Valentine’s Day is a divisive holiday. People love it or hate, feel pressured by it, or embrace the chance for romance. It’s easy to see why people complain about it existing merely for companies to make money, so let’s reclaim the day by using it to support brands that are about more than the bottom line, that way we can do good while making our loved ones feel special. Here are my eight #forgood essentials for your Valentine’s Day celebration. Check out my picks and if you’re looking for a v-day present that I didn’t list here, feel free to comment. I’ll do my best to help you find an ethical alternative to what you want!
1.) The Card: Wunderkid Cards
Wunderkid sells quality greeting cards with designs ranging from serious and heartfelt, to quirky and whimsical. Each card is designed by a young artist pursuing a career in the arts, and each sale contributes to a tuition fund for the artist. They strive for sustainability by using 100% recycled paper, and nothing from the creation of their orders goes to a landfill. According to their site, the last remnants of their manufacturing process after recycling is turned into energy or repurposed for use in concrete production. For some, a good card is more important than a gift, so why not write your sweet nothings in a Valentine’s Day card that supports young students and the arts?
2.) The Dress: Junim Los Angeles
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with Junim Los Angeles. I covered them in-depth here, but to sum it up, designer Haley Solar hand sews her headturning dresses in Eagle Rock, CA out of upcycled fabric. She’s currently having a sample sale and this stunner is on sale for $68 instead of $138. Sure you can wear red on Valentine’s Day (she has a sparkly red dress on sale too!) but why not go bold and wow your date in this gold dust mini.
3.) The Lingerie: Naja
Naja’s factory employs single mothers and female heads of households. The women that sew their lingerie are paid above market wages and Naja goes above and beyond by generously paying for books, uniforms, school lunches and supplies for the children of each of their workers. On top of that, a percentage of their revenue is donated to help educate women in Columbia. Lingerie sales skyrocket around Valentine’s Day, and with so many choices out there, I prefer to purchase from companies that can tell you who made their items. This bustier is sewn by Alba Betancur, an inspiring single mother and now grandmother!
4.) The Wine: ONEHOPE
ONEHOPE creates award winning wine that gives back — each bottle supports a different cause. This red glitter bottle of Edna Valley Pinot Noir is perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebration, and for each bottle sold a family of five is educated on their risk of heart disease.
5.) The Flowers: BeMyRose
It takes dedication for a business to go through an ethical certification process. BeMyRose cares so much about protecting people and the environment that they’ve gone through three! They are certified FairTrade, Rain Forest Alliance and Flor Ecuador, so we can have peace of mind knowing that our Valentine’s Day flowers are pesticide free and harvested sustainably. On top of the assurance that they pay their farmers fair wages, BeMyRose donates 10% of each purchase to empower the families of their farmers and enhance their communities. Make sure to order your bouquets by February 10th to ensure they arrive by the 14th!
6.) The Chocolate: Tony’s Chocolonely
If you’ve spent any time with me you know that I’m a chocolate addict, but when I have a (daily) craving, not just any run of the mill candy bar will do. Two things are important to me — taste and ethics. Tony’s Chocolonely is not only the best tasting chocolate I’ve ever had, it’s also the most ethical. They go beyond fair trade certification to make sure that their chocolate is completely slave free every step of the supply chain. Their long term vision is to change the entire industry and make all chocolate worldwide slave free, and I will support them in that quest by eating as many of their chocolate bars as I can. This special Valentine’s Day bar is made out of extra fine dark chocolate with meringue (made from free-range eggs) and pieces of cherry. If you live in LA, you can find this along with all of their other delicious flavors at Joan’s On Third in Studio City.
7.) The Diamonds: MiaDonna x The Giving Keys
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’re also expensive as hell, and more often than not they’re unethically mined. One way to ensure your diamonds are conflict free is to buy lab-created diamonds. Lab-created diamonds from MiaDonna don’t hurt the environment and are a fraction of the cost of their conflict-free competitors. They donate 5% of their profits to help restore lives and land in sub-Saharan Africa, and purchases from this incredible company have already funded a 100 acre farm in Sierra Leone which employs more than 500 former child soldiers. If you’re not ready to pop the question this Valentine’s Day, consider these earrings from The Giving Keys featuring a 1.5mm Diamond Hybrid on one side, and the word LOVE on the other. The Giving Keys employs people transitioning out of homelessness, so this gift provides support for people in need all over the world. They’re also on sale for $55. You’re welcome 😉
8.) The Pampering: LUSH
Bath and body products are a great Valentine’s Day gift, because who doesn’t appreciate a little relaxation and pampering? Lush has a variety of vegan products that are made with fair trade ingredients, like this Butterball bath bomb made with Fair Trade Cocoa Butter. Choose a lotion charity pot to use after your bath — 100% of the purchase price will be donated to the grassroots organization associated with the specific charity pot you choose.