Although not in the quantity you'll find in Tonga, Samoans turn out excellent handmade baskets, sewing trays, purses, floor mats, napkin rings, placemats, and fans woven from pandanus and other local materials, plus some woodcarvings.
Aggie's Gift Shop, next to Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows (tel. 23-626), has Apia's best selection of quality handicrafts and Samoan products such as sandalwood soap, small bags of kava, and watercolors by local artists. The handicrafts include shell jewelry and siapo cloth, carved wooden war clubs, ceremonial kava bowls, and high-talking chiefs' staffs (known as tootoo). Clothing items include hand-screened lava-lavas, T-shirts, shorts, and dresses. The shop also carries books about the Samoas and has a snack bar just inside the front door.
The widest array of handicrafts is on display at the Old Apia Market, on Beach Road west of the Town Clock (no phone). Once Apia's vegetable market, this giant shed is now a crowded, very active flea market, with vendors selling everything from cosmetics to shoes (local wags say it's better stocked than Apia's regular stores because some goods may have been slipped past Customs on their way from American Samoa). Your best buys here are fine mats and other Samoan handicrafts; in fact, you can even watch local women at work in their stalls. The other handicraft shops usually have better-quality pieces, but you might find an exceptional one here. Especially look for the merchant who sells intricately carved tanoa (kava) bowls.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.