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While a lot of things play into it, one universal element that makes people love one gift more than the other is knowing how much care went into selecting it specifically for them.
For this reason, the holidays are a particularly great time to buy "layered gifts," which on the surface are great things you'd want anyway, but also on another level have interesting company stories, experiences, and ties to the giftee's own values, to make them come across as particularly special.
While donating to a charity in honor of someone else will always be wonderful, there are a lot of companies you can shop at that provide a win-win for everyone: something great your giftee can enjoy in their everyday life and business practices or philanthropic missions that also do good on a wider scale, even if only by encouraging values like transparency or sustainability in their industry at large.
Below are 18 companies that offer exactly those kinds of "layered gifts," along with why you should feel good shopping there and who will love them.
Having trouble figuring out what to get someone for the holidays? Browse all of Insider Picks' 2017 holiday gift guides here.View As: One PageSlidesEverlaneEverlane
What they make: Modern essentials at responsible factories without traditional markups.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Everlane has become synonymous with transparent fashion. They partner with ethical factories and try to responsibly source all materials, but they're best known for being completely transparent about the true cost of the products they make (materials, labor, and transportation). You won't be charged the same markup as other retailers, and Everlane will adjust their prices based on the supply chain, so if the cost of raw cashmere drops (which it did), Everlane will drop their online prices to reflect that (which they did).
Who will love it: Women and men who appreciate high-quality, timeless clothes and accessories with modern tweaks.Shop Everlane >>Blue Bottle CoffeeBlue Bottle Coffee
What they make: Coffee fit for even the pickiest drinkers.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Blue Bottle Coffee, a crowd-pleaser for hubs like Silicon Valley, makes both economic and environmental sustainability core values. They make delicious coffee with the precision of real purists, but they also work directly with farmers around the world to source the best and most sustainable coffees available. Their recent Georgetown cafe sent all opening proceeds to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Read more here.
Who will love it: People who enjoy coffee, specifically those who enjoy "real" coffee — a really good bean served at peak flavor without graham cracker crumbles on top.Shop Blue Bottle Coffee >>Adidas x Parley collectionAdidas
What they make: High-performance footwear that's made with recycled plastic from the oceans.
Why you should feel good shopping here: The Adidas x Parley products have the full benefits of advanced technology and performance design that Adidas is known for, but they also help take pollution out of our oceans. You can get optimal performance at the same time that you help encourage sustainable, smart business practices that benefit everyone.
Who will love it: Athletes, the environmentally conscious, and anyone who appreciates unique gifts with a good story.Shop Adidas x Parley products >>GlossierGlossier
What they make: Highly popular, easy-to-use skin care and makeup that aim for simplicity and putting the health of your skin first.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Glossier makes the skin care and makeup that has taken over social media such as Instagram with the popularity of their "Skin first. Makeup second." motto and fresh, honest marketing. Aside from their simplicity and transparency in creation and intention, Glossier addresses things like shortages and how they're funding their launches in easy-to-access blog posts so shoppers can stay informed. They also have several vegan products and nothing is ever tested on animals.
Who will love it: Anyone who enjoys skin care, popular beauty products, or appreciates vegan options that still perform well.Shop Glossier >>PatagoniaPatagonia
What they make: Cutting-edge outdoor gear that gives back to the environment.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Since its inception, Patagonia has been centered around appreciating and enjoying our connection with nature. To help preserve the environmental health of the planet, they donate time, services, and at least 1% of their sales to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups doing good work (often bumping this percentage up in response to current events and holidays). Since being a business necessarily means causing pollution, Patagonia tries to reduce their impact by using recycled polyester and organic cotton in clothes.
Who will love it: The outdoors enthusiast who loves great gear and wants to preserve the environment.Shop Patagonia >>CotopaxiCotopaxi
What they make: Outdoor gear that helps end world poverty.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Cotopaxi gear is exceptionally innovative, practical, and durable, but it's also helping end global poverty by donating 2% of its annual revenue to high-impact organizations already working with local communities to build sustainable solutions. They also provide valuable lectures (on things like how to open a bank account and create a résumé) and "first jobs" to the large refugee population in Utah.
Every time you buy something from them, you will receive a handwritten thank-you note from a refugee teenager sent with your item (which the teenagers receive compensation for making). On top of that, they're working to give more creative license to local artisans and eliminate waste by repurposing scrap material for limited edition gear. Read more here.
Who will love it: The outdoor enthusiast who values having great gear and making the world a better place simultaneously.Shop Cotopaxi >>Colored OrganicsColored Organics Instagram
What they make: Soft, high-quality, organic clothes kids will love to play and sleep in.
Why you should feel good shopping here: As Colored Organics puts it, they "want children to play in [their] clothes, not make them," which is why no child labor will ever be a part of the company's supply chain. It's also why up to 50% of the profits from your purchase will help a child in need. You can get your kids into the comfy, cozy clothes they love to wear and also simultaneously improve the life of another child they'll never meet. And since they're truly organic (and not all organic clothes are created equal), they're also better for the environment.
Who will love it: Parents who want the best and softest clothes for their kids and will appreciate that a great gift for their own child will also be one for another in need.Shop Colored Organics >>AUrateAUrate
What they make: Jewelry made under sustainable production and sold at transparent prices.
Why you should feel good shopping here: AUrate believes that women shouldn't have to choose between high quality, fair prices, and good business practices when it comes to jewelry. As a result, they use durable materials, transparent pricing, sustainable production, and give back in tangible ways. Diamonds and pearls are sourced from conflict-free regions, in compliance with all applicable United Nations resolutions, and for every piece of jewelry purchased, a book is donated to a child who is underprivileged economically.
Who will love it: Anyone who loves jewelry and will appreciate a transparent, responsible supply chain, as well as someone looking for an up-and-coming brand they might return to in the future.Shop AUrate >>Citizen's MarkCitizens Mark
What they make: Extremely high-quality blazers for working women.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Not only does Citizen's Mark function as a shining example of a responsible global supply chain with ethical practices, but founder Cynthia Salim is working on reinventing the way the fashion industry understands (and tries to dress) workingwomen. She uses "male" fabrics and "male" factories to tailor blazers of superior quality from really anything else on the market for women who want the same quality in clothes as their male counterparts. Read more here.
Who will love it: Powerful women who value finely made clothes that exude credibility and complement their own impressive abilities.Shop Citizen's Mark >>Osprey PacksOsprey Packs
What they make: High-performance outdoor gear with inventive tweaks that make their packs ridiculously comfortable and popular.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Osprey Packs tries to be an industry leader when it comes to sustainability and environmental and social concerns. They pay salaries well above the national minimum wage, use 100% green energy to power their headquarters and implement carbon offsets for shipments and travel, and they send all products (which are famous for how well they work, instead of their considerable transparency) in 100% recycled and recyclable packaging. Read more here.
Who will love it: The outdoor enthusiast who wants the most comfortable pack money can buy, and wants to protect the environment.Shop Osprey Packs at REI >>BombasBombas
What they make: Really ridiculously comfortable socks that the company spent two years perfecting with improvements like a "blister tab" to offset blisters.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Aside from being the smartest socks on the market and the best we've tried, Bombas also provides socks to the homeless. Socks are the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters, and this fact is the founding force behind Bombas. For every pair purchased, they donate a pair specifically engineered by Bombas to answer the needs of the homeless — an anti-microbial treatment for fewer washes, reinforced seams, and darker colors for less visible wear and greater durability. Read more here.
Who will love it: Frequent gym-goers or really anyone who wears socks ever.Shop Bombas >>BioLiteBioLite
What they make: Gear that produces outdoor and off-grid energy that is helping address energy poverty.
Why you should feel good shopping here: BioLite makes some of the best gear available in the outdoor community, but they're also doing important work bringing safer cooking and reliable electricity to villages (as well as campgrounds) around the world. Their high-efficiency stoves help reduce toxic smoke and its related deaths. And unlike its predecessors, BioLite gear is self-sustaining and can operate in off-grid communities anywhere.
Who will love it: The frequent camper or energy-conscious friend.Shop BioLite >>LeatherologyLeatherology
What they make: Leather goods sold at unbelievable prices.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Leatherology makes minimalist, exceptionally high-quality leather bags for much less than you'd pay in a department store, by not adding a 50% markup like big brand names. They produce everything from start to finish in-house, which keeps costs low and passion high, as well as design small styles to be cut alongside larger patterns, saving money, eliminating waste, and passing the savings along to you.
Who will love it: Anyone who loves quality leather goods and knowing a new brand name.Shop Leatherology >>RitualRitual
What they make: Vitamins made from the "purest, most effective" vitamin formulations, of which the company shares every ingredient, source, and scientist that had a hand in its creation.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Ritual aims to add transparency, simplicity, and traceability to women's health. Instead of leaning into health fads, they make sure (and let you check for yourself) that the ingredients used in their vitamins are simple, effective, and actually backed by science.
Who will love it: Anyone who enjoys healthy living and wants to know more about what they're putting in their body.Shop Ritual >>Hourglass CosmeticsHourglass Instagram
What they make: Popular, cruelty-free cosmetics, especially well-celebrated for their "ambient lighting" essentials.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Hourglass is known for making exceptional makeup, but they're also notable for being a 100% cruelty-free platform. As an extension of their existing values, they announced on November 1, 2017, that their goal is to become a fully vegan brand by 2020.
Who will love it: People who love great makeup and love animals.Shop Hourglass cosmetics at Sephora >>ShwoodShwood
What they make: Premium wood sunglasses and prescription eyewear that are handcrafted in the US and made from sustainable materials.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Shwood integrates natural, handcrafted wood into each design (of which the focus is on the natural wood's unique character rather than fitting a standardized design) and every step, from veneering and lens cutting to shaping and finishing, is conducted in their Portland-based workshop. Read more here.
Who will love it: Fans of sustainability and old-school craftsmanship, products made in the USA, and/or unique eyewear.Shop Shwood >>Boie brushesBoie
What they make: Environmentally friendly toothbrushes that also kill germs.
Why you should feel good shopping here: On top of having a cool, ergonomic design and being really affordable ($12), the Boie toothbrushes more than earned their Kickstarter success by killing germs, cleaning effectively and gently, and cutting down on the unbelievable amount of plastic people throw away annually (50 million pounds).
The Boie brushes are 100% recyclable and designed with detachable heads so that replacements require less plastic to make and cost less. They also last 2x longer than traditional brushes, so you'll have to replace them less frequently. Read more here.
Who will love it: Anyone who brushes their teeth (we really love them), and especially those concerned by pollution.Shop Boie >>Timbuk2Timbuk2
What they make: Extremely tough messenger bags, backpacks, and accessories born and bred on the backs of San Francisco bike messengers.
Why you should feel good shopping here: Timbuk2 has a pretty awesome reputation for innovation and durability when it comes to packs, but they also aren't too shabby in the sustainability department. Their Life Cycle program aims to reduce, repair, recycle and reimagine Timbuk2 bags to eliminate waste (of which there is a lot in the retail industry).
Who will love it: Anyone who needs a stylish, tough-as-nails bag with a lifetime warranty.Shop Timbuk2 on their home site or on Amazon >>
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