Happy Giving Tuesday! For today’s gift guide, I thought it would be helpful to gather up some of my favorite products that give back. Each of these products is tied to social good. Some provide jobs for Cambodian women in need. Others help feed African children. Still others provide disaster relief right now in the USA. All would make perfect gifts for someone on your list!
Enjoy. And if you know of a great product-that-gives-back, I hope you’ll add a link in the comments!
1) Sseko Sandals
Love these! I have a pair with stripey blue ties and I get compliments on them everytime I wear them. They’ve lasted for years! And I just keep replacing the ties. Based in Uganda, Sseko began as a way to generate income for young women to continue on to university. Sseko has graduated three classes of women and every graduate is currently pursuing her college degree! Sseko recently launched a new leather bag collection as well — they look buttery and amazing.
2) Buy Her Bag Not Her Body
Nomi bags and accessories are made by survivors of sex trafficking. Nomi carries loads of covet-worthy products — I’m currently favoring this adorable fruity cosmetic bag made from recycled rice packaging (each one is unique!). Nomi products are designed in New York. Made in Cambodia. And they each come with a very cool Buy Her Bag Not Her Body tag.
3) (Red) Products
You’ve seen (Red) products in many of your favorite stores for years. They offer cool tech gear (like ipad covers and phone decals), jewelry and t-shirts. May I recommend the Ado(red) Onesie? So cute! And 100% of profits go to the Global Fund, to help deliver an AIDS Free Generation by 2015. An AIDS-free-generation. I like the sound of that.
4) FashionABLE Scarves
We visited this tiny tin-roofed factory in Ethiopia. The women who work there are former commercial sex workers and the company recruits them by going out in to the streets and convincing them there’s a better life. I picked up an armload of these gorgeous scarves at the factory and have been giving them out as gifts like crazy. Each comes with a hand-written note from the weaver! I think Etanash and Abeba are my favorite.
5) Warby Parker Glasses
With 3 bespectacled family members, we have become huge fans of Warby Parker. They carry stylish, affordable frames and they follow a buy-one-give-one model. Buy a pair of glasses, and another pair is donated to someone in need. Don’t wear prescription lenses? No stress, Warby Parker offers sunglasses too! I’m digging Evelyn.
6) Feed Bags
Do you know these bags? They are new to me. I saw Karen Walrond carrying one and it was so good-looking, I became an instant admirer. (I was already an admirer of Karen. : ) There are tons of beautiful options to choose from. My very favorite might be the original Feed Bag 1 in Gray. Designed by Lauren Bush, a purchase of this bag provides school meals for 1 child for a year.
7) Alaffia Body Care
This product line was created by Olowo-n’djo Tchala, a Togolese native. He was looking for projects in his home country that would reduce poverty and gender inequality. He wanted to use natural resources (like shea butter) in a sustainable manner to empower his community. And his efforts have been a huge success! I haven’t tried these yet, but I keep hearing great things about them. If you live near a Whole Foods, you may be able to sample these products in person.
8) Print Aid NYC
I posted about these earlier this month, but they’ve added new designs that I don’t want you to miss! Designed by New Yorkers to help New Yorkers that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. 100% of the proceeds go to the Mayor’s Fund for New York. I’m in love with Lighthouse, designed by Alonzo Felix.
9) Kenana Knitters
I’ve been writing about these beautiful products for years! They’re adorable in photos but irresistible in person. This sheep cozy! And the set of 7 hand puppets — they are one of my favorite toys in our family collection (they’re in storage in Colorado and we miss them!). Really good looking, really fun to play with. Handknit by rural women in Kenya.
Yay for products that give twice!
P.S. — One more for good measure: Ambassador Believe Beads. To fight infant mortality, Believe Beads will give $5 from each Ambassador bracelet purchased to the United Nations World Food Program. This will pay for a mother and her baby to eat for 5 days.