BaliwaterSport working with artisans through The Little Market

Hi everyone, it’s me, ! You may remember me from my post on Holiday Season Style Inspo, and the BaliwaterSport Denim Collection. I’m a fashion and lifestyle blogger from Los Angeles currently living in NYC. I love chai tea, musicals and playing board games with my boyfriend, although he wins a little bit more than I do.

Even though National Women’s History Month is coming to a close, I wanted to celebrate some awesome women-owned companies that we can support all year round. As a blogger and a consumer, I truly pride myself on working mainly with female photographers, filmmakers, and brands. There are so many women owned businesses that really know how to put their money where their mouth is and give back to their community, so here is your chance to do the same.

Check out some of my favorite brands with great products and an even greater message…

It is no surprise I’m starting this list off with Lauren’s amazing company The Little Market. I really love their mission to “build sustainable partnerships with artisans from around the world, by connecting them with customers through [their] fair trade shop.” It’s easy to shop their beautiful bags, home goods and accessories knowing you’re helping give back. Whenever I’ve traveled to other countries, some of my most cherished items were ones where I could see exactly where my dollars were going. With The Little Market, I can literally see in an item’s description who made it, where it came from, and how exactly my purchase is helping that artisan. There are so many beautiful handmade items I love, like the , which is made by All Across Africa. Every time I add a new beautiful piece to my collection, I know my purchases through The Little Market will help empower others.

Wild Fang is a clothing brand founded by women and continues to be run by women. They carry gender neutral apparel, suiting, cool feminist accessories and basics. Supporting our LGBTQAI+ community is so very important to me, as my closest friend and family members are directly affected by gender discrimination every day. Wild Fang makes a donation to select charities with every single purchase, and have given back over $400,000 this year. In 2017 alone, they helped raise over $75,000 for charities including Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Joyful Heart, and the Tegan and Sara Foundation, and in June 2018 they raised over $250,000 for RAICES. You can see the list of their favorite charities .

 

Aurora James, the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based footwear designer behind the brand Brother Vellies, is focusing on sustainability and accountability by sourcing her production from artisans in Africa. “We partner with workshops that are at risk of going under and need support,” James told Forbes. “They must be owned by locals and employ a local workforce. We basically hire them to create products with us.” I love that she took her philanthropy a big step forward, by providing continual jobs and a better way of life for these amazing artisans from Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, and Ethiopia, among others countries. Watching my mother and my friends start their own businesses really put in perspective how difficult entrepreneurship can be. It’s even more difficult in countries where Western businesses often hurt rather than help native artisans. I love what James does, and what she says about her company: “The most valuable thing we do is give someone the opportunity to support themselves by creating jobs and bringing them business.”

My favorite sweets shop! Sugarfina was one of the first sweets spots I visited when I moved to NYC that was specifically geared towards the adult and the kid in me. This year, Sugarfina, led by co-founder and co-owner Rosie O’Neill, to celebrate International Women’s Day, creating a collection inspired by all the careers Barbie has had over the past 60 years. Growing up, I found myself and my best friends truly inspired by all Barbie’s different career options. She was a paleontologist, so I dug for dinosaurs, she was a ballerina, so you better believe I was in ballet class. Over 60 years, Barbie is one of the many household names that showed girls we could literally be anything we wanted to be. This year she is a pilot, a profession that is only 5% women. The sweetest thing about Sugarfina x Barbie is that they’re donating 100% of net proceeds from the collection to , “an organization that enables girls to fulfill their full potential by empowering them to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women.”

Thinx is an innovative brand that makes underwear which acts like a pad during a person’s period to absorb menstrual blood. The awesome thing about Thinx underwear is that can replace tampons and pads altogether or supplement them, depending on the person’s flow. Growing up, menstruation products were—and let’s be honest, still are—changing constantly to suit the needs of every person’s body. More and more we are becoming aware not only of our menstruation needs, but safer and healthier alternatives. The most important thing to me about Thinx is that they donate menstrual products to people and tweens in need, including underprivileged communities and the homeless. Having worked with shelters and women’s groups, I know firsthand the most needed items are menstruation products. Thinx also leads an education initiative called , which helps schools, after-school programs, and nonprofits empower young people with medically accurate and inclusive information about their changing bodies. As sex education is also changing, this is a cause I really stand behind.

ThirdLove makes some of the best bras out there that fit every body type! Not only are they made out of high-end materials, they are also extremely comfortable. I can say from personal experience that right after some serious weight loss and breast reduction surgery, these bras were my saving grace. ThirdLove sells a wide variety of bras and you can find your perfect match by utilizing their Fit Finder quiz which makes shopping a breeze. On top of making amazing bras, ThirdLove has partnered with to donate bras to women in need. So far they’ve donated 10 million dollars in bras in 2018 alone! I Support the Girls states, “whether they be homeless, refugees, in transitional housing, or fleeing domestic violence, women and girls should never have to compromise on dignity.” I truly believe everyone deserves to look and feel good, and a proper foundation is where it all begins.

Who doesn’t love amazing sound quality paired with impeccable style? With LSTN Sound headphones you get a mix of both and then some. What sounds even better is with a purchase of any LSTN product, you can give the gift of hearing. All proceeds go towards giving hearing aids to people in need worldwide through their charity partner, . This brand really touches a special place in my heart because I have a strong connection with the deaf and hard of hearing community. In high school I chose to learn American Sign Language instead of Spanish. At the time I just wanted to do something different, but becoming a part of such an amazing community changed me. I’ve seen how proper hearing aids can give some a second chance at life. Unfortunately, there are still so many in need of assistance. That’s where LSTN and the Starkey Hearing Foundation step in, and, as they say, “change lives through the power of music.” In 2018, LSTN Sounds has touched 30,000 lives.

I can’t forget our fur babies in need. Right before my pup passed away, I would shower him every few months with new blankets or beds, not only because he had an affinity for destroying them, but also because he deserved comfort.” Your comfort becomes their comfort,” is the motto for Kona Benellie, a brand started by Jessica Mashkevich, that doesn’t only warm our bodies, but also our hearts. If you’re the type of pet owner I am, your furry loved ones are showered in love and covered in warmth. Unfortunately, dogs without forever homes are in dire need, and blankets are at the top of most animal shelter wish lists. So, with every purchase of a blanket, for humans or pets, Kona Benellie donates blankets to shelter dogs nationwide.

No one knows the importance of planning better than a teacher. Watching my grandmother prepare to teach every school year was both exhilarating and extremely stressful. Seeing how much time and care she and other teachers took in meeting every child’s needs was really amazing. In addition to creating a large array of daily, weekly, yearly, goal setting and specialty needs planners, Inkwell donates Academic Year Planners to teachers at the start of each school year. Founder Tonya Dalton says, “our goal is to help alleviate the added financial stress teachers and home school parents feel at the beginning of the year as they begin to ready their classrooms.” Last year, they donated over $100,000 in planners to teachers.

What brands would you add to this list?

Let me know in the comments!

XO Gavyn

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