10 Places To Shop To Make You Feel Better About Yourself

Next time you’re scratching your head for the perfect gift to give – for any occasion – we have a very simple solution. Skip the consumerist guilt altogether, because here’s a list of gift ideas that do the giving themselves. Consider it some ethical giftspiration and it comes by way of the Westpac Foundation.

The Westpac Foundation’s vision is to open the doors to a brighter future for more Australians – by supporting a number of not-for-profit organisations who are taking an inspired approach to addressing social problems. The Westpac Foundation helps increase the effectiveness and sustainability of such organisations, as well as awareness, engagement and fundraising across the board.

As a result, the efforts of the Westpac Foundation alongside other initiatives in place to support all Australians, Westpac was recently recognised by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Review as the world’s most sustainable bank. (Nice one guys!)

So, next time you’re on the hunt for the perfect why, skip the socks for Dad and the set of wine glasses from the registry, and give something that gives back to the wider community. We’ve done the hard yards and highlighted a bunch of ace social enterprises supported by the Westpac Foundation to get you started. From cookbooks to baked goods, magazine subscriptions to coffee, here are a bunch that gifts that keep on giving.


Launched in 2009, STREAT tackles the issues facing disadvantaged and homeless youth in Melbourne by using their hospitality businesses to provide a pathway to careers in the industry.


Photo: STREAT Collingwood/Facebook

You’ve probably seen their cafes in Melbourne Central and Cromwell St in Collingwood. Right on, guys.

Buy: Coffee beans (from $15), plum puddings (from $20) and cookbooks ($69).

#2 Enterprise Learning Projects 

Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP) supports remote Aboriginal Australians who want to explore, develop and grow business ideas. ELP offers practical learning in the early stages of business development and ongoing individualised support, while giving people the confidence to turn their dream into a reality.

One project aided by ELP is Gulbarn, a herbal tea business based in the Minyerri community, 580 kilometres south-east of Darwin the Northern Territory. Available for purchase, the tea has been used for thousands of years as a form of bush medicine.

Buy: Gulbarn Tea ($10), Ngarinyman Bush Soap ($8), colouring books ($18), greeting cards (4 for $20), artworks (from $30) and 2017 calendars ($28).

#3 Green Collect

Green Collect is a non-profit social enterprise working towards environmental and social change by way of stationary. Salvaged, up-cycled, sustainable stationary.


Photo: Green Collect/Facebook

Buy: Notebooks (from $5.50), stationary (from $1) and office supplies.

#4 The Bread & Butter Project 

Sydney’s Bread & Butter Project is an artisan bakery that specialises in scrumptious handmade bread and pastries.

But the Bread & Butter Project not only tastes good, they make you feel good about buying them too – 100% of their profits are reinvested into employing and training refugees and asylum seekers in artisan baking. Their cookbooks are particulally beautiful. Now that’s a good way to spend your dough. (Sorry).

Buy: Cookbooks ($30), fresh breads and pastries daily.

#5 Blak Markets

Run by First Hand Solutions, Blak Markets focuses on providing economic development opportunities to Indigenous people through their monthly art markets and online store. This social enterprise sells Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island arts and craft online – Blak Markets guarantee authenticity of the artwork as well as promising that 100% of the profits go toward social change in Aboriginal communities across Australia.

Buy: Pottery, weavings, textiles, cushion covers, pencil cases, jewellery and artwork (various prices).

#6 Djilpin Arts 

Established in 2002, Djilpin Arts is a not-for-profit based in the remote Indigenous community of Beswick (Wugularr) in the NT, who maintain, develop and promote traditional and contemporary Indigenous visual and performing arts of the Katherine and Arnhem regions.


Photo: Djilpin Arts/Facebook

Buy: Fine art and prints, fibre art, GuGu wild soaps, lip balms, candles and jewellery (various prices).

#7 The Big Issue

You’ve surely seen people selling The Big Issue on street corners, but did you know that for every copy of the magazine sold, those vendors (usually marginalised or disadvantaged people) earn half? The Big Issue is an independent, non-for-profit organisation that helps people help themselves by creating job opportunities.

They run social enterprises to create employment for people who are unable to access mainstream jobs, however these enterprises direct all revenue back into themselves for the benefit of the individuals involved, as well as the broader community. This includes The Big Issue magazine, the Women’s Subscription Enterprise and The Big Issue Classroom. They also run the Community Street Soccer ProgramThe Big Idea and Homes for Homes. Get involved, people.

Buy: The Big Issue mag ($7) or subscriptions (from $49).

#8 The Social Outfit

The Social Outfit is an ethical fashion brand celebrating creativity and diversity, employing and training people from refugee and new migrant communities.

Photo: The Social Outfit/Facebook

And to our excitement, they have released an amazing new range inspired by iconic Australian artist, Ken Done. Get your hands on some very well made gifts including scarfs, dresses, tops, cushions and a simple range of mens tees.

Buy: Fashion, accessories – even stationary and gift vouchers (various prices).

#9 Studio A

Established in 2000, Studio ARTES empowers young men and women living with disabilities through creative development and expression. Studio A creates professional pathways for artists, facilitating weekly specialist workshops and managing an annual exhibitions program. The sale of art directly benefits the artist.

Buy: Artwork (from $45), jewellery (from $120), clothing (from $165) and tote bags ($25).

#10 The Social Studio

Dedicated to improving the lives of young Australians who come from a refugee or migrant background, The Social Studio helps those who may have experienced barriers to accessing education and/or securing employment.


Photo: The Social Studio/Facebook

The Social Studio use the vehicle of the fashion and hospitality businesses – which includes a clothing label, retail shop, digital printing studio, café and a catering business – to create meaningful social change.

Buy: Tees ($70) and books (from $5).

Learn more about The Westpac Foundation here

Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.

Lead image: The Social Outfit/Facebook