A growing number of consumers worldwide are becoming more conscious of which businesses they spend their money with.
Whether it’s with a Black owned business, an eco-friendly business, or a business that creates jobs in developing countries, consumers want to create positive change by supporting brands that know how to “act right”.
This practice is commonly referred to as conscious consumerism, social consumerism, or ethical consumerism.
Ninety percent of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.
Forty-two percent of North American consumers reported they would pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
One third of U.K. consumers claim to be very concerned about issues regarding the origin of products.
One organization that is committed to the creation of jobs, ethical products, and profits is The Ethical Fashion Initiative. Through their network, fashion brands can manufacture ethical fashion items produced by some of the most talented artisans in the world.
According to the EEFI, “Artisans are the key to a fashion industry that has ethics and aesthetics. Sweatshops and workers trapped in an endless cycle of creating cheap fast-fashion is not true fashion.”
“If you’re looking for innovative ways to help developing countries flourish, artisans are a terrific place to begin,” stated U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Although the artisan industry is not recognized as a major influencer on economic growth, artisan activity is the second largest employer in the developing world, only behind agriculture.
Globally, artisan production is a $34 billion industry. Even during the 2008 economic crisis, when most markets fell, the demand for artisan crafts continued to grow. Supporting these craftsmen and craftswomen is a proven way to create employment opportunities and pull families out of poverty.
Our support also provides them with the means to educate and feed their children. It can revive entire communities by stabilizing local economies.
There are several Black owned businesses that use artisans to create dope products. Here are a few that are based across East Africa, West Africa, the U.S. and the U.K.
Black owned ethical fashion brands
Brother Vellies is based in Brooklyn. Aurora James created the brand with the goal of creating artisanal jobs within Africa while introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear.
Sole rebels was created by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. This is a sustainable footwear company that offers ethical, eco-friendly & vegan shoes handcrafted by Ethiopian artisans.
FOMI was created by Afomia Tesfayeo. They offer handbags and shoes that are handcrafted in Ethiopia.
A A K S is a Ghana and U.K. based brand created by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. The pieces incorporate the use of raffia and leather to create bags hand crafted by the best artisanal local weavers in Ghana.
Coins were used as jewelry in ancient times. They were passed from generation to generation as a special memory from loved ones. The Coins Shop is a family-owned business in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Sindiso Khumalo founded her fashion label with a focus on creating modern sustainable textiles. Sustainability, craft and empowerment lie at the heart of the label.
Alafﬁa’s goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality. Their Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, Eyeglasses and Reforestation.
Lemlem offers hand-woven cotton scarves, women’s clothing and children’s dresses made by traditional artisans in Ethiopia.
Kenya-based Adèle Dejak creates handmade luxury fashion accessories for the modern woman.
Adèle’s collection expresses her appreciation for African-made fabrics and a dedication to using recycled materials including rice and cement sacks, brass, and glass.