Good gifts

The KDL Gift Guide: Fifteen Ethical Online Shops For Everyone On Your List

Where to find good gifts that do good.

Whether we like it or not, the holiday season is upon us. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a lot of people on your list—between moms, dads, sisters, brothers-in-law, cousins, nephews, friends, co-workers, the list seems to go on and on. (And on.)

This holiday season, I’m trying to shop responsibly, by buying from companies that make a conscious effort to not destroy the earth or not to create untenable living situations. I did the research so you can, too!

For the beauty maven in your life…

White Witch Connemara Completely organic, vegan, and packaged without plastics, this Irish skincare brand makes all their products using “wild flowers, plants, oats, and seaweed from the unspoiled coast and meadows in front of the Atlantic ocean”. Far from witchcraft, this brand combines the expertise of doctors, herbalists, and perfumers to craft masks, balms, and more that will delight even the most discerning of skincare snobs. Snag the Christmas Gift Set For Young Skin Types (10% off!) for your little sister with an Instagram problem—the cute packaging is just begging for an Insta-brag moment.

Karina Beauty Founded by a woman who understands the importance of source materials after growing up on a Napa Valley vineyard, Kahina aims to deliver high-quality skincare while providing economic independence to the women who harvest their raw materials. Almost all of the formulas are based around that miracle ingredient—argan oil—all of which is sourced by the Berber women who inhabit the argan tree forests found in the Southwest of Morocco. Kahina pays “fair wages and donate[s] an additional percentage of [their] revenue to programs that support these women and their families”. The basics skin care travel kit provides small bottles of their argan oil, facial cleanser, and facial lotion for the beauty-obsessed on-the-go.

Fat and The Moon Embracing self love and healing, Fat and The Moon crafts skincare, makeup, bath soaks, and more with intention. Herbal, handcrafted recipes are based around ones handed down “from various healing traditions” using time-tested ingredients to create products beloved by its users. If you have an expectant mother on your list this year, the Growing Belly Balm might help make her winter a little more pleasant, while the Self Care Bath Soak would be a thoughtful gift for anyone on your list that needs to chill out this winter.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics For anyone who loves YouTube makeup tutorials as much as you love them, your best bet is any of the high-performing products from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Created by a makeup artist, this brand is 100% vegan and cruelty-free while still maintaining its high-end, makeup artist-level quality. A favorite is the highly-pigmented Lip Tar—it’s extra concentrated, so even the smallest amount delivers stunning color and wear time. Plus it comes in a dizzying array of colors and shimmers so you can mix and match for a unique look.

For your mountain man (or woman) friend…

Cotopaxi B-Corp certified, this outdoor brand funds “sustainable poverty alleviation, moves people to do good, and inspires adventure”. Cotopaxi works with local communities and high-impact organizations to focus on improving health, education, and livelihoods around the world. Their half-zip windbreaker is a fun way to add bold color to anyone’s wardrobe, plus their sleeping bags, tents, and more are perfect for both the festival-goer and camper in your life.

Patagonia Who knew that everyone’s favorite fleece-maker is actually one of the leaders in environmental and social responsibility? Patagonia promotes fair labor practices, pushes for safe working conditions throughout their supply chain, protects migrant workers, fights against human trafficking and child labor, and is Fair Trade Certified. All of their Better Sweater® and Synchilla® Snap-T® styles are Fair Trade Certified sewn, as are all of their board shorts and bikinis. Every purchase “sends more money back to factory workers who earn premiums that can be allocated as cash, used for a collective social investment, or both”. But you can feel fairly safe about any purchase at Patagonia.

For your stylish cousin…

Everlane For the minimalist inside us all, Everlane is a surefire hit. The company is the gold standard of “Radical Transparency”, making it easy to trust their stylish products. They have an easy to understand lay out of their cost breakdowns available, give regular tours of their factories, and design everything to last. Even your hardest to please relative will be satisfied with a cashmere sweater from Everlane (one of the most affordable on the market!), plus their bags and accessories are simply chic.

H&M Conscious Yup, that H&M. While it’s one of the world’s biggest fast fashion brands, H&M is using its role as a giant in the industry to lead the charge for more a sustainable world. Score anyone on your list an on-trend sweater, comfy-cute sweats, or even a bold, wool-blend coat, and we can all but promise you’ll win the holidays. Men can get in on the action, too!

The Reformation Is it possible to have a crush on a fashion brand? Reformation’s slogan is “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2”. Made in downtown Los Angeles, Reformation “source[s] sustainable fabrics and vintage garments while incorporating better practices throughout [their] supply chain to make beautiful styles at a fraction of the environmental impact of conventional fashion.” If that doesn’t sound good enough, take a look at the clothing. Sexy satin tops, velvet pants, jeans, and wedding-guest-ready dresses are all available, and, bonus: Reformation lays out the environmental impact of each piece!

If you’re feeling very generous…

Kaufmann-Mercantile Kaufmann-Mercantile began as a blog appreciating high-quality products and the history behind them. Since then they’ve grown into a shop that sources pieces from craftsmen and artisans from around the world that are known for making “the finest products in their class.” These pieces are made with the belief that it should last a whole lifetime, rejecting the high-consumption of the modern industrial age. Putting an emphasis on design and quality, these gifts are only for the nicest people on your list—naughty need not apply.

Brother Vellies Founded and designed by CFDA Award-winner Aurora James, Brother Vellies is an accessories line that embraces slow fashion, sustainability, and close relationships with farmers. While they don’t use 100% vegan products, the leather they do use comes from animal byproduct that is either resulting from a government mandated culling due to overpopulation or sourced from local farmers in Kenya and South Africa that are entirely the byproduct from the edible food industry. You can score shoes, bags, and more for the man, woman, or child in you life

For your mom who says she literally “wants nothing” this year…

Donate, Donate, Donate This happens to me every year. We all ask my mom what she wants for Christmas and every year, she says “I have what I need! I don’t want anything!” Which, while very noble, is incredibly frustrating for a compulsive gift-giver like myself. Recently, and blessedly, she’s suggested we donate to charities on her behalf. Charities like Oxfam and Heifer International both have “shops” where you can easily and clearly see where your dollar amount is going. If you, like me, love a theme, Every Mother Counts is a charity focused on giving essential maternity care to women around the world, and if you, like me, still want to give mom a physical gift, you can pair a donation with this tote that was created in partnership with Every Mother Counts and Clare V.

For everyone else on your list…

Accompany Accompany skews towards the global-nomad type, with unique apparel, accessories, bags, and home goods all curated under one roof. Everything is made by artisans and is traded fairly and sourced ethically.

Kindred Black Kindred Black is like Accompany’s witchier sister. Clothing, accessories, jewelry, home goods, books, and much, much more are all carefully curated, eco-responsible, craftsman-produced, and ethically manufactured. You can even score one-of-a-kind pieces that are handpicked with an eye towards design. Expect to find beautiful pottery, cool-girl jewelry, and some wild objets d’art.

The Citizenry Everything at The Citizenry is small batch-crafted and the company is committed to providing fair wages and happy working environments to their artisan partners. Textiles, vases, baskets, and more—all with an urban-sophisticate vibe—are this site’s bread and butter. Though a bit on the pricier side of things, anything from The Citizenry would be a good gift option for anyone on your holiday shopping list.

A few more gift-giving resources:


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