A Better Christmas {Sustainable Gift Guide}

In recent years there has been an explosion of sustainable businesses and fair trade brands. To many it seems there is no difference between fair trade products and regular products other than the higher price tag. So what’s the deal with fair trade? Why does it matter? Here are a few reasons I have found that make a case for fair trade shopping as well as some sustainable, fair trade gift options.

  • Buying fair trade helps end global poverty. By supporting the smaller farmer or artisan, you are empowering them to escape the trap of poverty. Due to the “big business” model, many small business owners are forced to sell their products at prices well below fair market value in order to make any money at all. Fair trade is eliminating global poverty by rewarding the hard work of entrepreneurs through fair wages, giving them the vital funds to support their families and keep their businesses afloat.
  • Buying fair trade helps fight against modern day slavery and human trafficking. The Global Slavery Index estimates that there are 45.8 million people enslaved around the world. Those numbers are staggering. About 78 percent of those are estimated to be labor slaves. Companies with a fair trade license are accountable to provide fair, dignified labor conditions for all of their workers. Also, slave labor is strictly prohibited. It’s very easy to turn a blind eye to the fact that slavery is happening all around our modern world, but by purchasing fair trade we can make a small dent in those distressing statistics. To find out more about fighting against modern day slavery, take a look at the amazing work of the Unbound ministry.
  • Buying fair trade means better products-for you and the environment. Companies are required to go through a rigorous certification process to ensure that everything is devoid of genetically modified ingredients and is produced with limited amounts of pesticides, fertilizers and waste, water and energy is properly managed. These standards of excellency ensure that what you’re buying is of exceptional quality for your health and home.

Fair trade embodies justice and mercy. Over and over again the Bible pleads Christians to act justly, love mercy, and be good stewards of the resources God has given us. If we truly desire to live those things out, then we need to prove it with not only our actions, but also our wallets. To read more about why fair trade matters, especially for Christians, check out this article.

I am well aware that all of these “shop fair trade” or “only buy sustainable” ideas can come across as quite pretentious, but please hear that this is not my heart concerning this issue. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the Target dollar section or a great deal at a mass retailer store, but as of late I have been convicted to examine where my purchases are coming from. I hate to think that in the process of me getting that one really great deal that I “absolutely had to have” a person, a real, living breathing human is suffering so I can get that one silly thingI know that many do not have the budget to purchase everything fair trade {I definitely do not} and that is absolutely okay, but it makes a world of difference to be informed of the vast array of fair trade choices available.

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Purchasing ethically made gifts for friends and family is a fantastic way to share the reasoning behind buying from sustainable companies who are changing the world. In this gift guide I’ve included several items I love from brands I trust. I hope you all enjoy this post!

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Noonday Tassel Necklace

Noonday Collection is a socially responsible, sustainable company set on changing the world through empowering people and providing dignified work to artisans across the globe. They also invite women into their cause by having brand ambassadors spread the word about Noonday through home parties. This brand has a heart for helping families who are trying to adopt and many ambassadors host parties to benefit this cause. The tassel necklace I have selected is the perfect gift for any woman in your life. It is right on trend, perfect for every day wear, and most importantly was handmade by someone in Ethiopia!

World Changing Coffee

Three Avocados, the makers of this coffee, have an amazing story and an incredible mission. The name “Three Avocados” was inspired by a beautiful widow in the village of Bulopa, Uganda, who literally gave all she had to ensure others could eat, without regard for her own well-being. 100% of the profits from this coffee  help to provide clean drinking water for villages in Uganda. Every time you enjoy your morning cuppa joe you’ll know that with every sip you’re helping end the global water crisis.

Bucket Bag

FashionABLE is a company striving to fill the gap between poverty and opportunity. Their main focus is providing well paying, honorable jobs for women to help them escape the dependent trap of poverty instead of solely supporting them while they’re in the midst of it. FashionABLE stands by the belief that serious, long-term solutions to poverty lie in creating jobs, not in giving more “stuff” away. They are in for the long hail on this quest to end poverty! I’ve linked a beautiful handcrafted bucket bag, which was created by an artisan in Ethiopia and is titled the “Tadesse” bag in honor of one of the women they work with. It comes in four neutral colors and is the perfect gift for women of all ages.

Dainty Giving Key

Caitlin Crosby, founder of Giving Keys, began repurposing old keys by using them as unique jewelry statements. She engraved each one with words such as HOPE, JOY, CREATE, or LOVED. When the wearer encounters someone that seems to need that one word message, they are encouraged to spread the love by giving it away. This cycle has produced some incredible “pay it forward” stories. Another benevolent aspect of this brand is their staff. Over the past three years they have employed 28 people transitioning out of homelessness and assisted 22 with obtaining permanent housing. In this gift guide I’ve included a beautiful, dainty key necklace emblazoned with the word LOVE. To me, it’s a perfect remind to love unconditionally every single day, no matter how hard it seems.

There are locks all around you and maybe you hold the key to someone else’s freedom.
//CAITLIN//

Woven Camera Strap

A Nashville company called Original Fuzz has created a campaign to make beautiful guitar and camera straps out of exceptional Peruvian textiles. By purchasing fabric from Peru, they are ethically employing people from impoverished situations. The camera strap that I have listed is a stylish, yet neutral, geometric print that is perfect for anyone’s spur of the moment photoshoots.

Socially Conscious Scents

An inventive collaboration between two innovative women brought about a world changing perfume company called GiveScent. Free of alcohol, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and sulfates, their perfume is not only good for you, but it’s also good for the planet. GiveScent contributes to Every Mother Counts, an organization locked on lessening deaths of mothers and children due to childbirth. Additionally, a portion of GiveScent’s profits go to Women for Women International, an organization that supports female survivors of war by providing the tools and resources necessary for the women to create better, self-sustaining lifestyles. GiveScent offers a selection of lovely perfumes; any one of them would make a perfect gift!

Stylish Bluetooth Speaker

This tiny little speaker {it’s only 3 inches tall} packs a powerful punch in the sound department. Whoever receives this as a gift will be the life of the party! If the DJ is taking too long to pick a song you can explain LSTN Sound Co’s jammin’ give back mission. Every purchase supports the Starkey Hearing Foundation to provide hearing aids to people in need across the world. Do you hear what I hear? I heard that some people on your shopping list need one of these speakers!

Bowl Candle

Across the board, the company Enrou displays a high level of excellency and an insightful attention to detail through their beautiful products and the intentionality of who they employ. They inspire people to beautifully craft, curate, and discover a life of meaning. Enrou gives their employees the opportunity to build the lives they long for but wouldn’t be able to obtain on their own. All of Enrou’s products tastefully boast an elegant simplicity. I especially love this beautiful bowl candle. Their site has hundreds of wonderful products, all would make wonderful gifts!

Gold Bangles

The mission of 31Bits is to use fashion and design to empower people to rise above poverty. They better the lives of artisans by providing sustainable jobs, a healthy workplace, healthcare, education and counseling-all possible because of product sales. 31Bits boasts a plethora of beautiful, unique pieces from across the globe. The gold bangles I have included are a perfect staple for any woman’s wardrobe.

Colorful Huaraches Sandals

I am obsessed with these sandals! They are so fun, colorful and unique. Handmade individually in Guatemala, they are truly one of a kind, as the leather and fabric varies from shoe to shoe. Better yet, for each purchase you get to choose a humanitarian project to support. These are the causes you can choose from…

  • Nutrition: Feed a malnourished child 2 meals for 1 weeks
  • Microfinance: Provide a portion of a microcredit loan to a woman for the duration of 1 week
  • Literacy: Provide literacy classes for a woman for 1 month

Blush Pink Rain Boots

Roma boot company has integrated fashion with philanthropy to give poverty the boot. Their goal is to impart love and hope while providing sustainable, lasting change. For every pair of Roma Boots sold, a brand new pair is donated to a child living in poverty. In addition, 10% of proceeds go toward funding childhood education around the world. Don’t these pink rain boots make you smile? Puddle jumping will be lots more fun knowing that your boots are giving back!

Tortoiseshell Sunnies

Warby Parker is a company set on changing the world through a bit of a different lens. Each step of their creation process benefits a different aspect of society. From start to finish know that the glasses you’ll be rocking have already changed the world even before they arrive at your doorstep! Warby Parker offers tons of cute eyewear options, and better yet, they offer a free in-home try on service. The sunnies I’ve included are a no-fail buy for any woman on your list.

Tassel Booties

TOMS, a shoe brand that has quickly risen in popularity, is well known for its “one-for-one” philosophy. I have to admit, before I really knew the heart behind this brand, I had developed a false mentality that TOMS was just another “over-priced trendy shoe brand.” I’ve always loved the TOMS style, but wasn’t quite convinced from the beginning that they actually followed through with their promise to give a pair to a child for each pair purchased. That all changed when I saw children in rural Nicaraguan villages rocking their little TOMS! It warmed my heart to see the fruit of this company’s one-for -one promise. Now I 100% support this brand, and I credit them for my discovery of fair trade/give back companies.

Wooden Measuring Spoons

These wooden measuring spoons, handcrafted by Kenyan artisans are the perfect gift for the chef or hostess in your life. Meticulously hand carved, these spoons are crafted from olive wood; a medium that is recognized worldwide for its durability and beauty. An online fair trade marketplace, The Little Market ensures that all of their products are certified fair trade.

Hammock

I’ve written in length on this blog before about my love for hammocking. It’s such a fun way to relax in nature. I’ve discovered a hammock brand that is based right near where I live and has a philanthropic mission. The Austin based brand, Kammock offers a wide range of hammocks and adventure gear and the best part is they give a portion of their profits to UBUNTU. This organization impacts impoverished communities by providing education opportunities, and access to pediatric health. Do you have an adventurer on your gift list? They would love this hammock!

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I truly hope that by this post you gained an insight into the fair trade market or were introduced to some fun, new brands! Have a wonderful Christmas season!

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