Charitable Companies You Should Support

Whenever I’m out shopping, I’m always on the hunt for a good deal.  I also find that I’m consistently searching for sustainable brands that support global charities, equal employment, safe working conditions, and education for all.  There are a multitude of businesses that support females, teachers, independent artisans, and low-income communities alike.  Here are some of my favorites: 

Lotus and Luna Kimono Original photo by Hannah Shively

  1. 1. Lotus and Luna

    Beaded bracelets, comfy palazzos, and tie dye headbands…must I say more!? While many recognize this cute brand for its bohemian products and versatile fashion, Lotus and Luna are best known for their primary mission: helping women escape poverty.  Every single product is handmade by a female artist residing in Thailand.  Several designers from San Diego annually train hundreds of women outside of Chiang Mai, empowering them with new skills, fair wages, positive relationships, and physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually safe work environments.  The majority of their artisans worked remotely prior to the global pandemic, allowing everyone to create from the comfort of their own home.  

    Last fall, I purchased several of their products from a shop on Hilton Head Island.  On the tag of the kimono, a picture and biography of the artisan were included.  All of the proceeds from my purchase went directly to the woman who hand-crafted the kimono.  No other product in the store resembled it, which was pretty special.  I also purchased one of their light-weight face masks.  During the pandemic, Lotus and Luna have been giving back: for every hand-sewn face mask you purchase, they donate a second mask to an essential worker in Thailand.  That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me.

    Lotus and Luna Mask
  2. 2. Lokai

    Lokai Bracelet

    I know you’ve seen Lokai bracelets at surf shops and Hallmark stores during the summer months.  The white beads are infused with water from Mount Everest to remind us to stay humble when we’re up on top.  While the white bead’s contents originate from the highest point on earth, the black beads carry mud from the Dead Sea, which is the lowest place on earth.  The mud reminds us to keep the faith and remain hopeful when we’re walking through troughs of life. This beautiful contrast between the highest of highs and lowest of lows keeps us centered and balanced.  Founder Steven Izen unintentionally initiated this business venture in the midst of his own low when his grandfather was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.   

    In addition to keeping us grounded, Lokai encourages all their customers to leave this earth better than they found it.  They’re incredibly committed to shrinking their carbon footprint and offsetting carbon emissions with each online purchase and shipment amidst this pandemic.  They mail all online orders in recyclable packaging with limited wrapping.  Last but not least, ten percent of all net profits – equating to nearly 8 million dollars so far – has been donated to Lokai’s charity partners.  One of these is the Global Fund for Women. 

    My favorite bracelet of theirs is the Women’s Empowerment Lokai from the Equality Collection.  They acknowledge the immense disparity in underrepresentation of women in the workplace, especially in fields of art and music.  Nathalie Sandin, one of their female artists, designed the symbolic and empowering bracelet.  As believers in true equality, $1 from each purchase is instantly donated to the Global Fund for Women.   

  3. 3. Pura Vida

    During the summer of 2010, two best friends named Griffin and Paul traveled to Costa Rica in celebration of their college graduation.  They immediately fell in love with the country’s simple lifestyle.  While they were there, they ran into two struggling artisans named Jorge and Joaquin, who were selling friendship bracelets.  These two best friends instantly empathized with their new friends and decided to purchase 400 bracelets off their hands.  Legend has it that upon their return to the States, Griffin and Paul sold out of the bracelets within days. This success led to the beautiful creation of the movement “Pura Vida” which we all know and love today.   

    The Spanish saying encourages everyone to celebrate the small joys in life.  By providing steady income and positive work conditions, this charitable company annually supports the families of 800 artisans across the world.  Since their creation, they have partnered with hundreds of charities and donated millions of dollars from the purchase of their charity bracelets.  Some of my favorite pieces include Charity: Water, Clean Beaches, and Save the Elephants.   

    Pura Vida Bracelets