Really, nothing beats the feeling of watching a friend or a loved one open up a gift and get exactly what they wanted. Boost that awesomeness by giving beautiful gifts that give back.
If your main objective is to support a cause, the best way is still to give directly. But if you’re shopping for a gift already, these types of presents can make your purchase do more. (And they’re a far cry from the rubber bracelets and oversized tees of charities gone by.) Here are nine places I’ve found unique gifts that give back, and do it stylishly.
Hip shirts, unique jewelry, handmade journals—every item sold through Sevenly raises $7 for a featured weekly cause such as bikes for schoolgirls in Malawi, international medical assistance or adoption aid. Artsy fonts and playful graphics make the charitable message subtle, with a little slouchy-surfer vibe.
Accompany‘s artisan-made, fair trade global goods such as hand-knitted sweaters, loomed dresses and hand-cast jewelry have a bohemian, yogic look, and keep international craftspeople working and earning fair pay. Some items also benefit philanthropic causes, and they’re marked with icons to let you know which items do what.
You know their cute shoes. Now, you can also shop TOMS for “small items that make a big difference”: a curated selection of offbeat, moderately-priced jewelry and household goods help to support craftspeople throughout the world.
Buy a stylish metal water bottle from MiiR, and clean water will be given to one person whose community currently lacks enough. Thinking bigger? Buy an MiiR bicycle, and another bike will go to someone in need (the kids’ “Bambini” is especially cute).
Stone + Cloth
Stone + Cloth’s iPad cases, rucksacks, shirts and hats were inspired by a Tanzanian porter named Benson who couldn’t afford to put a child through school. Everything sold through the site raises money to help fund kids’ educations; Stone + Cloth’s signature item is the “Benson” rucksack.
You can choose water-themed merchandise—shirts, engraved iPhone cases, water bottles and more—to help fund charity: water, which works to create clean water sources for people around the world.
Cissé Trading Co.
When nothing but chocolate will do (you know your customer), here are organic, fair trade hot chocolate and baked goods mixes; Cissé Trading‘s treats support cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic.
With styles similar to what you’d expect from trendy jewelry companies like JewelMint (and at similar cost to many moderately-priced boutiques), Soko sells handcrafted jewelry made by global artisans. Soko sets them up with smartphones so they can manage their own businesses and get paid directly rather than losing money through a corporate middleman.
Textile makers from Peru, Mali, Morocco and Guatemala create the vibrant fabrics that make Proud Mary‘s accessories and home goods stand out. Shopping here supports the artisans, and the styles are gypsy-chic.
While buying won’t save the world, a little retail therapy never hurt anyone. And in these cases, it might even help make more than one person feel good this holiday season.