Shop Small | Shop Independent | Boycott Amazon / Buy Ethical Gifts
Consumers across industries are demanding more transparency from the brands they choose to buy from. We want to support a shared set of values when we spend our money, investing in tangible on the ground impact like social equity, sustainably sourced goods and regenerative practices.
The hype around this time of year with the run up to winter holiday season isn’t really our thing. But we do absolutely love taking any opportunity to celebrate small businesses and encourage supporting independent brands in the UK that are shaping a kinder world!
That’s why we’ve made our Small Business Gift Picks for the second year running to shout out about some small-scale brands that are committed to social and/or environmental change. You can refer to this year round for any kind of gift or if you do buy festive presents then this has been made right on time.
So without further ado – because we know our readers are already well aware of all the reasons to boycott Amazon and shop small – here are some of our top Gift Picks for 2021. You’re bound to be inspired by these values-led brands!
For the Home
A family run business passionate about creating products that are good for you, your home and the environment, whilst being beautifully designed too. Founders Ebi and Emmanuel say “Together we’ve created a life and a business that celebrates the feeling of home. The common thread running through everything we do is our Nigerian heritage. We both come from a culture rooted in gathering family, sharing food, good music, and a laid-back approach to life.”
You’ll find feminism, anti-racism, disability justice, human rights and more in their Social Justice category, but also embedded across the bookshop in children’s books to queer writing, history to poetry, crafts to nature writing and more!
Lighthouse says “As a radical bookshop our heart and soul is in liberation politics and activism – making the world a better place one book at a time.” We are huge fans of their pay-it-forward option at checkout where those who need to can enter a code for a free book thanks to the generosity & solidarity of Lighthouse Bookshop readers paying it forward.
Forager is based in Kent and celebrates new yet ancient flavours, reconnecting with the land and working with the wild ecology of places. In their online shop you can find a range of fresh seasonal wild food as well as jars of pickled wild rose petals, bilberries or garlic capers. The Forager Manifesto says “Using wild plants is an integral part of the future of the biodiversity of the planet. We need to find ways, as our ancestors did, to obtain our resources by working with existing ecosystems.”
To Support Wellbeing
AmberLuna supplies aromatic products to support your health & wellbeing at home. Make your own natural, organic skincare including herbal bath soaks, aromatic balms, therapeutic aroma inhalers, pulse point rollerballs, bath oils and more. This makes a great gift to hand make yourself or as a DIY kit for your loved one to learn how to make their own with all the ingredients, kit and clear instructions.
AmberLuna Apothecary is a social enterprise offering accessible wellbeing for all. By supporting AmberLuna, you are helping to bring free and low-cost therapies and workshops to vulnerable communities who could otherwise not access these types of wellbeing services.
You can build your own gift box full of sustainable goodies made by independent businesses that are worth supporting. This one woman show is run by Alice from Liverpool to supply ethical and sustainable gifts and a promise of ‘no greenwashing, no bullsh*t.’
Buddy Box is a self-care subscription box (available as a one off gift too) designed to counter the pressures we face in modern life. Each box is packed full of thoughtful, self-helpful and self-caring, mood-lifting treats. The BuddyBox comforts, delights and gives you that warm, ‘I’ve been cared for’ feeling inside. What’s more because of Buddy Box, The Blurt Foundation was able to support those affected by depression and work with 152 schools and 4 home educators this academic year at no cost to them via their mental health education program.
Lip Balm and Salve for skin exposed to the elements with restorative action against soil, salt water, wind and sun. These products are handmade in Somerset, England by Marnie with plastic free packaging. Hyrdis combines ingredient research, with slow and inquisitive product development, to create quality formulations that replenish and restore the skin’s moisture barrier. We love knowing how much care, enthusiasm and genuine respect for nature is behind these products.
For Feeling Fancy
Share with your loved ones the gift of truly sustainable, ethical and locally-made fashion. You can browse online to find a garment or opt for a gift card if you’re not sure what would be the right fit. Birdsong says “We are an ethical and sustainable fashion brand, but first and foremost we’re a social enterprise. This means that even through tough times like this global crisis, our number one priority is the well being of our makers. With your support we can come out of this and continue to provide meaningful, dignified work and living wages to the local communities we support.”
Silver jewellery designed and made by independent maker Rose Teleri based in West Wales and using recycled metals. Rose sells her beautiful designs in local galleries and online. Her main inspiration comes from pebbles with their irregular shapes and textures. She is always looking to shapes and patterns in nature for inspiration. We love the drop circle earrings for a creative reinvention of the classic silver hoop.
A clothing brand born from a love of craft. Most pieces are created in India by artisans. All of Mahika Kala’s pieces are made using natural plant dyes on plant fibres; linen and khadi, and every item is hand printed using techniques developed over numerous generations. Some pieces are also created in Bristol, UK from a small home studio, hand dyed and using only plant fibres. In their manifesto they say “Our team remains very small and we are not trying to simply ‘grow’ if it is detrimental to our Earth. At the core, we want to sit as harmoniously as possible with our planet, in a constant collaboration with Mother Earth.”
Know The Origin started out as a designer’s partnership with a skilled cooperative of organic cotton farmers in Hyderabad (India) producing a line of basic, long-lasting garments. Since 2013 KTO has expanded into THE online marketplace for ethically sourced goods, from clothing to skincare, plastic free beauty to sustainable homeware. They even have an entire section for gifts. KTO says “We’re building Know The Origin to be a home for the richest choice of certified brands. To raise a new standard of sustainability and make ethical the norm for everyone. Forever.”