Sometimes the holidays come with a frenzy.
For many of us, gift giving is a critical aspect of the holidays-- one that we face with both excitement and overwhelmedness. When you're trying to buy ethically-- from companies that treat their employees and the earth with respect and dignity, this feeling of overwhelmedness can be compounded.
I have to admit that this is my first year of really prioritizing ethical buying in every aspect of my life—including gifts. I'd seen documentaries like The True Cost and heard about factory abuse and disaster such as Rana plaza, but I before Freeleaf, I didn’t frequently think about how my products were created. Or perhaps more clearly, I thought about it, but I just found ways to justify my consumer habits.
However, something about running a manufacturing company and spending 45 hours/week with our employees—hearing about their families and their dreams, knowing when they’re sick or upset, feeling the cost of paying employees fairly and still competing in the global market that drives prices lower and lower... the importance of ethical shopping really solidified for me.
I realized that, as Anna Lappe says, “every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” Running a social enterprise or giving to charity doesn’t justify contributing to a consumer market that exploits laborers, drives oppression, and perpetuates a cycle of poverty for entire communities. Yikes.
Because of this new mindset, I entered the holiday gift giving season with apprehension—unsure if my budget or busyness would allow me to buy ethically, conveniently, AND within my budget.
Fortunately, there are SO MANY companies and social enterprises that are making amazing products and incredible impact all over the world! What’s more—there are products for nearly every budget, online shopping keeps it all convenient and I was surprised to find so many items beyond jewelry and bags! Yes, you can buy your husbands, boyfriends, children ethical gifts too!
Here, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite small-ish social enterprises who are working directly in manufacturing. Many of these have become our mentors, friends, and partners. All of them have online shopping options to make shopping easy.
And here are the names, links, and brief product offering description of the companies pictures above!
Hands Producing Hope - jewelry, accessories, home decor, baby
Purpose Jewelry- jewelry
Starfish Project - jewelry
Outland Denim - incredible jeans
Sari Bari- home decor, bags, baby
Eden - jewelry
Freeleaf (duh) - home decor, jewelry
Krochet Kids - clothes, accessories, bags
Freeset- bags, accessories, clothing
Happy shopping, friends! Who are some of your favorite ethical companies?! I know there are so many I couldn't list them all.