It has been a hectic year between recovering from some crazy health issues in January, which took me out of commission for a few months, restructuring and focusing Samasource on our #AIforHumanity vision, growing LXMI (nearly 3X this year…despite a ton of supply challenges), and…getting engaged as an Elder Millennial (no shame 🙂).

But with the American shopping frenzy known as Black Friday approaches, I figured it was a good time to get back in the groove of more regular blog posts. We tend to think of voting as something that happens on Election Day.

That’s dead wrong.

Voting happens every time money leaves your bank account. 

It happens when you make decisions about how your company spends money (including what kind of coffee your office chooses for the lunchroom…is it fair trade?). It happens every day, in many seemingly mundane ways that add up to something BIG. Or not.

This is the thesis of the Give Work book — that giving work is the best way to fight poverty (and every problem that stems from it, from lack of clean drinking water to maternal mortality), and that we can #givework simply by changing what we buy. It’s that easy to do good.

In that spirit, here are my favorite chic #givework brands, perfect for holiday gifting and beyond. Each of them solves the root cause of poverty by creating jobs for low-income people (mostly women). Even better: EVERY BRAND on this list was founded by a woman or team of women. How’s that for impact?! 
Naja (“n-eye-ah”)

Founded by Colombian entrepreneur and Stanford grad Catalina Girald, Naja makes swimwear, lingerie, and activewear at their own ethical factory in Colombia for women of all hues and body types. Their Nude for All campaign broke barriers, finally introducing wearable lingerie with ads that celebrated a diverse group of women entrepreneurs.

Favorite: Lingerie shopping is tough; try starting with a cute gift card — items start as low as $23.

Founded by power-duo Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah in Ghana and NYC, this label celebrates West African style with swoon-worthy powerful prints (block-printed and dyed locally in Ghana) and traditional indigo techniques.

Favorite: the leaf-print full skirt I wore on my first date with my now fiancé (just saying… 😉). This brand’s site is down for the moment, but check their Instagram account for product sales at their NYC shop.

LXMI (“luxe-me”)

I founded LXMI to create a new standard in luxury skincare, after founding the non-profit Samasource 10 years ago. Our ultra-clean formulas are clinically effective and based on rare, fair trade-certified botanicals that work for your skin and #givework to women in East Africa. The line is vegan, cruelty free, and abides by a strict Clean Beauty Code.

Favorite: Body Velvet ($42), our newest launch, is a healing unisex body balm that soothes dry skin for fall, based on rare Nilotica from Northern Uganda.
Recommended by a member of the #GiveWork Social Enterprise Community, SoleRebels was founded by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, a badass Ethiopian entrepreneur, and is the fastest-growing African footwear brand. Their shoes are made in Ethiopia, fair trade-certified, and have created hundreds of jobs locally.

Favorite: SR’s women’s flats (starting at $65, and including many vegan options) are perfect for trips to warm places this holiday season, or stock up for Spring.
Started by fellow social entrepreneur Samantha Morshed as a nonprofit program in Bangladesh to help rural women achieve financial independence and escape poverty by making local handicrafts. Five years later, Morshed was honored with an MBE, and soon after launched PebbleChild’s gorgeous line of fair-trade, hand-knit toys.

Favorite: the Organic Cotton line features entirely organic cotton — healthier for babies and for the planet. Starting at $20.

Sseko Designs (“say-ko”)
We fell in love with East African brand Sseko, a chic collection of artisan-made apparel and accessories founded by Liz Forkin Bohannon to #givework to women in Uganda and enable them to go to college (they’ve sent over 100 women to university). Liz made it all the way to Shark Tank, where she convinced the millions that social impact is the new black.

Favorite: We so love Liz and her team’s mission that we launched a LXMI collection with Sseko ($89) a few months ago, which includes a gorgeous Ethiopian-made clutch. Also of note, the Sheba Handbag and Multiway Shawl.
  • Hi, I love your product & would love to share & promote your product on my blog of must haves! I see that you have friend referral and a discount to purchase in bulk but was hoping for an affiliate option. Do you have an affiliate program or is one in the future works? Thanks for your product! Keep up the amazing work, can’t wait to try any & all your new products. xo, Danae

    Danae on

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