Social enterprises offer gifts that keep on giving
It’s that time of the year again. Everyone’s in a mad scramble to hit targets, complete next year’s budgets, and fulfill long-forgotten New Year’s resolutions.
Top this off with the need to finish your Christmas shopping, and that’s stress multiplied 10, 100, 1,000 times.
To ease the burden of shopping for gifts, social enterprises have come up with Christmas gift packages and recommended gifts that will not only be a treat for your loved ones, but will also positively impact the lives of marginalized Filipinos.
One of these sources of unique customized gifts is Gifts and Graces Fair Trade Foundation. It scours the country for items made by local artisans and makes these more accessible to consumers.
According to Gifts and Graces executive director Joanna Duarte, the social enterprise has become a marketing arm, design lab, and partner for development of its around 20 beneficiary-communities nationwide.
Gifts and Graces’ wide range of products include boxes and organizers, food items, coffee and tea, notecards and journals, stuffed toys, pillows, and different kinds of functional and decorative houseware.
For Christmas, Duarte recommends Gifts and Graces’ Coffee Set, which is composed of coffee from fair trade enterprise Bote Central and a handmade, 100-percent Earth-friendly mug made by potter Joey de Castro. This set sells for P2,295.
Other gift suggestions include items from Gifts and Graces’ brass collection: Bell charm with beads (P1,250); dinner bell (P1,250); prayer bell (P1,995); figurines (prices range from P1,795 to P3,495); and mug and pencils set, designed by renowned local artist Ivi Avellana-Cosio, daughter of National Artist for Film Lamberto Avellana and National Artist for Theater Daisy Avellana (P5,995).
These items are all made by the T’boli tribe in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, using the lost wax method. Beads for the bell charm were put together by the children of The Learning Center, a school for special children.
Gifts and Graces products can be purchased at its office and showroom at Unit 131 Mile Long Building in Makati, as well as at the Edsa Shangri-La Lobby Shop, The Room Upstairs, SM Kultura Filipino, Rustan’s, Robinsons Galleria and Ermita Department Store, Ayala Museum Shop, and Seafood City branches in California.
Another social enterprise that goes around the country in search of unique products is ECHOstore, a “green” retail store that sells community fair trade products created by artisan communities and small producers.
According to co-founder Jeannie Javelosa, ECHOstore carries various gift packages all year round, including snack packs, wellness kits, home cleaning solutions, and coffee packages, with prices ranging from P500 to P2,500, depending on product line and mix. The Spa in a Can and Spa in a Bottle, two of ECHOstore’s bestselling products, are included in the wellness packs.
ECHOstore has outlets at Podium in Mandaluyong, Serendra in Taguig, and Salcedo in Makati, with licensees in Quezon City, Davao, and Cebu.
Human Nature products are also highly recommended, especially for women and kids. The 6-year-old brand, operated by Gawad Kalinga arm Gandang Kalikasan Inc., has more than 60 products in 14 categories, including face care, hair care, personal care, kids care, wellness, protective care and home care.
Tish Martinez-Castillo, Human Nature corporate communications and PR manager, said some of the brand’s best-selling items were the Overnight Elixir (30mL, P1,295), Pure Rosehip Oil (15mL, P695), Detoxifying Mask + Scrub (100g, P249.75), Balm for All Seasons (10g, P89.75), 100 percent Natural Lip Balm (4g, P79.75), All Natural Spray Sanitizer (50mL, P59.75; 200mL, P129.75), and Scented Cleansing Bar (120g, P74.75).
If you want customized gifts for your partners and loved ones, GKonomics International Inc., another Gawad Kalinga arm, has a wide selection of unique items for you.
GKonomics communications director Divine Duran recommended capiz candle holders in different shapes (P150), pandan journal (P225), and Happy Totes canvas grocery bags (P650 for five pieces), both for customization with your company logo or the recipient’s name and for purchase as is.
These products are made by artisan-residents of GK Sta. Rita and GK Sto. Nino in Las Piñas City and in GK San Agustin Legacy Village in Negros Occidental.
GKonomics sources its products from more than 60 GK communities all over the country.
Other GKonomics products include straw bags, doy pack bags, sea grass bags and baskets, tarpaulin bags, candles, sketchbooks, notebooks, notepads, photo frames, tablet cases, wood carvings, greeting cards, and apparel.
GKonomics products are sold at the GK office in Mandaluyong, at GK Pinagsama in Taguig, and at ECHOstore branches. Duran recommends calling ahead or sending an e-mail inquiry for purchases (9409789, 5332217, [email protected], [email protected]). Customized and bulk orders take at least two weeks to be completed, depending on the product and volume.
Fortunately, there is still enough time to place those orders for gifts that give as much joy to the giver as the receiver.
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