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Festive Home 101: Save the World + Illuminate your Space

March 14, 2013

We all want to save the world, but let’s face it: in our own small worlds, sometimes choosing  a job interview outfit can feel more perilous than that awful thing you just saw on the news. Luckily there are people dedicated to helping you make a difference with an action as seemingly insignificant than buying coasters or a new purse.

Design With Benefits has created a new platform to shop ethical products that give back to the communities they’re sourced from. They offer a curated selection of products for the consumer who wants to shop sustainably without having to sacrifice style or practicality.

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Products like original artwork by a real live elephant (I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love that as a gift, and I am officially accepting these for all upcoming me-oriented celebrations) are sold with proceeds funneled into elephant sanctuaries where the often abused, rescued animals are cared for.

You can also buy tote bags made by ex-gang members, earrings made from the copper sheets of a Frank Lloyd Wright house whose sales provide housing for the homeless, and other items that provide tangible solutions to issues ’round the globe.

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Imagine accenting your favorite room with a beautiful piece of work that makes you smile every time you come grumbling home from a long day, knowing your purchase made a little difference.

Imagine the smiling face of the elephant who is happily stomping around his new, safe home thanks to you buying his original masterpiece. How awesome would that feel? Happy elephants, I repeat!

original elephant painting

Above, adorable elephant masterpiece. Below, a tote bag made by an ex-gang member.

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I asked founder Tania Garbe how this site challenges traditional fast fashion and generic commerce, and how we can encourage the current and next generation of consumers to shop sustainably and responsibly. She responded as follows:

Design With Benefits challenges traditional fast fashion and uninspired e-commerce by highlighting artists, designers and artisans first. Customers should know the story behind how a product is made, and the values behind the company making them, not just the dimensions, features, and the product options available.

It’s no longer good enough to sell a product that is only beautiful or functional. People want products that matter, that do good, and that have a compelling story behind them. I believe that this story behind products is what makes them interesting, and on DWB, we’ve made that story central to the shopping experience. A fun part about our site is that you can even shop by benefit—for example, environment, equity, or education—choosing to filter products by the kind of good that they are doing.

By only featuring products that make a social impact, and telling a compelling story of those benefits, we hope that we can inspire consumers to shop ethically and without sacrificing great design. People can feel good about making a meaningful difference through their everyday purchasing decisions, and we want to make that process easy and fun.”

So there you have it, violets. Knowing you can make purchases that make a difference brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘retail therapy’.

Shop the home section for more interior treasures that will make a difference in the world, and add some serious festivity to your living space. Check out the entire collection of products here.

P.S. Just a reminder about the Junk Food event at Bloomies tonight if you’re in NYC…

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