Written by Bree Contreras
The holiday season is upon us, Nomads and with it comes the tradition of gift giving. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that investing in our community and supporting local artists and creators, especially those from marginalized groups, is more important than ever. So, all of these shops are owned & operated by community members and offer a wide array of goods ranging from handcrafted leather goods to skincare products and everything in between. There’s something for everyone on your list here — and more than a few somethings you might wanna keep for yourself. Happy shopping!
Orenda Tribe is an indigenous owned clothing shop specializing in “soulfully reimagined vintage and upcycled textiles”. Amy, the shop’s owner, and the team at Orenda tribe not only breathe new life into vintage garments but into their community as well. Through both their sustainable up-cycling practices & various community initiatives including the Dził Asdzáán (Mountain Woman) Command Center- a collective of Diné matriarchs focused on providing meals, reusable masks, PPE, and hand sanitizer to those affected by COVID-19- Orenda Tribe demonstrates an incredible commitment to leaving the world in better shape than they found it.
Typically based out of the U.S., Raleigh is a bicontinental nomad who is currently vanlifing in Germany with her husband Oliver, who is also a woodworker. Raleigh crafts beautiful housewares including cutting boards, dinnerware and cooking utensils, and straw hand brooms. Custom order inquiries can also be directed to Raleigh via online submission forms on the shop website.
Thea’s Essence is a BIPOC/LGBTQ owned skin and self-care company based out of La Grande, Oregon. Samique and Atlas, the shop’s owners, have created a line of ethically sourced and gender-fluid products utilizing local ingredients and ancestral knowledge. This holiday season they’ve released two gift boxes at two different price points; one with their best-selling Glimmer Skincare product line and one without for all of the rest and relaxation a soul could ever need after a year like 2020. Proceeds from the Holiday Box will support Naknuwithlama Tiichamna (Caretakers of the Land) an indigenous led organization centered around restorative agriculture and regenerative land stewardship practices.
Alain is an artist and student, originally hailing from the country of Rwanda. He travels the US in his 1980s Toyota Chinook making striking and thought provoking pieces inspired by the intersections of African daily life, social justice, and the wonder of travel. Alain is joy and wonder embodied and it shines through in everything he sets his paintbrush to. On his website you can find art in the form of stickers, prints, hoodies, original works and custom commissioned pieces.
Asha Art and Soul is a BIPOC owned business venture by Diversify Vanlife’s very own Asha Jain. Asha is an artist, healer and graphic designer specializing in holistic + spiritual wellness and their website offers several Yoni steam blends, art prints and virtual healing sessions to aid in the evolution of the best possible you (or loved one!) Healing sessions vary from Yoni Steaming workshops, Spiritual Sovereignty Development courses and Sacred Sister Moon Circles.
The Meditation bus is a Black owned healing center offering virtual sound bath healing sessions, as well as an extensive selection of spiritually informed books. Other services including energy and astrological chart readings are also available to be booked through their website and make a great gift for anyone looking to get to know themselves better through astrology.
Ultreya is a woman owned coffee shop and soon-to-be-roastery specializing in unique coffee blends and teas. Dani, the shop’s owner lives in a Dodge Pro Master based out of San Diego. The onset of COVID-19 has forced Dani to be creative with her business model, so while dining in and serving her local college students is no longer an option, she sells beans, growlers and mugs on the shop’s website.
Runaway Tae Co. is a Black LGBTQ owned online apparel shop specializing in social justice inspired pieces, specifically those supporting the abolition of police and uplifting of Black lives. The shop is based out of Seattle and works in collaboration with local mutual aid efforts including Anti-Racist bread to feed and serve those in need amidst COVID-19.
Aubrey is the mind and master craftsman behind Huckphinn Leatherworks. Together with her dog Ike, Aubrey travels the country in a renovated Toyota Dolphin, taking inspiration from the landscapes and world around her to create beautiful, one of a kind pieces. Aubrey’s goods range from cast iron pan handle covers, tote bags, and leather aprons to her best-selling Jewelry Burrito and she even offers an introductory leatherworking class in which students learn how to make a clutch from start to finish.
Shannon lives in her RV with her two dogs and creates radical cross-stitched art along the way. She hosts weekend intro to embroidery classes and group cross stitch gatherings via zoom now that COVID-19 has made in person gatherings difficult. You can purchase some of Shannon’s art or cross stitch patterns from her website!