In the last few years, there’s been a major shift in the fashion industry towards a more ethical design, manufacturing, and shopping experience. From employment practices abroad, to real financial impact closer to home, it’s encouraging to watch this movement grow and blossom into something truly impactful… And truly beautiful!!!
Christmas is near, but if you still have shopping left to do, check out some of my personal favorite companies below for inspiration! Some items are available locally, and most are also online. I’ve chosen these products and companies because I have either connected directly with the fine people selling them, or have a deep personal passion for the mission behind their products.
But think of this list as just a beginning! Please (pretty please with sugarplums on top!) tell me YOUR favorite give-back-biz in the comments below. Post links, pics, anything you love; share your faves, so we can spread the joy, together!!!
Bought Beautifully is a lovely online shop founded by Colin & Emily Betzler, two-huge-hearted entrepreneurs from Wyoming. The Betzlers believe in changing the world by living generously, and to that end, have built “a marketplace that empowers you to create dignified opportunities for people around the globe, one purchase at a time.” Every item in their shop, from jewelry to Christmas ornaments, is both beautiful and fashion-forward.
I fell in love with Bought Beautifully’s Brass Stud earrings from Sasa (pictured above, lower right), a brand that empowers and supports deaf men and women in Nairobi, Kenya, and on the Island of La Gonave, Haiti.
Bought Beautifully sells handcrafted items from 36 partners in over 16 nations across the globe, and you can search by category, or by the cause that is close to your heart!
Speak Your Silence
My friend Matt Pipkin founded Speak Your Silence in 2012 as a place of healing, recovery, and empowerment for men and women around the world who are victims of sexual assault. Speak Your Silence’s unique zigzag pattern can be added onto any piece of apparel or accessory, as an unspoken sign of solidarity and support among those who have suffered.
Whether you have personally experienced sexual violence or not, wearing the zigzag pattern shows you care, and want to inspire others to prevent sexual assault and share your voice for those affected.
Speak Your Silence has partnered with Boutonné, a San Diego-based brand that produces leather goods, to create a special Swivel Clip, Envelope Laptop Case, and the Mills Tote I am wearing in the photos above. Click hereto purchase the tote ($190), and find out more about Boise-based Speak Your Silence! T-shirts, decal kits, and other products are also available for purchase.
Corbin’s Legacy Bracelets
No child should have to go an entire school day without lunch. That’s the basic, and passionate anthem behind Corbin’s Legacy bracelets. Founded in honor of Corbin Leafman, a beloved and compassionate kindergarten teacher who passed away at 31 years old from cancer, Corbin’s Legacy bangles give back 100% of their proceeds to food & medical care for disadvantaged elementary school children.
Corbin was known for “always walking through the lunch line holding up a $20.00 bill to make sure that the cafeteria lady knew that none of her students were to go without a hot meal.” She bought backpacks, school supplies, and gifts for children in need, and her giving heart lives on in those who knew and loved her! Bracelets are $30 in downtown Boise, at Swank Boutique.
Did you know our local Buckle store is a major force for good in the community? Through their Buckle Believes program, they offer multiple give-back lines of clothing and accessories, all with great style and affordable prices! I loved these soft, cozy sweatshirts by tentree, available in multiple colors, and all fleece-lined. Ten trees are planted for every item you purchase, and the tag comes with an extra seed for you to plant! These tops are great for stocking stuffers, and cold winter nights. Shop the entire collection here, and at your local Buckle store, $35-76.
Girl Power for good!
All right, I get to toot my own horn on this rad project! But don’t worry; no money goes in my own pocket. 😉 It’s all for giving back! I teamed up with brilliant Boise designers Fourthwave Apparel for a special collaborative design, Nobody Puts Girl Power in a Corner. For every shirt sold, 40% of the profits go directly to Leap Charity, a local non-profit org that helps house and support refugee families arriving in our community.
If you live anywhere in the Treasure Valley, you know about Proof Eyewear! We all love this local company that’s made it big in the fashion industry, but did you also what big HEARTS they have as well?? Through Proof’s Do Good program, thousands of dollars have gone back into health and vision projects around the world. From micro-loans for entrepreneurs to building orphanages, Proof ‘s commitment to socially-conscious programs across the globe is unmatched.
Click here to read more about Proof’s Give Back program, and all the amazing projects they support, or visit their new downtown flagship store at 314 S. 9th Street, Boise, for last-minute gifts!
Those who know me well, know that I am passionate when it comes to fighting bullying. My son went through some horrific experiences at a very young age, because of his Asperger’s. Please read more about his story here; Ethan is an incredible kid, and I will fight tooth & nail for the life he deserves to live.
When I stopped by Buckle to look for give-back brands, these Buckle Believes t-shirts made my eyes leak a little. The Be Buddies, Not Bullies top was my fave, and I’m proud to wear it to help raise awareness for my son, and all kids everywhere!!! Proceeds from all three of the tops pictured above go to The American Cancer Society, and Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center. These designs (and more!) are available for $28.95 online at Buckle.com, or available at your local Buckle store.
Don’t forget to add your voice to the conversation!
Please comment below with your favorite give-back gifts and companies.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may all your days be merry & bright!
Here’s the story… It was in Seattle, WA, many years ago. We had a huge “medieval” theme wedding, complete with costumes, candles, and fingers-only food! It was amazing, but hardly lavish, as we had very little money to invest in our special day. My wedding dress, for example, cost around $300, and was the handiwork of a very dear friend of mine, Rene Hardy.
Most weddings have minor problems; the flowers aren’t perfect, the ceremony starts late, etc.. Regardless of all that day’s snafus, our wedding was unforgettable; to this day people still tell me how much fun they had, and their most memorable moments. One couple in particular was so enamored, they got engaged during our ceremony!
I wouldn’t trade any of it, but I have to admit there is one thing I would do over, if I had the chance: invest in a good wedding photographer. Like I said, we were poor, but somehow we managed to come up with a few hundred dollars to pay a local woman, who a friend recommended. It turned out she had never shot a wedding before; only controlled studio portraits! But she was all we could afford, so we hired her.
The pictures that came back were a nightmare, and I cried as we went through the proofs. The ceremony shots were crooked, the lighting was bad, and she was obviously rushed & unsure of what types of shots to get at a wedding. I tried to salvage a few to hang on our wall, but most of those photos are still packed away in a box, somewhere…
Recently, I was chatting with friend and renowned photographer Frances Corkill, who was looking for a couple to do romantic shots at the newVillage Cinema at the Village at Meridian. “We’ll model for you,” I told her, quickly volunteering us!
For us, this wasn’t just a photo shoot; it was the first time we had posed alone together for photos, since our wedding! It was a chance to relive a moment of romance, with a true professional who is so very gifted at bringing out the unique love that exists between every couple she shoots!
I cried when I saw the resulting pictures this time, too; only the reason was completely different! Thank you, Frances, for giving Trevor and I the chance to do this with you! XOXO!!!
Here’s my advice to any bride, young or old: it’s never too late for a do-over! Our wedding was 15 years ago (eek!), but taking those photos together rekindled something very special, and redeemed a moment I never thought we could recapture. I am so glad we got a “second shot!”
This summer, I attended the annual Women’s Show in Boise, and came across these fantastic, functional bags! Here is a picture of my family with our iTySE bag, packed tight with all our 4th of July picnic gear. 🙂
Fashionistas, welcome to Urban Exchange! This is not your mama’s thrift store! If you are in the market for Rock & Republic jeans, BCBG tops, or a Kate Spade tote, but don’t have the budget for department store prices, then Urban Exchange is the place for you! Top-notch customer service, an exciting variety of hard-to-find designers, and fabulous prices on every little thing your closet craves; if you are a treasure hunter, this is Boise’s best place to hunt!
Your StyleSpyGirrl stopped by Urban Exchange recently for a little shopping reconnaissance. I was thrilled to find Dolce & Gabbana jeans (normal price range: $300-750) with the tags still attached. The Urban Exchange price: $89.99! And that Gwen Stefani for Lesportsac tote, the one you can’t get on ebay for less than $300? Try $119.99 at Urban Exchange!
I put together a few outfits to show you what great deals this store has to offer. (Click on the pic to view larger image.)
From left, Total Price, Outfit #1: $28.95, including jewelry & shoes. Add the Gwen Stefani tote for $119.99, to total $148.94!
Total Price, Outfit #2: $102.95, which includes a brand NEW pair of True Religion white jeans!
Total Price, Outfit#3: $117.94, including a Kathy Van Zeeland purse, Born sandals, and NEW tie-up Miss Me cargo pants!
Total Price, Outfit #4: $242.90. These are NEW Dolce & Gabanna jeans, along with a Marc Ecko tote & Colin Stuart shoes.
Total Price,Outfit #5: $95.16, $69.99 of which is the comfy, classy Born boots that I just have to put on layaway!
Total Price, Outfit #6: $51.94, including matching necklace & earrings, Kenzie sandals, Kenneth Cole purse, & Hollister top!
Outfit #4, if purchased new in a department store, would run over $1,000! The Urban Exchange price is barely a quarter of that price (not including airfare to your nearest Nordstrom to find D&G jeans!)
Summer is finally here, so fold up yesterday’s purchases, bring them down to Urban Exchange for cash or store credit, and begin your exciting new treasure hunt!
Upcoming Event: On the evening of June 10th, Urban Exchange will be hosting a special summer shopping event! Stop by for champagne, special deals, and a short presentation by your’s truly 🙂 on how to update your wardrobe for style, body shape, and budget! I will station myself by the dressing rooms after the presentation, to offer help, feedback, & encouragement as you shop! Local musical artist Naomi Psalm(see link to the right) will be there as well, performing songs from her latest album; join us for an evening of shopping, music, & fun! Email me for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Urban Exchange at email@example.com.