In these visually stimulating days of Pinterest, Instagram, and oh too many platforms to name, it's hard to know if that cool little dress or unique brass necklace you're happily sauntering home with, is actually supporting the original artist or artisan who made them. Companies, big and small (ye shall not be named), are more and more on the hook for ripping off designs and art from artisans and designers who often don't have the manpower or funds to fight back. We rounded up six companies are doing just the opposite. It's shopping with a conscience.
Part of the reason we are so obsessed with this company is their seriously beautiful collection of lifestyle items—from ultra-chic fringe tunics to statement necklaces and soft-to-the-touch Moroccan throws—we want it all. On the flip side, this Fair Trade company is a certified B-Corp and works exclusively to empower female artisans and ensure they receive a fair wage. In 2017, Raven + Lily launched a micro-loan program—proceeds from each sale go to funding female entrepreneurs in the communities they serve. To give a more tangible idea of the initial result—a group of 30 woman in Ethiopia's average monthly income rose from $10.60 to $53. And that is just the start. Get thee to shopping, because these designs are constantly rotated due to their handmade nature.
In less than four years, two globe-trotting partners with complementary skills have succeeded in creating a worldly home décor shop that directly partners with over 1000 artisans across 11 countries. With eye-catching collections inspired by countries—Chile, Mexico, Peru, Mali, Morocco and Argentina among them—each handmade design is exclusive to The Citizenry and directly supports the local artisans who make them. While this grouping of serious eye-candy is enough to make any design lover break open their wallet, as co-founder Carly Nance says, "One of the most rewarding aspects is building bridges across countries and cultures to create something truly beautiful." Stay tuned, each season a new collection inspired by another far-flung corner of the world debuts.
Baya Lumbar Pillow, $195
Halston Pitcher, $110
Nzuri Basket, $155
In 2013, West Elm launched an experimental little idea they called West Elm LOCAL. Needless to say, that little venture blew up and now over 85 West Elm stores have a curated section that supports makers local to the area. So just in case that didn't sink in, you get to discover your own artist community and support them by taking home avant-garde, handmade designs that run the gamut from unique ceramics to hand-woven chairs, ultra-chic decorative ladders, dog leashes, and art.
Ashley Mary Framed Prints, $40 to $310
Found My Animal Rope Collar, $54 to $62
Judy Jackson Stoneware, $30 to $360
We love it when style icons decide to give back. In this case, Lauren Conrad, co-founder of The Little Market, packs quite a beautiful punch with the artisan-made designs the nonprofit, online shop carries. Chock-full of eye-catching totes, throws, African woven vases, market baskets and more, the store was specifically founded to empower women in disadvantaged communities and preserve cultural traditions. The online platform is all about creating sustainable relationships and enacting fair trade principles designed to encourage economic independence and self-sufficiency for each and every artisan.
No one ever mentioned Ethical Fast Fashion could look so good! From cutting-edge metalwork to ridiculously cool statement pieces influenced by traditional tribal designs, this diverse collection of jewelry should be on everyone's radar. First founded in Nairobi, Kenya by three enterprising women, Soko now partners with over 2000 artisans from emerging markets in East Africa, using technology to empower them. In a modern-day twist, the company's innovative mobile phone driven supply chain and cloud-based system have enabled artisans in small remote workshops to reach vast audiences, receive purchase orders, manage inventory, and get paid directly.
Wavy Bangle Stack, $98
This aptly named shop supports 20,000 artisans in 30 developing countries! You can pick up unique and beautiful designs handmade in workshops across the globe. There's nothing better than sporting a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry and knowing your shopping spree empowered someone to live a better life and continue the traditional craft of the region. The founder, Edna Ruth Byler, began her mission in 1946, by selling embroidery made by Puerto Rican woman out of the back of her car. While she once stated, "I am just a woman trying to help other women," today, the company is a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization and helps thousands of makers work towards creating sustainable creative environments and end the cycle of poverty.
Desert Folklore Necklace, $37.49 on sale
Fan Basket, $29.99
Modern Art Museum Necklace, $29.99
Rugged Onyx Coasters, $29.99 on sale