Although I’m not big on holiday commercialism, I am inspired by non-profits / NGOs and social enterprises that facilitate economic empowerment. Since people are out shopping this time of year, I thought I would share a few places that sell cool stuff while helping communities. And, even better, I visited three of the shops during my recent trip around the world.


Rajana artists turn an ugly memory into beautiful jewelry. You can purchase bracelets, necklaces, and earrings made from bombshell casings. I am crazy about the Khmer pattern flower earrings I got and wear them often. The store also carries scarves, pillows, stationary, clothing, and home décor. And, the prices are very affordable.
Shop at Rajana
Read about our visit to Cambodia >


I loved so many things in this shop that it was hard to decide what to buy. The jewelry, handbags, wallets, and key chains are made from local materials (palm leaves, gorgeous traditional fabrics, and mother of pearl). The workshop is inside the store, so we got to see work in progress. We also met the founder, Julie Lawrence, which was really cool.
Shop at Fahari
Read about our visit to Zanzibar >

Centro de textiles Tradicionales de Cusco

There are tons of places to buy textiles in Cusco – tons! But this non-profit museum preserves history and helps weavers in several communities. We learned about the traditional uses of the brightly colored ceremonial and every day textiles. The shop has beautiful, high quality items purses and garments.
Shop at Centro de textiles Tradicionales de Cusco
Read about our visit to Peru >


Although I didn’t visit Strawbags in Uganda, I did visit other women’s groups that make handcrafts. The Super Shopper bags look perfect for grocery shopping or a picnic.
Shop at Strawbags
Read about our visit to Uganda >


Globein is a fairly new online marketplace for artists around the world. It is more than just an ecommerce platform – they have a great concept whereby tech savvy travelers recommend artists and help set them up on the site. You can find all kinds of items from many countries around the world.
Shop at Globein

What did you buy?

If you shopped at any of these stores, please leave a comment and tell us what you bought.

Do you have any favorite feel-good shops? If yes, please leave a comment and share a link.