Shokay is one of the most unique “social enterprises” to have hit world headlines so far. Sourcing soft and luxurious yak fiber directly from Tibetan yak herders, the rare material, similar to cashmere, is hand-knit by knitting cooperatives throughout China to provide a fair living to herders and knitters alike.
Because the yak hair is combed, thus protecting the yaks, and only the softest inner yak down is used, it takes the hair from 2 or 3 yaks to produce a single sweater. The colorful and buttery-soft knits and sweaters are designed by fashion designers from some of the best design schools in America.
Founded by two friends from Harvard Business School, Shokay aims to provide education and a sustainable living to the poor in the Himalayas region, while earning enough money to keep the company going. By buying their hand-knitted fashions, throws, pillow covers, and scarves, or Shokay’s silky-smooth knitting yarns, you are helping to prosper a Tibetan herder and his family. Products can be ordered online from the Shokay website.
Ten Thousand Villages – Your Source for Fair Trade Gifts
Ten Thousand Villages is one of the world’s largest fair trade retailers, and was a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). A non-profit program operated by the Central Mennonite Committee, Ten Thousand Villages sources hand-crafted jewelry, home goods, textiles and art from artisans in communities around the world, encouraging artists to implement environmentally-friendly practices to produce the gifts.
Some perennial favorites are: fair-trade chocolate, beautiful hand-crafted jewelry, candle holders, scarves, purses, and more. Prices are surprisingly reasonable considering the quality of the handmade gifts. Visit one of their retail shops to browse their products, or order online from the Ten Thousand Villages website.
Global Exchange – Online Fair Trade Store
Global Exchange has a nicely-designed website that features jewelry, food, coffee, beauty items, and best of all, gift baskets! Gift baskets filled with chocolate, fair-trade soaps, snacks and coffee are a great way to show someone you care with a gift that keeps on giving. Global Exchange also features books on green living and socially responsible lifestyles. They even have a corporate gift program to help you choose socially-responsible gifts for your clients or employees.
World of Good – Ebay’s Fair Trade Marketplace
WorldofGood.com is Ebay’s fair-trade marketplace, which gathers sellers from around the world to sell their eco-friendly and people-friendly goods. Independent organizations verify the claims of the products sold, and every product listing has an icon that identifies who will be benefited by the purchase of this product, whether it be the producers, the environment, animals, or non-profit organizations. With a huge number of quality products, World of Good might be your one-stop shop for all your holiday gifts.