Social Startups

Five Designer Brands That Are Helping Women Rise

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, March 8th, we’ll like to highlight  five brands that are using the power of commerce  and design to uplift marginalized women.

They are doing this by bringing beautifully crafted, one of a kind products to the  global markets, handmade by female artisans from the developing world.  These brands are using trade instead of aid to help women beat  poverty.

31 Bits: A jewelry company that works with women artisans from Northern Uganda. The female artisans handicraft  the jewelry  using 100% recycled paper and other locally sourced materials. The California-based  31 Bits, has created a buzz around their jewelry collection, with Jessica Alba and few other celebrities being spotted wearing their stunningly beautiful pieces.

Bliss: Works with adolescents girls and women from Pakistan, teaching them embroidery and needlework on fabric, which are then finished into stylish  handbags for sale in global markets. Available in vibrant colors and hues, Bliss bags boasts of traditional embroidery and design from different regions of Pakistan, which the girls in the program design and create themselves.

 Invisible Children: You may have heard of Invisible Children from their famous Kony 2012 video, the most viral video of all time, with over 94 million views on YouTube. Besides creating awareness about the atrocities of LRA in East and Central Africa, Invisible Children also has a rad line of merchandise , under the label MEND. Their products are handcrafted by women artisans from northern Uganda  who were affected by the LRA conflict.                                                                     

Krochet Kids: Is using crochet to help women in Uganda and Peru rise above poverty. They work with women artisans in these two countries, teaching them crochet and then selling their beautiful handmade products  – beanies, scarves and other accessories in the U.S. They are particularly famous for their beanies, available in bright colors and designs.

Raven + Lily: Their collection feature exclusive handmade and eco-friendly jewelry and accessories from North India, Cambodia, and Ethiopia. Raven + Lily’s designers create original, high-end looks and work directly with the women artisans to complete each piece. Their work is enabling HIV positive, formerly trafficked and other marginalized women in these countries.

On this International Day for Women, we salute the above mentioned organizations for collaborating with marginalized women – creating fairly paid jobs, boosting incomes  and providing  avenues for growth to them and their families.

To discover more such brands, visit EthFolk‘s collection, Handmade by Women.

Filed under: Social Startups


Deepa Chaudhary

I have extensively worked at grass-roots from working in the slums of Mumbai to being on the frontline of numerous disaster relief efforts. I'm passionate about social entrepreneurship and I love discovering and writing about new trends in the social good space.