Christmas Gifts That Give Back

Nothing is more true to the spirit of Christmas than giving an item that gives back to those in need. While you can opt to donate to charity in someone’s name, if you would prefer to give the special people in your life something tangible, use our guide to find socially conscious gifts from brands that give back the world.

RELATED: 20 tips for a sustainable Christmas

Raven + Lily

Founders Kirsten and Sophia work to help women in Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Kenya to help generate employment, relieve poverty and help combat issues like HIV, trafficking, poor education and genital mutilation in these regions. They also give back to their own community, by employing refugee women in their hometown of Austin, Texas.


Seven Hopes United

Seven Hopes United sells stylish, handmade, fair trade and eco-friendly gifts from around the world. Each product – from homewares to handbags – is sourced by the company to ensure that the artisan responsible is paid a fair wage, and their working conditions are safe and ethical.



FashionABLE sells chic scarves, jewelry and blankets to help support sustainable business ventures in Africa. The business began when the founders traveled to Ethiopia and saw first-hand the extreme poverty forcing many young, local girls into an unsafe living in the sex trade. They realized the best way to assist the women was to help them gain other sustainable employment options – so they now employ them to craft their FashionABLE wares.

Krochet Kids

What started as three teenage boys crocheting their own knitwear, has grown into an international not-for-profit, helping communities in Uganda and Peru. The venture started rolling when the young men visited Uganda and found displaced locals unsatisfied living in government-run refugee camps. In order to give them their own income and a sustainable career, the Krochet Kids taught a handful of locals to crochet and help them market their products to international consumers.

December 11, 2014

Sustainable Ways To Clean Out Your Closet

We often don’t realize the clothing we have accumulated over the years – and just how much of it we don’t wear – until our closets explode and we’re buried among handbags from 1997. But instead of throwing it in the trash, here are some cool ways to clean out your closet, and get a little bit back.

Host a Market Stall or Lawn Sale

Find your local market and register for a stall. Before you do this you will need to consider few things:

  • Spare change. You will need to start your day with some of your own extra $$$.
  • Wet weather. Even if it’s dry, if it has been raining you’ll want to place a plastic sheet on the ground. If it showers, you might also want to take a cover to protect your goods.
  • Tables and display. It’s ideal to have some fold-up tables and racks to make viewing and sifting through your items easy for customers. Don’t forget to take a chair for yourself!
  • In my experience, it is usually the cheap accessories that go first. People often can’t be bothered to try on clothing – even if you have a place for them to do that – and most will be looking for a quick bargain.
  • Change rooms. You might want to consider creating a small change room – even by hanging a few sheets for privacy. This brings us to…
  • A mirror. Most people will want to check themselves out before purchasing that mini skirt.
  • Pricing. Remember, if people wanted to pay top dollar, they wouldn’t be shopping second-hand. If you have valuable vintage or designer items, you might be better listing them online where it is more likely someone will recognise their worth.

Host a “Clothes Swap” Party

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right? Hold a small party and get your girlfriends to bring over all their unwanted clothes. You can each take turns in raiding each other’s wardrobes, ridding yourselves of a those “what was I thinking” items, and picking up something new in the process. Add some wine and it’s a party!

Host a Mending Party

I’ve known some people to host “mending parties” – essentially like a sewing circle with fewer grandparents, although you could always invite them too! Gather your friends and bring those items of clothing with missing buttons or unstitched hemlines, and patch them up. If you’re a clueless seamstress, it’s great to get advice and share supplies with your buddies, and will give you that extra motivation to spruce up those old but timeless items.

Donate to Charity
Why toss out your old clothes when there are so many people who could benefit from them? You and I both know that there are perfectly good – some unworn – items of clothing in our closets, that we just don’t want anymore. Spare yourself the guilt trip and give them to your local thrift store. Do a good deed and give selflessly.

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August 3, 2014