If Objects Could Talk: Exploring The Impact Behind Our Products

by Gelaine Santiago March 01, 2016

If Objects Could Talk: Exploring The Impact Behind Our Products

One of our goals this year was to re-launch our website and introduce a new look - one that was more visual, user friendly, and better showcased the story of our products and their positive impact. We're so happy to announce that it’s here!

One of the new website features that we’re most excited about is our IMPACT icons. Most people already know that our products are handmade and ethically sourced, but they don’t realize that each product actually has its own unique story and additional social impact. So, we’ve introduced a new way to help you understand right away how a product makes the world a better place.

When you click on a product to learn more, here’s what you’ll see:

Screenshot of Cambio Market product page
When you click on a product, now you can easily see its social impact. Hover or click on an IMPACT icon to learn more.

So, what is the impact of our products? We’ve broken them down into seven categories:Impact icons for Cambio Market

Handmade

When you see this icon, it means that the product you’re looking at has been lovingly handcrafted from start to finish. In the world of fast fashion and McDonald’s consumerism, going handmade is an ode to simpler times and a slower lifestyle. It also means showing appreciation for our artisans’ work and telling their stories. The key is quality, not quantity. You deserve better than mass produced and generic goods, don’t you agree?

Every item in our shop is handmade, but our partners that does it best is PURPOSE Jewelry. Each unique piece is handmade by a survivor of sex trafficking rescued in Mumbai, India and all jewelry is prepared, packaged, and shipped by survivors rescued in Orange County, California. In fact, when you order a Purpose piece, it comes hand signed by the woman who made it.

Purpose Jewelry

Fair Trade

You believe in trade without exploitation and so do we. This Fair Trade icon indicates that all people involved in making an item were paid fair wages and provided safe, healthy work conditions.

All of our partners are committed to ethical business practices, but Krochet Kids is an especially strong example of a company committed to fair trade. They work with vulnerable women in Northern Uganda and Peru to give them jobs at above-minimum wages, and even provide mentorship and education programs. By purchasing a Krochet Kids item, you help provide a woman with a steady income, quality education, and skills she needs to support her family and send her children to school.

Krochet Kids

Earth Friendly

All of our partners are committed to sustainable practices and doing the Earth good. But when a product has this icon, it means that this item goes the extra mile. It uses upcycled, recycled, and/or repurposed materials that minimize waste and focus on sustainability.

Olivia & Diego - Creation of products

For example, our popular Olivia & Diego jewelry pieces are made from old cotton T-shirts and clothing that have been upcycled into jewelry. The process of transforming used clothing is slow and time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Clothing waste is a huge problem and tons of it wind up in landfills each year, so every purchase of Olivia & Diego does the Earth a favour and reduces clothing waste.

Vegan

This icon indicates that the item was made using cruelty-free materials and processes. You can be rest assured that no animal or animal by-products were used to make this product, and no animal testing was done with any of the materials.

We’re working on growing our collection of vegan products. At the moment, our partner Ezzy Lynn is leading the way with their handmade, vegan hair scrunchies. Each scrunchie is made from vegan textiles sourced locally in Ontario and every purchase helps symbolically adopt an endangered animal from World Wildlife Fund Canada. Vegan-made and helps conserve wildlife? Talk about double whammy impact.

Ezzy Lynn Scrunchies

Local

Supporting local businesses is important, especially when they’re ethical businesses that are trying to change things for the better. Since we are based in Toronto, when you see a “Local” icon, it means that the item was made within Canada and supports our local economy and communities. It also bring the benefit of reducing transport for those items to reach us, which is another plus for the environment.

We have a couple of local partners at Cambio Market. One of them is Inspirations Studio, creator of our ethical pottery pieces. Inspirations Studio is based in Toronto and works with women who have been impacted by poverty, homelessness, trauma, and mental health issues. When you purchase a piece of pottery, you help support the woman who made it and facilitate her journey to recovery and self-empowerment.

Inspirations Studio

Livelihood

This icon indicates that the product was made by individuals from vulnerable communities and aims to lift people out of poverty. It goes a step beyond fair trade and actually equips people with the skills and experiences they need to become empowered individuals.

For example, our bestselling Good Paper Cards are handmade and fair trade, but they go one step further by employing former victims of sex trafficking in the Philippines. Many of these women have little/no education or work experience, so Good Paper (in partnership with The Paper Project in Philippines) provides the women with job skills training and education programs. Although several women do stay with them as long-term card makers, The Paper Project is also perfectly happy if the women find opportunities elsewhere following their employment. We were thoroughly impressed with their work and had the opportunity to meet some of the women during our visit to Philippines earlier this year.

Good Paper Cards Creation

Artisan

The term artisan can mean a lot of things. When we use the word artisan at Cambio Market, we’re referring to products that are made by skilled individuals or craftspeople. The artisan icon on a product means that this item helps to preserve a traditional culture and/or craft that is at risk.

Our latest partners AKABA and VESTI both work with indigenous weaving communities in the Philippines to produce their bags and purses. For these communities, weaving is an art that is passed down from generation to generation. In recent years, however, high unemployment and poverty in these villages has led more and more people (especially the younger generations) to migrate to the cities in search of jobs rather than staying with their families and keeping the tradition of weaving alive. Social enterprises like AKABA and VESTI aim to change this by helping these people turn their craft into a source of livelihood, which can help preserve their culture.Vesti bags

So, there you have it! Is there anything we missed or do you have any questions about our impact or products? Let us know! And get in touch with us if you have any feedback about our redesign!

 





Gelaine Santiago
Gelaine Santiago

Author

Gelaine is co-founder of Cambio Market – an online shop for handcrafted, ethical products that give back. She's also co-founder of ChooseSocial.PH – the go-to resource to learn about the social enterprise scene in the Philippines. She's pretty nerdy and loves to talk about all things social enterprises, careers, entrepreneurship, travel, start-ups, and (of course) food.


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