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(Ethically Made) TOYS R US

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(Ethically Made) TOYS R US
By Anastasia Ellwood
It’s that time of the year again. Gifting season. A time to express our gratitude to all those that we love. And of course with that comes a bit of spending.
With that in mind, we like the idea of encouraging spenders to choose to buy one gift, and if you’re feeling generous - even more, that is from an ethical source. Buying ethically can sound a bit waffly, but what it really means is actually quite important. At Dowry, our products are always sourced from ethical suppliers, so, when it comes to the effects of consumer behaviour on society and environment, we are part of the solution instead of the problem. As most of us are aware, our earth is hurting. For too long, our actions have been alarmingly damaging to the integrity of earth’s natural systems. Plastics, atmospheric pollutants and other waste products have driven our earth to a state of vulnerability. 
As consumers, we always have a choice. We’re no eco-nazis (don’t worry), but there is a grave concern for the people and places that are under threat because of too much mindless consumption. We can all agree that maintaining a state of constant discernment about the impacts of our choices is unrealistic, but sometimes a gentle nudge in the right direction goes a long way! Here are some factors to think about when considering the social and environmental impacts of what we’re buying: 
  • Where it is made: closer to home doesn’t always mean ethical but consider the carbon miles of an item that is made far, far away compared to the Eurobodalla!
  • What it is made of: items that are made of high quality materials and/or recycled material will last longer so you don’t have to continuously replace it. Gifts can be somewhat of an heirloom and cherished for generations to come.
  • Who made it: items that are made by an intimate collective of workers equates to safe working conditions and a higher quality product. It also reflects the environmental ethics of the business as social welfare and environmental conservation go hand-in-hand. Keep in mind that just because a product is made in China or India doesn’t mean it is necessarily unethical. Dowry makes a concerted effort to support family-run businesses based in those countries in particular. It is communities in that region of the world that struggle the most when it comes to justice and rights in the work place… if safe and prosperous conditions can be facilitated, then we are all for supporting those initiatives. 
    We are particularly excited about Dowry’s range of gifts for the kids this season. From local handcrafted wooden toys to colourful handmade felt treasures, we reckon we can help you find the perfect ethical gift for the little ones. With Christmas only a fortnight away, we thought we’d share with you some gift ideas that we are currently loving. We are quite chuffed with the look of our kids corner! 

    We have a colourful collection of Chris’ work, including her gorgeous native bird Christmas decorations (a hit this season) and a range of patchwork dolls and animal toys made from an eclectic variety of recycled and dead-stock textiles. Each of her creations has a unique character, making them timeless treasures to be handed down from generation to generation. 

    Ethically Hand Made Felt Goods (Nepal) 
    Our selection of children's felt toys are a safe go-to if you're struggling to think of a gift. They are guaranteed to elate the young ones, especially the little felted finger puppets!!


    Children’s Books

    Books are an easy go-to gift for the young ones. We have a growing library at Dowry to get the kid’s creative juices flowing. We are beyond enamoured with this one in particular: 


    We are also stocking Dalmeny local Jazzi Morris’ ‘Hey Little Dreamer’. It has been in high demand and rightly so — the book is targeted at kids of all ages, affirming them of their worth and value in this big overwhelming world through poignant statements and imagery. The importance of such empowering messaging is fully realised in this gorgeous book and we are truely grateful to Jazzi for uplifting the younger generation to be strong, independent and confident individuals. 

    Dowry has recently been blessed with a plentiful bounty of Sage Toy Shop’s beautifully hand made wooden toys made locally, just north of us in Broulee. Arthur Brain, the handy craftsman behind these endearing toys, is a local with a passion for traditional toy making —unfortunately a dwindling trade in this age of technology and mass production. His toys are a brilliant tool in igniting the imaginations of our little ones. We are so grateful to Arthur for his contribution to the wooden toy resurgence, and are very lucky to have his work stocked both in store and online. 
    Environmental sustainability is a top priority for Arthur from start to finish in the toy-making process. He uses the finest selection of Australian sustainable timbers including Aussie Pine, Tasmanian Oak and Meranti. He seals the toys with food grade orange oil that not only enhances the natural colour and scent of the timber but also ensures the longevity of the toys. 
    We have a wide range of his work including toy buses, fire engines, utes and race cars, graders, and if you look hard enough in our shop, you will spot his large wooden tractor. Some toys have movable and detachable parts making it very engaging for the kiddies, plus, all modes of transport run notably smoothly across many surfaces thanks to Arthur’s fabulous wheel work! 
    One of our favourite toys of Arthur’s is his classic Aeroplane spoon. He has cleverly integrated a wooden aeroplane toy into a perfectly functional spoon to make meal time exciting for babies and toddlers. The parents love it just as much as the little ones as it really encourages a diet of variety as our (more often than not) fussy little eaters are too distracted by the plane itself to care about what they are munching on! 

    With Christmas fast approaching, Arthur’s wooden toys are a perfect gift for kids of all ages. Whilst we all can’t resist a colourful plastic toy every now and then, supporting local, ethical and environmentally conscious toy makers is a great way to positively contribute to movements that address the environmental, social and economical challenges induced by plastic waste. 
    Dowry is open Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm and from 10am to 2pm on Saturday. Additionally, for those who struggle to find the time in the day, we are open this Thursday the 16th until 7pm for Moruya's Christmas Shopping Night. 
    Come on in and have a look-see before Christmas Day is literally upon us!

     By Anastasia Ellwood

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