“WHAT THE HECK IS A “CONSCIOUS” GIFT GUIDE?”
First of all, lower your voice.
Here is your answer:
The Pretty Strange Conscious Gift Guide is a collection of businesses and gifts that are creative, thoughtful and socially conscious because they fall into one or more of the following categories:
*Sustainable Practices (earth-friendly, provide fair and living wages)*
*Closely allied with minority, queer, and other marginalized populations*
By being thoughtful about the businesses you buy from this holiday season (and beyond!!), you are moving the needle forward in terms of sustainability, equality, and healthy local economies. I’ve curated an array of gift ideas for just about everyone on your list. Happy giving!
FOR THE INTELLECTUAL/KNOW-IT-ALL/BOOK NERD
Indie Bound is an online community of independent and local booksellers. Shopping at local bookstores supports small business owners and helps re-circulate more revenue back into your community. Search your zip code on Indie Bound to find an independent bookstore near you.
371 S. Limestone
This alternative shop has been serving up the “important, interesting, and hard-to-find” since 1972. In addition to a unique new and used book selection, Sqecial Media stocks tons of cool gifts like shirts, stickers, candles, crystals, puzzles, toys, journals, tapestries, and SO MUCH MORE. Every time I step into Sqecial Media, I find something that leaves me saying “Ooooooo!”
FOR THE BEAUTY GURU
OOO Polish aims to create a new standard of beauty by making inclusive imagery a priority. The polishes look amazing on all skin tones, but the focus of OOO Polish formulations is brown skin. By embracing and celebrating brown hands, OOO Polish is working to change an industry that has historically undervalued representation and inclusion. OOO polishes are also cruelty-free, vegan, and handmade.
People of Color nail collections are curated with melanin in mind. In addition to their commitment to inclusion, People of Color products are vegan, cruelty-free, and free of 10 toxins commonly found in other polishes on the market.
Hipdot makes me think about celebration. Their cosmetics are inclusively marketed, extremely creative, highly pigmented and make me want to party. Their Legendary glitter palette is on my Christmas list, and I can’t wait to use it to turn my face into a rainbow disco party.
FOR THE ONES WHO SERVE LOOKS LEFT & RIGHT
When is the last time you thought about the wages of the people who made your clothes? Live Fashionable is an ethical fashion brand that takes on the status quo of the fashion industry by creating more opportunities for women around the world and publishing the company’s lowest wages. Live Fashionable believes that transparency and accountability is the key to ending poverty in the fashion industry.
Live Fashionable produces high quality apparel, jewelry, handbags, shoes, home decor.
Female Not Factory celebrates female artists and sustainable practices. All of the beautiful pieces on Female Not Factory are 100% female made. How dope is that?? Products include jewelry, hair accessories, home goods, and second hand designs.
If you know someone who needs more smiles in their closet, Big Bud Press is the perfect solution. This L.A. based label is size-inclusive, unisex, and oh-so-colorful. Not only are the clothes smile-inducing, but their manufacturing practices are ethical and local, so you can be confident in where your clothes came from and how they were made.
FOR THOSE CONVINCED THEY WERE BORN IN THE WRONG DECADE
These next few picks are some of my favorite Kentucky vintage-slingers! Buying vintage is sustainable, ups your personal style, and is all-around pretty dang rad.
2575 Regency Road
945 National Ave.
554 S. 4th Street
FOR THE PERSON YOU’RE NOT SURE ABOUT
17 W. Pike Street
A colorful and bright spot in Covington, KY, Handzy Shop + Studio is where to go if you want to gift copious amounts of smiles. Handzy stocks curated apparel, accessories, decor, books, writing tools, and loads of other goodies that will brighten up your closet, home, or office space. And bonus, they just opened up a sister store called Gumdrop that stocks the coolest kids + baby gear around.
151 S. Main Street
Located in Versailles, KY, Gathered Mercantile is a shop bursting with locally made products and vintage finds. There’s gifts that can be given to a broad array of folks here— from bourbon lovers, to decorators, to creatives, to the stylish. And while you’re there, you can step next door into one of the cutest coffee shops I’ve ever seen, Amsden Coffee Club.
FOR THE PERSON WHO’S ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT FOOD
Habibi’s Sweets & Pastries
2417 Nicholasville Road
Habibi’s Sweets is a family owned and operated bakery specializing in Middle Eastern treats like kunafa, bird’s nests, and baklawa. Whenever someone brings Habibi’s to a party I’m at, they’re immediately filed under “GOOD PEOPLE” in my brain. So, be a good person and bring some Habibi’s to your next gathering.
La Petite Delicat
722 National Avenue
The French macaron used to be something that I could only get on trips to big cities, but now they’re available at a number of awesome, locally owned bakeries around the country. La Petite Delicat is my favorite place to get them in Lexington. In addition to the perfect handcrafted macarons, La Petite makes a variety of pastries, and even does custom cakes (including GIANT macaron cakes.)
*BOOKS FOR THE CONSCIOUS FOODIE*
The Best American Food Writing 2019
In Pursuit of Flavor
Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul
FOR THE PERSON WHO GRABS THE COCKTAIL MENU FIRST
Jeptha Creed is a distillery owned and operated by WOMEN — a mother and daughter duo. Not only is Jeptha Creed woman-led, they also grow many of the ingredients they use in their spirits, and what they don’t grow themselves, they source from local farmers to invest in local agriculture. Jeptha Creed offers bourbon, vodka, and moonshine. Consider adding some Jeptha to your bar cart, or gifting to the bar connoisseur in your life.
Brown Estate is a black-owned vineyard in Napa, California. My dad recently gave me my first bottle of Brown New Vintage Zinfandel, and it is one of the best red wines I’ve had. Get your life, support a black-owned business, and drink some great wine y’all.
Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails (book)
Tiki is the first major cocktail book by an African American in over a century. WHOA. That’s reason enough to support this book by rum expert and bartender, Shannon Mustipher, but if you still need to be convinced, check this: allspice dram, brown butter, tangerine, avocado. These are some of the more unique flavors Mustipher employs in her modern tiki creations. Grab a copy of Tiki, and shake up your holiday gatherings.
This guide is a tiny sampling of the conscious businesses out there. Even if you don’t shop my selections here, I hope you’ll find ways in your town to shop inclusively and thoughtfully. If there are other conscious businesses you want to shout out, comment below!
X – PRETTY STRANGE – X