As the holiday season approaches, it is often easy to be swept up in the madness of the season whether it is through decorations, travel plans, or gift-giving. However, this winter is increasingly looking different as the additional pressures of the pandemic are further piling onto the existing burdens that are often associated with the season. In addition, consumers are becoming more informed, conscious and aware of their buying practices and want to ensure that they are adhering to socially responsible principles. It is imperative that during this holiday season, consumers are supporting businesses that value social justice initiatives as well as local creators. Here are some holiday gifts and businesses to support this season!
Eighth Generation is a Seattle-based art brand that was founded in 2008 by Louie Gong (Nooksack). It is currently owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe with the tagline of “Inspired Natives, not Native-inspired.” This business offers 100% Native designed products including jewelry, apparel, prints and textiles, and is recognized as the first Native American owned company to produce wool blankets. Another jewelry shop is CosaHecha and it is a Latinx-owned clay jewelry shop on Etsy. The shop owner, Cecilia Solis-Barroso, handmakes all of the earrings herself and they are inspired by Mexican pottery. The shop’s Instagram is @cosa.hecha and here, Solis-Barroso displays the shop’s products and pledges to donate 10% of the shop’s profits to a new charitable organization each week. The earrings are incredibly affordable and the shop has a five-star rating.
2. Home Decor
Unwrp is a luxury wrapping paper company that was founded by Ashley Fouyolle in Brooklyn, NY. Her business includes wrapping paper, fabric wraps, greeting cards and home good items that incorporate vibrant colors while also ensuring that products embody both ethical and environmental practices. The business collaborates with artists throughout the globe, including Taylor McManus, who is an artist local to the Northern Virginia area. Unwrp is also a Black womxn-owned business that fosters diversity amongst its contributing artists. Another site that focuses on both their ethical and environmental impact is Ten Thousand Villages. This business is a global market that connects consumers to artisans all over the world. The products offered on the site are handmade and their mission is to ensure that creators are provided with fair, living wages in a safe working environment and that the products are sustainable and made of local and recycled materials.
Happy Earth is an apparel company that only sources sustainable textiles. Their entire company is 100% carbon neutral and is certified as an ethical manufacturer by the World Fair Trade Organization. According to their website, they have prevented 2,865,159 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, have planted 253,363 trees and have removed 3,727 pounds of trash. Another apparel company is Bowtie Behavior which was founded by Robin Williams in 2014. The company was started after she struggled to find an aesthetically-pleasing and affordable bow tie for her friend’s bow-tie-themed bridal shower. Williams taught herself how to sew and now sells bowties and other accessories that are made from high-quality fabrics and bold colors. Bowtie Behavior is both Black and queer-owned and was identified by TODAY as redefining the fashion industry.
Decolonizing Fitness was founded by Ilya (he/they) who is a Physical Therapist Assistant and ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist. Ilya is a Black nonbinary transmasculine person and their company is “a social justice platform that provides affirming fitness services, community education and apparel in support of body diversity.” Their products include apparel that is both fitness and body-positive centered, as well as various affirming spaces and e-books. All shirt and e-book sales are donated to support Black Trans and Gender Diverse individuals who are experiencing houselessness.
Related Article: This Holiday Season, Let’s Shop Local
Séka Hills offers a range of food products including wine, olive oil, wildflower honey, nuts, hummus, and more. Based in Northern California’s Capay Valley, this business is owned by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and strives to honor their culture and their homeland of the Capay Valley through sustainable practices. The crops they harvest are native to the Capay Valley and 1,200 acres of their land are also protected under a conservation easement. The irrigation systems they employ include a high-efficiency underground drip system that ensures the conservation of water as well. Another food company is BLK & Bold, which was founded by Pernell and Rod, and it is a specialty coffee and tea company. BLK & Bold is a Black-owned business that pledges 5% of its profits towards youth programming, enhancing workforce development, and eliminating youth homelessness. Some of their youth pledge partners are local to the Washington D.C. area as they work with Kid Power and No Kid Hungry, in addition to many other organizations throughout the country. You can also find their products offered at multiple Target locations throughout the Northern Virginia region.
These are just some brands and product ideas that embody social responsibility and are recognized innovators of their industry. By buying from companies that embrace social initiatives, holiday gifts can extend beyond the direct recipient and support businesses that are striving for positive change and focusing on issues that will continue to persist past the holiday season.