5 Places For Ethical Online Shopping During The Holidays

Today was Cyber Monday, the last of the creative Black Friday alternatives companies use to encourage holiday shopping while eliminating the need to venture out into post-Thanksgiving crowds.

And while I didn’t participate in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, they got me thinking about ways to combine the ease of online shopping with the important economic statement of patronizing small, local businesses.

Currently, I live in a small city in Southern Wyoming. There are lots of small businesses here, but probably only one or two at which I could find a holiday gift that would suit my friends and family back home. If you’ve got a similar lack of options in your area, consider supporting independent artisans and entrepreneurs by ordering from these ethical marketplaces instead.

1. Etsy

This website is the holy grail of handmade presents for the holidays. Their simple search tool allows you to filter by handmade or vintage items. Adding your state or region to the search will yield lots of home-based crafters and artists that you’ve probably never heard of. Most Etsy shops offer discounts for ordering multiple items as well as reasonable shipping rates. Private messaging features allow you to get to know the shop owner before you order, ask questions about availability, or arrange a custom design.

2. Ethical Ocean

This online marketplace is based on the belief that shopping itself isn’t the enemy, you just have to make better choices when you shop. Calling itself  ”a collection of the most ethical products in North America” every vendor on Ethical Ocean is thoroughly screened and must earn one of the following designations in order to be featured: Good for People, Good for Animals or Good for the Environment. Each product page includes a story: explaining what the product does, where it comes from, and what the seller is doing to positively impact the globe.

3. Global Goods Partners

The founders of this website believe that improving the economic status of women globally is an integral part to eradicating poverty and building civil society. To that end, GGP partners with community-based organizations in marginalized regions of Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East, helping to bring women’s handmade products to U.S. markets and providing technical assistance to build sustainable livelihoods.

4. Poppytalk Handmade Shop

This website is a monthly online street market curated by Poppytalk to showcase, buy and sell handmade goods of emerging design talent from around the world. Founded in 2007, Poppytalk Handmade Shop was created to provide an opportunity for independent artists, designers, small collectives, vintage shops and cottage industries to be seen amongst the “sea of independent shops” out there.

5. Cosa Verde

This marketplace was founded on the belief that while big changes happen slowly, it’s the small changes that pave the way. Easy to spot icons will help you find recycled, repurposed, organic, cruelty-free, and conflict-free products. They’ve also got a great collection of gift guides to help you navigate your way to the perfect present for everyone on your list.

What’s your favorite online marketplace for handmade, fair-trade, eco-friendly, or otherwise socially-responsible gifts? Share it in a comment!

Related Reading:

Black Friday Sales – Not Just About Big Screen TVs

Is Your Holiday Shopping Exposing You To Dangerous BPA?

It’s Buy Nothing Day: #OccupyXmas


DJ M.10 months ago

glad to know about these orgs & websites - thanks

Terry V.
Terry V.4 years ago

thank you

Amy Squires
Amy Squires4 years ago

I am fond of the whole "Greater Good Network", but the Animal Rescue Site part of it gets about half of my paychecks lol. www.animalrescuesite.com You can find the rest of their sites at the top and bottom of pages.

Katie Barrow
Katie Barrow4 years ago

Check our Fair Trade USA's holiday gift guide for some good ideas - many of which can be purchased online: http://fairtradeusa.org/blog/fair-trade-holiday-gift-guide

iii q.
g d c.4 years ago


Anne F.
Anne F.4 years ago

We vote with our dollars. My current fave is the neighbor (on etsy) who is making snack bags - just right for a double handful of nuts.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

I'll have alook at some of these. Wonder if they ship stuff outside the US...?

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Arild Warud
Arild Warud4 years ago