With Christmas fast approaching and final delivery dates looming, most of us are feeling the pressure to get all of our gifts together. Especially for those of us in Europe going back into COVID lockdown (gah!). That, and the desire to buy consciously and responsibly, can be overwhelming. But fear not, your saviour, The Online Marketplace Gift Guide, is here.
Sometimes you need to blitz present buying in one go, which is where this guide steps in. We’ve done our research and compiled a list of the best online marketplaces for sustainable, ethical, and conscious gifts. Basically, awesome one-stop-shops for all of your Christmas shopping needs.
Green Is The New Black (that’s us!)
We couldn’t start this definitive guide without mentioning our awesome online marketplace. We partner with amazing eco-friendly brands across all arenas to offer you a bit of everything, from wellness products to services. For green-fingered writers, Left-Handesign’s Bij pens, which contain herb seeds and can be planted once finished, are a winner. If you want to give an experience rather than a physical gift this year, how about a private online cooking class with Living Veggie By Ania? Your loved one can choose from a diverse list of world cuisines including Polish and Singaporean. Plus, Ania will teach you in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re looking for something handmade, Green Gaea is the go-to. The marketplace works with artisans around the world who create beautiful items using traditional techniques within their culture. Green Gaea offers accessories, homeware, bags, and gifts related to smudging. And the jewellery in particular is divine. We’re loving the tarot bracelets by Cambodian enterprise, Penh Lenh. Each bracelet is gold-plated (from recycled materials) and features a cute card-shaped charm based on the tarot card it represents. Shopping at Green Gaea also means giving the gift of safety and security. The company helps female workers increase their access to employment, education, healthcare, clean water, and housing.
Indiigo Culture is an Asia-Pacific-based fashion platform that has its own label as well as carrying garments from regional, artisanal brands. Every item is colourful, cultural, and tells its own story. The arty Tulip Chai print dress from the Singaporean sisters at Ja.Socha is a must for the women in your life who prize being comfortable and making a subtle statement. And the batik-printed shorts from Indiigo Culture’s own Batik Capsule Collection are a special way for menfolk to appreciate the Indonesian culture while looking super snazz, of course. As well as being transparent and sustainable across various aspects of the business, Indiigo Culture also organises and supports events fighting for sustainability and gender equality.
Wolf & Badger
Ah, Wolf and Badger. Champion of independent brands, purveyor of good quality, sustainable goods, and general arbiter of awesomeness. Founded in London ten years ago, Wolf and Badger source sustainable and ethical items from an array of global brands. Clothing, jewellery, homeware, and cosmetics can all be found under this virtual roof. And every item is marked with its badges of sustainable honour (e.g. Happy Worker, Cruelty-Free, Artisan, Non-Toxic Dyes, etc). As well as beautiful, classic items (we see you, Mulberry Silk Sleep Set), Wolf & Badger also love the avant-garde – think this fun, slightly eccentric workout set from THALISSA or this Spice It Up Risograph Print, perfect for the pop-art lover or new homeowner in your clan.
Cruelty-free is the name of the game at Ethical Elephant. To cut through the confusion and encourage more shoppers to go cruelty-free, the brand offers online resources, a brands directory, shopping guides, and, excitingly, discount coupons for cruelty-free brands. Through these channels, it links to a variety of cruelty-free companies, showing you the best of their offerings and taking you straight to their site. If you have a proud vegan in your midst, we recommend one of the cute slogan tees from VivaLaRiva, an Ethical Elephant-supported Etsy store that uses organic fabrics and donates $1 from each sale to an animal or environmental charity. Make the most of the site’s useful guides and have a cruelty-free Christmas!
Our Barehands not only celebrates their artisans’ talents and creativity but also offers them training and reinvestment so they can create a sustainable livelihood and find new opportunities. And when we say ‘talents and creativity’, boy do we mean it. Exhibit A: these Aru Turmeric earrings. Made by The Resin Cousins in Indonesia, these earrings contain grains of turmeric encased in non-toxic resin, attached to a modern gold-plated design. The whole collection features different sands and spices that are notable in Indonesian culture. Turmeric, for example, is used in the traditional health drink, Jamu. Our Barehands also sell ‘Support Local Boxes’, including this Super Farmers Urban Farming Gift Kit, featuring three vegetables and intended for an urban space, such as an office or home.
Forget marketplace, L’Exception is a French powerhouse. It offers sophisticated clothing and homeware from over 500 mid-to-high-end international brands, including their own, L’Exception Paris Man. Their collection is stylish and eco-responsible, with Japanese organic cotton shirts and Italian knitwear made by their pal Paolo. While many of their products come from famous luxury brands, they are big proponents of new and young designers, campaigning for their development, assisting with their marketing strategies, and organising meetups where items like ethical fashion and business development are on the agenda. Oh, and they also have awesome customer service – they’ve even won awards!
Manifeste011’s marketplace is based on three values: beautiful, responsible, and vegan. The brainchild of French sisters, Manifeste011 sells clothing and accessories from brands that tick all three boxes. Think big names like Veja and People Tree, as well as lesser-known French designers. They offer products ranging from vegan puffer jackets (ducks, be free!) to recycled trench coats. We’re loving their Leather Goods section, full of vegan leather goodies such as bags, purses, and belts, and all reasonably priced.
Tagged as ‘the world’s largest vegan store’, you best believe that Unicorn Goods has something conscious for the whole fam. They try their best to bypass items that contain traces of animal by-products and recommend 100% vegan companies where possible, listing them clearly in their directory. As well as clothing and accessories, Unicorn Goods also sell vegan books, from cookbooks to interesting cultural reads (such as being vegan as a person of a colour). They also have a whole kid’s section, dedicated to clothing, cosmetics (Mooi Lab’s donut soap will be an instant hit), and food. They also donate 1% of their profits to pro-animal organisations. So you can sleep well knowing the gifts you bought your human friends are helping your furry friends too.
Luckily for all you fashion-conscious and planet-conscious consumers, France has truly embraced eco-friendly fashion. WeDressFair offers stylish, sustainable garments from European brands that prioritise respect for workers and the environment. And to prove it, they’re super transparent, offering information about materials, factories, and working conditions. You can also filter items by their tags, i.e. vegan, recycled, natural, organic, made in France, and made in Europe. This winter, we’re all about this Oeko-Tex patterned wool sweater from Thinking Mu. A fun, modern (non-cringe!) take on the Christmas jumper and the perfect cosy garment for men and women alike.
Athleisure is here to stay, and we, for one, are glad about that. Comfy but appropriate for outside interactions? Yes please! Caelum Greene offers all this, green style. They curate a selection of women’s modern active and athleisure garments from conscious brands and ship them in 100% recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable packaging. For hanging-at-home-and-popping-to-the-shops comfort, these Wide Leg Pants from Lanston made of tri-blend fleece hit the jackpot. If you anticipate that your loved ones will fancy a jog around the park after their huge Christmas dinner, these wintery-vibe Luna Check leggings will do the trick.
Better World Books
Looking to buy for your book club pals? Come from a family of readers? Better World Books has got you – and the planet, too. The site sells a variety of preloved books at an affordable price. With every book you buy, they donate a book to someone in need via non-profit organisations around the world (seen on their Impact Map), such as Books for Africa and Feed the Children. They also never throw a book away (recycling it if it can’t be sold), work with local libraries, and give you the choice to carbon-balance your order for just a few cents.
Made Trade is a fashion and home marketplace built on seven core values: Fair Trade, Heritage, Made in the USA, People of Colour Owned, Sustainable, Vegan, and Women-Owned. The site sells seriously beautiful, ethically made items to eco-fy your home and wardrobe, from hemp yoga mats to brass statement earrings. Not only do they sell decorative homewares, but they also sell furniture, including this sustainably harvested Teak Shower Stool, for your bath-less pals or those who fancy turning their shower into a waterfall spa experience!
With the tagline ‘Trash is for Tossers’, Package Free is every sustainable shopper’s soulmate. Doing exactly what the company name suggests, Package Free sells everyday items that are environmentally friendly. They work with brands who are conscious about the materials they use for both their products and their packaging, and also help brands become savvier with sustainability. They sell everything from kitchen containers to beauty products, meaning there’s an alternative something for everyone. We love their Zero Waste Kits, which range from a Zero Waste Ocean Advokit (complete with flask, sunscreen, steel straw, GuppyFriend laundry bag, and tote bag) to a Zero Waste Fur Baby Kit, for all of your fur baby’s needs.
If you know someone who would love to shop at a conscious marketplace themselves, Thrive Market offers memberships (starting at $5 per month), which provide access to 6,000 sustainable and organic products for a lower price than the retail cost. Even better, each membership sponsors an additional membership for a low-income family or first responder. Its products range from body care to pantry staples, and you can even shop by dietary requirement. The US-based platform is also pretty badass in sustainable terms. It sells items that are ethically and sustainably sourced, offers free, carbon-neutral shipping, uses zero-waste warehouses, and offers recyclable or compostable packaging.
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