How many times in your life have you received a ‘generic’ gift from someone that you could find at Wal-Mart, Target, or a department store; and this item has 100,000+ identical twins across the country and the world. Hmmm . . . we think that’s boring and you most likely won’t keep it for very long. Especially around holiday time, consumerism can be an issue. We buy, buy, buy for people and spend loads of money that we will struggle to pay off for a few months, and it may be unnecessary. The things we buy aren’t even that great, nor do they have a good (or ethical) story behind them. Most gifts are something Made in China, by workers who work under unfair and unsafe practices, and then the item is sold at a 90% mark-up. It’s all too sad and impersonal.
The National Retail Federation estimates that the average holiday shopper spends $800 on holiday gifts and décor every year. If we each spent $64 of that $800 (just a mere 8% of our shopping) on Made in the USA items, economists estimate that it would create 200,000 new American jobs.
We want to urge you to think outside the box this holiday season and forgo the ‘traditional’ gifts and discover ‘kind’ gifts; something socially conscious, ethical, eco-friendly, unique, handmade, or charitable.
When you buy kind items, whether for yourself or as gifts, you are truly making a positive difference in the world; securing American jobs, helping lift hard-working families in third world countries out of poverty and supporting their sustainable business, helping divert waste and recycled materials from landfills, and creating demand for better, safer overseas manufacturing factories.
Generally, kind gifts . . .
- are unique. They are often individually handcrafted items, so no 2 items are exactly alike.
- are transparent. The companies don’t try and hide anything and they are very open to questions, comments, and concerns about their brand and business practices. (22 + 22 Things You Didn’t Know About the Fashion Industry Part I + Part II)
- connect you with places around the world. When an item is fair trade it’s made using and preserving the local craft techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation.
- connect you with people around the world. Since the items tend to be a lower quantity and handcrafted, the person who made your item worked very hard to make it special for you.
- protect the environment. They are made in lower quantities, non-toxic, organic, made with recycled, repurposed or sustainable materials. The items are also high quality, and meant to last.
- are non-toxic. They are colored with non-toxic or plant-based dyes, and have not been sprayed with harmful pesticides.
- are often better than donating to charity. By purchasing the charitable items, you are supporting the workers, giving them fair wages, raising awareness about certain issues, but keeping a sustainable business running. You know where the money is going, unlike many charities. (Refer to Charitable Giving 101)
- alleviate poverty. Artisans are paid promptly and fairly. It also gives them the opportunity to stay at home with their families, and gives their children a good home and education.
- healthy. Candles and spa manicure/pedicure’s are a very popular Christmas gift, but they are also some of the most harmful for you. (Dark Side of Lighting Candles + Non-Toxic Mani/Pedi)
- support Conscious Capitalism and help keep jobs in America. (See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)
- have meaning. Each item has a true meaning behind it. They represent and support all the good going on in the world, while unethical gifts represent and support all of the bad. You can look at the item, smile, and know that it is truly special. And because you purchased that item, you are doing good for the world.
Some of our products stories and meanings:
- Kips Coin Purse - The company harnesses the talent and skills of artisans in Kenya, whilst providing a safe working environment, long-term job security and training. Since then they have grown to employ over 60 men and women. From highly skilled craftsmen and women to novices eager to learn, their goal is to create sustainable jobs, teach new skills and empower developing communities in Kenya through the production of beautiful, unique and highly covetable accessories. They believe that by investing in our team we are not only acting responsibly but we are also able to create the best product possible.
- RIGHTS Candle – Handmade Made in the USA using non-toxic ingredients. For every RIGHTS candle sold, Claro provides outreach to a woman in the global sex trade.
- Cacao Soap - For every bar of soap purchased, a bar is given to someone in need! It is also handcrafted in the USA using non-toxic ingredients.
- Karma Sparkle Ring - A core component of the company’s mission has always been to put positive, peaceful and loving energy into the world…by handcrafting everything locally, employing sustainable business practices wherever possible and partnering with non-profit organizations who share a vision of a better world.
- Eyerusalem Passport Wallet - Handmade in Ethiopia using and preserving local craft. The woman who made this states, “I am able to take care of my kids.”
- Crystal Earrings - The company is dedicated to extending a helping hand to those in need, in their own little community and beyond. It is their intention that with every piece of jewelry they sell, they are able to give back to those in need . . . whether it be in helping to feed or clothe a child, aid a family with unforeseen medical expenses, or supporting the local schools.
- Mineral Bath Detox Soak - The company’s mission is to help bring skin care back to nature. All products are handmade with ingredients that are packed full of vitamins, minerals, herbs and essential fatty acids that the skin and body need. No products are tested on animals. They do not believe in adding any artificial chemicals or colorants to our products. All of the products are colored naturally with herbs, and only pure therapeutic essential oils are used to scent them. They want to be sure that what you are putting on your skin is good for the body as well as the environment!
- Alem Braided Bracelet - HIV+ women find hope through their work as they use their skills to create stylish accessories for women around the world. The artisans meltdown bullet casingsto create the beads for the designs, transforming what was once used for harm into beauty. All jewelry is lead tested for safety.
Taylor + Stephany + Barb