Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.
UncommonGoods is an online retailer that endeavors to feature unique designs and handcrafted products to a broad audience. They are a B Corp that combines the treasures of a specialty boutique, the great ﬁnds of a craft show, and discoveries from a faraway bazaar. The unique designs and handcrafted gifts they feature are “created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people.”
It all started in 1999, when UncommonGoods founder Dave Bolotsky visited a Smithsonian Museum craft show in Washington D.C. He was captivated by the variety of unique handmade goods and the talented people behind them. He saw there was a significant public demand for beautiful design. At the same time, he realized that the artists working to make those pieces were often traveling great distances in order to sell their wares at the show.
Inspired by his experience, Dave had a vision to create something that had never existed before—an online marketplace to connect makers and their creations with individuals looking for truly special goods, regardless of the physical distance between the maker and the shopper.
Fair warning. As I wrote this post, I found myself clicking relentlessly on the UncommonGoods website. They’ve got fun products, like kinetic sand, this retro talk dock for your smart phone, neon dinosaur planters and mixtape glasses. They have everything from home goods to jewelry.
As an independently-owned business, UncommonGoods also has the freedom to support the causes they believe in and to impact the world in a positive way. This is where their Better to Give program comes in. While they already support makers and artists by showcasing and selling their products, UncommonGoods also donates $1 to the charity of its customers’ choice with every purchase. So, you shop for awesome stuff, pick a charity when you checkout and then they donate to charity.
The four nonprofits that UncommonGoods currently supports were chosen by its employees. As Kara Fillion, UncommonGoods Sustainability Manager explained, “Each Better to Give partner represents a part of our company in its own way. City Harvest is a local NYC nonprofit organization and since we are a Brooklyn based company, we felt we should choose a partner that supported our local community. Women for Women International supports a large women artist community just like we do (over 50% of our products are made by independent artists and designers). RAINN is a very well-known and respected organization and we felt that our target audience would really support their initiatives. Lastly, we took on American Forests as a partner because they represent our environmental consciousness (30% of our products are made of recycled materials).”
Since the Better to Give program was started 12 years ago, UncommonGoods has donated over $700,000.
The best part about this Philanthropy Friday post is that UncommonGoods is donating $50 to the Better to Give charity of my choice. I chose Women for Women International.
Which charity will you support with your UncommonGoods purchase?
This article was also published on pplkind