Shopping Thoughtfully: Gift-Giving From Local Entrepreneurs

Including the start of a gift-giving guide featuring local social justice-oriented entrepreneurs. Add your own recommendations.

Gift-Giving Guide

Editor’s Note: We asked a group of small business owners to recommend local, women-led businesses with social justice missions who might benefit from Buy Local consumers. Here is the start of that list. Please use the comments field to add other ideas from entrepreneurs you support and offer a note about their social justice passion.

Specialized Gifts

  • Interact’s holiday sale, featuring over 60 visual artists — November 15 to December 6
    Creating art that challenges perceptions of disability. Featuring drawings, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, fiber works, and wearable art from over 60 Interact artists, to directly support the artist. Interact Gallery, 755 Prior Avenue North, Suite #002D, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104, (651) 756-1246
  • Color Wheel Gallery —  speaking with diverse voices, the ColorWheel Gallery aims to make art accessible to everyone and to promote local artists
  • Fair Anita — accessory company with a mission to bring financial stability to people leaving abusive relationships
  • The Black Market — BIPOC business owners in a holiday-themed market Black Friday, Nov. 26. Registration required
  • Du Nord liquor — also runs a foundation for economic development of BIPOC owners
  • Peach Mindfulness — personalized meditation sessions get sent straight to your phone each day; available for teams.
  • VF Health Fitness Solutions — health experts provide customized corporate, group and individual fitness and wellness solutions 
  • Big Lovie — partners with My Stuff Bags Foundation & Youthlink
  • Queen Anna — supports the humanitarian efforts of organizations committed to the community, social justice, awareness and disaster relief 
  • Love Your Melon — 50 percent of net profits is given to nonprofits and research in the fight against pediatric cancer. 

Food

  • lutunjispalate.com — sales of gourmet cakes, cobblers, and more contributes to youth development, teen parental support, and transition assistance for men returning to society from incarceration.
  • You Betcha Boxes — Minnesota artisan gift boxes featuring award-winning foods and drinks crafted by small local makers. This woman-owned small business works to highlight the diversity of people and products made here including: BIPOC Makers of Minnesota and Femmes du Nord: Women Makers of Minnesota
  • Coconut Whisk — mission-driven vegan & gluten-free food brand that helps busy families create healthy indulgences & positive kitchen experiences.
  • Junita’s Jar — mission-driven cookie company satisfying your sweet treat cravings with cookies and filling your heart with hope.
  • Perfect Piece Sweets Co. — edible luxury, from customized cakes and pastries to artisan confections
  • Velasquez Family coffee — does fundraising for schools 
  • Ancient Indian Spices — supports small farmers
  • Seasoned Specialty Foods — gives small food businesses 100 percent of the proceeds from their food sales. 

Books

About Planting People Growing Justice Press and Bookstore — Based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Planting People Growing Justice (PPGJ) publishes, promotes, and distributes books that encourage and empower Black children to find joy in reading.

Thrift Gifts

Body & Face


by Nilvia Brinkley (she/her), creator of goodaroundtheglobe.org, @GATG

I do not personally celebrate the end-of-year holidays, partly because of the focus on consumerism. I do not want loved ones to think I am buying something because I have been pressured by social norms to do so, but because I love them and I am thinking about them.

To me, shopping also became burdensome with the pandemic. 

Then came outrage from the tragedy of George Floyd’s murder. I saw so many people hurting,  struggling to live alongside people who do not value all lives. 

As someone who struggles with depression, I realized that shopping had become a band-aid that I used to cover up pain.

I am not the only one. Amazon reported $108.5 billion in sales in the first three months of the pandemic. I did not want to contribute to that incessant demand, especially when so many small business owners were struggling. According to TracktheRecovery.org, 9.4 million small businesses in the U.S. closed during the pandemic. 

There are many hard-working business owners who are doing good for their communities, but no one knows about it. If people knew more about entrepreneurs, I wondered, would they support them? Can we match shoppers with business owners who align with their values? 

As a web designer, I started to develop a digital directory and news source to showcase small business owners who give back to their communities. The intent is to make it easier for people to buy from businesses whose owners care about similar issues.

We can all be more than consumers. We can be  people who support our neighbors. 

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