Shop with a purpose this holiday season! Whether you’re shopping for your kids, your dad, your husband, or your sister, I’ve got a collection of fantastic fair trade products that not only make great gifts, but also support low income farmers and artisans around the world.
With the holiday season fast approaching (read: coming at us like a steamroller), I wanted to take a little time to talk about how you can support struggling communities with your holiday gift buying this year. I’ve rounded up a list of organizations that are producing beautiful goods for your home, your closet, and your life while also supporting and uplifting families in need.
I get a little geeked when I talk about these organizations, because they’re addressing issues of poverty in entirely new ways. Rather than creating systems of dependency, these organizations focus on empowering families to become self-sufficient by giving them fair wages for their labor, creating safe working conditions, and connecting farmers and artisans with a world who wants their products.
So what does that mean, exactly?
It means that with each purchase you’re investing in people. You’re giving families an opportunity to send their children to school, secure better housing conditions, seek adequate medical care, and have enough food to eat each day. These organizations are committed to strengthening underprivileged communities, empowering women, creating thriving local economies, and establishing a solid foundation for generations to come. It’s like getting a double bang for your buck. Get a beautiful, unique, handmade gift for someone you love while also supporting someone in need.
If that doesn’t get you excited about holiday shopping, I’m not sure what will!
So without further ado, I present my 2013 Shop With a Purpose Gift Guide! Enjoy! (Click on the name of the organization to go their home page. Click on the picture, to go directly to that specific product).
Be The Joy
Be The Joy is an organization based in Uganda with a mission to help send young girls to school. I traveled to Uganda while I was in college and it still holds a huge place in my heart, which is part of the reason I love this organization so much. They offer an assortment of jewelry they call heartbeads. These beautiful pieces are handmade and each of them helps educated young Ugandan women, giving them an opportunity for a better life. I have several of these necklaces and where them all the time. Seriously love them.
Have a family member that simply loves coffee? Try shopping at Equal Exchange, a fair trade organization that supports small scale farmers all around the world. Each bag of coffee is crafted by a team of roasters to ensure the best flavor possible. More of a tea girl? They have that too!
Come Together Trading Company
Think you can’t find fair trade gifts for the kiddos? Think again. Come Together Trading Company offers a range of toys and stuffed animals for children, including this rocking Noah’s Ark Finger Puppet Set handmade in Peru. I may just die of the cuteness.
Looking for something lovely to add to your closet or your home this holiday season? Try Noonday Collection, an organization committed to creating pathways out of poverty for vulnerable populations in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Ecuador. There are so many beautiful things on the site it’s tough to know where to begin. Their shop is stocked with gorgeous stationary, cozy arm warmers, unique belts, and jewelry, but I fell head over heels for these bold tea towels and chevron journal.
In years past, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of men’s items available through fair trade and socially minded organizations. But this year, I managed to find a couple of great options for the men folk in your life. Krochet Kids is an organization rooted in the love of Jesus with a mission to empower people in poverty through sustainable economic development programs. Their vision and values statement is so good, I really just recommend you head over and read the whole thing. They offer a range of knit beanies, scarves, socks, and clothes for men. They even have an adorable knit bow tie. (They also have products for women and children!)
For more options for men, I recommend checking out fashionABLE, an organization creating sustainable business opportunities for women in Africa. They offer a handmade leather iPad case and wallet that’s just plain sexy.
Fair and Square Imports
Fair and Square Imports offers a range of products including home decor, stationary, toys, and even musical instruments. The moment I saw this Lotus Flower Candle Holder from The Philippines I was smitten. I mean–those golden petals lit up by a flickering candle? Totally gorgeous.
This Love Bird Handbag from Global Girlfriend may have actually made me “Eeep” from sheer loveliness. Each of the products on Global Girlfriend helps fund a micro-grant for a woman in Africa to start her own business. Global Girlfriend also offers clothing, jewelry, and other accessories.
Trade as One
Let’s not forget the foodies in our lives! Trade as One has a full line of fair trade foods including chocolates, infused olive oils, quinoa, baking mixes, and more. For a super fun and unique gift, sign a friend up for the Trade As One Subscription which gets them a specially curated assortment of fair trade goodies sent to their door each month!
I may be biased, but I can’t resist a good kitchen statement serving space. SERRV has an incredible array of table linens, cheese boards, pitchers, tea sets, and plates, all of which support low income artists and farmers. Why I don’t have these gorgeous wood-fired handled crocks in my collection yet is a mystery. SERRV also makes some incredible fair trade chocolate chips, which I’ve reviewed here, as well as more home decor, outdoor items, jewelry, holiday decorations, and accessories.
Alright guys, last but certainly not least, I bring you Imagine Goods, a Sustainable Supply Company. Imagine Goods is founded on the belief that “when we buy a product, the cost of the item should be able to sustain every person connected to it with a living wage.” Yes. Just yes. I am completely smitten with their line of women’s skirts, dresses, and aprons. The Lucy Skirt pictured below comes in several different colors and fabrics and it’s reversible–so you get two classic, flattering skirts for the price of one. They also make the most adorable skirts, dresses, and aprons for kids. Seriously, a matching mother/daughter apron gift? Who wouldn’t love it?
Do you know of other organizations who are giving back? Please share them in the comments! I’ll be adding your links to the bottom of the post as they come in!
Prosperity Candle creates opportunities for women and families to thrive. They have a range of candles, food, and gift sets.
The Shop for Change enables disadvantaged artisans from around the world to sell their products online. They have a range of scarves, jewelry, clothing, and home goods.