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In this unusual time of stay at home orders amid COVID-19 concern, many small businesses are struggling. A great way to support businesses in your community is to purchase products (if the business is open) or gift certificates to be used at  a later date (check out their websites or social media pages). You can still find great gifts in your area! If you also enjoy shopping online and would like to branch out beyond your own town, check out these companies that are truly doing good across the country and across the world.

  1. I Thought of You

My favorite statistic from this company is, “When one woman is lifted out of poverty, she takes an average of 3 people with her.” I Thought of You offers a variety of great products like sunglasses, jewelry, and clothing items. You may find gifts you have never even seen before, like necklaces made from fruit. Smell the flowers on your necklace and you will be able to tell they were crafted from orange peels. I like to play the guessing game with my daughters, can you smell this and tell me what you think it’s made out of? It’s pretty cool, and definitely a unique gift. The sunglasses are a good option; well made and lasting. They have a Mother’s Day Bundle offered now for $44.

What’s the best part about shopping with this company? They are woman owned and on a mission to empower others by spreading hope in developing countries. They never mandate prices to artisans. In their words, “Everything created by our artisans uses natural, recycled, and/or upcycled materials. You’ll know that when you say yes to our fair trade, eco-friendly goods, you’re saying no to sweatshops, unfair wages, and child labor.” They offer sales and giveaways and price points are reasonable, some as low as $12. You can buy gift cards starting at just $5. If you really love what you see, check out their curator program.

My picks: Kapo Hoop Earrings, Donda Earrings (Ocean Blue), Pom Necklace in Rosa (I have turquoise but rosa is adorable), Carlsbad Wayfarer (only $19 and who doesn’t want sunglasses with spread hope scrolled on the side?). 

https://ithoughtofyou.com/

  1. Bridgewater Candles

Have you ever heard of, “Light a Candle, Feed a Child?” Bridgewater Candles says, “With over three million children dying each year from hunger, the need for change remains an urgent priority. This led us to partner with Rice Bowls, a non-profit organization that provides food for children in orphanages around the world. When you buy a candle, a child is provided three meals, allowing you to be a small part of something big.” With prices as low as $2.50 (I’m not kidding), it’s never been easier to make a meaningful purchase. In addition to candles, products include auto vent clips, wax bars and warmers, hand sanitizer, fragrance oil, reed diffusers, room sprays, and sachets. They even have laundry detergent and personal care products like bar soap and hand lotion. Scents like Berries Jubilee, Dancing Fields, Orange Vanilla, Storybook Dreams, Sweet Grace, and Welcome Home are sure to please, or grab a gift card to let your special someone choose exactly what they would like. Bridgewater does offer wholesale to retailers as well.

My pick: The Sample Kit! For only $15 you get 10 scent sample sachets to try out AND free shipping AND a $15 credit to shop later. How much sweeter could this offer be? 

https://bridgewatercandles.com/

  1. BeadforLife

The BeadforLife story starts in 2004 in Uganda, and it is the one I am most familiar with. I have partnered with them for many years to host product shopping opportunities in schools where I have been employed. BeadforLife gives you the chance to share stories and culture from a world away with your students, as well as with your loved ones. Everyone loves to touch the beads and be amazed at the craftsmanship when they learn they are actually rolled bits of scrap paper. It’s very impressive. I can still remember playing the African music BeadforLife sent with my event kit and dancing around my classroom in a circle with my students as we got excited about the people we were helping through this program. You don’t have to host a party or event (there are even opportunities for wholesale and community partners). You can shop online right now.

This company is a fair-trade nonprofit that focuses on women.  They continue to grow and report, “And fifteen years later, we’re stronger than ever, with two separate, independent non-profit sister organizations, BeadforLife and Street Business School. Today, BeadforLife bead sale profits support Street Business School entrepreneurial training, providing thousands of women the opportunity to start businesses, put food on the table, send their children to school and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.” Items available include jewelry, loose beads, home goods like baskets and aprons, lavender and lemongrass pure African shea butter body creme and scrub, peppermint lip balm, and gift cards. They even have lanyards! Prices start at just $3.99.

My picks: The Drumbeat Earrings are on sale for $13.59 and they are cute, the Change Bracelet, the Tendo Necklace, and the pack of 120 loose paper beads for $14.39 so you can do a craft and make your own creations!

https://www.beadforlife.org/shop/

4. GlobeIn

Sit down for this one! GlobeIn has been advertised as the best new subscription box for women, but did you know that you can shop without subscribing? You can enjoy their products without committing monthly but if you are interested in the monthly box, they offer lots of specials like 50% off your first box with a 3 month premium subscription. The gift boxes are so fun to look at and anyone would be excited to receive one. You can match the personality of the person you are shopping for to the box you choose with options like Coffee Lover, Colorful Wine Bath, Infuse Box (super cute if you like tea), or a Spa Box.

While some items are higher priced, don’t let that keep you from exploring the site. The gift cards start at just $10, and there’s an under $60 category to make shopping faster if you are trying to be careful on how much money you spend. You can sort prices from low to high. Grab some unique chocolate starting at just $3. Hazelnut Crunch, Dark Chocolate Root Beer Barrel, Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, Mint Chip Gelato, Confetti Cake & Sprinkles, Cherry Almond anyone? There are lots and lots of products that are offered. It’s fun just to check out each item and see the country of origin. You have to go to the laundry category. There are seriously dryer balls that look like sloths, penguins, pandas, and koalas. 

So what is Globein? You can read the 32 page social impact document on their site, but here is a highlight. From 2015 to 2018, this company invested $3.5 million into artisan communities around the world to help people rise out of poverty. 

My picks: The Mystery Box for Mother’s Day? Nathan, are you reading this? Hint, hint. It’s an $80 value priced at $68. Maybe you prefer Cocoa Powder from Ghana priced at only $5? The Lemongrass Citrus Authentic African Black is only $6 and the Sari Wrapped Soap is $10!

https://globein.com/

  1. Serrv International

Serrv has been around since 1949, fighting against poverty through the world. They are a well known, well established fair trade nonprofit who works in 25 countries to partner with over 8,000 artisans and farmers. Serrv sells handmade items and they have a large selection. Two of the coolest things about Serrv is that they pay their artisans and farmers up front and take on all business risks for them and they focus on education, both for the artisans and farmers themselves and for their families. You can search for their artisans and find information about each of the countries they live in. Even if you don’t purchase anything, still check this out!

Serrv actually has an awesome host program, where you can volunteer to host a sale to help support the mission of this organization. Maybe you’d like to have one in your home, at your church, community center, or school. They even have a fundraiser program, where you can raise money for your own nonprofit and receive 20% of profits from Serrv sales, and they offer wholesale. As you explore their Mother’s Day selection, notice that the country of origin is listed under each item.

My picks: The Sari eye masks from India are adorable and with a price point of just $10, you can’t go wrong. The West Bank Dipping Bowl Set is beautiful, and comes with 4 bowls for $32. You can get a set of chocolate bars for $4.98 from Ghana (search 6 little bars). And wait till you see the Kantha Patchwork Pocket Apron made in Bangladesh and the Amber Star Basket made in Uganda (on sale for $24.98 – it’s incredible)!

https://www.serrv.org/

  1. UNICEF Market

UNICEF is a well known organization, but have you shopped their market? Look for the hand icon to know which items are handmade by artisans. The profits go to the artisans around the world and to UNICEF to save and protect children. My favorite feature of this site is that lots of details are given, making it stand out in a really unique and special way. You can see pictures and information about the actual artisans and/or families who made the products and exactly how your money is benefiting the mission of UNICEF helping kids. For example, the site reports one Country Beauties purchase “can provide enough polio vaccine to vaccinate 19 children against polio.” The beautiful Fruit of the Vine earrings made in Thailand, available for purchase at a cost of $17.99, will give “49 sachets of oral rehydration salts, which can help children combat dehydration and diarrhea.”

I can almost guarantee you will see items that you have never seen before. Check out the wooden puzzles! The Mother’s Day gifts are on sale and while you will see a wide array of products and prices, some which are high, you can shop for gifts under $20 from the home page.

My Picks: The Little Tree and Regal Leaves from Brazil (I’ve always been a sucker for these) and the Quartz and Amethyst one is so beautiful. You can get 12 cotton worry dolls in a pinewood box from Guatemala for $16.19 (search Country Beauties). I love the Eco Cards (12 for $12). I have purchased cards from this site before and the quality has always been high. The Putumayo Children’s Book of World Celebrations (40 pages, $16.99 price point) is also on my shopping list.

https://www.market.unicefusa.org/

7. Ten Thousand Villages

Many of the sites I’ve listed give you the option to type in your email for an instant discount code, and you want to make sure you do it for this one! I can walk around a Ten Thousand Villages store for hours, but since I don’t live close to one, online shopping is the next best thing. Be prepared – the choices are extensive and can be overwhelming! There are multiple ways to sort as you shop and the gift categories are fun to explore.

You will notice that the site says, “More than 100,000 marginalized people – artisans and their family members – rely on us for income.” You will enjoy reading about the artisans. I just love this fair trade company. Check out the meaning behind their name on the Mission page, and you can’t miss the History. You have to read it to see how one person can make a huge difference. To me, this quote sums up what shopping to do good is all about, “Choosing to purchase fair trade is a way of saying that it’s important to you that the person who made your product is not exploited. By your action, you are investing in the dignity of others.”

My Picks: In the Clearance (be still my heart, these are so awesome) – Sweet Morning Card ($5.24), Love’s Journey Card ($6.74), In the Soaps & Creams – Be Still Oat Soap ($7.99), Dead Sea Mud & Olive Oil Soap ($8.99), Beautiful Body Care Kit ($18.99), In Kitchen & Dining – Share Cookbook ($40), Toasty Morning Mug ($18.99), In Necklaces – Sundown ($24.99), Summer Fair ($34.99), Succulent Leaves ($34.99), Keep and Give Set ($29.99), In Earrings – Peach Starburst ($14.99), Friday ($12.99), Sundown ($18.99), Neutral Palette ($24.99), In Gift Finder – Heart Thumb Piano ($9.74)

*In Toys & Games (save for another occasion) – Bumblebee Finger Puppet ($8.99), Galimoto Girl & Boy ($12.99 each) – so much fun and a great way for kids to learn about another culture!

https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/

Happy Shopping & Happy Mother’s Day!

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