The Dream Team's Holiday Gift Guide | Rachel and Sabine
As we end off our 2020 gift guide, don't forget to treat yourself! It's been a rough year, and you deserve all the self-love. Whether that's a walk through a botanical garden, your favourite tea sipped out of a sassy mug or going for a run while listening to your favourite song, try to take a moment for yourself as well.
Sabine's Gift Guide | FOR WHEN YOU
WANT TO TREAT YOUR SELF
A candle or mug from Pretty By Her
I have been following Pretty by Her, a Cambridge-based small business, for over a year now, since I received my first candle. Kelly designs “sweary” and “non-sweary” gifts for every occasion, and they are sure to bring a smile to your face! Her candles are soy-based, phthalate-free, sustainable, renewable and biodegradable, plus they smell AWESOME. My personal favourite are the “Warm & Cozy” scents. Be sure to check out her products as she also has cards, wine bottle labels, notepads and mugs. It should also be known that a portion of every order is donated to Mental Health and Suicide Prevention programs in the community. It can’t get much better!
A lounge set from Rare Collectives
What better than being comfy, both during the holidays and all year round! Rare Collectives is a female-owned apparel company in which Courtney, the founder, locally sources all materials and sews all of her collections by hand. She has come out with anything from swimwear to loungewear, and I have been dying to get my hands on the “Basic Loungewear” set (that comes in many colours!). You should totally check her out and buy a set for a best friend, sibling or anyone for that matter.
Harmony is a small fair-trade family business that specializes in handmade jewellery, custom apparel and more! All products are carefully sourced and produced using local and recyclable materials. They offer many personalization options, including engravings on their jewellery and custom printing on their apparel. There is nothing I love more than a minimal gift, and Harmony knocks that out of the park, being my go-to choice for staple pieces. Harmony has a gift for every person on your list to make their holiday season brighter!
A class (or 6) with Liana Velos and Brock Relay for Life
I have been doing Liana Velos’ boot-camps for a few months now. As someone who sometimes struggles with workouts due to limited mobility, I am obsessed. She holds (approximately) 45-minute virtual & equipment-free workouts for absolutely anyone to join and offers modifications for anyone who needs them. She also just recently partnered with the Relay for Life committee at Brock University (in St Catharines), meaning that half of the proceeds of these designated boot-camps go to the Canadian Cancer Society. These partnered workouts happen on Thursdays at 8pm and would be the perfect gift to give your fitness-loving friend or any loved one who values overall wellness. Gift it as an IOU and offer to pay for one class ($10) or join the subscription to 6 classes in the new year -- running from January 14th to February 18th -- for a discounted $50. Check out @livewellwithli or @brockrelayforlife on Instagram for more details. What is better than a gift that gives back and ALSO makes you feel good?
I love supporting local, and when I found out a friend of a friend released a book, I was so excited to check it out. This book was one of those ‘read-in-one-sitting’ (thank you quarantine) type books, and it really helped me to realize that I was not alone. It is filled with personal stories and recounts of Erica’s time in University and the lessons it taught her and breaking down some of her coping strategies for stressful times. ‘& sometimes you learn’ is the perfect gift for anyone entering or currently attending post-secondary (or anyone looking for a smile and some lifelong lessons) as it left me with many takeaways that I still think about to this day.
Ever since my family went on vacation and visited a nearby Soapstones store, we have been ordering their hand soap refills. Soapstones is a natural skincare company that is transitioning its packaging to becoming completely plastic-free! They offer anything from aluminum-free deodorant in a compostable tube to shampoo bars (a packaging-free shampoo option) to their carefully curated hand soaps (our favourites are the Cedar and Saffron, and Pink Sugar scents). Any of these items make a perfect gift and allow you the ease of not having to worry about those ingredients you can’t pronounce!
With the holidays happening around the corner, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to find brands you love that align and support your values. Here is my small business gift guide that focuses on the design, art and music lover. My list is quite long, and there are so many great small businesses to focus on that I have added an honourable list at the bottom, let's get started with The Well Designed!
RACHEL'S GIFT GUIDE | THE WELL DESIGNED
Before we jump into the Well Designed, make sure you check out Kickstarter - if you aren't already following them, you should. They have an endless list of new products that need the community's support to help them make them happen! An amazing resource to help bring community projects to life, like The Last Black Man in San Francisco, which was a Kickstarter Project. They also have a side project called "The Creative Independent," a resource list of emotional and practical guidance for creative people, and it's ad-free!
Our Place focuses on creating homeware products that connect people over home cooking; each of their products and the stories behind their products are inspired by everyday people from different cultures. They have beautiful branding and put a lot of thought into the ethically designed products; their most popular and cult-favourite item is the Always Pan. The Always Pan can do the work of 8 different pans and is deep enough to boil, steam, strain your food and more! To check out Our Place's beautiful content and all the good they are doing, click here and to check out their amazing pans and wonderful products, click here.
Granby Workshop creates handmade Tiles and Tableware in Liverpool, England. I love everything about Granby Workshop. They originally started off as a community project to help rebuild Granby, a town in England, and have now expanded to creating handmade ceramics. Their Granbyware is their everyday dinnerware made from 100% recycled materials. Each piece is handmade. They are food, dishwasher, and microwave safe! Their Splatware collection uses stoneware clay and various ceramic pigments compressed into 60 tonnes of pressure to create unique plates and bowls. Check out their Instagram and website for more info!
DANG STHLM is a sustainable and ethically produced clothing brand based in Stockholm. They strive to create staple pieces for your wardrobe and items that are gender fluid. Their first collection was made from deadstock, leftover fabrics from suppliers and factories that are no longer needed. They work with smaller factories in Vietnam and are transparent about all of their production. I came across Julia Dang, owner of DANG STHLM, through her YouTube channel, The Lineup. You can see her behind the scene with her small business and her beautiful visual look-books on her channel. To check out the collection, click here!
Odd Pears is a sock company located in Australia. They strive for good design, individuality and helping the planet. When you purchase a pair of socks, you get an additional sock different from the main pair to help bring out your individuality if you want to mix it up, allowing you to be bold one day or funky the other. $1 from EACH individual sock purchased gets donated to charity. Another reason I love this company because they genuinely care about supporting the creative community. Each week Odd Pears spotlights amazing artists on their blog. To check out their collection, click here.
RACHEL'S GIFT GUIDE | FOR THE ART LOVER
This is one of my favourite brands. Their apparel is smart, sharp and bold. Extra Vitamins is a two-person, artist-run brand located in Brooklyn, New York. They create everything in the house. Almost all of their blank shirts are sourced from the USA with 100% cotton. Each collection is hand-dyed by hand and is made in small batches of 40-60 designs that come out seasonally. Their neighbourhood print shops print all their designs. What I love about Extra Vitamins is that they can merge art and design together seamlessly. Their well-designed website makes it easy to follow along with how their brand is produced. To check out a great article about Extra Vitamins background, click here and click here to check out their Fall collection.
Black Painters Academy will be located in New York and was started by Azikiwe Mohammed, an object-based performative artist. Azikiwe aims to create a space that builds and supports the community through creation. Awikiwe will teach most of the classes, virtual and eventually in person and will have surprise guest instructors from the community. Each class will be free. All example paintings will be from Black painters, and classes are available on first-come, first-serve, with a priority to Black/Brown BIPOC. To help contribute to this small business and get it off its feet, check out their Kickstarter campaign here. To learn more about Azikiwe click here. Help make a space that builds and grows creativity through the community!
Julian Glander is a mostly self-taught 3D animator, designer and illustrator. Julian's style is fun, quirky and full of life and colour. He recently released a video game that he has been working on for a while, called Art Sqool. The video game allows you to create art and complete assignments by your professor, who is an art trained AI. The game is now available on Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC. To purchase it for $6.99 USD [it's a steal], click here. It is always super exciting to watch one of your favourite artists accomplish so much and grow throughout their career; check out Julian's Instagram and site for more!
RACHEL'S GIFT GUIDE | FOR THE MUSIC LOVER
If you can do so, you can always support your fave musician with a donation through their Soundcloud page to help them keep going throughout this season. Here are two great small music-based businesses that I love:
Nowadays, a music club in New York City focuses on bringing people together through music, dance, and culture. The pandemic has affected us all in many different ways. Like many small businesses, many clubs have had to shut down as they rely on in-person events. Nowadays, has done an amazing job of bringing the community together during this challenging time by posting virtual workshops, panels, DJ sets and merch by posting new exclusive content every week on their Patreon. To help them stay alive during this time, you can support them by donating to their Venmo, which supports people in their community and contributing to their Patreon.
Invisible City Editions is our local Toronto highlight. They are a record label, shop and DJ Sound System. You can find them online or in the heart of Chinatown. You will be able to find vintage records from the '80s and '90s, which also include lots of dance, electronic soul, Caribbean funk and more. It is definitely a hidden gem in the city. If you're for a record shop that holds a wide variety and cares about their music history, this is your place to go. Supporting a small business like Invisible City Editions is a great way to support the music community and buy their records online. If you would like to stream any of the DJ sets performed at Invisible City Editions, click here to visit their SoundCloud, there is also a link to help support them during this extraordinary time.
WELL DESIGNED [our all Canadian line up]
+ Simple Ritual [classic scented soy candles]
+ Houndbear [natural dog treats]
+ Shayna Stevenson [ceramist]
+ Mala the Brand [modern scented soy candles]