Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics

Hyphen Gift Guide: The Green n' Local Edition

Handpoured soy candles from type.lites.

There is holiday shopping hope outside of big box stores and mass-produced goods. Sure they may be less expensive but the feeling of knowing your gifts were made out of love and not ... toxic lead, is priceless. Hyphen's hooking you up with some vendors who are all about local artistry, eco-friendliness or handmade goods.


Bay Area-based Tricia Jang and Crystal Nguyen handpour these soy-wax, wood wick candles in a variety of scents (Editor's note: The Bartlett Pear candle makes you salivate a little) and are offering seasonal scents -- Cranberry Fizz, Gingersnap Cookie, and Peppermint Cream -- just in time for the holidays.

Modern Mouse

2228 South Shore Center, Unit A
Alameda, CA 94501-5740
(510) 814-8830

Eleen Hsu Agustin's Modern Mouse in Alameda, CA features a long curated list (over 130!) of local and independent artists who handcraft gifts including apparel, jewelry and housewares in designs that range from mod to squee-inducing. If you're in the Bay Area, stop by their brick and mortar store and if you're coveting their goods from afar, you can take advantage of their online store.

jakc designs


Dumplings for your dumpling.

jakc design's Jenn Chee creates individually designed, handsewn toys/gifts for infants and children (no two products are the same). And the best part? They are food themed, so both kids and adults can drool over them.



Keiko Agena (the lovable, drum-playing Lane Kim from Gilmore Girls) creates adorable handmade cards (printed on 100% post consumer recycled cardstock) for birthdays, sweethearts and new babies on the way. Mix and match and then give to those who actually remembers to send cards throughout the year.

Mr. Ellie Pooh

When you think of gifts for loved ones, don't you instinctively think of elephant poo?


Well, you should. Mr. Ellie Pooh is an eco-friendly fair trade company that makes gifts and paper goods out of elephant dung. They've set up shop in rural parts of Sri Lanka, assisting the local economy by training residents to make paper and working with local artisans to design products. Gifts include stationery, craft items, and organic cotton (not poo) t-shirts.


About The Author

Sylvie Kim

Sylvie Kim is a contributing editor at Hyphen. She previously served as Hyphen's blog coeditor with erin Khue Ninh, film editor, and blog columnist.

She writes about gender, race, class and privilege in pop culture and media (fun fun fun!) at www.sylvie-kim.com and at SF Weekly's The Exhibitionist blog. Her work has also appeared on Racialicious and Salon.

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