One of the best things about living in the Greater DC area is the opportunity to be a part of a place where philanthropy is so widely practiced. I don’t think I know anyone who is not involved in some type of charitable work.
The movement for us all to become more philanthropic through our businesses and not just our personal lives has touched us here in the stores as well. Beyond the typical donations to auctions and events, The Old Town Boutique District does two days a year called Boutiques Give Back, where a portion of sales is given to customers’ choice of charity.
But now it goes beyond the walls of our stores, and is happening with the lines that we carry. I guess it all started with TOMS, the sneaker line. They took giving to a new level with their “One for One” initiative. It started with shoes, then bags, and now they have expanded their offerings to coffee and eye glasses to support various causes around the world.
This year when I went to market at the gift show in New York, there was an entire section called Handmade Global Design where all the vendors were working to help the communities where their products are made.
Two of the lines and women that stuck out to me were Eszter Rabin from Sidai Designs in Tanzania and Teta Isibo from Inzuki Designs in Rwanda. Both women were stunning, represented beautiful jewelry, and created their businesses with a purpose.
Sidai helps the women of the underserved Maasai communities. These artists are encouraged to be creative and use self-expression to help build their self-esteem. The work is not just helping the individuals, it is helping change a community with jobs that not only can help them pay for basic needs but also medical care and education.
Since 2010, Inzuki has expanded from one group with five artisan women to eight groups totaling 86 women. Their goal is to use craftsmanship to empower women with jobs and be part of a bigger movement in Rwanda to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs.
Both companies are trying to create long-term solutions to poverty. And we are thrilled to carry their work at The Shoe Hive.
I hope you will come in and see these great new jewelry lines at The Shoe Hive. You’ll take home something beautiful and make the world a better place at the same time.