Holiday gift giving can be both stressful and unfulfilling. Checking boxes off of people’s wish lists may not be your ideal way to spend your hard-earned dollars. Instead, perhaps consider supporting other entrepreneurs who are not only offering cool products that your friends and family may love, but better yet, your purchases also help to give back to communities in need.
Check out these seven companies who are working all over the world to make an impact through your shopping:
1. Local & Lejos.
This L.A.-based socially-focused home decor company has a two-fold mission: 1. To provide contemporary home decor at accessible prices, and 2. To do so while creating jobs and sustainable employment in developing countries like Cambodia, Guatemala, Mexico and Rwanda.
Founder Sheeva Sairafi shares about her favorite item for the holidays: “The Neri Tray is significant to us not only because is it one of our best sellers, but it was one of our first original designs working with artisan groups, in this case those who hand weave it in Rwanda. For every Neri Tray sold, the artisan is able to add a chicken and a rabbit to her farm. Yes, you heard me correctly.”
“Our mission is to make performance running apparel that connects people; where each step forward leads you out into the world, into something extraordinary,” says co-founder Mike Burnstein. Alongside Dave Spandorder, these two launched Runjanji in Boston in 2012.
“Each season focuses on a different part of the world, and each piece directly funds clean water programs in that area. Our latest season is focused on Kenya, and each piece funds one year’s worth of clean drinking water for one person.”
3. UBUNTU Made.
UBUNTU Made provides sustainable education for children with special needs and job opportunities in the Maai Mahiu, Kenya community.
“The LOVE Bracelet, hand-beaded by the Maasai Tribe of Kenya, represents how big love connects us all. It is the essence of what Ubuntu means: ‘I am because we are’,” explains Zane Wilemon, founder of Austin-based UBUNTU Made. “Each purchase contributes to the grand movement of providing jobs, education, confidence, and self-sustainability to communities in Kenya.”
4. Parker Clay.
“We are transforming communities through trade to create social and economic empowerment. We handcraft all of our goods in Ethiopia using world-class leather, designed with luxury standards, and built to empower the producer as much as the consumer,” explains Brittany Bently, co-founder of Parker Clay.
Co-founder Ian Bentley continues, “We founded Parker Clay with the belief that there is potential in places where people might only see problems. By choosing Parker Clay, you join us in partnering to help women out of human trafficking, and help them to realize their potential.”
5. House of Darlings.
“House of Darlings aims to inspire consumers and artists to use their influence for good,” explains founder Diana Garcia of this Nashville-based fashion company.
“The Butterfly skirt, one of our most popular pieces, is from the debut line called The Magnolia Collection which benefits Together We Rise, a non-profit helping to transform the way youth navigate the foster care system in the U.S. Sales from this collection went to fund a holiday shopping spree for over 100 foster care kids in the U.S.”
6. The Created Co.
This California-based company is driven by the purpose to, “…inspire, connect, and empower people through everyday drink ware,” explains Ryan Schneider, co-founder of The Created Co.
“We donate 10 percent of net profits to support clean water projects through charity: water,” shares co-founder Jeremey Ross.
7. Kula Project.
Atlanta-based Kula Project “…invests in the dreams and businesses of coffee farmers in East Africa,” shares founder Sarah Buchanan.
“Kula Project is creating a coffee company owned by the women who grow it. This bracelet makes that possible. Every purchase of this bracelet provides one coffee tree that will produce an income for a woman and her family for 30 years.”
Originally published at www.entrepreneur.com on December 6, 2016.