Recently I was honored to attend the ONE.org Girls & Women Initiative’s AYA Summit, in which my eyes were opened to so many remarkable ways that people devote their lives to women and girls around the world who are disproportionately affected by poverty. One of the women I was amazingly impressed with is Jane Mosbacher Morris, who cut her teeth in the counterterrorism department of the State Department (whoa), then turned her life towards humanitarian action with a focus on woman’s issues, and in particular, anti-human trafficking.
She also happens to have great style and a sharp mind for business. So you can see how this is all coming together.
This week I’m so excited excited to give you a first look at her brand new web shop To the Market | Survivor Made Goods opening officially this coming week. It’s filled with goods by created by and supporting survivors of poverty, political conflict, disease, and human trafficking. Amazing, strong, incredible women, all of them.
And the shop is open in time for all the big-hearted holiday giving I know our readers really commit to each year, too.
Look around the shop and I have no doubt that there’s at least one item that could beautifully fulfill one gift on your holiday list, whether it’s an affordable turquoise bangle set, or a stunning cashmere scarf that could easily grace the shelves of a high end department store. Here are just a few of my own favorites–hard though it is to pare it down.
Villasi Cashmere scarves, $295.
Wow am I smitten with the combo of modern design and traditional Kashmir Valley workmanship in these amazingly high-quality scarves. I really like that the weavers subtly embroider their own initials on the corner of each one, adding a truly personal touch. It really gives you a sense that you’re helping a real woman in tangible ways with your purchase.
This silver flower necklace from artists of the Starfish Project is such a gorgeous statement piece at a fantastic price. But what’s most special is how it’s created legitimate employment for exploited women in Asia so they can find shelter, education, healthcare, and above all, love and safety.
Red Coral Tabitha Necklace, $65
This is a really special piece from the women artisans of the Starfish Project–and what a stunner for holidays. I can already imagine about a zillion things I can wear it with.
Handwoven with Love bags featuring make-up bags, travel bags and toiletry totes, $8-54.
This company showcases work from six different fair trade women’s organizations which provide handicraft related training and skills for Nepalese women–often handicapped, widowed, abused, or estranged from their villages–so they become self-reliant and support their families. I’m especially fond of the toiletry totes for $25 as a thoughtful gift for a whole lot of women on my list.
Turqouise beaded bracelet set, $24.99
This set of three beaded stretch bracelets are another stylish, affordable gift that’s perfect for a teen, or hey even me. They’re so wearable, and support the wonderful work of the Starfish Project as well.
Deco Indian Dangling Earrings, $17
Fashioned in an Indian design that’s so on trend now, you can choose from several colors of these earrings, but the red is so festive. They were created by survivors of HIV/AIDS who are pulling themselves out through their work and accomplishing fantastic things.
Lago Tote Bag, $135
In mustard or gray, I really like this tote as a casual beach bag or travel tote. It’s stylish but not fussy, and handwoven by women in Guatemala with the support and oversight of The Root Collective.
Mint Zuri Necklace, $25
This lovely little mint necklace is made by talented craftswomen of Uganda out of recycled paper, carefully cut and rolled into beautiful beads. I have a similar one and always get compliments. A purchase like one from All Across Africa literally enables a woman to be able to afford rent and food for her children, completely changing her life.
Handmade sari blanket, $99
For an exquisite and truly authentic Sari Blanket (plus scarves, coin purses, bedspreads, and other accessories), check out the collection from Sari Bari. This is one remarkable organization, which creates a safe environment right in the center of India’s red light districts, for the copious trafficking survivors who live there to have another choice of employment and reinvent their lives.
I’ll be honest, when I look around the site, it’s a little hard (for me at least) to sort items “by cause” which include abuse, exploitation, orphanhood and HIV/AIDS. It puts a lot of things in perspective. But sort by organization, and suddenly you realize how many amazing people out there are pulling together to support our sisters around the world.
In fact, the To the Market site as a whole feels incredibly uplifting–because it is. So much so, I’m hard-pressed to call these beautiful items, “charity gifts.”
It’s not charity. These are items that make a meaningful difference in the lives of women who simply want to work, live, and support their families with dignity. I’m honored if we’re able to help in any small way.
Visit To the Market | Survivor Made Goods for fantastic gifts this holiday that support women in amazing ways. And keep an eye on the web shop as they hit their hard launch Thursday and add more items; and as they embark on some pretty cool partnerships including pop-up shops and custom jewelry that we’ll be sure to tell you about.