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This festive season, give a gift that keeps giving

Here are some online stores selling gifts that will thrill your loved ones — and do good too.

Whether it be refraining from buying from fast fashion companies because you want to boycott sweatshop factories, buying social goods to help with livelihood, or buying only vegan apparel to go against animal cruelty, it always starts with a conscious decision and definite lifestyle changes to spark change.
– Janine Chiong, co-founder of Habi Footwear

A toothbrush as Christmas present? Why not, when it happens to be made from bamboo that (mostly) biodegrades instead of ending up in a landfill? Or how about some cool shoes that also fund meals for hungry children. Or one-of-a-kind jewellery made by women living in conflict zones?

Great gifts not only bring joy, they do good too. We’ll tell you where to find the best gifts for your loved ones, and their makers will tell you how why they matter.

Too busy to scroll through them all? Jump ahead to the sections you’re interested in.

GIFTS FOR THE HOME
GIFTS TO LOOK GOOD IN
GIFTS THAT TASTE GOOD
GIFTS FOR THOSE WITH LESS
 

GIFTS FOR THE HOME

Neis Haus GIF

Neis Haus

What they sell: Reusable and eco-friendly products by various brands for the home, such as beeswax paper, a substitute for clear plastic wrap, or bamboo toothbrushes.

The difference they make: Promoting an earth-friendly lifestyle that minimises waste. Besides selling household products, Neis Haus has also done school visits to teach kids about the impact of waste on the environment.

What they say: “It is a proud moment when we see customers having a lightbulb moment, realising that these products are not only great for the environment, but great for their daily living – and from there seeing them make a permanent lifestyle change.” – Jacqueline Singer, founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Neis Haus


Bottle for Botol GIF

Bottle for Botol

What they sell: Reusable stainless-steel water bottles.

The difference they make: Every bottle you buy goes towards funding Bottle for Botol’s programmes for educating Indonesian students on cutting back on the use of single-waste plastics. A bottle will also be donated to a student from an Indonesian partner school, and funds go towards buying water stations for the schools.

What they say: “Some of our students have lobbied to ban plastic waste from their canteen which has had some incredible results - students no longer drink iced tea from a plastic bag and instead use the glass bottle that it is packaged in; and rice now comes wrapped in a banana leaf instead of plastic. We get excited when our students act to reduce plastic waste without our input.” – Christine Parfitt, co-founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Bottle for Botol


Coopita GIF

Coopita

What they sell: Homeware, clothing and bath and beauty products for men and women created by craftsmen and artisans from Asia.

The difference they make: Founders Naomi Jacob and Mayur Singh want to preserve the traditional craft skills found in Asia, which are in decline due to lack of demand. It now works to empower over 200 artisan communities and has 104 maker organisations using its platform, up from 20 at its inception.

What they say: “One particular community that is always close to our hearts is the Batak tribe in Palawan, Philippines, a hunter-gatherer tribe that is being forced to contend with urbanisation. We worked with a social enterprise in Palawan called Batak Craft, which aims to provide a stable livelihood for the Bataks by creating and selling products based on their traditional bamboo basketry skills. Coopita worked on a capability development project with Batak Craft to improve the proportion of income that went to the Bataks from creating these products – [the proportion went up] by 60 per cent.” – Naomi Jacob, co-founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Coopita


GIFTS TO LOOK GOOD IN

Another Sole GIF

Anothersole

What they sell: Shoes for women and children made from materials sourced from suppliers that take care to minimise their environmental impact.

The difference they make: Apart from doing their part to maintain a clean supply chain and shoe quality, Anothersole donates 10 per cent of their revenue towards food programmes for needy children, by working with organisations from various countries.

What they say: “Giving 10 per cent off our sales receivables is painful, and it should be as we set out to build a social brand where our recipients are above our shareholders. We didn't want to give away a shoe [for every shoe sold] as that can disrupt the local industries by depriving them of jobs…We have within eight months of existence set aside close to S$100,000 to give away.” – Benny Chee, co-founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Anothersole


Artisan and Fox GIF

Artisan and Fox

What they sell: One-of-a-kind jewellery and bags made by artisans from developing countries around the world.

The difference they make: The company provides a platform to artisans who otherwise lack a marketplace for their goods. It gives artisans full control over pricing so that they can make a comfortable income. It also provides support such as zero-interest micro-loans and early payments to meet artisans’ liquidity needs.

What they say: “We aim to reduce gender inequality in patriarchal communities, preserve cultural heritage and nudge artisans towards more sustainable and eco-friendly production practices – all the while through ethically fashionable pieces that fit contemporary trends.”

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Artisan and Fox


Dharavi Market GIF

Dharavi Market

What they sell: Leather goods and clay pottery are just some of the wares sold on Dharavi Market, an online marketplace for products made by artisans living in a vast squatters’ quarter in Mumbai. Start by browsing the corporate gifts section to get a quick idea of the goods on offer.

The difference they make: Not only do artisans get to reach a bigger market via the online store, they also get to bypass middlemen and sell directly to customers, increasing their earnings.

What they say: “In Dharavi, I saw a lot of potential. Every single house there has something or other. People consider it to be poor and think criminals live here...it’s just basically lots and lots of craftsmen. What we’ve done is just a basic listing of their businesses online and it’s just transformed their lives.” — Megha Gupta, founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Dharavi Market


The Fabric Social GIF

The Fabric Social

What they sell: Sleekly-designed women’s clothing made from fabrics woven by women from conflict-affected areas in Northeast India and Myanmar.

The difference they make: The company partners with women weavers to produce silk and cotton, paying them fair prices for fabrics produced in an environmentally-friendly way.

What they say: “I started The Fabric Social not because the injustice is palpable, but because the silence is deafening. I want to share stories from the ground. I want the world to know Bina, who saw a widow left behind after a bomb attack in Manipur and bought her a sewing machine so that she could survive. About how [Bina] has since rallied a network of over a thousand women to stand up for themselves, and each other.” – Fiona McAlpine, co-founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: The Fabric Social


Habi Footwear GIF

Habi Footwear

What they sell: Sustainably and ethically-produced footwear for men and women.

The difference they make: All shoes are made in the Philippines, using material woven from scrap cloth collected from shirt factories. Weavers earn at least five times the earnings they would have made if they worked with companies who use middlemen.

What they say: “Whether it be refraining from buying from fast fashion companies because you want to boycott sweatshop factories, buying social goods to help with livelihood, or buying only vegan apparel to go against animal cruelty, it always starts with a conscious decision and definite lifestyle changes to spark change.” – Janine Chiong, co-founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Habi Footwear


Mindful Company GIF

The Mindful Company

What they sell: Engraved bracelets bearing positive messages to promote mental well-being

The difference they make: In collaboration with the Singapore Association for Mental Health, the company has a launched a capsule inspired by stories from SAMH’s youth outreach programme. For every bracelet sold, the company will donate S$10 to SAMH to support their mental health youth programmes.

What they say: “The Mindful Company came about from our personal interactions with anxiety, stress and depression. It's our way to encourage others to create conversations around mental health and wellbeing – that if you're struggling, it's okay to ask for help. We're a society that is great at focusing on physical health, but sometimes we forget that our mental health needs attention too.” – Ciara Yeo, co-founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: The Mindful Company


The Nail Social GIF

The Nail Social

What they sell: Gift cards for a pampering experience at their nail salon.

The difference they make: The Nail Social works with social agencies in Singapore to identify women with trouble finding work, such as ex-offenders or single mothers. These women are trained and suitable candidates are offered jobs at the salon. The salon also uses and sells non-toxic, eco-friendly, fair-trade and/or cruelty-free products.

What they say: “Fyza, our current salon manager, joined our vocational training programme as a trainee almost two years ago. She is a single mother of six young children, and had been working odd-jobs for years as she was not able to secure a full-time job due to family commitments. When she joined us, she was extremely shy and full of self-doubt. However, she worked hard and proved herself, and was promoted to salon manager recently.” – Cheryl Ou, co-founder

Where they ship: Singapore

Click here to shop!

Photos: The Nail Social


GIFTS THAT TASTE GOOD

Boxgreen GIF

Boxgreen

What they sell: Subscriptions for healthy and delicious snacks delivered to the doorstep. They also come in gift boxes.

The difference they make: The company donates a portion of its earnings to fund programmes to feed the needy in partnership with Willing Hearts. It also earned B Corp certification this year, meaning it meets rigorous standards in areas like social and environmental performance, and transparency.

What they say: “As we went up the supply chain, we realised how the suppliers at the source don’t really make much, all the money goes to the middle-men. For us, doing good is about everything we do. Becoming B Corp-certified is in line with our values.” – Walter Oh, co-founder

Where they ship: Singapore and Malaysia

Click here to shop!

Photos: boxgreen


Bettr Barista GIF

Bettr Barista

What they sell: Premium coffee beans roasted to order.

The difference they make: This B Corp-certified company trains disadvantaged women and youth in coffee preparation skills boost their employability, and also sources their beans from small-scale farmers dedicated to environmental sustainability.

What they say: “Every milestone is a moment of pride -- when our Holistic Training Programme students graduate and grow, when we smash our own coffees-served-per-hour records at events, when we bring what we do out into communities in Singapore and overseas...just this week we're excited to announce that our business is now 20% self-reliant on clean energy in partnership with the SUNSEAP Group of Companies...We're aiming to hit 100% by 2020.” — Pamela Chng, founder

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Bettr Barista


Krakakoa GIF

Krakakoa (formerly called Kakoa)

What they sell: Organic fine chocolate.

The difference they make: The company improves lives of Indonesian cocoa farmers by directly training them in sustainable agricultural practices, and paying them above-market-rate prices for quality beans, incentivising them to produce beans of good standards.

What they say: “One of the things we're really proud of this year is winning 2 silver and 4 bronze medals at the Academy of Chocolate awards. We're the first Indonesian chocolate maker to do so, and it shows that the training programs that we are doing with the farmers are working. We've enable them to produce high quality cocoa that is on par with the best in the world.” — Sabrina Mustopo, founder of Krakakoa

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Krakakoa


GIFTS FOR THOSE WITH LESS

Hagar GIF

Hagar Singapore

What they sell: This non-profit helps survivors of abuse and human trafficking. You can “gift” a year’s education for a child, meals for two survivors for a month, or support a foster family’s expenses for a month, among others options.

The difference they make: Hagar provides long-term support, including residential and transitional care, counselling, legal aid and employment services. Donations help fund their work in the healing and empowering of those who were exploited. For example, Rithy (pictured as a child and at present above), is a former street child who was helped by Hagar and is now a doctor.

What they say: “When someone buys a three-month counselling and care treatment, catch-up education, and legal support for a child who has survived extreme exploitation and abuse, they’re enabling that service. Each of these gifts is designed to help women and child survivors recover from trauma, improve their literacy and increase their capacity to become economically independent in the long run.” – Lynette Lim, marketing and communications director

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: Hagar Singapore


billionBricks GIF

billionBricks

What they sell: You can gift an easy-to-assemble tent that sleeps five to a homeless family in India that would otherwise be without shelter. Its tents have also been popular with recreational users, while you can buy products like T-shirts to support billionBricks’ initiatives.

The difference they make: Last year, 340 tents were gifted to homeless families. The social enterprise also completed pilot projects to design low-cost sustainable housing and infrastructure in countries like India and Cambodia.

What they say: “We are too far from our vision of ending homelessness…However, one of our key founding principle was ‘never to design poorly for the poor’. When our WeatherHYDE tents, though designed for homeless, were bought by many for camping and other recreational needs, it proved that you don’t always need to value engineer cheaper products for the poor. If you build appropriately, design can work for both poor and rich alike.” – Prasoon Kumar, CEO

Where they ship: International

Click here to shop!

Photos: billionBricks

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