‘Tis the season of giving, but what with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, daily gift guides and constant Christmas adverts, I thought I’d highlight a few brands doing something a little differently…
Kalinko is a brand that was introduced to me via the lovely guys at Desmond and Dempsey, I was really interested in the product, we met for coffee, she explained the story and then I saw the product in real life at the Spirit of Christmas Fair this year – and it didn’t disappoint. Sophie lives in Burma (now Myanmar) and works with local artisans to allow them access to the international market and helping them to live more sustainable lives. She often comes up with ideas or colour ways that she thinks would work for the western market, too – and it works.
We all know about The Big Issue but did you know they have a shop? Selling clothing, books, magazines and even art work? The street art section features artists that have been marginalised, and at least half the profit goes directly to the artist, and the rest helping to continue the work of The Big Issue charity.
At Dassie Artisan, they work directly with artisans in developing countries to create amazing homeware. Everything is beautifully designed and hand-made, it’ll cost you more than a basket from H&M Home but with a unique story and supporting a community.
Again, a concept we’re all familiar with: one for one. For every pair of shoes/sunglasses/bags (you get the picture) sold, Toms donates the same to someone in need. The concept is really inspiring – Toms has donated 75 million pairs of shoes since starting), and it helps that they make good quality, comfortable shoes too (after the recent bout of snow, I’m looking at durable boots in a whole new light).
I’ve featured this brand on the blog before, not only do they work with artisans across the world, but 10% of their profits go towards the Happy + Co farm in Cambodia, providing jobs as well as fresh produce for the community.
Birdsong promises to be a brand without photoshop or sweatshops. They work with women’s organisations to sell products made by women on the margins of society and the money they’ve made goes towards living wage employment, education, counselling and more. If you want to see more from this brand, they actually have a pop-up shop from 14th – 19th December at 11 Pearson Street, E2. Expect a curated edit of gifts, feminist bookclubs, craft afternoons and even BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) zine workshop events.
Sourced from Ghana, these baskets are handwoven from natural grasses and the weavers are paid a sustainable income. Not only this, these Moses baskets are also pretty beautiful and this small company is run by a first time mum doing it out of passion. And you can tell.