Shop Local Picks: Buy…and Feel Good about Giving

Am I the only one who isn’t done with my holiday shopping?

In between the calendar managing, decorating and card addressing I’m still way behind in the actual gift purchasing department.

While I was doing my research, I found a bunch of places locally which are dedicated to social good. Basically, that means that the goal of the business is to not only make money, but also, as Wikipedia defines it, to “maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being”. Give a gift and feel good about it at the same time? Sounds like a win-win to me.

Here are just a few companies which operate locally which care about more than just the bottom line:

ESPEROS
After witnessing the debilitating effects of extreme poverty on children he saw when traveling in Central America, Oliver Shuttlesworth became resolved to make a difference. He soon founded ESPEROS, a company to sell backpacks and other book bags and help send a child in need to school for a year with each purchase. ESPEROS also partners with organizations who are building communities in the countries in which they’re based. You can purchase the bags online and at SoLa.

Inca Boot Company
Inca Boot Company works collaboratively with talented Peruvian craftspeople to combine traditional Inca textiles with modern-day designs. The company is committed to paying their cobblers fair wages and ensuring they work in clean conditions. Shoes can be purchased online at:

or in stores at:

Noonday Collection
Jessica Honneger started the Noonday Collection after a trip to Uganda in 2010. Friends living in Uganda asked her to sell fair-trade, locally made goods in Austin to help create sustainable income opportunities for the Ugandan people and fund her costly adoption process. You can purchase items online or host a trunk show to support artisans and earn income.

The Open Arms Shop
We wrote a story about Open Arms in April of last year. The business provides a living wage for refugee women, who work to upcycle t-shirts into skirts and other items. You can purchase items online or find them at:

They currently have a website only deal that will get you a FREE Holiday Red Scarf when you buy any two items, in any combination. Check back on LiveMom later in the week for a giveaway from The Open Arms Shop!

Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer of artisan-crafted home decor, personal accessories and gift items from across the globe. Located on South Congress, Ten Thousand Villages features products from more than 130 artisan groups in some 38 countries, and is one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations. The store’s mission is to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term fair trading relationships. You can also shop online.

Tom’s Shoes
TOMS was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, inspired by a trip to Argentina where he saw extreme poverty and health conditions, as well as children walking without shoes. To realize this mission, Blake made a commitment to match every pair of TOMS purchased with a new pair given to a child in need. TOMS now gives in over 50 countries and works with charitable partners in the field who incorporate shoes into their health, education, hygiene, and community development programs. You can purchase shoes for men, women and children (and now eyewear) online or at over 20 retail locations in Austin.

In a similar vein, there is a Sustainable Christmas Expo, an event to support a sustainable healthy people and planey, taking place on Sunday, December 16th from 11am-9pm at the Palmer Events Center.

What other businesses do you like to support that work towards a greater good?

A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 6-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.