It was the peerless designer William Morris who declared that we should have nothing in our home that we do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

Buying bespoke and individually crafted items is one way of ensuring this but where to go, especially in the mad dash for Christmas?

The same problem confronted Charlotte Starling when she first moved to Dorset with her husband, the writer Boris Starling, and their two children.

“I was doing up our house and wanted to buy as much locally as possible,” she says.

“I realised that while you may have to dig a little deeper to find it, there is so much here.”

As her house started taking shape, Charlotte, who had previously worked in television as a producer and director as well has having 15 years’ experience in interior design, decided to put her newly-acquired local knowledge to use and launched her own website and online store.

Named after the family’s rescue greyhounds, Velvet and Dash, it started off showcasing her design talent – her home has featured in a number of glossy magazines, including Woman & Home – but has now expanded into a store selling a series of quality crafts, the vast majority of which are made in Dorset or the UK.

“I already work with a glass-blower and a wallpaper and printmaker,” she says.

“Early on I wanted to emphasise hand-made, high-quality products for the home and unusual things that are hard to find and Dorset does seem to attract many people making things like that.”

Like the products she sells, from the ceramic artichoke candle-holders, to the hand-made, coloured tumblers and the wooden tapas boards, Charlotte provides a bespoke service to help clients obtain the perfect gift.

“I try and track things down for them; I’m having some coasters made for one client by a ceramicist which involves a lot of calls, backwards and forwards,” she says.

How does she find her craftspeople? “Mainly word of mouth, friends, friends-of-friends,” she says.

“I find so many beautiful things; I found one lady literally working out of a shed in a field, and realised that although many craftspeople produce brilliant work, sometimes they weren’t always good at publicising themselves.”

In order to help her customers connect more strongly with the makers, Charlotte plans to feature small videos showing, for instance, how the glassware is individually made. She has also launched a wedding list service.

As she prepares to add yet more goodies to her site, including wallpaper for panels featuring gold and silver leaf and pottery sheep, Charlotte continues to search for additional talents.

“Some of the things I sell are more expensive than High Street prices but they are individual and I think that’s what people are looking for,” she says.

Her best-seller is actually one of the least expensive items in her shop; rusted angel’s wings which you can use to transform pillar and church candles.

“People love them because they are simple and so effective,” she says.

William Morris would surely approve.