Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for the Socially Responsible Lover

Valentine’s Day is all about expressing love, for our partner, friends, and family. But why stop there? Valentine’s Day can also be a day when we show love for our community and planet. If you show affection through gift-giving, consider buying your Valentine something from a socially responsible brand that’s working to make a difference. To help you along, we put together a socially conscious Valentine’s Day gift guide that’s sure to make you swoon.

1. Sitti Soap

For a little pampering, explore the various self-care products from the socially conscious brand Sitti Soap. As a social enterprise, Sitti offers a collection of beautifully packaged and naturally soothing olive oil-based handmade soaps, cold-pressed by individuals displaced in a refugee camp in Jordan. Through skill development, education, and sustainable employment, Sitti empowers its employees to care for themselves and their families. Sitti Soap’s revenue from each sale helps fund community-based education and training programs in host countries.

Although we have personally tried and love the Moringa olive oil soap, we also want to point your attention to Sitti Soap’s customizable gift sets. All product tags are personalizable and can include a custom message for your Valentine.

One other thing to love about this conscious lifestyle brand is that all its packaging is designed and printed by Limited Addition, a woman-owned small business in Amman, Jordan.

A variety of products from Sitti Soap.

2. Aliya Wanek

The Black-owned eponymous womenswear label Aliya Wanek designs clothing that is equal parts comfortable, stylish, and ethical. Based in the Bay Area, the clothing brand born in 2016 stays true to its values by sourcing sustainably made materials. These materials are then dyed, constructed, and sewn by local contractors—yet another example of how small, independent businesses benefit the communities in which they reside. This company is an excellent option for conscious shoppers who want to make ethical fashion choices by purchasing from socially responsible brands.

The oversized Sanaa dress is chic individuality at its best and produced in a family-owned factory in the San Francisco area. However, if your Valentine prefers pants, we highly recommend the casual sophistication of the Padma top and Oumo pant combination, which is also produced locally. Interesting tidbit: It’s even reported that founder and designer Aliya Wanek still sews some of the clothes herself! 

A shot of Pashko’s sustainable product creation in action.

3. Pashko

Pashko is another Black-owned eco-friendly apparel brand that creates ethical fashion in minimalistic styles that work for men and women. CEO Patrick Robinson earned his stripes at major fashion houses like Giorgio Armani, and led the Gap’s global design team in the early 00s. But when he started hearing stories about contaminated rivers downstream from the company’s denim factories, he resolved to figure out a way to align social good with good business.

Years later, Robinson launched Pashko, his own sustainable clothing company committed to being socially responsible and giving back. Today, the ethical fashion brand incorporates recycled and sustainable materials, relies on fair trade factories, and donates a percentage of sales to environmental causes in partnership with the non-profit Canopy.

Know what else? Pashko makes some of the best pants in various styles that are sure to fit your honey’s tastes.

4. Matr Boomie

A fair trade collection inspired by Indian art forms and Indian women, Matr Boomie made our ethical Valentine’s Day gift guide because they offer an array of socially conscious gifts perfect for any time of year. Quality pieces of handcrafted jewelry, frames, home décor, and accessories make unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your partner, friends or, even, yourself. The best part: the ethical brand’s products are made of natural and upcycled materials by 1,500 artisans across India to create sustainable, dignified living opportunities for marginalized women living in some of the country’s most impoverished areas. 

Matr Boomie was founded as a socially responsible company by Manish Gupta and Ruchi Agrawal a little over a decade ago. The independent small business has since grown to offer vocational training and literacy programs and invests in local development projects founded on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. While we encourage you to check out their entire catalog of ethical products and unique gift ideas, we also want to point your attention to their beautiful handcrafted picture frames and jewelry.

5. United By Blue

Outdoor fashion is very popular these days, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that our Valentine’s Day gift guide for socially conscious shoppers features a sustainable apparel company like United By Blue. 

This outdoor-meets-everyday apparel and accessories brand was launched in 2010 by founder Brian Linton as a certified B Corporation focused on the environment. Items are top-notch and quality because United By Blue prioritizes making durable products that last, so we consume less in the long haul.

And, this American-born small business gives back. One product purchased means one pound of trash is removed from our oceans and waterways. So far, United By Blue has helped remove 3.7 pounds of trash from American waters. 

Ethical supply chains, sustainable materials, conservation projects, and the best flannel shirts make this socially conscious brand a go-to for sustainable gift ideas.

Cozy scarves from United By Blue.

6. Thistle Farms

Thistle Farms was our first pick for the Valentine’s Day gift guide because it’s more than a socially responsible company with a give-back program. Thistle Farms is a legitimate full-fledged social enterprise. Founded more than 20 years ago as a sanctuary for survivors of abuse, addiction, and sex trafficking, today, Thistle Farms houses women survivors while helping them transition to independence through counseling, safe community, schooling, and a path toward financial independence. The non-profit makes beautiful ethically sourced candles, homemade soaps and essential body care, handcrafted jewelry and textiles, and home décor, offering socially conscious shoppers lots of options for Valentine’s Day gifts that give back. Thistle Farms’ products come packed with written notes that share the organization’s story of hope. Our personal favorites are their soaps and lotions, candles, and handwoven scarves, but browse through their catalog of ethical products and choose for yourself.

A colorful arrangement created by The Bouqs Company.

7. The Bouqs Company

For a more traditional Valentine’s Day gift option that’s both romantic and hits the social good angle that all of us conscious shoppers care about, there’s The Bouqs Company, which specializes in gorgeous, farm-fresh floral arrangements and plants.

Founded by John Tabis and Juan Pablo Montúfar with a philosophy that emphasizes caring about people, the planet, and the process of growing flowers, Bouqs works directly with farmers who employ sustainable growing practices to deliver responsibly sourced flowers and eco-friendly plants that look beautiful and last longer.

8. Theo Chocolate Company

Founded in 2005 by Joe Whinney and Jeff Fairhall, Theo Chocolate Company proudly claims its spot as North America’s first organic, fair trade certified chocolate maker. Although the company is based in Seattle, Washington, chocolate lovers (and their Valentines) can order Theos goodies online from just about anywhere. As a socially responsible food brand, Theo’s model relies on third-party verification to ensure fair wages, ethical working conditions, and minimal environmental impact across its supply chain. But don’t worry, all this talk about “organic, fair trade this and ethical food brand that” isn’t a cover for lackluster chocolate. No way. Theo’s made-from-scratch chocolates are divine. If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, look no further for your socially responsible Valentine’s Day gift.

9. Larry’s Coffee

Here’s a socially good gift idea that will warm your Valentine’s heart: Larry’s Coffee. This organic coffee is as delicious as it is sustainable (that’s pretty delicious).

Larry Larson started the ethical coffee brand in 1993 to make a premium cup of joe using eco-friendly, sustainable agriculture practices that don’t harm the ecosystems and communities from which his beans are sourced. Thirty years later, the small independent business is a certified B Corporation and founding member of Cooperative Coffees.

Founder Larry Larson has established partnerships with select farmers to uplift growers that employ sustainable agriculture practices. Even their roasting facilities and corporate offices are green, using rainwater in washrooms, relying on solar energy, and incorporating composting, reusing, and recycling practices to achieve zero waste.

Larry’s Coffee’s Saint Valentino’s blend.

10. Uncommon Goods

Our Valentine’s Day gift guide for socially responsible shoppers wouldn’t be complete without at least one catch-all. Sometimes, you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for. You just need to browse. If you’re an, ‘I’ll know it when I see it” shopper, head to UncommonGoods, a well-organized online marketplace, which just so happens to be a certified B Corporation. The social enterprise offers toys, gadgets, kitchen tools, home décor, interesting objects, and other unique gift items, all of which have been pre-vetted for sustainability. And, with a tagline like, “We’re all out of the ordinary,” you can be sure that your Valentine’s Day gift will feel special. 

UncommonGoods’ story starts at a craft show, where founder Dan Bolotsky felt inspired to build a different kind of e-commerce company. UncommonGoods actively seeks to showcase the works of independent designers, makers, and small company brands. And, through the socially responsible brand’s aptly titled give back program, Better to Give, UncommonGoods donates $1 for every purchase made to one of their chosen non-profit partners for (American Forests, International Rescue Committee, RAINN, Thurgood Marshall College Fund).

We Love Your Commitment to Being a Socially Responsible Shopper this Valentine’s Day!

We hope that this Valentine’s Day gift guide of socially responsible brands and sustainable products has helped you find unique gift ideas that also give back. Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired to introduce the special people in your life to a new set of products, brands, social enterprises, and B Corporations that do well by doing good. And, as far as we’re concerned, the fact that you’re putting this much thought and effort into finding a gift they’ll love already makes you the best Valentine ever. Happy shopping!

This article was written by Neda Azarfar.

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