The hushed world of social media algorithms can quickly make you feel like there are 5, maybe 6, social impact brands worthy of cycling across our feeds. The echo chamber of social media hides a big truth: there is a whole world of social enterprise out there just waiting to be discovered.
Every Spring in Toronto, Canada the Buy Good Feel Good Expo brings in over 100 social impact brands working around the world that us North Americans have likely never heard of due, in part, to those pesky algorithms. Here are 15 new brands to discover and hopefully shake up your social media just a little.
ROOTA’s mission is to raise the social, educational, economical and health standards of marginalized groups in Egypt with a particular focus on the Zabaleen of the Mokattam Mountain in Cairo. The Zabaleen are Cairo’s informal garbage collectors since approximately the 1940s who recycle up to 80% of the 15,000 tonnes of garbage produced daily by the 20 million residents of the city. Through ROOTA the Zabaleen produce upcycled lifestyle products for sale around the world.
Meaning “Queen” in the in the Yoruba language, Olori crafts handbags that make women feel strong, confident, and secure. Olori works with artisans and women-owned businesses to help preserve unique African-inspired craftsmanship. Every product sold provides tuition fees for an underprivileged girl.
Leafii creates vegan, cruelty-free pieces that are all sustainably produced in harmony with nature, using leaves as a statement to showcase the beauty of the natural world. Their goods are made from sustainably-sourced teak leaves that result in some of the most unique patterns and textures you’ve ever seen! Leafii takes something abundant, natural and highly regenerative, and repurposes them into something useful and showcasing their beautiful patterns and natural variations.
The Orenda Tribe is a Jordanian lifestyle brand that was founded in 2016 to empower youth across the world through art and storytelling. Under the Art for Hope initiative, The Orenda Tribe designs, facilitates, and funds purposeful art workshops for youth living in marginalized communities. To date, the business has empowered more than 2,000 children through various art projects.
African Bronze Honey is a unique project between beekeepers in the forests of remote Zambia and classrooms and non-profits in Canada. The project is an innovative, healthy and educational way for school kids to learn about some of the issues rural Africans face while earning substantial fundraising dollars for their own school projects. The African Bronze Honey Project then sets aside a percentage of profits to train and support entrepreneurs and beekeepers in Africa.
Finatur Design has been working in partnership with different indigenous communities and artisans throughout Colombia for over 20 years. By providing product development support along with marketing plans and strategies to these indigenous communities, Finatur helps to bring these traditional crafts to international markets.
Just One is an organization that follows fair trade practices to offer world changing fashion. Each purchase directly supports people around the globe struggling with poverty and brings awareness to their needs.
Hibu-Cambodia encourages the women of Cambodia to maintain their traditional weaving techniques. All of Hibu’s scarves and blankets are designed by a local artist that has created a network of talented weavers to breathe life into her creations.
La Plantation is not only a certified Kampot Pepper farm, it is also a social and sustainable agritourism project. Other than the social mission to benefit the families of La Plantation’s farmers, they also provide school supplies and bicycles to local primary school students so that they can get to school.
Origin Africa is not-for-profit that raises funds through the sale of hand-woven and hand-dyed African fabrics. All profits go to funding community-driven projects that support the tribes creating the fabrics. Sustainability, of both products and projects, is at the very heart of Origin Africa.
The Union of Craftsmen of Tajikistan engages in activities that provide advice, assistance and protection of the rights of local artisans in Tajikistan, lobbying for their interests, upgrading skills, finding partners and disseminating the necessary information for the development of the craft sector.
refuSHE is a community of refugee girls, by refugee girls. RefuSHE is an artisan collective empowering young girls and women all across East Africa to create beautiful textiles using traditional African craftsmanship. 100% of revenue made from their goods are reinvested into RefuSHE’s trauma-informed, holistic programs to support women in their healing. In fact, 70% of the 160 artisans who have been part of the RefuSHE collective are now economically independent.
Tribe of Lambs designs and ethically produces jewelry in India with profits going to support local projects supporting HIV-positive children. They partner with Indian NGOs that work solely for the care, education, and the rights of children that are either infected or affected by the HIV virus.
Uranta is a yoga clothing line made from upcycled fabrics. It was founded in October 2011 in San Juan Cosalá, Jalisco, México by Lucia Sol who wanted to provide meaningful, safe and financially fulfilling work for single mothers.
Thank you India is an ethical fashion brand designed in Canada and ethically produced in India. A portion of every sale goes to charities that benefit women and children in India. Through close collaboration with manufacturers and artisans, as well as regular visits to their villages and cities in India, TYI ensures an exclusive selection of fashion-forward pieces that reflect the rich and varied cultural heritage of India.
La Villa is an ethical brand that aims to create positive social impact in El Salvador by partnering with artisans and connecting them to international markets. La Villa is highly involved in the production process of every piece, ensuring thoughtfully designed and curated hand-crafted goods produced under ethical standards.