We are deep in summer – Sunny skies. Barefoot afternoons. The smell of BBQ in the warm air. Children’s laughter as they splash in the pool. Hometown fun and rejuvenating travel.
While the days are long and your spirits are high, use these next few months to gear up for your fun by supporting social businesses. Here are some of my favorites:
This social enterprise hales to have “ridiculously comfy, shockingly soft, indisputably awesome hammocks.” But they are also super cool and hippy-chic looking, thanks to the mad skills of weavers in the small tribal communities of Thailand, who Yellow Hammocks has lifted out of poverty with training and jobs. I love their designs and their “Do Good – Relax” motto.
The iconic “El Zapato de Lona” or Ecuadorian street shoe is as iconic to Guayaquil as flip-flops are to Rio de Janeiro. Juntos shoes put a fresh twist to them with breezy canvas and an Ecuadorian map inside the sole. They are a great summer pair of sneakers to wear with shorts and a tee as you explore new places. And for every pair that is purchased, Juntos supplies Guayaquil’s under-privileged children with backpacks of school supplies. I love the light blue canvas!
Badger creates certified organic body care products. I recently became acquainted with the company when I grabbed their sunscreen stick off of the shelf unknowing that they were also an awesome social business! Badger is a small family-owned company that is doing things the hard way. They are giving 10% of their profits to social causes, but also going above and beyond to take care of their employees. I love that Badger does unique things that even big corporations with ample resources don’t do – like their Babies at Work and Free Lunch programs. This is a topic that is very close to my heart (read this article to hear me rant about businesses motivating and inspiring employees). Did I mention their sunscreen is great!?
Thinking about backpacking or camping this summer? Patagonia is a trail blazer in the industry that grew from small roots with a solid social mission. In fact, their founder Yvon Chouinard was once a lone ranger in the social enterprise world before it became “cool” by creating the first reusable pitons (mountaineering metal spikes that were often left in cliffs by climbers) to help stop damage to rock formations. He then founded the outdoor apparel company Patagonia with solid ideals centered on supporting and energizing the people he employed. I can’t wait to read his book, Let My People Go Surfing, which is right up my alley! You should also check out Yvon’s announcement for his new holding company Patagonia Works – to help start-up new social businesses.
Candles may exude a feeling of cozy warmth for the winter blues, but no summertime evening patio party is complete without some glowing ambiance. Prosperity Candle employs and supports refugee women who have recently immigrated to the United States. They have a unique Summer Entertaining Line with fun scented citronella candles like Sage and Garden Caraway. They also have a “design your own candle” option with fun tins and essential oils to select from.
Stay cool in the heat with Miir water bottles. I really like their Vacuum Insulated Howlers – with a clamp closure and a large opening for easy gulping and washing. With a purchase of a bottle, Miir provides access to clean water for one person for an entire year.
This glassware boutique has become super trendy in the past few years in the United States due to its modern take on vintage designs and its smart pricing model. But what many people don’t know is that for every pair you buy, a pair is donated. And not only that, Warby Parker also donates to their nonprofit partner that trains people in developing countries to give eye exams and sell glasses for a living – all at affordable prices. Even if you don’t need a prescription – Warby Parker is a great choice for your next pair of sunglasses for the sunny summertime. They are redefining the eye glasses industry!
All geared up and ready for adventure? One of my favorite travel companies is Crooked Trails, which offers programs that work to support fragile worldwide cultures through educational outreach. Their trips are fully tax-deductible and work with their partner community projects. They have some amazing trips! (Their India: The Colors and Cultures of Rajasthan Program has just been added to my bucket list!)
Do you have any socially-centered businesses that you love? Let me know!
Feature Photo Credit: Mait Jüriado, Flicker – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License