Growing up, my family joked that we all benefited because my mom’s love-language was gifts. She loves giving gifts. Still to this day, she asks for our lists months in advance and finds great joy in spoiling her grown kids and now, grandkids.
I guess I got it from her, because I love gift-giving. As I have been on my own journey in shopping in a way that aligns with my belief that the people making what I buy matter enough to be paid fairly, it has certainly made an impact on how I go about buying gifts. There are lots of brands that I don’t shop from anymore and the number of gifts I can often give has changed. As I am committed to shopping from ethical brands, which sometimes means a greater expense, it might mean one gift where I had gotten used to wrapping up a few, or going in with a group. While it has presented a few challenges, there are so many amazing companies and brands out there that I never would have searched for had I been perfectly comfortable allowing convenience to lead the way.
As we are heading into the holiday season and I know many of us are writing our lists, I figured I would share a few brands, local shops, and companies that I have come to know and love (and, no, I wasn't paid to say so).
#1 Hazel Village — organic + ethically made dolls and animals.
#2 cuddle + kind — handmade + fair trade dolls and animals that give meals to children in need.
#3 The Little Nomad — a shop I love right here in Richmond. He carries a fantastic book collection, as well as lots of other thoughtful goods for kiddos.
#4 Colored Organics — honest, ethical, + absolutely adorable clothing, essentials, + toys for littles.
#5 Childhoods Clothing — original, cozy line of baby and toddler apparel with all pieces being made from high quality, laundered fabric milled in America.
#6 Uncle Goose — beautiful + quality wooden blocks. Uncle Goose pays a living wage, right in Michigan and they source everything from the USA.
#7 Amani ya Juu — a fair trade sewing and training program for marginalized women in Kenya and Uganda.
#8 ABLE — an ethical fashion brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty.
#9 JOYN — handmade + quality leather bags, crafted by local artisans in the foothills of the Himalayas.
#10 Girlfriend Collective — activewear from recycled materials because trash looks better on you than it does polluting the planet.
#11 Equal Uprise — artisan-made homewares & accessories for the modern dweller; wool hats, leather accessories, and blankets.
#12 Ella and Mila — nail polish that is 7-Free, vegan, never tested on innocent animals and proudly made in the USA.
#13 Elegantees — To provide hope to overcomers of sex trafficking with positive source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image, and confidence.
#14 The Root Collective — a people company that happens to sell shoes and accessories.
#15 Conscious Step Socks — fun, ethically made socks that donate to the world's best nonprofits.
#16 Taft — quality men's shoes, handcrafted in Spain. Danny got a pair of boots from them for Christmas last year + he loves. They are gorgeous!
#17 Known Supply— humanizing the apparel industry. everything is made from organic cotton and is connected to the maker.
#18 pact — organic cotton + made in a fair trade factory for men, women, and children.
#19 Krochet Kids — ethical headwear + accessories for men, women, and children that is empowering makers toward a better future.
#20 Go Exchange — ethically made in Haiti, all the basics + more.
#21 Outerknown — they build clothing by making every decision with the highest regard for People and Planet.
#22 Nisolo — Intentionally designed, ethically made, + fairly priced shoes and accessories that value people and the planet just as much as the end consumer.
#23 Veja — Transparency + Organic Materials + Fair Trade Sourcing.
Life + Home
#24 Gift of Hope — Offering mothers and children the confidence, dignity, and hope to remain a family. Poverty should not create orphans.
#25 Jars of Dust — handmade, functional ceramics based out of Virginia Beach, VA.
#26 LSTN Sound Co. — Real Wood Headphones, Earbuds, and Bluetooth Speakers with a Purpose. Every Purchase Helps Someone Hear for the First Time.
#27 Sugar + Grace — Toxin-free, luxury, homemade soy candles, wax melts, room sprays and more.
#28 Wildwood Farm — Local handcrafted goat milk soaps from a farm right here in Williamsburg.
#29 ware — I got to visit this store while in Asheville last year. They carry intentional, ethical, low-
#30 Mango and Main — A wonderful fair trade shop in Annapolis. Shannon is constantly adding new amazing pieces to the shop.
It was not easy to keep this to 30. There really are so many brands, companies, and local businesses out there doing amazing things. All month, we will be featuring these and others in our Instagram stories, in "brands we love."
I love how Anne Lappe said it, “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” I really want a world where small and local businesses succeed and it is normal business practice for brands to care about their people, ALL their people, not just those buying from them or working in the seen spaces of their company. If I want this, then I have a responsibility to buy in a way that makes this possible.
Supporting small businesses has always been important, but this year, it could literally make all the difference. For many small retailers, they depend on this next month, so we encourage you - join us in shopping intentional, meaningful, and small - not just with us, but in all your gift-giving.
Step by step, let's do this better.
We would love to hear from you! What is an ethical business you love buying from? How are you planning to shop for gifts this holiday season in a way that honors everyone involved, not just the recipient of the gift? Share with us on Instagram all week for a chance to win a $25 gift card with us!