12 Gifts Of Kindness This Christmas

Tis the season for gifts and giving. This year, we have found 12 great gift ideas that come wrapped in kindness. These 12 gifts of kindness are a way to share your compassion and care for the planet and all who live on it. After all, this is the best way to celebrate the season.

WaterAid gives the gift of water

1. The gift of water

Give a gift of water, sanitation and hygiene this Christmas through. WaterAid’s gift shop. Your donation provides a handwashing station for three families or a toilet for a school. WaterAid will send a gift card to your recipient, letting them know their gift is helping support communities in some of the poorest parts of the world have access to clean water and sanitation this year.

Send A Cow This Christmas

2. Send A Cow

Send A Cow is another fantastic gift service that will send your donation to rural Africa where a family in need will receive the gift of a calf. The family will be supported in raising the calf and will then give the first-born female calf to another family, who will also benefit from this gift.

3. Support Local

Look around for great gifts from your community to give this year. Wherever you live, there are bound to be many small businesses producing fantastic local food, wines or products that would make a great gift and also support small businesses.

4. Give An Experience

The gift of experience does not require much wrapping paper or plastic packaging. Tickets to a film, an afternoon-tea or an online magazine subscription are all great ways to give something unique that is also friendly to the environment.

5. Socially Conscious Luxury

Sana Jardin is a socially conscious fragrance house producing clean and sustainable fragrances by working with women micro-entrepreneurs from the flower growing regions of the world. Many of these women previously had only limited access to work as flower harvesters, and now in partnership with Sana Jardin can improve their lives through commerce, not charity. Our favourite fragrance is REVOLUTION DE LA FLEUR EAU DE PARFUM with Madagascan ylang-ylang and other exotic blooms like Moroccan jasmine and frangipani.

Give the gift of a new start with a Starting Out Box

6. Give the Gift of a New Start

Centrepoint is a charity that works with homeless youth, giving vulnerable young people a place to live, practical and emotional support as well as helping them get back on their feet with a new job. This Christmas you can gift a Starting Out Box which gives one young person a one year lease on a room at Centrepoint, cooking lessons, counselling sessions and a full health check. Your gift can ensure a safe Christmas for one young person, and a positive outlook for the new year.

7. Choose Love Gifts

Choose Love is the world’s first store where you can buy real gifts of kindness for refugees. Filled with practical items like tents, nappies, sleeping bags and more, the Choose Love store is the perfect place to shop with compassion. A perfect example is the simple hygiene kit which is a supply of shower gel, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary items and shampoo for three months to a refugee.

8. Advent of Change

Advent Of Change is an advent calendar filled with gifts of kindness. Your single purchase of this calendar donates $1 per day to one of the 24 connected charities. A fantastic way to give the gift of giving to someone special this year!

9. A Gift Of Research

Buy a priceless gift of medical research by donating on behalf of a friend or family member to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Your gift recipient will receive a card letting them know their gift is funding research into childhood cancer. Alex’s Lemonade Stand supports research into finding cures and improving quality of life for children with cancer.

Help a Sister through Women for Women International

10. Help A Sister

This gift is a monthly sponsorship gift to women who are survivors of war. Women for Women International connects the donor and the receiver by way of letters and support. The gift of sponsorship ensures these survivors of war can afford food, clothing, shelter and business training as well as essential advice and assistance. This year-long gift equips women survivors to earn money, regain confidence and actively participate in their communities.

11. Adopt a Rat

Adopting a rat is the most unusual suggestion on our list of 12, but an excellent gift idea for someone who has everything! Through Apopo you can adopt a trained detection rat working to identify the location of landmines in Cambodia or the presence of TB in Tanzania. With a rat adoption, your recipient will receive an information pack on how rats can be trained to smell landmines or TB, an adoption certificate and a monthly newsletter about the teams of rats working in these vital detection tasks.

Give a climate positive gift with CHOOOSE

12. A Carbon Removal Gift

Give a gift of one-year carbon removal from Chooose, making the recipient climate positive for either six months or a year. Chooose works in partnership with carbon removal projects around the planet, removing 6000 kg of CO2 per annual donation.

Choosing gifts of kindness at Christmas is a great way to introduce others to the joy of giving. It is a great way to share compassion, kindness and give to causes that are close to our hearts.

We believe kindness is contagious,

sprinkle it everywhere this festive season!

Eleven – A Family Affair To Launch ILNI Handbags

On the 16th November, we launched our bags with an exhibition of 11 bag designs in cooperation with 11 photographs from Patrick Carbin, Minemice. This launch was a family affair with Carmela, ILNI’s founder sharing the limelight with her brother Patrick and his photography. 

In a fantastic space, The Mood, on the historic Koninginnegracht in the Hague, eleven designs of ILNI bags were displayed along with eleven photographs; 11 designs and 11 impressions. The effect was magical with guests mingling and sharing stories while viewing the photographs and trying the ILNI bags.

Delicious vegetarian snack platters and drinks were supplied by Room2Meet. A canopy of floral hoops hovered above the crowd artfully created by flower artist Gerwin Van Den Boogaard. DJ Jill Kleinjan, provided super chilled world music sounds to compliment the artistic intersections and two speakers, Jeffrey Grüne and Arnoud Bakhuizen, shared their vision on the theme Connect – Share – Grow. Our official photographer for the event was Anouk Kulaleen 

The event was a splendid intersection of art, design and inspiration brought together in this family affair. These eleven handbags, all made of leather-free materials highlighted the ILNI philosophy of elegance and compassion. These cruelty-free handbags prove that elegance is more than appearance and is a reflection of inner beauty, or as Carmela explains her motto is; in a world where we can be anything, let’s be elegant and kind. These handbags show what can be created with the combination of luxury and compassion. 

fashion model Uncle Bobe (@unclebobe)

Patrick Carbin AKA Minemice, is a freelance 3D artist, musician and photographer as well as the younger brother of Carmela. He has exhibited in galleries in Russia and internationally via Thought-landscape. This was his first exhibition in the Netherlands. Patrick’s photographs intertwine the nature of tranquil landscapes with urbanization in a quirky style that shows the human touch on the scene but without it being personal. 

The event was a huge success, and we are now excited to have officially launched the ILNI brand formally. 

Nine Ways To Finish This Year On A High And Make Next Year Even Better

The end of the year is just around the corner, with only around six weeks until we ring in the new year. Now is the perfect time for that one last push towards your yearly goals, and to set yourself on the path for a great start to the new year. We have come up with nine top tips that will ensure you finish this year on a high. 

1. Do Less

As counter-intuitive as this sounds, doing less is all about getting the important things done and leaving the not so important tasks for another day. We all get a little frantic at this time of year and tend to rush around doing a million things every day. Take your daily to-do list and cut it in half by moving as many items as possible to another day or removing them altogether. Less is more if you want to focus on nailing those goals before December 31st.

2. Get Outside

Even though it is cold outside, getting out in the fresh air for a short walk can have a significant effect on your mood and happiness levels. When your happiness levels are high, your productivity levels also get a boost 

3. Turn on Some Tunes

Music is magical for improving our energy levels. Update your playlists with some feel-good music that will get you in the mood to check off those last few goals and get grooving on it.

4. Write it down

Write down the most important goal you plan to achieve before the end of this year. Put it in a prominent place and remind yourself daily to put the action in towards achieving this goal. Make sure the note to yourself is somewhere you will spot it many times over the day, such as inside your phone case or on the corner of your computer screen. The key is to remind yourself to keep taking action towards the goal consistently.

5. Hydrate

Most of us forget to drink enough water throughout the day, but our bodies and minds need water to perform at optimum levels. Get in the habit of sipping on water throughout the day and help your mind and body operate at their full potential.

6. Pick Up A Book

Even just 10 – 20 minutes of reading keeps your mind fit. And, giving our eyes a break from a screen sometimes is essential. So, relax with a book and get lost in a story or learn something new 

7. Stop Multitasking 

Focus on one task at a time. When we juggle multiple tasks, we make more mistakes and decrease our productivity. Rather than responding all day to messages and emails, create set times of the day when you can focus on responding to emails. Dedicate periods of uninterrupted time to allow yourself to be fully engaged in more complex tasks.

8. Strategic Downtime

Our brains operate better when they are rested and not stressed. We make better decisions, and we think more clearly when we have had a small break. Set aside times throughout the day when you can give yourself a complete break from work or thinking about work, even for twenty minutes. Your brain will thank you for the downtime, and you will be amazed at how much smoother your day feels.

9. Learn To Distance Yourself

Stuff happens. Life is full of frustrations, detours, and annoying challenges. Keeping your focus on your goals even when you feel frustrated requires distancing tactics. The most straightforward distancing tactic is to ask yourself ‘Is this going to matter to me in a year?’. Shift your thinking to the big picture, and don’t get caught up on the small stuff. You will be amazed by how many frustrating distractions disappear using this simple question.

Keep The Important Stuff In Mind

Along with these nine tips for finishing this year strong, we wanted to add the essential ingredient for having a great year every year. Spend your time with those you love. Make the special people in your life the priority by sharing, talking, engaging, and bonding together. Nothing could be more important than this. 

Happiness Never Decreases By Being Shared

– Buddha

11 Massive Chinese Shopping Festivals Your Brand Could Be Missing Out On

Despite the current trade war, the buying power of the Chinese market continues to grow exponentially. If you are selling internationally, you will want to be positioning your brand for the Chinese market and, in particular, you need to know about these 11 massive Chinese shopping festivals. The following 11 Chinese shopping festivals generate more sales than either Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas. So, if you are serious about this market, these shopping festivals are not to be missed. 

Singles Day – November 11

The biggest shopping festival of the year in China, by far, is Singles Day. November 11 was originally Bachelor Day due to the single ones in the 11.11 date. These single men celebrated the day by buying gifts for their love interest in the hope that next year they would no longer be single. That was until Jack Ma, of Alibaba fame, decided to turn this day into China’s biggest online shopping day. Now it is more famous for the massive online sales it generates every year. Last year, on Alibaba alone, there were more than USD$30 Billion in sales. In fact, it took only 1 minute and 25 seconds to reach USD 1 Billion in sales. This shopping day is bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined and is one that you need to take very seriously. 

Double 12 Festival December 12

Just over one month after the madness of Singles Day, the Double 12 Shopping festival starts. This shopping festival is the chance for retailers to off-load products that didn’t sell during Singles Day. The shopping festival lasts for four days form the 8th – 12th December with many brands offering major discounts and free shipping promotions in the last major shopping date of the year. 

Chinese New Year

Christmas and New Year are not traditionally big shopping days. The next big shopping festival is the Chinese Lunar New Year. Next year this falls on January 25 and is the perfect time to connect with your customers by wishing them a Happy New Year with a fantastic promotion. 2020 according to the Chinese zodiac, will be the year of the Rat, so expect to see lots of rat / cute mice in promotions and advertising. Find a way to weave the theme of money, wealth and luck into the festival to make your brand stand out. 

March 8th Women’s Day 

Chinese retailers and brands are always keen to make the most of any opportunity to create a shopping festival. In this way, Women’s Day on March 8 has turned into a major online selling festival. It is promoted as a day for Women to celebrate by shopping and a perfect chance for men to thank the women in their lives by spending up large on beautiful gifts for their wives, mothers, and even daughters. Many Chinese women get a half-day vacation on this day and now spend shopping or enjoying a day at the spa with friends. You will see many of the major online retailers have jumped on board with their own variation of the day, VIP have ‘Food Beauty Day’, Tmall and Alibaba call it ‘Queen Day’, while JD promotes it as ‘Butterfly day’. 

Tomb Sweeping Day 

Tomb Sweeping day is the day when many Chinese gather with their families to commemorate their ancestors. Next year this festival falls on Saturday April 4th and is in the middle of a long weekend holiday. As so many Chinese travel to family over this short break, many brands have built this festival into another Chinese shopping festival with travel packages, and sales on sports and travel-related products.   

May 20 ‘Wo Ai Ni’ Day

‘Wo Ai Ni’ in Chinese means ‘I love you’ and is also the same pronunciation as the date 5.20 (May 20). This special day became a modern internet Valentine’s Day. While the day is still extremely popular with lovers, this shopping festival has more recently morphed into an expanded eCommerce shopping festival based on the love of family as well. Brands target not only lover’s gifts, but also mothers with irresistible promotions on baby and mother products. 

Children’s Day June 1st

Children’s day is yet another massive opportunity for brands to join a growing online shopping festival. Online promotions for Children’s day begin at the end of May and last through until the first week of June. Toys, clothes, food, holidays, and child-focused business make this shopping festival one of their biggest each year. Savvy marketers will know that more and more children want to choose how to spend their gift money, and so create special advertising promotions directed at children and teens with online credit to spend. 

618 Shopping Festival- June 18

When Alibaba turned Bachelor’s day into Singles Day and the biggest shopping festival of the year, rival eCommerce platform JD decided to make a festival of their own. Their invention was 618 Day. This colossal shopping day is now second only to Singles Day in online sales with close to $30 Billion in sales in 2019. That’s a big day of mid-year shopping madness that only looks set to grow! Despite being a completely made up festival, 618 is now a sales day that most brands are now taking very seriously.

Qi Xi 

This traditional Chinese Valentine’s day celebrates the story of two star-crossed lovers and falls on August 25 in 2020. The story behind the celebration is somewhat of a romantic tragedy, but this hasn’t stopped retailers from making it into another essential shopping day for gifts of love. Many international brands are now taking note of this special shopping day. This year Prada launched unique heart-shaped bags for the day, and Michael Kors launched an exclusive capsule collection to coincide with this date. Handbags, jewelry, roses, and chocolates remain the big favourites on this shopping festival day. 

Mid-Autumn Festival 

Mid-Autumn festival is a thousand-year-old harvest celebration of the moon. Families usually spend time together eating mooncakes and sharing gifts to show appreciation of each other. Many Chinese also take this opportunity to travel. This shopping festival has become a time of travel package promotions, and sales of luxury travel accessories, as well as traditional gifts for family and friends. 

October 1st National Day – Golden Week

October 1 is Chinese National Day, which falls within a week-long holiday called Golden Week. This week is now a golden week of sales and promotions by all of the big brands. Many offer lucky draws, promotion codes, and upgrade packages to their customers. October 1 and Golden Week are truly a golden time for retailers with over USD$202 Billion in sales for the week, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Participation in shopping festivals is an essential part of selling into the Chinese market. With a sale almost every month, it is a highly competitive market to sell in, but the potential for brand expansion remains high. Choose only the Chinese shopping festivals that fit your brand and position yourself in front of new and eager customers with money to spend. Happy Shopping Festival!