Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers, holiday party gifts, or a little self-indulgence, these six women-owned businesses have a multitude of options for everyone on your list. Plus, they’re each giving back in their own way. ‘Tis the season to be socially conscious!
All prices in Canadian dollars, and all products available in Canada and the US.
Sḵwálwen Botanicals brings together Indigenous science and self care, providing gentle and effective skincare that draws from the ceremonial aspects of plants. Each product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from, and incorporates sustainably harvested and sourced botanicals with organic, high quality ingredients. The Pá7pawtn Nettle and Arnica Sore Muscle Salve ($18) is a personal favourite, and if you’re looking for a luxurious bundle, they’ve pulled together their own Holiday Gift Guide with suggestions.
Leigh Joseph (ancestral name Styawat), is an ethnobotanist, researcher and entrepreneur from the Squamish First Nation. She contributes to cultural knowledge renewal in connection to Indigenous plant and land-based relationships, and adds an Indigenous lens to her field of study.
All Real Talk Candles are hand poured, vegan, free of artificial colouring, and available in a range of scents — but really, it’s what’s on the outside that counts. Designed to make a statement and start conversations, the descriptions range from hilarious to heartwarming. You’ll be an office Secret Santa hero with Petty and Proud (smells like “As per my last email…) or Zoom Team Meetings ($24.50 each), or have some fun searching through the other ‘unfiltered’ sentiments for others on your list.
Rachael-Lea Rickards is a self-described Artsy Fartsy Toronto Girl. The spark that led to Real Talk was actually a traumatic event: she was randomly hit in the face by a stranger, and turned to candle-making helped her deal with the anxiety it caused. Once she added in her writing skills, her hobby turned into a business.
Inspired by classic cocktails, wine, and spirits, EATABLE gourmet popcorn is the “perfect pairing” of a good snack and a good drink (minus the alcohol, which the cooking process virtually eliminates). Made in small batches with no artificial colors, flavours, or preservatives, you can satisfy every Happy Hour indulgence — from Scotch Whisky to spicy Caesar. Their top selling Pop the Champagne ($10 for a small bag) pairs premium Belgian white chocolate with Champagne-infused sugar crystals that literally “POP” in your mouth for a sensory-filled snacking experience.
Frustrated by the lack of clean yet flavorful snacks on store shelves, Charlene and her husband left their corporate jobs and worked for over a year to perfect recipes, collaborating with professional pastry chefs to learn the art of traditional confectionery and chocolate making to create their EATABLE treats.
Launched in May 2021, Proudest Pony Shampoo and Conditioner Bars embrace the natural oils that make hair clean and moisturized, while leaving it feeling buttery soft. The line features five formulas ($28-$30), each designed for different hair needs — and all plastic-free, paraben- and SLS-free, and formulated professionally in a Canadian lab with plant-based ingredients (and a signature unicorn imprint). The Minis ($10) are perfectly sized for a stocking stuffer.
Since starting her career in 2001, Ashley Brewsmith has worked as a hairstylist on everything from film productions to fashion shows. In 2010 she opened her salon, The Proudest Pony, which offers gender-free pricing, an LGBTQ-safe environment, and a commitment to sustainable practices.
Hummingbird Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in the small town of Almonte, Ontario. Since launching in 2012, they’ve won over 85 international chocolate awards for their products — all made from cacao sourced directly from farmers at better than Fair Trade prices, grown sustainably, and farmed ethically and humanely. The HoliYay! Collection Gift Box ($45) features all of their seasonal bars, but we’re putting a box of Salted Caramels ($21) on our own wish list.
With a background in International Aid and Development, Erica Gilmour was a teacher and librarian in the Peace Corps in Zimbabwe and traveled extensively working for non-profits to improve livelihoods. Her love of chocolate and interest in assisting farmers to access markets led to the founding of Hummingbird Chocolate with her husband, Drew.
From essential oils to bath products to room sprays, all of Fern & Petal‘s handmade products are free of dyes, fragrances and synthetic preservatives, and are bottled locally in Vancouver, BC. They have essential oil blends for every need and purpose — to get into the holiday spirit, we suggest Candy Cane ($9) and Ginger Snap ($11). Want the gift of self care on the go? Pair an oil with a bracelet ($20) featuring diffusing lava beads and you can carry your favourite scent with you.
Katie Derrick founded Fern & Petal after a difficult search to find high-quality, all-natural products that were made locally. She turned her own needs into a family business with a commitment to quality and sustainability (with every order they make a donation to plant a tree).
For centuries, Peoples of the Wabanaki Confederacy (Wolastoqey, Mi’kmaq, Penobscot, Abenaki, and Passamaquoddy) have harvested the sap from the sugar maple tree. Wabanaki Maple is carrying on the tradition with a twist — providing signature flavours of barrel-aged whisky, bourbon, and toasted oak maple syrups. Based in Neqotkuk (Tobique) First Nation in New Brunswick, you can grab a bottle of any gourmet flavour in multiple sizes ($12-$29), but we suggest the Mini Bundle Set ($33) for a taste of all three.
In 2018, inspired by her Wolastoqey roots, Jolene Laskey began her journey as an entrepreneur, sharing and reconnecting people and communities with a piece of Indigenous culture through Wabanaki Maple’s syrup products. She’s committed to helping to preserve our environment and helping Indigenous communities thrive.