This local gift box gives back to the community

Each gift box sold by Blushing Bird Studios includes one hour of garbage cleaning at sites in the Algoma area

Sault-based Blushing Bird Studios has rounded up 11 other companies that have contributed handcrafted goods to their first fall-themed gift box, but it’s what’s not 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 of the companies contributing to the 2021 Sault Ste. Marie Autumn Box. “We really tried to get the big companies, the small ones, and the ones you’ve never heard of.”

Heppner said the gift box is a true celebration of Sault Ste. Marie and its surroundings.

“You really get a taste and feel of falling into the Sault,” Heppner said.

Gift boxes containing local products became popular across Canada during the pandemic as a way to support businesses that may be in difficulty.

This gift box is no different in that regard, but Heppner said there was something that wasn’t actually in the box that would support the community in another important way.

“We’re giving an hour per box for cleanup in the Algoma area,” Heppner said. “I think that’s 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 manufactured by the Heppner Company, such as wedding decor, nursery gifts, and signs. She also provided a “cup mat” coaster and a silk ribbon that she dyed by hand.

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

Heppner said his own business has struggled with the pandemic, with no markets or shows to attend to make sales and meet new customers.

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

Heppner said that at $ 125 each including tax, the box is more expensive than some other gift boxes, but notes that all items are handcrafted locally and shipping is included for orders to Algoma.

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

Each box contains:

  • Two Home Grown Vegan and Handcrafted Travel Soaps
  • A bag of Cornucopia salted caramel popcorn
  • 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
  • A Joyscentials Pink Orange Hibiscus Tea Bath Bomb
  • Two Maple Cookies from Inside the Box Cafe
  • A DIY beeswax packaging kit from Hive Five Beeswax
  • “Support local” sticker made by Avéri Sticker Co
  • A card with envelope from the local artist Naturally Illustrated
  • A luxury chocolate bar from Sweet Change Chocolate

All profits made by Sweet Change Chocolate from the sale 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’re happy to see Blushing Bird Studios giving back through projects like Community Cleanup,” Adams said.


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