Gifts that give back: A Conrad guide to the holidays

Gifts that give back text image

The pressure to find the perfect gifts for friends and family during the holiday season can be intense. It's easy to go to the closest shopping centre or the biggest online retailer for super-saver discounts, but you never really know where the money from your purchase will end up. The dollars that you spend during the holidays can add up quickly, and can have an impact that extends far beyond the retailer's pocketdepending on where you choose to shop.

Here are four startups that are making the world a better place with every purchase:

Hydrated World

Hydrated World logoHydrated World is an apparel company with a mission to eliminate the water crisis. Founded during an Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) term in 2013 by Aleks Poldma and Spencer Kelly, Hydrated World works with Safe Water Project to install bio-sand filters in Africa to purify water.

All of the project funds stay in the local African economy, and each filter provides a community with safe water for over 25 years. Hydrated World has installed 14 filters in South Sudan and Malawiproviding 280,000 litres of safe water per yearand have an additional 25 filters on the way.

Hydrated World's latest release, the limited edition Fine Fettle Crew Neck, promotes using style and wardrobe to represent strong personal values. 

Hydrated World models

Hydrated World team

The Hydrated World team (left to right): Aleks Poldma, Ben Carroll, Mack Saunders, Gill Henderson, and Spencer Kelly.

ULLO

ULLO logo

ULLO works directly with artisans and farmers in Nepal to produce high quality knitwear and jewelry, while ensuring that fair wages and working conditions are maintained. ULLO's founder, Tara Scanlan, launched the company while completing her Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) degree, and is now a leader in the ethical clothing movement in Canada. 
 
ULLO has supported over 2,500 artisans in Nepal, supported educational scholarships for over 100 elementary school children, and supported medical care facilities in rural Nepal, where over 6,000 people have benefited from the services!
 
ULLO recently joined forces with Simply Giovanna (below) to bring hand-crafted items to the Student Life Centre on campus.
ULLO earrings
ULLO knitwear
 

Simply Giovanna

Simply Giovanna logo
Simply Giovanna makes hand-crafted jewelry. Giovanna Ngai, a third-year Arts and Business student, began crafting jewelry in high school and developed her business during an E Co-op term. 
 
Giovanna also designs clothing and costumes for Fashion for Change's Annual Charity Fashion Show. Fashion for Change is a student-run club that raises money for Free the Children, and their Adopt a Village development model. Each year, the club produces a fashion show highlighting talented models, performers, choreographers, and designers, such as Giovanna. All proceeds from the fashion show are donated to improve the quality of healthcare and water in Moyamba, Sierra Leone. 
 
Simply Giovanna model wearing jewelry
Simply Giovanna model wearing Game of Thrones costume and jewelry

Off the ej

Off the ej logoEmma Halenko is an architectural design student inspiring people to cut down on industrial and consumer waste. Emma's jewelry company, Off the ej, offers pieces made from found materials, such as license plates, CDs, and tires.

Emma grew her business during an E Co-op term, and hopes to inspire people to rethink their consumption habits by reusing or repurposing an item before throwing it out or buying something new. Each purchase of reinvented jewelry is a step toward a more sustainable future. 

Model wearing necklace made from CDs

Model wearing necklace made from license plate


So, don't worry if you are a last-minute shopper— any one of these gifts is sure to put a smile on someone's face, and add a little more happiness to the world. 

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