With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s not too late to get your valentine the perfect gift(s). When it comes to the Hallmark part of the holiday, people tend to think of candy hearts, red roses, and chocolates. At House of Gratia et Caritas, it means celebrating conscious gifting that comes from the heart and particularly, gifts that are literally handmade- with love. This month’s column takes a look at a few fun and fashionable brands that embody one or more of the “Conscious Style” attributes: Made Locally, Eco-friendly or Sustainable, Fair Trade, Buy 1 Give 1 Model, Charitable Contributions, Made in the USA, Community Preservation + Entrepreneurial Initiatives (provides jobs overseas), and/or Delivers an empowering message.

Regardless of who your valentine will be this year, show them you care by giving them thoughtful, handmade goods that are just as unique and one-of-a-kind as they are! These House of G&C Valentine’s Day picks include a variety of socially conscious goods that empower individuals around the world including Costa Rica, Philippines, Uganda, Mexico and more.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 12.37.26 PM 01 | 31 BITS
Limited Edition Valentine’s Box Gift Set, $45 USD

Conscious gifting: These beautiful bracelets, earrings, necklaces are handmade with vibrant colored beads and unique designs that are both feminine and fun. Every 31 Bits purchase you make has a direct impact on women’s lives in Uganda.

Conversation starters: 31 Bits seeks to empower people through the fashion. The team works with beneficiaries in Uganda to create fashionable, quality products and beautiful accessories. They earn an income enabling them to provide for their families and 31 Bits provides care for them through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships. After five years in the 31 Bits program, their beneficiaries are ready to graduate. A graduated beneficiary has her own business and most importantly, she is empowered.


1402926_901407936544893_5845327057812149389_o(Right above) Model: Trevor Wayne Photo: Alex McDonell

Charity Collection Bracelets, $5-30 USD

Conscious gifting: Pura Vida bracelets make great gifts for both men and women. They are available as single bracelets or in colorful sets and benefit a wide variety of causes ranging from Education, Environment, Animal Awareness, Cancer Awareness, Memorial Causes and more.

Conversation starters: “Pura Vida” means “pure life” in Spanish. Founders Griffin and Paul travelled to Costa Rica on a college trip and came back with a new business idea: help support and empower artisans in Costa Rica by selling their beautiful handmade bracelets in the US. The Pura Vida Charity Collection was created to give back to charities all over the world through the sale of individual charity bracelets. In 2013, Pura Vida donated over $140,000 to 190+ charity organizations.


Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 12.44.56 PM03 | SANCTUARY SPRING
Love Greeting Cards, $5 USD

Conscious gifting: These cards are cute and crafted for social good! Each fair trade greeting card is handmade with recycled paper and every card is signed by the woman who made it.

Conversation starters: Conversation starters- Sanctuary Spring creates handmade greeting cards to express love, sympathy, joy, or thanks. Acts of love happen every single day, and now they can take on even more meaning by helping a woman rebuild a life. Sanctuary Spring exclusively employs women who are escaping prostitution in the Philippines. Every Sanctuary Spring purchase sustains programs that assist these women in their restoration process while also enabling them to provide food, education and independence for their families.

hgc-204 | CANNED GOODS
Assorted items: Cuff S Bracelet (pictured above) Cuff L Bracelet, Half Moon Ripple earrings, $34-38 USD

Conscious gifting: These beautiful handcrafted accessories are made by Thomas Paul Althaus in Denver, CO. Love story: The company started shortly after one day when Thomas was thinking of a 10 year anniversary gift for his wife. Tin was the traditional gift, and he couldn’t find anything that spoke to him so he decided he was going to create something beautiful for her. After cutting and hammering away at a tin can, his 10 year anniversary gifts were made; and the first pair of CANNED GOODS earrings and bracelet were born.

Conversation starters: CANNED GOODS repurposes tin cans into trendy metal accessories that are simple, up cycled and give back. Each CANNED GOODS product you purchase gives one can of food through the CAN DO GOOD program. This program donates the canned goods to local reputable charities. For more information, visit the CANNED GOODS site for details.


Fortuned Culture #fortunedculture
Mexico Collection, The Rebirth Necklace, $65 USD

Conscious gifting: This was a tough choice since I really loved the Healing “Sanar” bangle from the Mexico collection too. But what touched my heart the most was the Rebirth necklace’s message and cause. This custom made capsule is engraved with the word rebirth in Spanish “Renacimiento”. It contains a scanned handwritten note (wishing you luck and protection on your new journey and rebirth) from the orphan being helped. Each necklace purchased provides an orphanage caretaker 5 months of salary. 

Conversation starters: Fortuned Culture is a jewelry line with foundational roots in social responsibility. All of Fortuned Culture’s global partners are focused on creating long-lasting advancements for people in need and for each charity collaboration, Fortuned Culture creates a unique collection designed to symbolize what the proceeds of the purchase will help the charity partner fulfill.

All photos courtesy of brand websites.

Learn more about House of Gratias et Caritas
Connect via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

At Conscious, remarkable people and organizations inspire us, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight human-interest stories, global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe.