Everyone wants to be a good gift-giver and with gifting season in full swing, there are lots of decisions to be made. Buying gifts can be a difficult task, especially if you’re looking for that special, sentimental gift that will make a lasting impression. This holiday season, consider buying from companies whose mission is to support beneficial causes or are environmentally conscious. Shopping in the North Jersey area makes this an easy task, as there are so many incredible companies and gifts to consider that give back to great causes — from food + drink, to home decor, to clothing and accessories. Keep reading for a list of ethical shopping ideas and gifts covering a wide variety of charitable organizations and important initiatives.
Food + Drink
If someone’s love language is through their stomach, we suggest sending a gift from a restaurant, cafe, or bar. A gift card or grocery item (such as coffee beans or other shelf-stable items) from a local store is the perfect gift for the foodie in your life. Plus each of these places does good for the community. A win, win!
Alfalfa | 1110 Washington Street, Hoboken
This eatery serves locally roasted, fair-trade coffee, and uses fresh, local ingredients for their recipes, and uses earth-safe containers for takeout. Free-range chicken broth and other plant-based options are available for dining in our taking-out. Gift cards are available for purchase in-store as well as a new line of merchandise.
Black Rail Coffee | 800 Jackson Street, Hoboken
Using fair-trade, ethically sourced coffee beans, this locally-owned shop offers up a list of coffees from Mexico and Ethiopia, as well as a food menu with homemade, unique ingredients. Gift cards are available for purchase in-store.
Read More: A Local Hoboken + Jersey City Holiday Gift Guide — Broken Down by Category
bwè Kafe | 1002 Washington Street + 1401 Adams Street, Hoboken
This local family-run coffee shop operates with the mantra “Beans. Beliefs. Bucks.” that helps guide their activities–they sell coffee and other sustainable goods in order to raise money for charitable causes while staying true to the earth. Gift cards are available for purchase in-store.
Java Love | 244 Bellevue Avenue + 49 Church Street, Montclair
The coffee here is either organic and/or sustainably farmed, fair trade, or rainforest alliance-certified, which means it’s the best of the best. Java Love also has great seasonal specialty drinks as well as both sweet and savory baked goods. Gift cards are available for purchase in-store.
Smaak | Jersey City
Smaak is a hot sauce that emphasizes flavor over fire. Each of the sauces highlights a different pepper, pairs wonderfully with food, and gives back to the communities the peppers came from. This brand is available to purchase online here.
Black River Roasters | 424 US-22 West, Whitehouse Station
Since it opened in 2004, this coffee shop has sourced its beans from small-scale producers around the world. As one of the many sustainable businesses in New Jersey, Black River Roasters ensures that all of its partners meet certain standards. All of their sources produce organic beans, are Rainforest Alliance certified, and uphold fair trade practices for their workers. Gift cards are available for purchase in-store.
Eight + Sand Beer Co. | 1003 N Evergreen Avenue, Woodbury
Run by three New Jersey natives, Eight and Sand has fully committed their business to sustainable practices. Rather than brewing with fire and heat elements, they use eco-friendly steam heat. They also use solar panels to cut their carbon dioxide emmisions by 700 tons per year. Eight and Sand also reduce its waste by sending its spent grain to local farms for compost use. Gift cards are available for purchase in-store.
Green Point Juicery | 97 Baker Street, Maplewood + 532 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona + 28 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown
Green Point Juicery’s products are organic, vegan, raw, gluten-free, kosher, and sustainable. They offer their patrons a firm pledge against refined sugars, additives, and GMOs, ensuring premier quality fruits and veggies. Green Point Juicery also boasts a “leave no trace” policy, meaning that all of its packaging and waste is recyclable or compostable. Gift cards are available for purchase in-store.
Clothing + Accessories
^ The Margo Market
Below, are some thoughtful gift ideas for fashion-loving/ fashion-forward friends who love wearing the latest clothes, jewelry, and accessories. From scarves to sweaters, to tops, dresses, and more, the following apparel companies not only offer trendy styles but are ethical in their business practices.
The Bibi Collective | Jersey City — Online + In Various Stores
The Bibi Collective is made up of women who fled Afghanistan and settled their families in New Jersey. Now, these highly skilled women have started their own businesses, creating stunning items including hand-embroidered clothing, tote bags, crochet, ornaments, and accessories. Visit their site for how to buy + support.
Culture Couture | 53 Church Street, Montclair
Culture Couture is for the eco-conscious lifestyle consumer who strays from mass market trends and values ethically crafted and sustainably sourced clothing, gifts, and accessories. The mission of this boutique is to introduce affordable and quality products from a variety of countries to our community and to set an example to businesses and the government of a Fair Trade model of business based on partnership, people-centered values, and sustainability.
The Margo Market | 1102 Washington Street, Hoboken
Everything sold at this local business is sustainably and ethically sourced and provides insight and stories into every product they sell. This sustainable New Jersey business puts an emphasis on the artisans behind each piece in the hopes of promoting eco-conscious fashion. The store mainly caters to women with tons of cozy apparel in minimalist colors. They also offer cute accessories like jewelry, hats, bags, and shoes, in addition to their curated home decor and apothecary sections.
Mint Market | 303 1st Street, Hoboken + 339 Grove Street, Jersey City
Shopping vintage is a sustainable practice because it reduces waste, giving garments a new life instead of sending them to the trash. Mint Market has a selection of vintage designer clothes available on their website, in-store in Jersey City, or through Etsy.
Hazel Baby + Kids | 199 Montgomery Street + 17 McWilliams Place, Jersey City
Whether it be toys, clothing, accessories, or nursery items, owners Donovan and Elizabeth Cain offer products made in a socially responsible, environmentally friendly, and sustainable way.
Warby Parker | 538 Washington Street, Hoboken
If someone you know needs new glasses, getting a pair from Warby Parker is a great gift idea that will help you give back. More than 3 million glasses have been distributed across the globe through Warby Parker’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Not only can you try a pair of glasses on before you buy them, but with each pair you buy, you can help a person in need get a pair of glasses.
Sadie’s | 65 Valley Street, South Orange
Cute and sustainable clothing is hard to come by, but Sadie’s makes it look effortless. All of their clothing is produced ethically, meaning that producers are committed to sustainable practices. Even better, Sadie’s donates 1 percent of every sale to charities that support vulnerable communities. In terms of selection, expect to find chic clothing, accessories, and self-care products for all genders.
Nancy Rose Performance | 210 Bellevue Avenue, Lower Level, Montclair
With a focus on women’s workout clothes, Nancy Rose Performance makes versatile pieces that you can wear anywhere. The best part about this brand is its exclusive partnerships with eco-friendly factories that uphold fair labor practices. All of their suppliers produce clothing ethically and pay their workers fair wages. Any and all waste produced from dying or manufacturing NRP pieces is responsibly reused, recycled, and treated.
BoxLunch | 1 American Dream Way Space B131, East Rutherford + 1400 Willowbrook Mall Space 1825, Wayne
Apparel company BoxLunch provides a meal through Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, for every $10 spent on their products. That means when you gift someone one of their amazing products, you can help BoxLunch give back multiple meals for those in need.
Todd Shelton | 450 Murray Hill Parkway, Door C2, East Rutherford
At Todd Shelton, sustainability is a top priority and they operate socially responsible and sustainable business models. They buy only from textile mills in countries with similar labor and environmental standards as the US. With a focus on men’s basics like T-shirts, button-downs, jeans, and khakis, Todd Shelton aims to make your everyday items last longer and stay out of the landfill. The brand also caters to in-between sizes that don’t exist elsewhere, allowing customers to find their perfect fit.
STATE Bags | The Shops at Riverside, 400 Hackensack Avenue, Hackensack, Online, or Local Bloomingdales + Saks Fifth Avenue
Whether you’re looking for a school backpack, a work tote, or a travel duffel, STATE‘s unique collection of bags has you covered! For every bag purchased, STATE delivers a backpack filled with essentials to families in need. These sturdy yet stylish backpacks and totes are excellent gifts that give back.
Conscious Step | Kohl’s, 40 Mall Drive East, Jersey City
Who doesn’t love a pair of colorful socks? Conscious Step offers charitable gift collections like Socks that Fight for Equality and Socks that Prevent Breast Cancer. Each pair of socks represents where the proceeds of the gift purchase go, such as breast cancer research, the fight to end poverty, helping fund youth LGBTQ suicide prevention, and more.
Same Sky | Barnes & Noble, Clifton Commons, 395 Route 3 East, Clifton
Same Sky is a fair trade jewelry company that works with women in Rwanda and donates money toward empowerment programs to lift women out of extreme poverty. When you gift someone a Sky Collection Necklace or Bracelet, Same Sky gives back by providing “a woman artisan in Rwanda with a year of healthcare.”
TOMS | Macy’s, 20 Mall Drive East, Jersey City
TOMS made a name for itself with its charitable efforts and stylish shoes. The company donates one-third of all proceeds to grassroots activism efforts in areas like environmentalism in various local communities. By investing in grassroots efforts, TOMS is able to empower communities to allocate resources according to their unique needs. So whenever you buy a pair of TOMS shoes, a tote bag, or any of their other accessories and apparel, you can feel good knowing you’re buying a gift that gives back.
Cuddle + Kind | Target, 100 14th Street, Jersey City, Online, or Hazel Baby & Kids, Buy Buy Baby
For the ultimate baby gift that gives back, pick up Hudson the Polar Bear or one of the many cuddly animals available at Cuddle + Kind. These soft stuffed animals are perfect for both babies and toddlers. Handmade in Peru, each purchase provides ten meals to kids in need through the Giving Partners programs. If you have multiple kids in your life, give each of them one of these snuggly stuffed animals to multiply your charitable gift several times over.
Parks Project | Free People, 1 Garden State Plaza Boulevard, Paramus
Parks Project is an apparel company dedicated to preserving America’s parks. The company works with more than 30 park conservancies, helping to preserve habitats and wildlife, as well as supporting education programs. So when you give this cozy National Geographic and Parks Project Legacy Beanie or any of their other products as a present, a portion of the proceeds go toward charity.
The Tea Collection | Target, 100 14th Street, Jersey City, Online, or Your Local Buy Buy Baby, Macy’s
A children’s clothing company inspired by cultures around the world, and The Global Fund for Children, whose mission is to advance the dignity of vulnerable youth around the world. The Tea Collection donates 100% of the profits from the “Little Citizens” line to The Global Fund for Children. Similarly, the (Product)RED organization, founded by U2’s Bono, is associated with retailers who commit to donate up to 50 percent of the profits from the sale of RED products to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Original Grain | Macy’s, 20 Mall Drive East, Jersey City, or Target, Sears
This gorgeous watch from Original Grain is more than a show-stopper. For each watch sold, Original Grain plants a tree to replace it. Partnering with Trees for The Future, which has projects in Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, the proceeds from each sale of this charitable gift help with sustainable agriculture programs, alleviate hunger, and reduce poverty.
Yoobi | Target, 100 14th Street, Jersey City, Kohls, or Walmart
Looking for a charitable gift for a child in your life? Whether you’re looking for educational games and crafts, journals for young writers, backpacks and totes, or simply stocking up on school supplies, Yoobi has everything. And they’re a one-for-one organization. For every purchase made, Yoobi donates one school supply item to a child in need, right here in the US.
Home + Decor Items
^ The Lucky Honeybee
If you have a designer or decor lover in your life, the following home decor gifts are the perfect solution. These companies’ products are not only unique and practical but are designed with ethical practices in mind. Whether it’s candles, throw pillows, doormats, or picture frames, these local establishments have stylish home decor items that are suitable for every type of creative/ style junkie on your list. They’ll be appreciated by those who strive to make their spaces as cozy and stylish as possible.
The Lucky Honeybee | 487 Palisade Avenue, Jersey City
Lucky HoneyBee specializes in scented candles, all-natural soaps, and apothecary products using sustainable resources and eco-friendly packaging. Customers can get refills on hand and dish soap as well as purchase sustainably-made products.
Avocado Green Mattress | 12 Hudson Place, Suite 100, Hoboken
These natural, organic mattresses are handmade in California with ingredients from the company’s own farms. In addition to the mattresses, bedding, pillows and other furniture is also available.
UNJUMBOLD | 257 1st Street, Hoboken
UNJUMBOLD places emphasis on fair trade and local vendors, especially from marginalized communities, and focuses on quality over quantity. Many products sold help to eliminate single-use products and use environmentally-friendly materials. The product assortment at UNJUMBOLD consists of artwork, home furnishings, custom bedding, kitchenware, flatware, candles, skincare, and more from brands such as Amante Marketplace, Beaba, Enchanted Home, Kana Goods, and Skin Gourmet. A full list of retail partners can be found on the website.
Culture Couture | 53 Church Street, Montclair
Made for the conscious consumer, Culture Couture focuses on ethically made items that bring positive energy into your life. They’re known for their sustainably made statues of deities, but Culture Couture is also a great place to shop for a housewarming gift, a piece to spruce up your bookshelf, or a feel-good purchase.
Unwrapped | 658 Cookman Avenue Unit 18, Asbury Park
This package-free shop is true to its name: Unwrapped. Customers at this sustainable New Jersey business are encouraged to bring their own containers and refill their most basic household goods. Unwrapped offers bathtime necessities for every member of your family, including infants and fur babies. This Asbury Park shop is the perfect place to stock your home with sustainable options that you can feel good about buying.
Sustainable Haus Mercantile | 221 Broad Street, Summit
In their line of wellness and everyday items, Sustainable Haus makes zero-toxin products that make for a cleaner, healthier life. Their stock includes household items that help you organize, store, and clean almost anything in your house (including your kids). Keep reducing waste by refilling your favorite products at their Summit or Westfield locations whenever you run out.
See More: Shop Small this Holiday Season in Essex County
Lush Cosmetics | B59A, 30 Mall Drive West, Jersey City
Give a gift that gives back to environmental efforts with Lush’s popular Charity Pot lotion. Not only do 100% of the proceeds (minus taxes) go toward grassroots organizations working for human rights, animal protection, and environmental justice, but some of the ingredients are made from Sustainable Lush Fund projects, supporting responsible farming around the world.