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This local gift box gives back to the community

Each gift box sold by Blushing Bird Studios includes one hour of trash clean up at sites in the Algoma area

Sault-based Blushing Bird Studios brought together 11 other businesses that contributed handcrafted products to its first fall-themed gift box, but it’s what isn’t in the box that makes this one even more special.

“This one has a lot of people involved,” said Callie Heppner, owner of Blushing Bird Studio about the businesses contributing to the 2021 Sault Ste. Marie Fall Gift Box. “We really tried to get the big companies, the small ones and the ones you have never heard of.”

Heppner said the gift box is a true celebration of Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area.

“You really get a taste and a feel for the fall in the Sault,” said Heppner.

Gift boxes containing local products have become popular all over Canada during the pandemic as a way to support those businesses that may be struggling. 

This gift box is no different in that respect, but Heppner said there is something that isn’t actually in the box that will support the community in another important way.

“We are donating one hour per box to cleaning up in the Algoma area,” said Heppner. “I think that is one of the most important parts of this box — giving back to the community.”

The box itself is reusable and made from baltic birch with an engraved sliding lid. It is similar to other products made by Heppner’s company, like wedding decor, nursery gifts and signs. She also provides a ‘mug rug’ coaster and silk ribbon that she hand dyes.

It also contains dried florals, like preserved cedar or juniper, yarrow and rose hips, which can be put in a vase and will last years. 

Heppner said her own business is one that has struggled due to the pandemic, with no markets or shows to participate in to make sales and meet new customers.

“We started connecting online with other businesses and it definitely made us feel less alone,” said Heppner. “We created the Sault Ste. Marie Gift Box as a way to connect businesses to each other and to showcase many of the amazing small businesses here in the Algoma Area.”

Heppner said, at $125 each including taxes, the box is pricier than some other gift boxes, but notes all items are handcrafted locally and shipping is included for orders within Algoma.

“It is about connecting people to local businesses and giving back,” said Heppner.

Each box contains:

  • Two vegan, handcrafted travel soaps from Home Grown
  • A bag of salted caramel popcorn from Cornucopia
  • A keychain made from a Lake Superior rock from Lake Superior Rocks with beads by Simply Beadz
  • A sandalwood and amber candle from Yummy Soy Scents
  • One rosy orange and hibiscus tea bath bomb from Joyscentials
  • Two maple cookies from Inside the Box Cafe
  • A DIY beeswax wrap kit from Hive Five Beeswax
  • ‘Support local’ sticker made by Averi Sticker Co
  • A card with envelope by local artist Naturally Illustrated
  • One deluxe chocolate bar from Sweet Change Chocolate

All the proceeds made by Sweet Change Chocolate through sales of the box remain in the social enterprise and applied to local social programming, said Ashley Adams, program coordinator.

"We believe in creating positive change together, and we are happy to see Blushing Bird Studios giving back through projects like the community cleanup," said Adams.

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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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