March 8, is International Women’s Day — a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. I love this day, because when you stop to think about the challenges women face daily around the globe, the persevering spirit of women is both humbling and incredibly inspiring.
One of the things I’ve loved seeing in recent years is the rise of companies that focus on fair-trade practices and empower women in various corners of the world. Not only do they sell beautiful goods, but they help artisans provide healthcare, education, and financial stability to themselves and their families.
If you’re in the market for items with a unique story and a more positive impact on the world around us, check out these companies…
10 Places to Buy Goods That Empower Women
Raven + Lily
Raven + Lily employs more than 1,500 at-risk women in 10 countries around the world. They offer leather goods, jewelry and clothes, and I especially love the candles in their Home section.
Global Goods Partners
As a not-for-profit social enterprise, Global Goods Partners is committed to providing sustainable jobs for women—widely proven to be the key to community development and family wellbeing. These natural dyed fabric journals are made by women living in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. I also love this luggage tag and all of their stuffed toys for special little people.
—Local + Lejos
Local + Lejos is a home decor company that creates beautiful pieces, like this lumbar pillow made in Mexico. The company empowers artisans to grow a business, preserve cultural traditions, and create sustainable futures for their families.
Kurandza is a non-profit social enterprise that invests in the future of women in Mozambique. Through education, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development programs, women learn to become leaders in their villages, sharing their skills and knowledge with the rest of their community, and creating an opportunity for thousands of people. Kurandza means “to love” in Changana, the local language of the people the company works with in Mozambique. In addition to these beautiful note cards, they make bangles wrapped in similar fabrics.
—Marra (formerly Ara Collective)
Marra collaborates with artisans to curate handcrafted pieces, blending traditional craftsmanship with modern style. Each purchase of items like this market palm basket made in Mozambique provides above fair wages for the artisans, education scholarships for their children and health care in their communities. I’m also drooling over this blush-colored hand towel, and I have a wallet similar to this one.
—Francis + Benedict
If a midi or maxi skirt in a unique west African wax print gets you excited, check out Francis + Benedict. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization empowers and equips skilled Togolese seamstresses by providing them with dignified and sustainable employment. Their profits are used to resource community leaders in Togo, enabling them to continue projects that benefit orphans, widows, and those suffering in poverty.
Mae Woven provides economic opportunities for women around the world. This pillow, made from African mud cloth, is a favorite, but they have so many good pillow options and other textiles, like this Turkish towel at a great price.
—Women for Women International
The recipes featured in this uplifting cookbook are provided by contributors who are all actively engaged in humanitarian issues, as well women from the eight countries in which Women for Women International works.
Connected Goods sells fair trade products from around the world and the U.S. One of their one-of-a-kind Kantha hand-stitched quilts would be so sweet in a baby nursery. Connect Goods is also the perfect spot to shop if you’re in the market for any kind of hand woven basket.
ABLE (known by some as FashionABLE) is a lifestyle brand focused on ending generational poverty by working with women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances. The company helps create jobs and end the cycle of charity dependency. My favorite things at ABLE tend to be their jewelry, like these adorable ear hug earrings or this customizable phrase necklace. But they also have great hand bags and a line of denim, which I’d really like to try.
So which are your favorites? And do you have any awesome companies you love that are making a positive impact on the world?