After a year of turmoil and financial distress for many small businesses, we believe that it is more important than ever to buy from independent brands. Therefore we would like to dedicate this gift guide to 10 small businesses close to us.
*Please consult with the brand to see if they are able to reach your Christmas delivery deadline. With the record number of online orders being placed and delivery couriers working to their maximum capacity, we agree that everyone will be happy to receive their presents a bit later this year.
1. IYAGI STUDIO - Handwoven Dresses from Northern Thailand
It was on a holiday trip passing by Mae Hong Son (Thailand), when our friends Maxi and Gi-Mun stumbled across a night market stall selling colourful, hand-woven dresses. This was the first time they met Wilai, the stall owner, and the inspirational woman behind the Tongkor dress.
Through her weaving project, Wilai is empowering the Karen hill tribes in the area of Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai to preserve their unique weaving culture and support sustainable community development. Her vision is to bridge the gap between the Karen community and the rest of the world by cherishing their local artwork and encouraging pride in traditional weaving techniques. What started with 20 weavers in 2001, is now a weaving project which helps more than 150 women to have a regular income. By supporting them in embracing and sustaining their cultural heritage, Wilai found a way to create a perspective for the region’s people.
Maxi and Wilai continued to stay in touch. With the rise of Covid19 this spring and its consequences for Thailand’s tourism industry, Wilai's business was facing very difficult times. Maxi and Gi-Mun decided to give a support signal from Berlin and ordered a small batch of her dresses. With their earnings, they agreed to reinvest half of the profit back into the community of Mae Hong Son. Thanks to overwhelming interest and support, the two were able to order a second second batch of dresses, which is now available in their brand new Etsy shop.
Half a year after the outbreak of the epidemic, Thailand’s small businesses and local initiatives are still struggling in face of the absence of tourists. So if you’re looking for a dress to brighten up this winter a little bit, get your hands on one of these beautiful dresses and support a good cause.
Handwoven Cotton Dress (each dress is a unique piece) : €79
2. The Female Explorer
The Female Explorer is the first German outdoor magazine focusing specifically on the needs of women on the move.
The project was brought to life by a group of friends from Leipzig, who not only worked together on several creative freelance projects, but also share a love of nature, travel and magazines. What they were missing: Travel content written from the perspective of women. This is why The Female Explorer was born. The project was launched successfully this summer via a Crowdfunding Campaign on StartNext.
BE YOUR #WILDSELF is the slogan of the first print magazine, which includes travel stories written by and for women.
The first batch of magazines has just landed in Leipzig and will be available to purchase from their online store very, very soon – we've been told before Christmas. So follow their Instagram Account and stay tuned! :)
The Female Explorer - Print Issue 1: Shop here3. Studio Wetter - Premium Umbrellas from recycled PET
Dreaming of sunnier days on future holidays, while walking through this winter rain with your broken umbrella. Welcome back to reality! :)
Each year more than 1 billion umbrellas are going to landfill. So why not do the rainy walk in style with an umbrella that is made to last?
Thanks to Ramona, Larissa and Carla, the founder-trio behind Studio Wetter, you can now shop this super cool, recycled and climate-neutral design to lighten up any cloudy winter day.
Umbrella from recycled PET bottles: €69
4. Art Prints From Across The Globe, by Marco di Stefano
Marco di Stefano is an Australian Photographer and Art Director based in Berlin.
In his photos from across the globe, Marco captures unique, sometimes almost surreal looking scenes, that have a minimal, bold or geometric quality to them.
A selection of his work is now available as high-quality Prints. Marco also offers worldwide shipping on all orders, so what are you waiting for? Bring some summer vibes into the living room!
Art Print (left): Kreuzberger Kind. Berlin, Germany, from €60
Art Print (right): Ōwakudani. Hakone, Japan, from €50
Shop more of Marco's prints here
With a subtle nod to the Bauhaus style, Berlin-based label R.EH embraces durability, functionality and sustainability in unisex clothing and interior design pieces. Moved by the desire to simplify everyday decisions and to improve consumerist attitudes, founder Eliza Helmerich creates classic and singular products outside the concept of seasonal collections and fast-moving trends. All items are made with the highest quality and least impact on the environment – celebrating the value of long-term product usage through aging and care. R.EH follows fair manufacturing practices in partnership with craftspeople and family-run businesses located in Germany and Peru.
R.EH's ceramic designs are hand-made in Germany by the traditional Saxon ceramics manufacturer Thunig.
6. Milch & Moos – Vom Wandern und Guten Essen – Brandenburg
Nature + good food: quite the combo! For their blog, Milch & Moos, Sina Schwarz and Theresa Wissmann have been exploring the countryside and culinary offerings of Brandenburg since 2016. Now their stories and hikes are available in a beautifully illustrated book. On 224 pages, the authors reveal their favourite day trips and weekend excursions – from the summer lake route to a winter hike followed by a sauna visit.
In their stories, Sina and Theresa not only focus on the finished produce such as regional honey, cheese or even whiskey, but also the whole production process and people behind it. The book contains personal suggestions for places to stay, wellness breaks, swimming spots, unique restaurant visits, unusual cafes and much more along the way. The book also includes detailed GPS coordinates so no one gets lost.
Milch & Moos – Vom Wandern und Guten Essen – Brandenburg (224 pages, Edition Terra, in German)
Shop at your local book store
7. Mimycri - Bags From Upcycled Refugee Rubber Boats
We met Nora, one of the two founders of Mimycri, during the "Act on Plastic" scholarship program we took part in this year. Together with her business partner Vera they started the project after a volunteer experience on the Greek island Chios during the high time of refugee arrivals in 2015/16.
mimycri was brought to live because tof the belief that by changing perspective, we can turn challenges into opportunities. mimycri stands for regenerative action. "By up-cycling broken refugee rubber boats into high quality bags, we are using what is already there and give new life to rejected material. At the same time, our bags tell a story of the many refugees that have crossed the Mediterranean in these boats. This way, they are a true communication-starter!"
The beautiful bags are made by refugees in collaboration with the Athens-based organization ANKAA.
8. hejhej Mats – Closed Loop Yoga Mat
©: @dariadariaA gift for Yoga lovers? We've got something for you! The lovely founders of @hejhej_mats, Anna & Sophie, design yoga mats that not only look uniquely beautiful, but are also made of recycled foam cut offs and are completely recyclable at the end of their life span. 'Cradle to cradle'-circularity at its best! hejhej Mats are made in Germany and shipped in a climate-neutral manner. The two founders also launched a matching mat bag. Both must haves for Yogis.
Yoga Mat: €129, Bag: €89
9. LOVECO Online Store: Vegan & Fair Fashion, Footwear and Home Accessories
©: loveco.de / Vreni Jäckle
In 2014, Christina Wille fulfilled a personal dream and opened her first LOVECO store, selling fair and eco fashion in Berlin-Friedrichshain. Thanks to the great demand, an online shop another bricks-and-mortar store for vegan footwear followed in 2016. The third Loveco shop opened its doors in September 2018 as another concept store for vegan clothing and accessories in Berlin-Schöneberg. Today LOVECO employs 13 people and Christina just received the "Berliner Unternehmerinnen 2020/2021"award für outstanding female entrepreneurs.
©: loveco.de / Vreni Jäckle
Her enthusiasm, honest approach and "can-do attitude" in a highly competitive market has never ceased to impress us. 2020 in particular was an extremely tough year for medium sized businesses with physical stores, who were often left behind and didn't receive enough financial support from the government. Now having to go through a second shutdown, LOVECO had to put all their eggs in one basket: selling online. The team has curated an extensive gift guide on their website, with lots of ideas for every budget and category. Shop local and support Christina and her team.
Browse through the LOVECO's Gift Guide here:
10. HundHund x Jorinde Barke: Unisex Jewellery made in Germany
©: hundhund.comThis list would not be complete without our favourite Berlin Fashion Label HundHund. Our good friends Isabel and Rohan design minimalistic, timeless and detail-oriented pieces made from premium natural materials and new eco-textiles. HundHund collections are manufactured solely by small factories in Europe with fabrics sourced from the best European mills.
This year they joined forces with the talented Berlin jewellery designer Jorinde Barke. The result is a selection of beautiful silver and gold jewellery that looks great on women, men and dogs alike.
Note: The dog is not for sale! <3
Trust Necklace Silver: €199, Trust Necklace Yellowgold: €209