Giving Gifts for a Cause
2011/12/18
By : Amanda Jones
Shopping from these companies till you drop actually helps the world. Developing nations and their citizens benefit from sales.

If you spent Black Friday fighting hordes at the mall, or if you haven't started holiday shopping yet because you're dreading it, consider: When was the last time someone told you that all you had to do was shop to make the world a better place?

Buying goods made in developing countries can help the artisans there, stimulate local economies and be a creative way to fill out your holiday shopping list too.

It can be hard to gauge if buying goods made in developing countries is actually ethical or if you're just enabling companies to make products using shamefully cheap labor. So all of the companies listed here either have fair-trade certification or have otherwise established that they pay their artisans a living wage.

Their products meet Western standards of taste and quality too, which hasn't always been the case with artisanal goods from the Third World. These companies were all founded by women who locate artisans, help them understand what consumers in the industrialized world want to buy, and pay them fairly.

Pippa Small


The hip-luxe U.K. jewelry designer Pippa Small had a master's degree in anthropology before she ventured into fashion. Having lived with San Bushmen, Rwandan pygmies and Panama's Kuna Indians, Small's goal was to revive indigenous craftsmanship and lift artisans out of poverty while catering to the exacting taste of high-end Westerners. Today, she has collaborated with Gucci, Chloe and Nicole Farhi and sells jewelry sourced and made in Afghanistan, India, Bolivia, Panama and Kenya.

She gets her gold from the world's only fair-trade gold mine and hunkers down in places like Kabul and the slums of Nairobi to train artisans to create exquisite, collectible pieces. She ended up in Kabul after seeing a film on post-Taliban Afghanistan and vowing to lend a hand. Turquoise Mountain, a nonprofit that trains Afghan artisans (partly funded by Britain's Prince Charles), invited Small to Kabul to create a line now for sale in her new L.A. store.

Afghan Love Poem Necklace, $1,205.
Glass necklace for the Made Collection, $330.

Jeweller Pippa Small has been named as an ambassador for Survival International, the worldwide movement to support tribal peoples. She has worked with many indigenous communities including the San Bushmen of the Kalahari (evicted from their ancestral lands to make way for diamond mining), the Batwa Pygmies of Rwanda, and the Kuna in Panama helping them to research their traditional designs to generate self-sufficiency and income. Pippa has also designed exclusive jewelery for Survival.

Global Goods Partners


Formerly fieldworkers for development agencies, Catherine Lieber Shimony and Joan Shifrin, friends from college, saw firsthand women struggling in poor countries. Observing women creating beautiful, organic handicrafts, they recognized the artisans had no market. The two quit their jobs and founded Global Goods Partners, working with women in Africa, Asia and the Americas to provide the fair-trade market that these women needed. They harnessed volunteer designers to refine the jewelry, accessories and home products, and they were off.

Hand embroidered Peruvian purse, $88
Embroidered Peruvian belt, $42

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