22 Socially Conscious Companies You Don’t Know About Yet
Driven by the financial and social success of companies like TOMS and Warby Parker, more and more entrepreneurs are creating companies that give back. Almost anything you want or need to buy — from soap to diaper bags — can help make a difference in the world. From employing artisans in developing countries to making sure kids in need can have the comfort of a stuffed animal, these 22 companies might be flying under the radar now, but any one of them could be the next big thing. Who knew our shopping addiction could actually help others?
1. Better Life Bags: Founded by a mom-preneur, Better Life Bags lets you customize your own diaper bag, laptop tote, crossbody purse and more. With each purchase, founder Rebecca Smith donates to low-income entrepreneurs in developing countries. She also helps her own struggling Detroit-area community by employing women and offering them a living wage.
2. WeWOOD: If you’re looking for a sustainable watch, it doesn’t get much more eco-friendly than WeWOOD’s timepieces. Not only are they made from scrap wood, but WeWOOD also plants a tree for each watch sold.
3. Hand in Hand Sustainable Suds: Founded by a husband and wife who were on a mission to be social entrepreneurs, Hand in Hand provides soap and a month of clean water to children in need around the world for each bar purchased. Plus, you can trust that their soaps are all-natural, which is becoming harder and harder to find lately.
4. fashionABLE: Based in Nashville, fashionABLE began their mission of providing sustainable job opportunities in Africa by selling scarves beautifully woven by women in Ethiopia. They’ve since expanded into jewelry and leather goods, providing even more opportunities for former sex workers and helping to keep them off the streets.
5. Kammok: Shopping to give back doesn’t have to stop at shoes and accessories. Seller of camping equipment (including these sweet hammocks) Kammok gives 1% of their profits to CTC International. An Austin-based nonprofit, CTC helps develop communities in Kenya by helping Kenyans build necessary infrastructure.
6. Purse + Clutch: If you’re looking for a truly unique, jet-setting bag, then the purses and clutches from Purse + Clutch should be exactly the style you’re looking for. Sourced from artisans around the world, these fair-trade bags are all priced under $100 and help the makers keep making.
7. Baby Teresa: When you’re clothing your baby, you can also help clothe a baby in need. For each piece of clothing sold, an outfit goes to a baby in need, and for each accessory, a portion of the profits buys formula for babies in orphanages.
8. Panda: The sunglasses from Panda are all made from bamboo, an eco-friendly material. They’ve partnered up with Optometry Giving Sight, so each purchase provides an eye exam and pair of prescription glasses to someone in need.
9. Roma Boots: The founder of Roma, Samuel Bistrian, grew up in poverty in pre-revolutionary, communist Romania before moving to the United States at the age of eight. He made it his life’s work to help those in need. For each pair of rain boots sold, a pair filled with school supplies is given to a child in need somewhere in the world.
10. Noonday Collection: Supporting artisans around the world, Noonday lets you shop by country and shares the story behind each piece of jewelry, scarf or bag. Noonday even helps women in the US become social entrepreneurs with their ambassador program that lets you create a marketplace in your own city.
11. Hydros: This BPA-free, filtering water bottle does more than provide you with clean water. Together with Engineers Without Borders, Hydros uses a portion of their profits to bring clean water to countries in need of a sustainable water infrastructure.
12. Barnabas Clothing: You can dress the whole family in conscious clothing from Barnabas. Ten percent of the profits from their extensive clothing collection goes to Living Room International, a non-profit in Western Kenya that provides comprehensive care to those living with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.
13. Sevenly: A great way to learn about new charities while shopping for cute tees, Sevenly donates $7 from each purchase to a new featured charity each week. Or, if you’re obsessed with subscription boxes like we are, sign up for their quarterly CAUSEBOX that sends you a collection of socially conscious products on the regular and lets you choose which cause your subscription supports.
14. Krochet Kids: Founded by three guys who like to crochet, Krochet Kids offers unique accessories and clothing handmade by women in Peru and Uganda. By providing a job, education and mentorship to these women, Krochet Kids provides a unique opportunity for them to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
15. Hiptipico: Based in Guatemala, Hiptipico seeks to preserve Mayan culture and traditions by shipping directly from Guatemalan artisans. From shoes and throws to pillows and camera straps, Hiptipico is the place to go for a unique, authentic gift that helps make a difference.
16. Red Earth: Named for the red dirt roads of rural Uganda, Red Earth describes its jewelry as “rugged elegance,” which is an aesthetic we can get behind. Not only does Red Earth purchase its pieces from artisans around the world, but they also provide interest-free loans to the artisans so they can get everything they need. Read all about the artisan behind each piece and feel good about what you wear.
17. Tukula: Based in Jinja, Uganda, Tukula employs seamstresses who can’t find steady work. They also provide internships that allow these women to finish school with a guaranteed job making their stylish bracelets, bags and headbands.
18. Mitscoots: Socks are one of those things that’s easy to take for granted, but they would be one of the first things you’d miss if you were living on the street. Mitscoots prides themselves on employing the marginalized to make high-quality socks in America, as well as donating a pair to someone in need for each one purchased.
19. Raven + Lily: Devoted to “empowering women through design,” Raven + Lily was founded by two friends who wanted to use their love of fashion to lift women out of poverty. They now employ women in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, Guatemala and the United States to make their super stylish pieces by hand.
20. Everything Happy: Started by one ambitious young entrepreneur at the age of seven, Everything Happy specializes in baby blankets and stuffed animals. And for each Happy Blankie or Happy Pal purchased, one gets donated to a child in a hospital or orphanage.
21. Out of Print: Selling clothing and accessories for both your bod and your home, Out of Print specializes in literary-inspired pieces. Through a partnership with Books for Africa, they donate one book to a community in need for each product sold
22. Sseko: These accessorize-your-own sandals let you find your personal style, while providing jobs and scholarships to women in Uganda. So far, they’ve given 47 women the opportunity to pursue an education. Also, you can buy extra ribbons, so you can switch up your look all summer long.
Do you have a favorite company that gives back? Tell us about them in the comments!