Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out builtbygirls.com.
Holiday shopping is upon us. Let’s be real, it’s incredibly convenient to find anything and everything you need from the massive online realtors — especially during a pandemic — but the small independent shops in your area are likely struggling as many cities head into another lock down.
As bargain hunters everywhere get ready for a virtual Black Friday, challenge yourself to find shops that you can support that also support your community and likely reflect your beliefs. Plus, there’s the added bonus that your gifts will be even more perfect and unique than just click “add to cart” on whatever link your sister sent you in her wish list.
Before we dive into the ways to ethically shop this holiday season, first take a second to think about what matters to you when you’re shopping? Who do you want to support with your money? Here is a guide to finding shops that meet your moral standards.
Small or local businesses
Shopping small and local is on the surface a great way to support people in your community and on a deeper level support individual people. Many local businesses and mom-and-pop shops are struggling to find ways to stay open — even when they have to shutter their physical doors.
Think about the stores you would frequent (back in the days when we were frequenting anywhere other than our own couches) and look to see if they have a website you can order from. If they don’t, DM them on Instagram or Facebook to see if you can order to pick up curbside or get it shipped directly.
If you’re not sure where to start, BUILT BY GIRLS worked with Dough to create this small-shop gift guide.
If you’re not a straight-sized person, finding cute affordable clothes that fit can be a challenge, so consider shopping brands that are size inclusive. Whether or not you’re buying a gift for someone who is plus-sized, there are plenty of stores and brands that carry a range of sizes that are worth supporting.
So before you send that gift card to the usual go-to, consider your gift as a chance to expand a friend’s shopping horizons.
Supporting businesses who prioritize sustainable products, shipping, and business practices is an easy way to lessen the enormous environmental impact that holiday shopping has. Buy products from stores that use up-cycled materials, ship using recyclable packaging, or, in some way, is working to reduce their carbon footprint.
Another easy way to lessen the environmental impact ties back to shopping local. Find vintage stores, used book stores, or small shops that you can pick up from directly. If you’re not sure what to look for when trying to find a sustainable brand, try these five tips.
BIPOC, women, or LGBTQ-owned shops
Knowing who owns the businesses we support matters. There is a wealth gap in America and one small way you can directly combat that is by purchasing products from businesses owned by marginalized people. Find businesses owned by all types of people in this inclusive guide.
It’s worth taking the extra time to find gifts that won’t just make your family happy but puts your money to good work supporting ethical brands. This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, look for deals outside of the mega-brands and maybe you’ll even find a few new favorite shops.
Read more information and tips in our Spending section