Holiday Gift Guide: Supporting Small, Sustainable, & Women-Owned

While 2020 has hit all of us hard in different ways, but the toll it has taken on small businesses has been enormous. It is beyond frustrating to see large corporations, like Amazon, make billions of dollars this year while so many of us are struggling to make ends meat. It speaks to the increasing rate of inequality we are witnessing in America, but also within our own communities. As of September, over 166,000 small businesses have closed their doors permanently - and that is considered conservative estimate!

So this holiday season it has never been more important to support small. You can vote with your dollar for the type of economy you want. Choosing small and within your own communities for gifts this season can be the reason a businesses stays open next year. When I forget why I pay extra for these companies, I always try to remember this quote:

"When you support a small business, you're not helping a CEO get their third vacation home. You're helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, and mom get food on the table, or a student pay for college."

So, maybe you're too busy to do the research on companies or maybe you're entirely new to sustainability this year. Either way, I've collected a list of companies for you to consider when shopping for loved ones this next month or so. These are companies that align with my values for a variety of reasons - supporting the environment, upholding human welfare, mission-driven, or owned by women or people of color. I hope it helps serve as a resource for intentional purchasing!

My favorite small businesses for a better planet.

  • Style Coop (everything) - Monica started Style Coop on her own to honor her grandmother, and it is now a small but growing sustainable storefront offering jewelry, zero waste items, and even pet care. I love the Style Coop is a "shop by cause," site so you can purchase from companies that align best with your values.

  • Keepsie Kits (sustainable products) - a female-founded company from Canada looking to fill the travel space with sustainable products. They have starter kits that are a perfect gift idea for those looking to start reducing their waste!

  • Activist Collective (skincare) - a small, female-owned skincare line run in sunny Southern California. I've talked about Activist Collective before because it has saved my mid-twenties sun-kissed skin from damage! Her 4-step skin care method donates to environmental organizations, is vegan, nearly waste-free, cruelty-free, and low-impact. She has sample kits for those looking to try it out, and a huge sale going on for the holidays.

  • EarthHero (everything)- an alternative to Amazon, EarthHero is an e-commerce site with hundreds of sustainable products from apparel to electronics to travel gear. They aren't the smallest company but they are making waves for accessibility to sustainable products! My favorite part about them is that they carbon offset their shipments. EarthHero products helped me reduce microfiber plastics in my laundry! Check out their Holiday Gift Guide - You can use code "CARISSA" for 10% off your order :)

  • By Humankind (bathroom essentials) - With a mission to reduce single-use plastic in the bathroom, By Humankind is a growing company from NYC. I especially love that they are a completely carbon neutral business and have commitments to inclusivity + accessibility.

  • For Days (clothing) - Run by two amazing women, For Days is a completely closed loop company with carbon offsets and a take-back program where you can return ruined clothes for "closet credits," toward their items!

  • Threads 4 Thought (clothing)- This apparel brand has a focus on organic and recycled fabrics to make comfy, classic activewear. My yoga sets are exclusively T4T.

  • Wisefool (clothing)- Wisefool is a small NY-based company that is all-around mindful about their production. They have reusable products as well as apparel made mindfully from repurposed fabrics. Their current REVIVED collection has one of a kind vintage pieces perfect for your best friend.

  • Synergy Clothing (clothing) - based in Santa Cruz, Synergy Clothing is a small company with apparel geared more towards women. They are fair trade and B-Corp certified, and my favorite part is they prioritize non synthetic dyes in their clothing. Learn more about unsustainable clothing dyes here!

Whether you're supporting women, people of color, small, or local, know that with every gift you buy you are supporting what you want to see more of in our communities. These are my favorite brands, but there are hundreds more. Tell me your favorites!

This is just one way I've been trying to divest my money away from large corporations. I've noticed others wanting to do the same, but we don't all have the money, resources, and access to do so. So I've also created this Supporting Small Checklist if you're trying to help, however you can, to create a more equitable world. Half of these actions are completely free!

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