works from local artists, photographers, and craftsmen. Owned by local art photographers, Sawdust features woodworking, painting, and jewelry, and photography exhibition wildlife, surfing, and other local scenes. Work is accepted from artists of many persuasions throughout the state of Virginia, and the collection is constantly changing.
The Creative Wedge: An Artisan Market
Located in the Hilltop Shopping Center, a few minutes from the Oceanfront, The Creative Wedge focuses on American-made art, handcrafts, and artisanal foods, with as much coming from local or regional talent as possible, with more than 100 Virginia vendors. The original concept for the shop was an artisan cheese shop, which is where they get their name, and it has grown from there into the perfect place to find a unique keepsake.