Meet The Founders Behind All 12 Brands In Our 2020 Gift Guide!

We promised our readers that this year’s gift guide would be worth every hard-earned 2020 dollar and we’ve delivered! We’re passionate about all twelve brands in this year’s 12 Days of Holiday Gifts and wanted to introduce you to each of the founding teams and key players behind each of the gifts.

More than ever before, we’re taking care to shop brands with meaning and who share our sustainable values. And, in a world that’s increasingly impersonal when it comes to buying experiences and product quality, we find it so fulfilling to get to know the faces behind the brands we love best. Meet all twelve founders below as they answer a series of questions about lessons learned and doing business in 2020. We’re inspired by each one of them and think you will be too! Read, then shop our gift picks and exclusive offers from the men and women whose businesses we’ve selected this year…

Our Place| Co-founder, Shiza Shadid

“For me, this holiday season is all about giving back. We’re focused on donating meals to prevent hunger and food insecurity and all about finding ways to stay connected to our traditions and loved ones (while physically distancing). 

“Our team has stayed inspired this year by: the artisans and makers we work with, our warehouse partners that kept our orders shipping out safely during a pandemic, healthcare and frontline workers, the customers who supported us, the Black Lives Matter movement, and everyone who voted like America is Our Place. 

“If I could sum up my mood going into the holidays it’s: hopeful and grateful.”

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The Detox Market | Founder, Romain Gaillard

“For me, this holiday season is all about feeling grateful. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that nothing should be taken for granted—family, friends, health… It’s all a blessing. 

 “5 values that matter to be as I’m shopping for gifts this year: 

Sustainability: we’re on a mission to become carbon negative
Inclusivity: we’re shopping BIPOC-owned brands.
Cruelty-free: There are too many great options out there to choose otherwise.
Charitable: Buying gifts and supporting a near-and-dear cause? Win-win.
Ethical: Vote with your dollar for fair wages and safe working conditions.”

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Four Sigmatic| Danielle Ryan Broida, RH (AHG), Four Sigmatic National Educator

“For me, this holiday season is all about connecting with family and nature, while practicing gratitude and staying grounded. If I could sum up my mood going into the holidays it’s prioritizing simplicity, people, and health way over things. Our team has stayed inspired this year by supporting others to stay well, and keep their immune system strong, and stress lower during the wild year that is 2020.

“5 values that matter to me as I’m shopping gifts this year: 1. Sustainable 2. Ethical 3. Small businesses 4. Support Wellness 5. Thoughtful” 

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Helena Quinn|Founder, Andrea Racey

“For me, this holiday season is all about surrendering and having gratitude. Much like the rest of the year, it’s not going to look how we thought it might. So I’m surrendering to that, and embracing the beauty that can come with change.

“Our team has stayed inspired this year by….I want to stay honest here and say that although I try to always remain in a place of gratitude, this year has been tough and there have been many moments where I did not feel even close to inspired. I think it’s important to acknowledge that because it feels disingenuous to act like I/we were immune to the rollercoaster of emotions that this year brought on personal or professional levels.

“That said, our team has remained incredibly inspired this year by our customer and her changing life. Making pieces that can fit into this new world of Zoom meetings, dates, and homeschooling, was a privilege. It was also very inspiring to know that with all of the chaos of this year, we were providing a product that could offer a bit of pampering and peace.

“I believe in the power of fashion as wellness, throwing on something you love can help shift a mood and in turn a day. And if we could provide even an ounce of that this year for women who were overloaded from every angle, that is something we are deeply grateful for and inspired by.

“3 things we learned at Helena Quinn this year:

+ Pivot pivot pivot — I learned that sometimes there is immense opportunity when things come crashing down. Focusing on the things that we COULD do, and looking creatively at the business landscape in a new way, allowed us to view opportunities in a way we may not otherwise have.

+ Just keep swimming — I learned there are years of growth and years of survival. But if you can stay afloat, you set yourself up for the comeback that is bound to happen if you can make it through the rough waters.

+ Surrendering (there’s that word again!) — From a business perspective, there’s been so much this year that’s just completely beyond anyone’s control. The lesson for me has been in just showing up each day, doing the absolute best that I can, and then surrendering the outcome from there. It helped me cope with the uncertainty, and I think it’s an important life lesson to carry forward in general.”

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Molekule| Founder, Jaya Rao

“If I could sum up my mood going into the holidays it’s appreciative. This year, we learned to be nimble, to be humble, to stay true to what we know.

“For me, this holiday season is all about ​tradition, sharing in culture, and finding joy in the small things in life that we often lose in the hustle and bustle.

“The 5 things that have kept us inspired in biz this year include…
+ Being a groundbreaker and working with a groundbreaking team
+ Challenging our rivals and the status quo of an incumbent industry
+ Being able to work like the nimble start-up that we are
+Thinking like the customer, always.
+ Offering a solution that changes peoples’ lives.”

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Prima | Co-foundersLaurel Angelie Myers, Christopher Gavigan, Jessica Assaf

“5 values that matter to us as we’re shopping for gifts this year…Personal, thoughtful, sustainable, joyful, responsibly-made (ie. locally-made, artisan makers, small batch, durable/generational goods)

“Our team stayed inspired this year by…sharing positive, heartful stories from our customers, embracing a lot of Slack emojis, leaning into (cheesy) ice breaker games to have a laugh in the midst of virtual meeting fatigue, gathering (socially-distanced) for a team picnic in a Santa Monica park, CBD drinks and quality time, and finding small ways to show each other we care.

At Prima this year, we learned that…

Stress is the most extraordinarily pervasive social and physical toxin of our modern times-dramatically impacting the health of our body, skin, and minds now more than ever
+ People are seeking proactive solutions to control and manage their day – to minimize and reduce stress is at the core of positive health outcomes. Turn to cannabinoids/CBD as a naturally effective solution is powerful tool – as simple as a CBD bath to take the edge off at the end of a long day has become more popular than we could ever have imagined
+ People are resilient – with a powerful drive to be well, happy, and thrive – driven by hope, optimism, connection, and a belief in ‘better’, every day.

“The 5 things that have kept us inspired in biz this year…

  1. Our devoted customers who prioritize proactive healthcare and botanical therapeutics
  2. Our incredibly passionate team – that serves and contributes so so much everyday
  3. values-aligned partners (like Chalkboard Mag!) who believe in the healing through education, innovation and nature
  4. the strength and resilience of medical professionals and frontline workers, and of course,
  5. the continued, exciting possibilities for Prima to lead, challenge, drive, and define this emerging botanical therapeutics healthcare industry

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Anima Mundi | Founder, Adriana Ayales

“For me, this holiday season is all about tuning into the frequency of gratitude and love, to access the ultimate state of receivership. When the purpose of your everyday life transcends your individual story, you step into the greatest state of abundance.

 “5 values that matter to me as I’m shopping gifts this year include supporting small businesses, artisans, growers, etc.; purchasing from companies that are ecofriendly, and packaged mindfully/sustainably; giving gifts of true meaning to others and buying myself only things that I truly need. 

“We’ve stayed inspired in business this year knowing we’re providing accessible medicines to all walks of life that keep us resilient and protected on a body, mind and soul level. We love to see people on a large scale turning to nature to heal and stay healthy. No matter what happens, on a personal or collective level, it’s all about your attitude.”

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Public Goods | Founder, Morgan Hirsh

“If I could sum up my mood going into the holidays it’s…tired. For me, this holiday season is all about recharging and renewal.

“Our team has stayed inspired this year by making the collective action of our community’s everyday purchases impact the world and ourselves.

“5 values that matter to me as I’m shopping gifts this year:

+ Clean Ingredients – Good for me

+ Ethically sourced – Good for my community

+ Sustainability – Good for the world

+ Affordable – Good for my wallet

+ Aesthetically pleasing – Good for the home.”

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Vahdam India| Founder, Bala Sarda

“For me, this holiday season is all about staying healthy and safe, and celebrating the little things that make life wholesome. 

“5 values that matter to me as I’m shopping for gifts this year: 

“Meaning and sentiment
A festive aesthetic
The health of loved ones
More than just product, a sense of value addition.
Sustainability and responsibility. Brand should be socially and environmentally conscious.”

“The 5 things that have kept us inspired in biz this year…

+ The world’s need for wellness expertise, now more than ever.

+ Our desire to give back to people and planet in trying times.

+ A strong sense of community.

+ The enthusiasm for constant innovation for the growing needs of our growing family.

+ The desire of spreading a homegrown brand more and more over the world map.”

3 things we learned at Vahdam this year:

+ Trying times can bring out the best in you
+ Doing well by doing good is always rewarding
+ Improving lifestyle > selling products

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Wildling |Co-founders, Britta Plug, Gianna De La Torre + Jill Munson

“For us, this holiday season is all about surrender, love, celebrating my immediate family, and remembering what’s important.

“Our team has stayed inspired this year by….

  1. Releasing 2020 tension with a lot of gua sha
  2. Talking about our future ritual inspired product launches.
  3. Creating a 21-day gua sha challenge for our new customers.”

“3 things we learned this year:    

  1. We can raise children, educate them at home, and run a brand all at the same time!  It’s not ideal but possible 🙂
  2. In the face of immense challenges, there is also a possibility.
  3. How important it is to practice what we preach.”

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Flora| Hillary Eaton, 4th generation Flora family, Brand Development Manager 

“For me, this holiday season is all about connection. We’re all struggling and finding our own ways through this pandemic both personally and professionally. While this holiday season won’t be like one most of us have ever experienced before, we can still find new and different ways to connect with those we can’t be with or those who we care about in meaningful ways beyond Zoom. Whether it’s a handwritten family recipe or a collection of short memories made together to read through, holding something physical and personal from those you care about has never been more needed for the holidays.

“Our team has stayed inspired this year through all of the many hard-working (massive understatement) people that have worked day in and day out, across all channels of our lives, to try and stay afloat. We’ve realized that the pandemic’s disruptive and dismantling nature, while catastrophic, has also been deeply freeing to let things that no longer work for us fall away and force us to take huge risks in what we see as vital to create a better future of more accessible, affordable, sustainable and science-backed natural medicine. After 4 generations, we’re deeply rooted in tradition but thanks to the necessary pivoting to stay afloat during the pandemic we’ve also made some incredible changes rooted in the most modern science and clinical trials that we might not have otherwise been brave enough to push forward with yet. I couldn’t be more proud of every single member of the team.”

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Lo rox aligned life| Founder, Lauren Roxburgh

“Our team has stayed inspired this year with feedback from our tribe.  Every day we get messages from our Aligned Tribe telling us how our work and offerings are helping them get through this incredibly difficult moment in history and those messages inspire us every single day (and often bring me to tears!).  We absolutely love to help and to serve our community.  And with our Aligned Life Studio now streaming in over 50 countries with over 20,000 subscribers, we’re super inspired to help empower even more people to take charge of their health, become their own healer, align their bodies, hearts and minds and live their most balanced and beautiful lives. 

“If I could sum up my mood going into the holidays it is grateful, optimistic and blessed. Grateful for the lessons of 2020, hard as it as been for everyone. Optimistic because through all the difficulty and darkness of this past year, we now all have an opportunity to collectively “birth” a new world where values like kindness and wellness can truly bring together our global community. And blessed because my husband is a Kiwi so we have just moved to New Zealand for a year with our two girls to give them the opportunity to go to school and to reconnect with our NZ family – so I’m feeling incredibly lucky to be embarking on this new family adventure.”

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This story is brought to you in partnership with our gift guide partners. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.

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