Updated: Dec 22, 2020
So this year has been all about conscious living for us. As a family, we wanted to make some small changes to our diet and lifestyle and the way we use and source certain products, so that we help do our part to start reducing our carbon footprint and further make a positive impact on this wonderful planet.
Living simply, buying locally, using less energy, eating less meat and dairy, recycling and reusing products are just a few ways we have started our sustainable journey.
To help you shop for some last minute Christmas gifts and set you on a path for finding those sustainable products and gifts for 2021, we've put together a gift guide for those who are thinking about shopping a little more consciously this festive season and way beyond!
During the Past year Dubai resident Mandy Sunner used her candle making hobby as a means of escape and a way to deal with a period of loss and anxiety that brought on some mental health struggles, suddenly ending up with more candles than she could give away to family & friends, encouraged by her sister she created the brand Scenterie.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, our focus is making beautifully scented, quality handmade candles everyone can enjoy. I really find lighting a candle and filling my home with scent steadies my mind”
it’s an important focus of the brand to be minimal so the candles will look amazing In any setting also. “A lot of my inspiration comes from memories, nostalgia and I have a love for all things vintage which you can see reflected in the brand in hope”
When asked, why candles?
“There’s something ritualistic about lighting candle that i find soothing as well as the process of creating the product & seeing the beautiful end result, I studied decorative arts in the U.K. so making things & crafting has always been my passion & my escape. Now I absolutely thrive off the feedback I get from people who are enjoying my candles”
Concious about our impact also, as everything is handmade in small batches this means we never over produce like big brands do, every part of our candle/ packaging is infinitely recyclable and we source 90% of our materials locally reducing our carbon footprint.
www.scenterie.com will be available in the UAE from the end of January 2021, visit the site and sign up to be notified when it’s Launched!
2. Wander Pot
This festive season spread joy with a gorgeously crafted WANDER POT.
Premium and sustainable plant arrangements
Handmade and eco-friendly planters
Delivered with care tips and a personal festive note
WANDER POT is making it their (sustainable) business to bring nature into people’s everyday lives through unique green experiences, whilst also inspiring a more ecological savvy lifestyle.
Is it a planter? Is it a gift box? No need to decide. WANDER POT’s signature plant gifts are designed as functional gift boxes that double as planters, lined with natural latex extracted from the Rubber Tree, which makes them waterproof. These pots are ethically handmade from 100% recycled and biodegradable material to cater to our lust to be more socially responsible.
WANDER POT has a gorgeous range of plant gifts that are perfect for every occasion. Whether it’s for end-of-year, festive season, corporate favours, wedding & baby showers or birthday and anniversary gifts, they have colors, shapes, patterns and designs that cover it all.
The founders, Aya Samaha and Ecaterine Geru, started this journey from the simple need to resolve a few common issues in the planting industry. While shopping for foliage, they couldn’t find plant pots that were truly sustainable when it came to their design and material. All they could find were either plastic nursery pots with drainage, or beautiful pots but without drainage. Not to mention saucers. How many times has a stunning pot been spotted sitting on a random plate!? We often kill our plants through overwatering. If the pot has a hole at the bottom, the excess water will drain and the plant will stay healthy. Pre-planted in a gorgeous pot and with the right type of soil, your plant will be securely delivered to your doorstep in mess-free packaging ready for its new spotlight, or rather ‘sunlight’ in your home or office.
All plant gift boxes are ethically handmade in Sri Lanka by a community of young mothers working from their own homes. Providing them with the opportunity to work and support their families is at the core of the founding dynamic duo’s hearts. Following their ethos, the founders believe that their role extends beyond just selling plants, they have a mandate to educate and guide people in their ‘plant parenthood’ journey to make sure they do it right and elevate it to new realms of sustainability.
Alas, the heartache is over as WANDER POT nurtured their seeded idea that has bloomed into creating an array of beautiful plant gifts that are both functional and sustainable… Oh, and 100% ‘oh-so-loveable!’
3. Mr. Bluefish wraps
The name for the brand was inspired by a bluefish rescued from a plastic bag in the Indian ocean by Thai divers.
The Founder Natasha Mahajan, tells us a little more about how the company started.
"In my journey towards sustainability, I was fed up with the use of single use plastic and packaging that is so prevalent in our society. This business is a step toward correcting or at least mitigating some of that.
I am a former fashion designer and manufacturer and have seen the waste created in the fashion industry first hand. When it came for me to go back to work after a long sabbatical, I was extremely hesitant to go back to fashion.
Our first product is a fabric wrap inspired by the beautiful Japanese technique of Furoshiki, a traditional practice of wrapping objects with a cloth.
Our wraps are sourced from dead stock from factories. This material is leftover fabric from big brand manufacturing. We use recycled and recyclable kraft paper packaging and reusable chalkboard gift tags with twine as part of the set.
Most holidays and celebrations see so much waste in single-use gift wrapping paper, tape and cards. While opening a beautifully packaged gift is half the fun, the impact on our environment is devastating. We offer the option of creating beautifully wrapped gifts in reusable wrapping and natural accessories that leave a positive impact on the gift receiver and the environment.
www.mrbluefish.com - Will be up and running next month. In the meantime here are click the links below to shop for Mr Bluefish products.
Glitches & Stitches is a homegrown brand focused on promoting the value of craftsmanship and artisanal skills. In addition to a capsule collection of hand embellished textile accessories, they also host a number of DIY workshops in Dubai such as chemical-free cosmetics, visible mending and hand embroidery.
Launched in 2018, G&S is the brainchild of designer Natalya Konforti. After spending 8 years in China’s fast fashion industry designing garments manufactured by the hundreds of thousands, she yearned for the soul & personality of artisanal and sustainable craftsmanship. Upon moving to Dubai, she decided to leverage the skills honed developing samples to help other ‘design junkies’ become self-sufficient.
Embroidered Wall Art These pieces are each-one-of-a-kind, carefully hand embroidered and mounted on framed carved from upscaled wood.
Glitch pins are creativity talismans, to be worn as a reminder to think outside of the box. Each pin is hand embroidered.
Screen printed and hand embroidered on 100% cotton
Workshops & Events:
In addition to the recurring workshops (such as Chemical Free Deodorant and Intro to Embroidery - 2021 schedule to be announced soon) they host several social events each month including Craft Jams (a hybrid of networking and co-working session for creatives) and Embroidery Clubs.
5. The Botanist Dubai
The Botanist, which was founded in
2019 by Ruby Giroux, produces a hand-made collection of toxin and chemical-free cleaning products for the home, made entirely from plant-based ingredients and packaged in eco-friendly glass bottles with minimal use of plastics.
From over 160 submitted entries for the Spinneys Local Business programme, the brand was selected as one of 22 local incubators to make their way onto Spinneys and Waitrose shelves across the UAE. “Having the opportunity to be a part of this initiative at a time when supporting local has never been more important has been an incredible experience”, says The Botanist founder Ruby Giroux. “We are excited to share our love for natural plant-based products with the UAE and help people create a healthier home.”
The Botanist range – which is made with biodegradable ingredients and naturally scented with essential oils - currently includes a Liquid Dish Soap, Bathroom Cleanser, Kitchen Cleanser, Floor Cleanser, Multi-Purpose, Wood Duster and Wood Wax, as well as a range of zero-plastic cleaning accessories. Eco-friendly refill options are available for many of the products when ordering on The Botanist’s website.
6. Curate Home
Curate Home was conceptualized years ago, in the dreams and whimsy of Neeti Tandon Kashyap, as a bridge to combine beauty and conscious living.
Growing up in the 80's and 90's, in the pre-mass consumerism years she was enthralled by the multitude of textiles and crafts India produced, when each home and wardrobe was artfully curated from small local craft stores and darzis.
She has worked for several years with manufacturers, textile mills, weavers and printers and as a product development head and sourcing partner for many European and American brands.
Many moons, travels and segues later, she set up Curate Home as a culmination of years of fascination with different cultures and crafts.
"Our artisans are at the heart of what we do and we hope to keep ancient crafts alive while balancing modern living and ensuring fair earnings for everyone in the supply chain and do right by all involved.
One of our star products is the copper water carafe.
Copper charged water balances the doshas in the body known to be the root cause of illness. These carafes are artisanal, hand crafted out pure copper by traditional metal workers in India.
Over the last few years, our work has positively impacted artisans, empowered them with new perspectives, paradigms, skills and reinstated the pride of handcrafting. Some of their revenues have increased five times over. We hope you join us in our journey of conscious living and mindful consumption."
Find out more at www.curatehome.me
7. Shirley Conlon Organics
Supercharged sustainable skincare brand moves to zero waste and zero plastic!
Shirley Conlon Organics is the first beauty brand in the Middle East region to transform her premium organic skincare brand to be 100% zero waste and zero plastic. Last year 120 billion units of packaging were produced by the global cosmetics industry, most of which were not recyclable. “Being consciously beautiful is everything to me, said Conlon CEO and Founder, “beauty isn’t just about you and me, it’s about the world we live in”.
Shirley Conlon is a true wellness wizard, her earth friendly products harness the power of nature. Hand-made in in small batches in Dubai, using unrivalled quality certified organic ingredients, the formulas take years to perfect. A synergy of cold pressed botanicals supercharged with proven, bio-active cosmeceuticals, Shirley Conlon Organics is a simplistic range of skincare products specially formulated with lightweight, sun-friendly ingredients to compliment skin exposed to hot, humid and polluted climates.
“Our mindful approach to beauty is; luxury, simplicity, sustainability and cruelty free” Conlon said. “we manufacture with the upmost respect towards the environment and wellbeing”. Free from synthetic chemicals and phototoxic additives, our vegan formulas are presented in dark recyclable glass to protect the ingredients from sunlight and oxidation.
We do not use outer packaging to minimize our environmental impact. We offer a full recycling and reward program to our customers to ensure they return their used containers.
Fin out more at
8. TKD Lingerie
TKD Lingerie is a homegrown boutique with branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In additional to their award-winning ranges of D+ Lingerie, Swimwear and Nightwear, they have just launched a collection of sustainable footwear.
Lightweight, yet durable. Cruelty-free and 100% Recyclable, these shoes are made from a recycled soy-based material that is 100% vegan. Water resistant, slip resistant and with heel and arch support. What can these shoes not do? A perfect gift for the eco-minded. Plus, take your gently used bras to TKD Lingerie and they will rehome with women in Africa and across the globe, without the means to buy their own.
TKD Lingerie, Town Centre Jumeirah, Dubai
Level 2, Abu Dhabi Mall
9. Quite Quaint
Quite Quaint make bespoke wreaths made from preserved material that can be used the whole year around! The Company Founder Nazy Saif started her company as a tribute to her beautiful artist parents who have left behind a legacy of art, design & compassion.
"Living a life surrounded with creativity & culture we learned to appreciate little details from a very young age." Say's Nazy
"As a mindfulness practitioner & floral designer. I like to bring an element of harmony & nature in all my designs. Being a follower & student of the Ikebana, Japanese art of floral design. I believe in expressing floral design in a 'Less is more' fashion And using material from nature to do the talking in all its glory, even if it is a bare branch. "
"Our workshops are for groups & individuals who like to learn the art of floral design & arrange mindfully."
Photo credit to Joanna Fletcher
"I always tell my participants before they start creating, This is a gift you will make either for your self or for someone you feel really needs it right now."
"We also have fun workshops & festive season wreath making, get togethers where I get to see amazing creativity from participants. I believe your art shows your personality & It is always exciting to watch what someone will make."
We also take orders on commission for home floral decor, cafe installations & events.
10. Turquoise Istanbul
Turquoise Istanbul is a boutique company producing organic and entirely handmade towels for environmentally conscious people who would like to make an authentic sustainability statement. The company’s concept sparks from the magic city of Istanbul and is inspired by its ancient history. All textile products are entirely handmade on old-shuttled looms by the last few native artisans using the original and authentic weaving tradition. Only 100% organic cotton, linen and silk are used, which makes all towels natural, eco-friendly and healthy.
A SUSTAINABLE OPTION, WOVEN WITH EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY AND TRADITION.
With a focus on style, quality and value, Turquoise Istanbul demonstrates that care and concern for human health, the planet and future generations, does not have to be compromised. The goal is impeccable quality while minimizing the footprint in the environment.
Artisans throughout the centuries have passed on the knowledge and techniques to their daughters and sons, keeping the tradition of weaving alive in a modern world. Most of these people have gone bankrupt and lost their livelihoods in weaving because of machine production. In just one more generation, the art of weaving in Turkey - hundreds of years of accumulated knowledge - could be lost. An art that is truly on the edge of extinction, which Turquoise Istanbul is dedicated to saving.
The founder of the company Sarah-Julia Oerer, says...
"Today everything is mass production. A lot of towels are produced on factory machines using inferior quality cotton or synthetic fibers. The speed and size of the machines means that the threads need to be coated in starch and wax to prevent them breaking during production.
The final product will not absorb water as well and only lasts a few years when compared with Turquoise Istanbul’s, which last at least 20 years if cared for properly. The combination of strength, integrity, highest fibers and a human soul that weaves its way into the towels creates something unique with a level of quality that is exceptional and a rarity these days"
Find more info at turquoise-istanbul.com
With Turkish Origins myself, this amazing tradition and the art of hand weaving holds a very special place in my heart. I hope that by bringing a little more light to companies such as Turqiose Istanbul we can not only help increase the desire to shop a little more consciously and sustainably but to also do our part to help keep these wonderful Artisan traditions alive!
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