Shop for the Great Good

Monday, November 25, 2013

This Holiday Season, as you are doing your shopping and gift giving, why not look at a gift that keeps on giving? Today, there are many companies that aim not just to make a profit but to give back- whether that is through donations, through working with charities, through employing artisans with fair wages and safe working conditions, or through a combination all three! Below are just a handful of such companies who also specialize in women's clothing and accessories. And best of all- every one of these stores provides quality goods at very reasonable prices. Get out and get looking- maybe the perfect gift is waiting for you! 

Given Goods
Items from Given Goods
Can I just say, I find this an amazing and inspiring online site? This online store sells women's accessories as well as many home decor items. What sets is apart is that all items are made by local artisans making a living with an ethical wage, or by companies who donate to charities, or both. When you click to view any item in their story, you will not only get excellent information about the product, but also about who makes the item, what impact the production of the item has, and how it makes that impact. Beyond that, there is also a blurb about the company at the bottom of the page to give you more information. Gorgeous goods and great, sustainable causes? People I'm shopping for might just be finding something from this store under their Christmas trees!

In their own words this company "ethically source(s) every product in our line. We actively seek out arisans in imporverished areas, giving them access to a global market and encouraging their craft through technical training and design assitance. We treat all our artisans with respect, providing them with good working conditions and livable wages." They also strive to be as eco-friendly as possible using organic or recyled material and cruelty free leather. They sell cute clothes, great accesories and home decor. 
I've mentioned this company before, but for any who has somehow missed their presence on the web, this company makes women's clothing that is vintage-inspired and is always modest and beautiful. Many of their items are made in the United States, and five percent of their profits are donated to Accion, a non-profit that provides micro-loans and education to help people get out of poverty by building their own businesses.

Just as the name implies, these people make Ts- as in T-shirts. These are not the T-shirts of band concerts or college parties, though the prices are as reasonable. Made mostly of solid colors and with elegant draping, these are shirts that are perfect for a professional setting and a variety of ages. A portion of this companies proceeds are donated to help two charities (The Nepal Rescue Project and Restore NYC) to help rescue victims of human trafficking. They also employ women who were rescued, both in New York and Nepal, helping to give them good jobs and restore their lives and independence.

Items from Toms
Toms is a company that makes high quality shoes and eyewear. Their names seems to be a by-word for quality, which makes me eager to try out their goods. They run what they call "one for one programs." Basically, for every pair of shoes or eyewear that you purchase, they give a pair to a person in need. On their site, they share the processes of how and what they give, when working with  seventy-five plus "giving partner" charities. They give their own Toms shoes (including snow boots for those in need in colder climates), and also will sometimes provide entire school uniforms, which are often mandatory for school attendance in certain areas. Likewise, when you purchase a piece of eyewear, Toms provides money for someone in a third world country to have their eyes checked and get prescription eyewear.

Mata Traders focuses on ensuring that their clothing- mostly cute dresses and other apparel for women- is Fair Trade. This means, that though their items are made in India and Nepal, instead of factories, they are made by small cooperatives comprised mostly of women. The women are paid a fair and livable wage, have safe working condition and reasonable working hours. They do their sewing in studios or even at home. Mata Traders also has a focus on more sustainable living, so that the quality of the items are higher because they are built to last longer. Amazingly enough though, their prices are not any higher than most stores. 

One of the many things that is unique about this shop is that it is a small business- a one woman show. Fellow blogger, Dus of Cuddly Cacti, felt so strongly that Mexican artisan clothing and goods needed to be sold at a fair price that she created her shop, Mitla Moda. The store sells embroidered shirts, belts and accessories like bracelets. The artisans set the prices for their goods, and the store owner is working out how to reinvest any profit into maintaining the store and reinvesting back in the rural communities the artisans live in. If southwestern or Mexican handicraft is what you are looking for, you could not do better than buying here.  

Items from Out of Print
If you're anything like me, you love to read (or knows someone who does)! Celebrate your love of literature by uniting it with a love for fashion. This company makes stylish T-shirts with great book's iconic images, quotes, and designs for men, women and children. Not a T-shirt person? They also have a plethora of other goods, including phones case, tot bags and even stationary! Best of all? For every item sold they donate one book to a community in need with their partners Books for Africa. 

Want more shops that give back? Read up at Shop With Meaning to find  more stores and sales that give back, provide ethical wages and working conditions for employees, and/or use recycled or organic materials.

P.S. No compensation was given to review these stores, nor did any of these stores ask for a review. The opinions here reflect my own thoughts and values. 


  1. What a lovely idea :) I've shopped at Out of Print before and loved that they donate books! Thank you for the list! I will have to check these all out


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  2. Wow! Nice post!

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  3. what an honor to be included in this little guide, thank you Kristian! and especially thank you for your kind words! i enjoyed learning about a few new companies here as well.

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    1. I thought you'd like finding out about some of these other shops too :) I'm always so impressed by what you do with Milta Moda

    2. thank you Kristian! I truly appreciate it! sometimes I get frustrated knowing that it could be so much better if I had more time to devote to it, but it's as good as it can be for now & I'm happy with it : ).

  4. What a great list! Shopping feels even better when it's doing good as well.

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    1. Exactly! I really enjoyed your shopping guide too btw!


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