The Power of Women: Our Favorite Gifts From Female-Owned Brands

by Lauren Emily Whalen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday December 17, 2020

The Power of Women: Our Favorite Gifts From Female-Owned Brands
  (Source:Getty Images)

It's no surprise that small businesses have been hit hard in 2020. But female-owned companies are bearing the brunt of the pandemic, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And looking ahead, less than half of female owners surveyed this past summer believed their revenues would increase in 2021.

But it's not all gloom and doom. We discovered some of the best female-owned fashion, beauty and wellness brands of the season — many of which are LGBTQ-owned, too. So spend with purpose this holiday season, knowing that you're supporting independent businesses and also giving unique gifts that won't end up in the recycle pile in 2021. These are keepers!

Fempower Beauty Matte Lipstick Duo in Adam & Eve
No matter what your holidays look like this year, a little glam goes a long way. Professional and life partners Alexis and Christina created Fempower to spread the gospel of natural products in vivid and vibrant colors. Coconut oil and beeswax are among the line's clean ingredients, coupled with exotic berry scents instead of makeup's usual chemical odor. Fempower is also committed to year-round giving: for every lipstick purchased, the company donates a lipstick to Dignity not Despair, an organization that provides hygiene products and cosmetics to women in need.

The Adam & Eve Duo two-lipstick gift set ($50) retells the biblical Creation story through matriarchal eyes. Both smooth, creamy and long-lasting, their pigments sharply contrast: "Adam's" warm brown is subtle but powerful, while "Eve" shows off with a playful fuchsia. Lovely on all genders and skin tones, this duo is perfect for whatever look your giftee is feeling and will help them take on the world in style.

Empower BodyCare
This "mom and mom"-owned, NLGCC-certified business is at the forefront of the massive wave of CBD topicals. Not to be confused with the hallucinogenic stuff, these beautifully formulated CBD lotions and oils harness the power of the hemp plant while removing any traces of THC.

The result is top-of-the-line formulations that use raw materials sourced from organic East Fork Cultivars and third-party lab testing to ensure quality assurance and transparency. We sampled three of the CBD-infused lotions (peppermint-juniper, lavender-bergamot, cedarwood-bergamot, $36/each) and fell in love with the scents. For those who have tried CBD topicals, it's no small feat to balance CBD's natural aromatic terpenes in a way that doesn't smell like you've been rolling around in a freshly cut lawn.

With the winter months upon us, Empower BodyCare's CBD body oil ($30-$54) contains a higher concentration of CBD oil combined with organic jojoba and essential oils for an absorbent and moisturizing application.

Heritage Apothecary Chakra Balancing Bundle and Paz Aura Cleansing Mist
Let's face it: at the end of a hectic year, all good vibes are welcome. Usher them in with Heritage Apothecary, a Black woman-owned business that's all about self-care. With various products ranging from $8 to $120, Heritage Apothecary brings zen through everything from incense to crystals to candles, all sustainably sourced and lovingly packaged. Unsure where to start? The site's blog guides you through affirmations and tips on adding joy to your daily routine, as well as step-by-step methods for burning incense.

Our personal Heritage favorites are twofold. Light up the rainbow-colored Chakra Balancing Bundle ($9) to tap into your creative energies and clear away energy blockage. And if your abode's vibes are less than ideal, spray the sonically tuned Paz Aura Cleansing Mist ($19) to brighten things up. Made with lavender, eucalyptus, chamomile and geranium, the mist brings both a lovely scent and a feeling of peace and serenity.

Soap Cauldron's Three Sisters Apothecary Bath & Body Gift Tote Trio
When it comes to holiday gifts, bath and body products are either a natural fit for the self-care fan in your life or a fallback for those you don't know as well. This season, be deliberate with Soap Cauldron, a small Hispanic female- and family-owned maker of artisan skincare and soaps (as well as products for your favorite pooch through their Soapy Tails line) based in Sonoma County, California. Soap Cauldron's Three Sisters Apothecary boasts handcrafted goodies made with gourmet plant and essential oils that leave you feeling fine and smelling fantastic.

Three Sisters' Bath & Body Gift Tote Trio ($29) is ideal for any holiday gift exchange. Sustainably packaged (and easy to wrap!), the combo of skin-softening bath salts, body butter and bar soap makes for a beautiful and restful night in. The tote comes in a variety of scents (and unscented), but Rose Coconut is particularly gorgeous, soft and subtle while bringing to mind a proper English garden in springtime. If your giftee is devoted to working out, add a tin of Muscle Relief Rub ($12), made with eucalyptus and arnica to soothe sore bodies.

Fair Anita Kaleidoscope Clutch and Pronoun Pins
When Joy McBride met Senora Anita, a social worker in Chimbote, Peru, the idea for a female-empowering empire was born. Five years later, Fair Anita retains the services of 8,000 women worldwide to craft jewelry and other accessories that are both locally sourced and made from recycled materials. The company pays each creator—who are all survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault—two to three times the minimum wage, as well as providing health insurance and scholarship opportunities.

Many Fair Anita products are under $22, and when it comes to gift-giving, there's something for everyone. Both colorful and spacious, the bestselling Kaleidoscope Clutch ($28) is made in India and is the perfect size for a night out when such things are possible again. And for those eager to show the world exactly who they are, Pronoun Pins ($8) (also from the India Collection) are a flawless fit. The nickel-free pins, made from recycled brass, are one inch in diameter and come in they/them, she/her and he/him, a little but fierce way to celebrate identity.

Additional contribution by Matthew Wexler.

Lauren Emily Whalen is a writer and performer living in Chicago. Her second novel, "TWO WINTERS," a queer YA retelling of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale," will be released by Bold Strokes Books in September 2021.

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