Want to send your group off with meaningful mementos of their time in the city? Toronto offers a plethora of compelling and sustainable gifting options from diverse, BIPOC and women-owned creative businesses. Here are just a few of the gift suppliers that Toronto’s meeting and events community source from.
Real Talk Creative
Rachael-Lea Rickards wants to start real conversations. The founder of Real Talk Creative says she took up candle making “as a coping mechanism after a random assault.” Ultimately, a winning concept took shape. Today, Rickards applies provocative messages to gift items—including candles—resting on a core value: real talk. Of her sometimes cheeky messages touching relatable themes such as anxiety and work life, she says, “People want something different. Coming from the corporate world myself, if I received one more stress ball or company pen, I’d scream. I want to bring personality, realness and joy.”
Products: Customized candles, journals, home décor, apparel and more
Cup of Té Canada
There’s major star power served up alongside the luxury organic, ethically sourced teas created by this female-Black-owned business. In 2020, Cup of Té made the list of Oprah’s Favorite Things. Beyond the glamour lies a powerful tale. Taylor Lindsay-Noel, a former aspiring Olympic gymnast, set up shop in 2018 after a life-changing accident left her paralyzed. “My future was very unclear. But I knew with the right motivation and focus I could do anything.” Oprah’s recognition validated her hard work, says Lindsay-Noel. “Even though you are disabled, or have the odds stacked against you, you can truly do anything.”
Products: Loose leaf organic teas, premium tea bags, teaware
WholeHearted is a popular go-to for Toronto meeting professionals looking for CSR-based experiences and gifting. WholeHearted facilitates group activities with a community or environmental impact, and dreams up creative gift kits, says founder Catherine McGuire. “We can tailor those kits or gifts to a cause or groups the organization wants to support. We try very hard to be intentional about where we source products and items from, and we put a big focus on women-run local businesses.”
Products: Reusable/eco-friendly food wrap, tote bags, water bottles, reusable straws
Good Earth Gifting
Kathy Ngo, director of operations at Good Earth Gifting, says, “We are focused only on sustainable corporate gifting. So everything we source is local from Canadian brands or businesses—which our clients love. Not only does that support our local economy, but it also saves on shipping from overseas.”
Products: Curated gift boxes and items—popular choices include plantable pencils, alcohol-infused popcorn, walnut coaster sets made from flooring-industry scraps
Butterfly Ethical Gifting
Founder Jacey Schnarr says, “Our mission is to increase workplace engagement through meaningful gifts.” Besides offering technology solutions to facilitate gifting—like event landing pages where attendees can select gifts—Butterfly lets clients target spending. “If they want to spend with local companies, we can do that! We can also target spending to specific communities, whether Indigenous or 2SLGBTQ+ groups, or Black-owned businesses,” Schnarr says.
“What's great about being in Toronto is we find a lot of the small vendors we partner with organically through things like farmers’ markets, flea markets, art shows.…When you're buying from a small maker, it's going to be unique and more meaningful to the recipient because they haven't received it a million times before.”
Products: Ethical gift boxes; branded corporate apparel, drinkware, bags