Christmas shopping to support Calgary businesses
By Karina Zapata, Staff Writer
As I’m sure you and your wallet are aware, it’s the holiday season. For many, this means dreadingly walking into a jam-packed mall among thousands of other shoppers with panic in their eyes. But instead, this holiday season could be an opportunity to support small, local businesses.
Shopping locally means your money is going straight into the hands of the people who are creating the product. This often means you’re getting higher quality and that you aren’t supporting the inhumane working conditions of those overseas — often including children. When you shop locally, you’re supporting people who want to invest in community. Often this comes with great customer service from people who care about you and the product you’re paying for. Not to mention that it’s an ethical choice.
Not too bad, hey?
Now that I’ve caught your attention, here are five small, locally owned businesses in Calgary that are worth spending your money on over the holiday season.
Kin + Pod Chocolate is run by one person and one person only — Geordan Spicer. Kin + Pod is an ethically sourced, bean-to-bar chocolate bar, meaning Spicer sources her cacao beans from two farms in South America and pays over the fair trade line. This means the farmers and employees of the farms are being paid a livable wage, unlike most cacao farmers and labourers in the world.
Spicer started Kin + Pod after learning that over 2.1 million children are laboured into the cacao industry every year. That’s two times the number of people in Calgary in one year alone. Through Kin + Pod, Spicer is working to decrease the amount of child labour in South America.
Sounds like a good cause to support, huh?
When you first walk into Plant, you’re hit with a whiff of dirt and humidity — but in a good way. It’s a great spot to be if you’re aching for nature and you’re stuck in the city in the middle of winter. Located in Calgary’s hip community, Inglewood, Plant started in 2011 by Kyle and Erica Chow — two plant lovers. Now, it’s Calgarians’ go-to for when they want to liven up a space. At Plant, you can find countless types of houseplants that decorate their 3,000 square-foot space.
Plant has some pretty great gifts, including made in-house terrariums, beautiful potted plants and all the supplies you could possibly need if you want to personalize your gift. Who wouldn’t love receiving a juniper bonsai tree or a ficus bambino?
Recess is the perfect place to shop if you have a loved one who loves stationery. Like, seriously loves stationery. Recess was created by the same owner as
Plant — Kyle Chow — and funnily enough, is located right beside Plant in Inglewood. At Recess, you won’t only find cool pens and notebooks to keep organized, but you’ll find little local trinkets like candles made by Field Kit. They even have mugs, bowl sets and coloured staplers that you won’t find anywhere else. If you see someone in Calgary with a beautiful planner or a travel mug that they won’t stop bragging about, it’s probably from Recess.
Now, not everything from Recess is local but it’s a small business worth getting behind.
Don’t walk into Recess if you don’t plan on spending obscene amounts of money on aesthetically pleasing notebooks.
Simply Polished is a self-care product line, famously known for their classic coffee scrub. They sell a wide variety of products, like natural deodorant, bath bombs, dry shampoo and even travel makeup remover bottles. However, Simply Polished isn’t only meant for women — their products can be used for everybody, though they do market a specific coffee scrubs for men.
Over the holidays, they’re also selling self care gift sets, as mentioned above. There’s nothing like walking into the new year by putting on quality products without the use of harmful chemicals, fragrance or dyes. Not to mention that it’s made in Calgary.
This one is a little bit different. Collective Goods is a non-profit organization based in Calgary, run by a group of volunteers whose mission is to improve the lives of women across the world. They do this by giving underprivileged women a retail platform to generate sustainable and gainful income of their artisanal goods.
Collective Goods was started in late 2017 when Ellilta Women at Risk reached out to their charitable partner in Calgary for help with developing Ellilta Products. Now, Collective Goods works with underprivileged women in Ethiopia raise up from oppression by participating in a worldwide fair trade marketplace.
Currently, they sell handmade artisan jewelry and hand-woven scarves. Each product has unique characteristics and each purchase goes towards empowering disadvantaged women across the world.