December 15, 2017
As a native New Englander, I love the holiday season. Though the idea of the impending winter weather makes me want to curl up under a blanket and not come out until May (or June, just to be safe). But before I go into hibernation, I’m looking forward to getting through my holiday shopping – thinking about what would make my friends and family happy makes me happy. I also strongly believe that every dollar we spend as consumers is making a statement. If this is music to your ears and you want your holiday sprees to support local, impact-driven businesses, read on for my holiday shopping guide!
But first, coffee. You’ll need to fuel up. Stop by Best for Rhode Island participant, New Harvest, to caffeinate, because if you’re anything like me you’ll try and cram this all into one hectic day (…don’t be like me. Plan ahead. Be organized.). Here we go!
Thrive Tribe RI’s holistic approach uses reiki, essential oils, crystals, meditation and more to support and catalyze personal progress towards mindfulness and self care. An East Providence based social enterprise, Thrive Tribe offers gift cards that are perfect for anyone looking to connect mind, body and essence towards peaceful practices and stress relief, whether they are just starting to practice mindfulness or just need to replenish their essential oil stock.
On a similar note, as your loved ones make resolutions for wellness and mindfulness in the new year, why not sign them up for an herbal CSA? Sanctuary Herbs of Providence sources locally raised, organic herbs, teas and culinary mixes in partnership with the Rhode Island refugee and immigrant population. Their goal is to promote visibility for small farmers – while you enjoy a cup of chemical-free, local tea!
This is the perfect gift for the backpacker, adventurer, commuter or someone in your life who needs to carry things around (a.k.a. everyone). Made with sturdy canvas and genuine leather details, Eben Group makes backpacks with design, comfort, utility and impact in mind. Proceeds fund donations to orphanages in Cambodia and to education programs around the world.
For those who spread cheer regardless of whether or not “‘tis the season,” YANA (You Are Not Alone) has T-shirts, throw blankets and jewelry promoting uplifting vibes with their messaging. YANA was started as a group of friends letting each other know that no matter what, you are not alone. They grew to a be a social business – 2% of every sale goes to the YANA Foundation and every quarter a customer is randomly selected to choose where the donations go – to either an organization or a friend in need.
Live ocean positive! The Ocean State is famous for its beautiful coastline, so why not check out this eco-conscious apparel business with adorable prints designed to bring awareness to ocean beauty and conservation? 10% of all profits go towards organizations promoting ocean and environmental awareness, and all purchases come with an information card telling you all about the jellyfish, the seahorse, whale or turtle gracing your grown-up friends (adult sizes) or little scientists (onesies)!
Using unique geometric and sometimes celestial patterns inspired by traditional and modern Japanese culture, RISD grad Miles Endo designs one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures, home goods and furniture with natural products. His vision is to “design both utility and aesthetic harmony.” Their lighting and furniture can do just that and are perfect for new homeowners or those looking to add a touch of beauty. He designed our annual Hub Scholarship plaques which you’ll find at the SEG Hub!
Planning a holiday party this year? You’ll need some apps and cocktails and local social businesses are here to to the rescue! Daniele Charcuterie has you covered for appetizers, offering a variety of cured meats, pepper shooters and more (proudly made in Pascoag). For drinks, try Bootblack Brand Cocktail and Soda Syrups. Simply add spirits and/or soda water for a bubbly treat with fresh ingredients, balancing the cocktail trifecta of sweet, savory and citrus. Top it all off with Newport Sea Salt Co., 100% natural sea salt sourced and produced in Newport, RI, which can be added to salads, dishes and cocktails.
For after dinner (or before – biscotti is a great breakfast in my book), or as a perfect gift for the host/ess with a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with local coffee and treats. Blue State Coffee has sites all over New England, and has donated 2% of their sales to over 250 local non-profits. Bellicci’s Biscotti, which donates 5% of profits to the Alzheimer’s Association, bakes four sweet flavors of biscotti with local ingredients, and even has a gluten-free line! And, for your answer to “where can I find chocolate that’s good for me?” try RI-based Cocofuel. They use organic and fair trade ingredients and sweeten their products with honey instead of sugar.
If you’re still stuck, try some more of my favorites:
- Deux Mains Designs
- Haiti Design Co-Op
- Threads for Thought
- Krochet Kids
- Anchal Project
Congratulations! You’ve completed your entire shopping list with impact, so go treat yourself to some duck tacos, pickles, and a handcrafted shrub (or two!) at another Best for RI challenge-taker, Bywater in Warren, to celebrate! Cheers!
Impact Accelerator and Loan Program Manager
After 5+ years in the international non-profit and enterprise sectors, Annie believes in social entrepreneurship, innovation and access to resources as key gateways towards socioeconomic equality. She lived in Port au Prince, Haiti for three years as the Operations Director for a start-up ethical fashion brand, helping it develop into a thriving social business. In Haiti as well as in Providence, she has worked with organizations involved in international disaster response, community development, advocacy and micro-finance. Annie earned a BA in Anthropology, minor in Political Science, and a certification in International Non-Governmental Organizations Studies from Rhode Island College. Having recently returned to Rhode Island from Haiti, Annie is excited to be applying her belief in social enterprise towards local development here at SEG.
Outside of work, Annie is a bookworm, yogi and beach-goer, and also teaches gymnastics classes.