The festive season is finally upon us all, and whilst consumerism is increasingly on the rise and materialism is frequently being pushed by huge corporations through the saturation of media, I feel that, as the founder of Sincerely Essie, I have a responsibility to educate and inform my audience about supporting smaller businesses and shopping for an ethical gift this Christmas.
Here at Sincerely Essie, we have a commitment to championing women entrepreneurs and ensuring that this little community can come together for the good of our planet. So, this year, we’ve worked closely with a few women-owned businesses to create this ethical gift guide; products sold not only help to establish the business further, but they also support charitable causes, use sustainable materials or back vulnerable individuals making a huge difference with just one purchase!
If you know a health fanatic, then DIYogi and Yugenial are brilliant businesses to shop from this Christmas. DIYogi supports NGOs which help reduce plastic pollution in our oceans and its yoga mats are all made of eco-friendly materials making them 100% recyclable whilst Yugenial minimises its impact on the environment by avoiding ingredients like palm oil and reducing plastic use as well as ensuring its products are manufactured from non-toxic constituents.
For interior decor enthusiasts, Temple & Markets and Home of Juniper are the businesses to check out this festive season. Temples and Markets sell ethically sourced gifts and accessories from women artisans in S.E Asia whilst supporting social enterprises and artisan groups to help create job prospects and training opportunities in crafts. Home of Juniper focuses on conscientious consumerism and chooses products for their usefulness, beauty and provenance. It prides itself in supporting British designers and makers whilst backing ethical craftsmanship overseas as well as ensuring minimal wastage by reusing and recycling. It also currently donates proceeds to Mind and The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
Fashion lovers will appreciate the personal touch given to products created by Ollie & Fred and Salt + Silver Studio. Ollie & Fred is an independent business selling luxurious accessories which make beautiful gifts. It constantly donates to a range of charities and is currently backing Mind and The Pankhurst Trust. Salt + Silver Studio specialises in handmade keepsake jewellery. A mix of both recycled silver and pure silver are used to create each jewellery piece and all packaging is 100% biodegradable.
Both Conscious House London and The Weekly Shop supply beauty products and toiletries which are ethical and sustainable making them a fantastic place to purchase gifts for beauty fans. Conscious House London sells handmade skincare consisting of natural ingredients which are sourced from trusted suppliers and reuses waste fabrics and containers, as well as promotes recycling in every aspect of the business. It also donates 10% of its profits to Mind and SEED Madagascar. The Weekly Shop is the first zero waste shop in the UK to donate 10% of profits to fund environmental and development projects worldwide. Its mission is to encourage every household in Britain to eliminate single-use plastic from their weekly shop, so all of its products are plastic-free.
For the foodie in your life, why not give them a memorable experience via the Cookery School’s Christmas gift vouchers? The Cookery School emphasises sustainable food using local and seasonal ingredients. It has banned single-use plastic from its kitchens, and encourages energy & water efficiency. If you prefer to gift chocolate instead, opt for the gorgeous gift boxes from Chocolate and Love; an award-winning, Fairtrade certified business which creates organic and ethical chocolate.
Chocolate and Love also ensures it is run sustainably through minimising shipping, using FSC certified paper and biodegradable inner wrappers as well as supporting reforestation. For recipients who favour table and kitchenware, Albert & Moo and Nola Gift Store have some fabulous gifts. Albert & Moo strives to support and champion small, local designers and producers who value fair trade products and recycled materials. It also tries to minimise waste through reusing and recycling packaging wherever possible. Nola Gift Store sells a wide range of personalised gifts with 90% of the wooden products made from windfall wood, sustainable bamboo or wood from FSC certified forests. It also donates 20% of profits to various charities such as Shelter and Crisis.
For the babies, toddlers and older kids in your life, there are many businesses to shop from this Christmas. The Penguin Patrol has a range of penguin plush toys which are produced by local makers and designers. It also donates to various charities. Love HeartWood manufactures and sells ethical and eco-friendly wooden toys which are created from recycled or local, sustainable sources whilst the paints and finishes are plant-based. The business also ensures that plastic-free, recyclable packaging is used.
Hatchling Makes also creates and sells products which are both ethical and eco-friendly by using 100% organic cotton for its tote bag range, water based, non-toxic screen printing inks for posters and t-shirts and sustainably sourced paper for greeting cards and badges. It also donates 10% from every sale to wildlife charities to help them continue their vital research and conservation work. Lily in Space specialises in cute, quirky and sassy woodland animal illustrations on which many of its products are based on such as notebooks, pins, greeting cards and more. It uses recycled paper and sustainable FSC certified wood for the majority of its products making them eco-friendly.
Spoil your furry friend this Christmas too! Luxury Dog Hampers are great to treat your pooch with a range of premium items. The majority of product packaging is recyclable, whilst the hamper baskets are reusable too. The business also donates proceeds to Service Dogs UK. Adventure Accessories sells lovely lap blankets made of sustainable material, perfect for your pet to cuddle up in. The business also reuses materials for packaging making it recyclable.
For luxurious, vegan, plastic-free and ethical pet supplies, Lamina Animal is one to shop from. Its products are handmade in the UK from ethically sourced and sustainable certified organic materials. It has also pledged to reduce plastic waste by reusing and recycling wherever possible, as well as working with ethical and sustainable suppliers whom adhere to the ethical trading principles to lessen the impact on the planet. To pamper your furry friend with an eco-friendly accessory, Molle Collection create bespoke, made-to-order collars and bandanas from upcycled fabrics. The business also donates a percentage of every sale to five different animal charities.
To conclude this gift guide, I hope you consider buying from one of the aforementioned brands this Christmas, because not only will you be supporting a small business but you will also be helping the environment, advocating ethical practices and aiding various charities with your purchase.