Raise your hand if your email has been showered with “cyber-deals” & “sales you can’t miss” messages this week? It starts with Black Friday and continues all weekend through “Cyber-Monday” (more my style because you can shop at home in your pajamas), but the message is this: “Hurry! Don’t miss the best gift for the best deal! You need this to make you or your loved ones happy!” And truth be told? I buy into it ALL sometimes.
I found myself the other day getting lost for over an hour, scrolling through Amazon Prime Deals, searching for the perfect gifts for our kids and our family. And here comes my very humbling confession….have you heard of Amazon’s “Buy Now with 1-Click” button? It seems like a convenient idea, but BEWARE… not when you are falling asleep scrolling through gift ideas for your kids.
I fell asleep with my phone in my hand that night and two days later a giant box showed up on our porch. I was shocked when I walked outside to get the mail, thinking , “What on Earth is that?” Have you ever ordered a train table in your sleep? Well, I HAVE.
I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I must have accidentally hit that little button and ordered a whole train table as I was falling asleep! Thank goodness we can return said table, but this experience honestly woke me up to see that I had been spending a little too much time searching for the "best gift for the best deal". I'm not saying that searching for a good deal or that shopping is wrong... I LOVE finding that perfect gift for the person I love, but it did make me want to be more thoughtful about how and where I shop.
So in that spirit, I've come up with a list of 7 companies I feel GREAT about shopping with. None of them sell train tables, but each one of these companies are making quality products, giving back to communities they're in, providing economic opportunity for those who may not have it otherwise, and ultimately changing lives. So, if you're into buying amazing gifts for the people you love and changing the world a little bit at a time, check out these companies selling incredible products made by incredible people. Merry Christmas, y'all! Happy shopping, and maybe just try not to do it in your sleep.
I found this wonderful company through our friends at Young Life. In addition to investing in small businesses and giving artisans access to the global marketplaces, Karama collection invests in teens in Africa by providing camp scholarships to Young Life camps. Their mission is “to live in a world where poverty is overcome through dignified work, so families and communities can thrive.”
I absolutely LOVE these beautiful hand-spun towels. They come in all different colors, but these are two of my favorites, and a friend of mine has this leather backpack and it is as gorgeous in person as it is in the picture.
I've actually been to Ethiopia with this incredible group & I've seen first hand the women whose lives are transformed by the opportunity for dignified work. I've also tried my hand at using the wooden looms they use to make their scarves, and let me assure you that each piece is carefully crafted with love. Just be glad I wasn't in charge of making your scarf, because I was NOT good at using the looms.
I've loved seeing FashionABLE expand to include a leather line with Ethiopian leather goods & a local jewelry line, Miriam Collection, that is helping women right here in our country who are overcoming anything from lack of job opportunity to addiction. I use FashionABLE products almost every day, whether it's a scarf, my leather bag or clutch, or a beautiful jewelry item.
This is another local Nashville company with a partnerships largely in Peru & all over the world. Some of my most comfortable heels come from Nisolo, and I just love their vision.
“To return fashion to what it once was:
about people, art,
and valuing the creator just as much as the customer.“
You can actually go to Nisolo's website and see the shoe making process. It 's beautifully documented & makes you feel pretty incredible about supporting the artistic gifts of someone who might not have the opportunity to use those gifts if it wasn't for a company like Nisolo. They have a great mens line of shoes that my husband, Drew, loves as well!
Humphreys Street exists to employ and empower the youth of South Nashville. They began in 2008 with the vision of creating jobs in their neighborhood to provide skills, mentoring, and opportunity for the students that were around them. All the profits of Humphreys Street are reinvested in programs and scholarship opportunities for the students they serve, so every purchase you make is an investment in the life of another.
Their slogan is that they’ll keep you “Clean & Caffeinated”. They sell GREAT smelling soap and GREAT tasting coffee.
Surely you’ve seen these before, but in case you haven’t ... The Giving Keys is a pay it forward company that employs those who are transitioning out of homelessness. They make necklaces with keys on them and engrave an inspirational word of your choice into each key. You embrace your word, and then pay it forward to a person you feel needs the message more than you one day. I love this concept! You can even go to their website to read some beautiful “pay it forward” stories of people who have given their keys away or received keys at pivotal moments in their lives. You can share your own giving keys story there as well. Just beautiful.
Project 615 is an awesome philanthropic t-shirt & apparel company based in Nashville. One of their main objectives is to help restore those who are on the path of recovery from homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. They partner with Set Free Ministries in Nashville, who houses 40+ men who are in recovery in some way. Most of their apparel benefits Set Free and men’s lives are being transformed!
They do a lot of Tennessee themed t-shirts, but they have some music themed shirts as well. My favorite is the campaign t-shirt they just printed, where 100% of the funds go toward the Gatlinburg Relief Fund to help with the aftermath of all the fires in East Tennessee. They’ve already raised $25,000! I’m also a UT grad, so I’m a big fan of “The Lord is my shepherd. Peyton is my quarterback." shirt. I love the t-shirts they make and the heart behind this company.
Thistle Farms is a sanctuary of healing for women survivors of abuse, addiction, trafficking, and prostitution. By hand, the women of Thistle Farms make natural bath and body products that are good for the earth and for the body. I’ve been to several events in Nashville, where I’ve been able to hear first hand from the women who are a part of this residential program and it is transformative.
I have also LOVED everything that I’ve ever bought from these women and I’m sure you will too. Their products are in 450 stores all over the country, but you can also buy them online. Their lip balm, body balm, candles, and insect repellent are some of my favorites and they all smell like heaven. Their slogan is “Love Heals”, and y’all…I really believe that’s true.