My entire career has been spent in the non-profit sector. My education, both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees, were in fields of "giving." Outside of my 9-5, I've even founded my own non-profit. But you know what? The years of experience and education under my belt isn't necessary in making a positive impact on our community. For those of us making the most of our holiday shopping the last two weeks before Christmas, I've rounded up 5 of my favorite items/places to shop this holiday season for gifts that give back.
1. State Bags, statebags.com ($3.50-$345.00)
State Bags follow the "one-for-one" model, you purchase a bag, they donate a bag filled with essential school supplies to an American child in need. But the giving doesn't stop there. The magic is in their State Bag Drop Events, where they incorporate motivational speakers with their backpack distribution. Their bags are not only fashionable, they are functional. You can even buy one meant for your littles, to match. (Pictured, Auburn Fort Greene in charcoal and teal, $125)
2. Lush, Charity Pot Hand and Body Lotion, lush.com ($7.95-$27.95)
I'm obsessed with Lush products. Their bath bombs are a favorite in my household and their hand and body lotions are the smoothest, creamiest, jars of gold you'd expect to find at the end of rainbow. And have you actually read their values? I have always been a fan of their products, so when I discovered Charity Pot, it didn't surprise me that 100% of the price (minus taxes) is donated to small grassroots organizations furthering animal welfare, human rights, and environmental conservation.
3. MAC Cosmetics, Viva Glam collection, maccosmetics.com ($17)
EVERY cent from the sale of the Viva Glam collection is donated to the AIDS Foundation. Though I'm a sucker for red lips, there are multiple shades and products to choose from such as Ariana Grande's current collection of lipsticks and lipglass. My favorite is Viva Glam I; a classic matte red lip perfect for the plethora of holiday parties you've been invited to or as a stocking stuffer for your BFF. (Pictured, original Viva Glam I lipstick, $17)
4. Ecotek Outdoors, Air Hammock, ecotekoutdoors.com ($79.95 on Amazon)
For the outdoor enthusiast, or even just to use laying on the beach or in the park, the Ecotek air hammock is the gift that literally keeps giving. Not only is it extremely durable for use after use, with each hammock sold, you are funding the planting of a tree to restore the US National Forest. This has been a staple in my household for not only camping trips or days lounging in Golden Gate, but homework outdoors.
5. WeWood, Watches and Eyewear, us.we-wood.com ($10-$220)
My fiance wants a wedding band made out of wood, so as I scoured the internet in search of the perfect wooden wedding band, I stumbled upon the WeWood accessories. Not only are their watches and sunglasses made out of reclaimed wood, they too, plant a tree for every item sold. . They even have an interactive map on their website so you can see the countries they've already started making an impact in. With a goal of planting 1 million trees by 2020, their watches and sunglasses are perfect for the eco-conscious fashion maven in your life. (Pictured, Alpha watch in chocolate, $140)
There are so many businesses that are choosing to support any number of causes - sustainability, a cure for AIDS, education, etc., that you are almost always going to find the perfect gift and make a purchase with a purpose.
But at a minimum, shop small. Support your neighborhood retailer or favorite online small business. As I go through the process first hand in creating merchandise and finalizing operations for a Spring 2017 launch, I can absolutely empathize with the hard work that goes into the creation of a small business.
With just 10 days left before Christmas, shop smart, shop local, and make a purchase with a purpose.