We're always on the search for ethical fashion brands that create beautiful collections for a cause. Each of these social enterprise jewelry collections are doing incredible work to sustainably end cycles of poverty within some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities by empowering artisans and persevering traditional crafts. Thank you to our collaborating sponsors, Ten Thousand Villages, Soko Jewelry, Slate + Salt, Threads Worldwide and Bario Neal for their leadership in the fair trade movement!
Ten Thousand Villages
For over 70 years, Ten Thousand Villages has been a pioneer of the fair trade movement laying the groundwork for sustainable change in over 30 developing countries by providing a space for people to take charge of their own lives and build something for themselves. Each piece of jewelry is created by independent small-scale artisan groups, co-ops and workshops and are crafted with love using local materials and time-honored skills. Ten Thousand Villages is also our favorite stop for unique, handmade gifts from around the world.
Nisolo collaborates with local artisans in Peru and Kenya from the design to the handmade production of their jewelry line, shoes and accessories. Nisolo provides fair wages and full-time employment to their artisans and each piece of jewelry carries the heart of every person who works at Nisolo. Nisolo currently sustains the jobs of over 50 people. Together, the Nisolo team is committed to developing beautiful, quality products and ensuring that everyone - from the first supplier to the end consumer - is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. We love their gorgeously-designed, well-made jewelry and their fast, free shipping both ways.
Soko works with over 2,100 artisan entrepreneurs around the globe to build their businesses, improve production capacity, and sustainably increase income. Millions of talented artisans are trapped in micro economies, unable to earn enough to support their families and businesses, but Soko is pioneering an innovative approach that employs technology to provide opportunity for marginalized artisans. Using Soko’s mobile tools, artisans have access to an entire world of consumers, expanding their business horizons and entrepreneurial prospects. Soko’s collections include a stunning range of minimal classics and luxury pieces inspired by architecture and traditional tribal designs, creating a strong yet minimal aesthetic that hints at the brand's origins.
Bario Neal jewelry is crafted with precious metals that have been carefully sourced to reflect a commitment to social justice and environmental sustainability. Bario Neal was one of the first jewelry companies to participate in the Fairmined Assurance label, and now proudly offers Fairmined gold extracted by empowered and responsible small-scale and artisanal miners. The Fairmined certification is supported by a third party auditing system that ensures that all participating miners meet rigorous environmental and social standards. They also work closely with US refineries that share their vow to minimize environmental impacts while producing recycled precious metals. We love their stunning collections and custom fine jewelry options.
ABLE creates sustainable business opportunities for women who have overcome adversity, both locally and globally. The social impact brand believes that generational poverty ends when people are able to provide for themselves, and that empowering women uplifts entire families and communities. They work with artisans around the globe and many of their jewelry pieces are handmade by women locally in Nashville, TN who have overcome challenges ranging from prostitution to homelessness to addiction and lack of opportunity. ABLE is our one stop shop for affordable and social impact jewelry and accessories.
Slate + Salt
Everything we own has a story. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where our products came from and that they were made with love in a sustainable way? Slate + Salt has embodied this vision, offering a curated collection of luxe, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces while preserving traditional techniques and supporting the fair trade movement. The brand works closely with small social enterprises to facilitate dignified working opportunities in areas of extreme poverty. Slate + Salt’s products are handmade and hand-dyed each piece is one of a kind.
PURPOSE Jewelry is handcrafted by survivors of modern-day slavery in Mumbia, India. 100% of the proceeds from the jewelry line benefit International Sanctuary, a nonprofit that provides holistic care for women survivors of sex trafficking including education, medical and dental care, scholarships, and micro-loans. The artisans at PURPOSE Jewelry take pride in each beautifully-crafted creation and each jewelry tag is hand-signed by the woman who created it.
In an attempt to answer the question, “how and by whom are the goods we consume made?” the founders of ARTICLE22 set out to create beautiful designs and meaningful collections that tell unknown stories and give back to artisans in forgotten or off-the-beaten-track places. ARTICLE22 works with 12 artisan families in rural Laos to create their jewelry collection. The collection comprises classic shapes cast with Peacebomb metal that tell the story of how Laos became the most heavily bombed country in history and the artisans who transform bombs and war scrap to jewelry, taking a constructive approach toward the destruction wrought by war.
Mata Traders resists traditional means of factory production by directly hiring fair trade artisans in India and Nepal to handcraft jewelry and apparel. Mata Traders is a brand for the fashionably adventurous, bringing color and pattern to the world of ethical fashion in fresh new ways. Their globally-inspired jewelry is truly making a difference in the lives of women around the world.
Raven + Lily
In our opinion, Raven + Lily is one of the most impactful social enterprise jewelry and fashion lines employing women around the globe. They currently employ women artisans in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, Guatemala, and the USA – all at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education, and a real chance to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. All jewelry products are made from recycled or locally-sourced materials.
31 Bits works with artisans in Uganda to create fashionable, quality jewelry. We love what they're doing because not only do they employ women, but 31 Bits cares for their beneficiaries holistically through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships. And everything they do is funded through product sales. That means every time you make a 31 Bits purchase, you have a direct impact on women’s lives in Uganda.
Threads Worldwide creates life-changing work in more than 15 countries through the fair trade of artisan jewelry. Female artisans around the world handcraft sustainable pieces, and US-based Fair Trade Partners bring them to market and share the artisans’ stories. Their colorful, minimal jewelry is perfect for everyday wear - for both casual and formal settings. We love that they provide country of origin and artisan information with each piece, meaning that you get to learn more about the woman who made your necklace, bracelet or earrings.
Bead & Reel
Bead & Reel believes that fashion and ethics aren't mutually exclusive. They offer eco-friendly, cruelty-free, sweatshop-free jewelry and accessories in a one-stop shop for the conscientious woman. Everything they sell meets the criteria of being thoughtful to animals, people, and the world through a carefully curated selection of hand-picked designers and products. They are a 100% vegan, 100% vegan-owned company.
The Giving Keys
The Giving Keys, a Los Angeles-based social enterprise, carries one of our favorite jewelry collections. The jewelry line employs those transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys that get sold and shared around the world. Each key is unique and carries a message like HOPE, STRENGTH, DREAM or COURAGE. When the wearer of the key encounters someone else who needs the message on the key, they give it away.
Stephanie Hepburn, a human rights journalist and fashion enthusiast has combined her passion for fashion and human rights into one venture through Good Cloth. Good Cloth is championing the important message that there is a lack of understanding in the fashion marketplace about the people that make our clothing and what conditions these workers may face. Good Cloth offers customers a space where they can purchase fun jewelry, clothing and accessories that are produced in a way that is kind to workers and the planet. The company also includes product journeys for each item, so that consumers can read how products are made from beginning to end. They believe the story of how our clothing and jewelry is made shouldn't be a mystery.
The Brave Collection
The Brave Collection is handmade by talented Cambodian artisans who come from underprivileged backgrounds or suffer from disabilities. Mostly mothers, the team of artists work in a small studio in Cambodia, or from their homes where they can care for their young children while creating beautiful and unique pieces. In addition to paying artisans above average wages, The Brave Collection is committed to providing health insurance and stipends for their artisans’ children's education. Additionally, 10% of profits are donated to fight sex trafficking in Cambodia. We love The Brave Collection’s handcarved jewelry pieces that are made with traditional Cambodian metalwork techniques using brass, silver and gold vermeil materials.
Perfect for the wildly colorful, Yumajai necklaces, earrings and bracelets are handmade by the skilled artisans of the Embera tribe in Colombia. Yumajai's made-to-order jewelry creates a bridge between global, style-minded people and these indigenous people in Colombia. They preserve the culture, crafts and ancestral wisdom of the Embera tribe through a collaborative co-creation process between Colombian designers and the artisans. Yumajai's approach of combining both ancient and modern designs and processes is evident in their brilliant, one-of-a-kind statement jewelry.
At Same Sky, they give a hand-up, not a hand out, and they are doing it globally from Rwanda to the USA. The artisan jewelry line creates jobs for women struggling to lift themselves out of extreme poverty, and they believe that real change happens with the dignity of work and the freedom of being self-sufficient. One Same Sky necklace purchased provides an artisan a year of education - we think that that’s an incredible way to make your jewelry purchases meaningful.
Rose & Fitzgerald
Husband-and-wife duo Courtney Rose and Laren Fitzgerald are living the adventure. Provoked by a desire to merge their sense of contemporary fashion with the beauty of indigenous materials and craftspeople in their adopted home of Uganda, they founded a small design studio in Kampala. Rose & Fitzgerald employs local artisans and craftsmen to create and curate unexpected, beautiful pieces. At Rose & Fitzgerald they know there is a real nostalgia in returning to the time of the handmade, and there’s something truly special about knowing who made your product and also knowing that it was crafted by hand by someone paid fairly for their art.
Akola empowers women in poverty in five rural Ugandan villages to transform their lives and the lives of their children. What we love about Akola’s approach is its holistic development model, which includes not only vocational training for women, but community infrastructure as well. Before training and employment take place within a village, Akola helps communities build the infrastructure for economic growth. This includes construction of water wells, vocational training centers and roads.
As a social enterprise, Faire Collection was founded to bring sustainable change to impoverished communities in South America. As a fashion brand, Faire Collection has changed the landscape of what to expect from fair trade products. You can find their products at Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Free People or online. We also love their Favorites under $50 in their online shop.
Olivia & Diego
The Philippine-based handmade accessory line Olivia & Diego showcases jewelry made from upcycled fabrics and school supplies. The brand encourages an environment for those of us who are seeking an alternative to mass-produced products and instead wish to promote sustainable and fair trade practices. Olivia & Diego organizes livelihood programs and trainings throughout rural communities in the Philippines for stay-at-home mothers and unemployed youth.
The Shine Project
The Shine Project is a cause-driven business that works to help change the future of at-risk youth here in the USA. Inner-city youth who are hired by The Shine Project come from various backgrounds, but all have one thing in common: they want to break the cycle. By employing them, The Shine Project instills values of self-reliance and hard work. They are paid fair wages for the bracelets they make. Many of The Shine Project's employees are first generation college students who dream of becoming nurses, broadcasters, writers and engineers.
Tuli employs a team of talented women in Kampala, Uganda to create handmade beaded jewelry using recycled paper beads. Every one of Tuli’s partners in Uganda earns a fair and sustainable income through their work. All of Tuli’s materials are recycled or purchased from small craft stores in Kampala to support small businesses in Uganda. In Uganda, "tuli" means "we are." At Tuli, they believe in unity among people and collaborative solutions. When you wear a Tuli product, you are joining this community and acting as an agent for change.
Having started their business with only $200, siblings Carmin and Christian Black turned a fledgling idea into a growing movement of men and women uniting together to stop hunger in its tracks. HALF UNITED donates half of the profits from every product sold directly towards fighting the global hunger epidemic. HALF UNITED has given over 115 thousand meals to children since 2010. In addition to their efforts to stop hunger, all of HALF UNITED’s unique jewelry and accessories are handmade with materials sourced from local businesses across the USA.
Fearing for their lives, many families relocate to the United States with hope for a new life. Yet life in America is not without challenges. Overcoming trauma from the past, learning a new language and culture, finding a job and becoming self-sufficient is a difficult process. Ekata Designs employs refugees to create a beautiful and globally-inspired jewelry line.
Noonday Collection works with over 2,000 artisans in over 10 countries to provide them with dignified jobs at a living wage. They also provide artisans with no-interest loans, scholarship programs and emergency assistance. In addition to Noonday’s global partnerships with fair trade artisans, Noonday also offers women in the US an opportunity to earn an income by becoming a Noonday Collection Ambassador and selling the collection through personally-hosted trunk shows and personalized e-commerce websites.
Kurandza sells beautiful, vibrantly-colored earrings and bracelets handmade by women artisans across Mozambique. Kurandza works to empower and educate women, the majority of whom are HIV-positive, through entrepreneurship and creative design. In addition to receiving fair wages for their beautiful handmade pieces, profits from sales go back to the women in the form of scholarships, trainings, facility development, and social programs.