5 mins

Handmade gifts come with a face

Handmade gifts are made by actual human beings working to create something unique.
They put love, care, hopes, and dreams into what they do.

A movement is underway to reconnect faces and names to items purchased online – particularly handmade gifts.
These initiatives are springing up everywhere, but they are often difficult to find.

So we’ve put together a few of our favorite websites/IG accounts selling handmade or signature products that put a face on what you buy.
We are inspired by what they do.
Supporting them helps “people with a face” to grow their small business and strengthen their local community.

So if you are looking for an OG handmade gift, looking to create a different connection with the things you buy online, or are simply curious, head over to these sites.
And discover the work of people who put their name, heart, and sometimes their name on their work.

Anqa Collective is THE marketplace for refugee business owners

The Anqa Collective is unique.
It is an online boutique that showcases the work of refugee entrepreneurs living in the UK.
Handmade designer fashion, food, beauty, art, eco-friendly clothing, crafts, woven goods, and more are all featured.

Each entrepreneur’s profile is also featured.
You get to meet the person behind their exciting creations and learn part of their story.

The first of its kind in Europe, the Anqa Collective was launched last year by TERN (The Refugee Entrepreneur Network).
TERN understands that the challenges that refugees face are complex.
Refugee status frequently means that the person is ineligible for work and must find ways to cope with systems that force them to struggle.
The Anqa Collective sets out to change that by giving refugee entrepreneurs the chance to go “straight-to-market” online.

TERN explains that they believe in the idea of creating a network that enables “refugees to thrive through the power of their own ideas.”
So creating an online marketplace that allows refugee entrepreneurs to feature and sell their creations makes a lot of sense.
It is a way for refugee entrepreneurs to grow their fledgling businesses and ease the economic burden of being a refugee.


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You can find them at anqacollective.org or on Instagram.
For a closer look at one of the entrepreneurs featured on the Anqa Collective, read the story of “Teem Khan – refugee fashion designer turned human rights activist.”

Abalone Mountain Press – the press supporting Native artistry in all forms

Abalone Mountain Press is a Diné womxn-owned press working on occupied Akimel O’odham land.
Amber McCrary launched the press in January 2021.
It is one of the few publishing presses in the United States that is Indigenous-owned and publishes only Indigenous writers.

Amber McCrary explains that the idea to create the press came when looking for an Indigenous-owned press to submit her first full collection of poetry.
As a result, she wanted to “start a publishing press for Native people by Native people.”
Using the crowdfunding platform Go Fund Me, Amber expalianed, “I wondered if other Native writers were having the same trouble with trying to find someone that cares about publishing their work without having to accommodate to the white gaze in order to sell more books.”


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This indigiqueer, trans, non-binary, Black Indigenous, Indigenous feminist friendly press is actually a living space.

Check them out and discover the Indigenous works they publish, the podcasts and poetry prizes they host, their writing circles, and actions that nurture community.
Their shop features the press’ books, coloring books, handmade notebooks, and limited-edition handmade prints and cards much more…

Find them at abalonemountainpress.com or on Instagram

ARTHOUSE Unlimited – works of art, and so much more

ARTHOUSE Unlimited is a collective of artists – women and men living with complex neuro-diverse and physical support needs.

The artists work alongside instructors in the ARTHOUSE Studio/Shop in Goldaming, Surrey (UK),.
Their handmade artwork is either sold directly – framed or unframed – or it is ingeniously reproduced into designer products.
The line of products includes their signature “chocolate art postcards,” lambswool scarves, tea towels, mugs, candles, bags, socks…
The list goes on, but each item is unique and makes an excellent gift.

The whole community around Arthouse Unlimited is working on challenging perceptions and creating better acceptance and inclusion for all people living with disabilities.
The art studio shares the ground floor with its high street shop in Goldaming.
This shared use of space is deliberate – it means that customers can see the artwork as it is created, and the artists can see their work being sold.

100% of the sales revenue is reinvested into this social enterprise, enabling it to expand and evolve.

And when you check out their website, remember to visit the “Meet the Artists” page, where you will learn a bit more about the individual talents and interests of this impressive collective of artists.

Find out more about them at arthouseunlimited.org or on Instagram.

Green&Blue- reconnecting people with nature

Kate and Gavin Christman launched the design studio Green&Blue to fashion wildlife-friendly household products that save bees, bats, and birds by giving them a backyard home. 

The Bee Brick is their most popular design.
It is an ingeniously designed building brick with small holes used in place of standard bricks.
Its’ maze of tiny holes is a perfect nesting refuge for solitary bees.

A solitary bee climbs into the prefabricated hole of a concrete Bee Brick

Solitary bees do not live in hives – Photo courtesy of Green&Blue

Most people do not know that over 90% of bees are solitary bees. Unlike honey bees and bumblebees, solitary bees do not live in hives.
They need to find spaces where they can nest alone.
As super-pollinators, solitary bees are a vital part of the food chain. Some species can pollinate more than 120 times more flowers than worker honey bees.

Visit the Green&Blue website to see how they create elegantly designed building materials that simultaneously serve as homes for the local wildlife.
Their online shop has many unique gift ideas.
All of their products create spaces to welcome bees, bats, and birds that live in urban and suburban habitats.

For more about the design workshop that is merging a passion for nature with intelligent design, read “The Bee Brick is creating buzz and saving bees.”
You can find them at greenandblue.co.uk or on Instagram.

The Hosa Belaku Artisans’ Foundation

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” (*)

“Shop for a Cause.” We wanted to know more.

The student “changemakers” at Tribes For Good explained their idea.
They were creating a series of online shopping events to support artisans who were facing dire circumstances due to Covid19.
One of their social enterprise partners was The Hosa Belaku Artisans’ Foundation.

Hosa Belaku translates as “New Dawn.”
This collective of artisans was effectively working to “usher in a new dawn of hope, dignity and financial stability into the lives of the villagers of the remote villages of the Kanakpura district ” in southwest India.
The foundation works to help empower socially and economically disadvantaged rural women, people with disabilities, and women supporting family members with disabilities.
Their goal is to help the artisans earn a decent livelihood by working from home to make quality, eco-friendly products: handmade jewelry, handbags, notebooks, diaries, scarves, soft stuffed toys, and more. 

Hosa Belaku currently has three working groups trained in vocational and artistic skills: sewing, embroidery, crochet, macramé, paper making, paper weaving, jewelry making, dyeing, painting, and block printing. They hope to train and support more artisans in the future.  

You can view some of their work and order from their online shop at hosabelakuartisans.org and follow them on Instagram.

Mosaic photomontage of sixteen artisan women who are part of the Hosa Belaku Artisans' Foundation in the the Kanakpura District of the Karnataka state in India.

Image courtesy of Hosa Belaku Artisans’ Foundation

(*) Quote from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s address to the 60th-anniversary session of the UN Women’s Commission

To learn more about the student changemakers at Tribes For Good:  “Young changemakers in India who are “giving back.”

Feature image credit: Alexander Raths / Shutterstock

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We never earn any affiliate commissions or revenue from any products or services featured in our articles.