Give these gifts that also give back
Buy a bag and help Khmer artisans; a jewelry purchase brings clean water to families in El Salvador; and a little vase takes on cancer.
Pacific NW associate editor
"ROMPER, BOMPER, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play?"
Today's wit and wisdom is brought to you by that televised childhood teach-o-rama "Romper Room" (1953-1994). We will zero in on one Mr. Do-Bee. The show's oversized bumble bee who taught us children proper deportment. Grown and now properly deported, Goddess suggests that we "do be" do-gooders as best we can.
This week: Products whose proprietors give back.
Bag 'em, Danno
Usually, Mr. Dan Flickinger is busy running Seattle's Kasala empire (furniture, cool gifts, home whatnots). But sometimes Dan goes on vacation. In 2008 he went to Cambodia, Takeo Province. Hub of ikat weaving. One year later? A new company, Basik 855 (Cambodia's telephone country code. Get it?). High-quality fashion bags, wallets, clutches, cases made of handwoven cotton ikat fabric by adult Khmer artisans.
Many skilled artisans there but also much poverty. Basik wants to stimulate a renaissance of Cambodian ikat: good for the market and great for the makers (free medical care, too). Basik's weaving center is in Cheu Teal Village. About 46 Khmer artisans work there (more employees than at Kasala!). Tying, dyeing, spinning, weaving traditionally and by hand. Basik works with a Khmer master designer to develop new patterns modern and bold.
What's in it for Dan? "Trying to change lives," he says.
New products all the time (napkins, scarves). Prices $35 to $95. We present city tote Arrow ($95) and travel clutch Boulder ($49). Fall (called Highlands) and holiday (Bash) lines at www.basik855.com.
Bling here, water there
Heather Downes likes to pamper customers who buy her Heather Downes Jewelry with quality, kindness and cheerful packaging. With the profits, she helps others get clean drinking water.
For the past few years, Downes, also an optician, has set off for weeklong clinics to help those in rural El Salvador without routine access to health care. It was there she found that many of her eye patients also did not have clean drinking water and could not afford the $60 filtration system.
To serve the women around her and those in the global community, $3 from each piece of jewelry goes for water filters for families in El Salvador through PeaceHealth's PazSalud El Salvador Health Mission.
Find out more and see lines at heatherdownesjewelry.com. Prices: $30 to $120.
The little vase that could
Riddle: What's 4 inches tall, handmade from Washington clay and comes in a rainbow of colors? Give up?
A Little Shirley, that's what.
Little Shirleys (named after founder Lauren Burman's grandma) are the vase equivalent of glassybabys (one product/colors galore). Which, by the way, is another Seattle charity-kickbacker with more than $900,000 from sales given for causes of health, healing and quality of life since 2003. But we digress. Little Shirleys, from Lauren's company Material Good, are new to the market. And $2 from each $20 vase is headed for groups working to cure cancer or create awareness.
This time of year: hostess gift, table decoration, great for the uh-oh-I-forgot-to-get-you-a-gift stash. (If you don't have one you should, cuz I got you something.)