Jewelry with a Purpose

A few weeks ago I wrote about retail companies with a conscience—places where your dollars go to a good cause as well as towards a beautiful bauble.  I mentioned Starfish Project and that I planned on supporting them in the near future.

Well, the future has arrived:

IMG_3201 IMG_3199Please excuse the banana my child wiped on my lower lapel two seconds before this picture was taken.


Isn’t it lovely?  It’s their Avery necklace and although it comes in a variety of colors, mine showed up a lovely purple.   I’d been wanting a long necklace to go with my winter capsule that was a little more lively than the thin-skim-milk bluish-white and blue of this necklace. (Seriously, I love the dangles I added on, but the large pendant disc colors are kind of sad in person.)

I perused Starfish Project’s selections, made by women who are rebuilding their lives after being caught up in human/sex trafficking, and this big ol’ hunk of crystalline rock caught my eye.  Equal parts chic and funky, right up my alley.

My friend and consultant in all things natural healing reminded me that amethyst is the stone of self-love, so some kind of meta double points there since that’s what Starfish Project is all about.


What do you think of my selection?  Does anything on their site catch your eye?  If you mostly stay away from retail, are you more likely to buy something from a company with a social mission?

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PS I have yet to take on any kind of partnership, sponsorship, ads, or other $$ deals through this blog, so this necklace was not a gift from the company.  Disclaimer-y language and all that.

Shopping with Meaning

One of the big reasons I do all this thrifting jazz is that I want my money to go to something other than retail clothing giants who source materials in environmentally unfriendly ways and use sweatshop labor to make their products.  I’d rather the profit from something I buy go to a cause I believe in, like job training and creation at Goodwill, or—at various other thrift shops I’ve patronized—assistance for folks who are physically and/or intellectually differently abled, addiction treatment programs, kidney disease research, local charities, etc. etc.

Another place I’m willing to spend some money?  Socially conscious businesses that employ marginalized people who wouldn’t otherwise have a job.  Jewelry & accesories companies, I’ve noticed, often take this tack: the people on the ground get together with social entrepreneurs to get their wares into wealthier markets (like middle/upper class America) where people can afford/want to buy their products.

If I’m completely honest, it feels a little weird to say, “Let me buy this completely unnecessary bauble in order to fund your family’s grocery budget/school fees/healthcare/other things that are absolutely necessary.”  Why should my comparative economic privilege exist in the first place?  Why do I have to buy, in effect, luxury goods for someone else to merely eat?

But to hear employees tell it, it’s a way to get wealth from one side of the world to another that gives dignity and purpose to the people (most often women) producing the goods because they’re earning a living through a job.

So here’s one of those places I’m planning to patronize: Starfish Project enables women in Asia who have been exploited through human trafficking to find stability through employment making jewelry.  Give it a gander and see if anything tickles your fancy (or the fancy of someone you love with a birthday coming up….or your Valentine!).

Check some more out at Storyweaver Mercantile, a new online marketplace that gathers several such businesses in one handy place.  (Full disclosure: individual businesses featured may get 50% of the profit from your purchase when you buy through the mercantile, so consider going straight to the business’ own site.)

Scroll down to share your thoughts and social entrepreneurial enterprises you support!