Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Fair Trade Gifts for Your Valentine, All Heart Shaped!

Last year I prepared a gift guide for Valentine's Day and it was one of my most read blog posts.  Several items I highlighted last year are no longer available. It seemed fitting to prepare an update for 2020. Please support Dunitz & Company and my Fair Trade Federation colleagues. We all work tirelessly to support and sustain artisans in far away places. And after we work to support them, we also have some of our own bills to pay.

Check out my twelve fun and affordable heart-shaped ideas that might be perfect for your special someone.

1. Love Hearts - Global Gifts offers Kenyan handcrafted soapstone hearts which make perfect paperweights and are designed by Venture Imports. I've worked with both of these companies for so many years, I can vouch for all the good they do. Highly recommended. $7.00

2. Heart Shaped Spoon - Is there a special cook in your life? Why not surprise them with a fair trade heart shaped spoon from Fair Trade Decor? Crafted in Kenya of olive wood. Two would be perfect in an salad bowl! $22.00

3. Crystal Heart Earrings - These are offered by Dunitz & Company (that's me!). A vintage design for the ages, handcrafted by women in Guatemala with Czech glass beads. Small and super cute. $12.00

4. Sweetheart Necklace - Perhaps this lovely rose-gold colored necklace will dazzle your honey. You'll find this necklace available from Humankind Fair Trade and designed by Starfish Project, both Fair Trade Federation members. Survivors of human trafficking create this beautiful design. $37.00 

5. Heart Mango Wood Pivot Box - Inspired by traditional Indian spice boxes, these hearts are sure to please. Offered by Zee Bee Market and designed by Matr Boomie, both Fair Trade Federation member companies. I think these are perfect for special someone who always likes the look and feel of antiques. $28.00

6.  Heart Note Card - Say it with the written word. These beautiful handmade in Vietnam cards are offered by Fair Trade Winds and are designed by Quilling Card. Again both Fair Trade Federation members. $9.95

7. You Make My Heart Flutter Card - I always suggest sending handwritten notes. They fill me with joy when I receive one. (And one like this would certainly put a smile on my face!) This fun note card is available from Global Gifts. They're made from recycled waste...in Rwanda. $6.00


8. Felted Monkey with Heart in Hands - How could you pass up on this adorable little monkey handing out a heart? This adorable gift, made in Guatemala is offered by Mayan Hands. $10.00

9. Heart Shaped Note Pad - Got a special doodler in your life? They're sure to appreciate this heart shaped box and paper from Mr. Ellie Pooh. Yes, the famous elephant poo paper! This paper from Sri Lanka is made from recycled paper and elephant dung. $20.00

10. Hammered Heart Bracelets - Eternal Threads is selling these good-looking bracelets. You can't lose. They were $25.00 and now their 50% off. And the purchase of these helps to support orphans and other vulnerable children in Swaziland. Now $12.50 

11. Heart Horn Earrings - Isn't it always fun to wear a little bit of turquoise with your horn? Your Valentine is sure to love these earrings from Wanderlust Jewelry. They're made by artisans in Peru. $9.00

12. Paper Bead Heart Ornament - These beautiful ornaments are created in Uganda and are offered by Ornaments 4 Orphans. They're available in several colors and I can picture them hanging on ribbon in windows everywhere. Show some love with one of these. $15.00

So there you have it. Eleven great gift ideas for Valentine's Day. It amazes me that so many people think fair trade gifts are expensive. After checking out this list, I'm sure you'll agree that not only are these offerings from Fair Trade Federation members fabulously adorable, they're seriously affordable. Please check us all out. Your purchase will definitely make a difference for people and planet. I can vouch for my fair trade colleagues. We all care deeply about the people we work with. -ND

Monday, January 6, 2020

Golden Globe's Vibrant Fashions

One thing was confirmed for me last night as I watched the Golden Globes. Hollywood starlets have voted "bright" for Spring 2020. This confirmation of celebrity love for the vibrant puts a big smile on my face. Dunitz & Company will be offering all kinds fair trade fashion jewelry in bright and fun color combinations for the soon to be warmer weather.

Here are some of our favorite (colors) from last evening's festivities! Do I need to name all these famous faces? I don't think so. Besides, I wanna focus on the colors, not the women.

Dunitz & Company is prepared for you. We'll be introducing our latest designs this week at the wholesale shows in Los Angeles and New York.  When the warmer temperatures emerge, you'll find our fair trade jewelry in these bright and vibrant colors in museum stores and specialty shops all around the country. Did you know that Dunitz & Company has a store locator on both our wholesale and retail sites? No store near you? You can always peruse www.shopdunitz.com or visit Etsy. I'm still grinning. I salute the celebrity women who came out in such vibrant fashion last night. -ND

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Hooray for Classic Blue - 2020 Color of the Year

You've heard me time and time again say that blue has always been Dunitz & Company's best selling color. And dark deep ocean blue (aka Classic) has always been right up top. What was Pantone waiting for? I've been designing and offering fashion jewelry since 1990, and it's only this year that "Classic Blue" has been named "Color of the Year?"  I think it should be crowned Color of the Decade! Or perhaps the Century.

The fashion mags are already having a field day showing off how you can wear blue all year long. Did Pantone not know that we've already been wearing deep shades of blue all year long, every year? We didn't need prompting. My guess is, is instead of anointing colors like Living Coral (2019) or Ultra Violet (2018), they'd choose a color that was safe and stable for people during these somewhat turbulent times.You can interpret what I mean by turbulent. But, heck, Classic Blue is like eating meatloaf, it's comfort food all the way.

Vogue magazine editors jumped on the bandwagon quickly. It was the first post I read featuring clothing from the Spring 2020 runway shows featuring shades of classic blue. Of course, all of the well known designers had created their offerings long before Pantone announced their queen color. Like me, the likes of Gucci, Marni and Marc Jacobs always know the masses love dark rich shades of blue.

So, now I get to act really smart. Dunitz & Company will have lots of classic blue for Spring 2020. Our newest colors will launch next month at the wholesale gift shows. Dunitz will debut our latest designs in all of our new colors at the LA Mart Temporaries and NY NOW.  But here are a few advance teasers for you all.

Our glass jewelry is always a crowd-pleaser. And I proudly state that these wonderful color combinations that include peaceful, safe and comforting blue, were all created long before Pantone's announcement. Gosh we're smart!

Are you a fan of Dunitz & Company's beaded jewelry? I'm guessing you might be since you're reading our blog, and we've been offering seed bead jewelry for almost 3 decades. Yikes. Yes, THREE decades. Dunitz will offer several new color combos with the flair of blue. These two show off a dash of classic. Smirk. Smirk.

Can I stretch the story further? How about paintings for the millennium that sing of classic blue? The most famous paintings of all time for your ears. The Wave & Starry Night. These are some of our best sellers. For that reason, I'll take any opportunity to put them smack dab in front of your face. Perfect for museum shops, hipster boutiques and your ears!

So there you have it. Hip Hip Hooray for Classic Blue.  Dunitz & Company is all about this rich, safe, homey, comfortable color we just want to wrap our arms around.  Find it in a store near you this season. And of course, we hope your choice will be our fair trade jewelry! -ND

Monday, December 2, 2019

Fair Trade Your Hanukkah

Thinking Hannukah? Why not consider fair trade gifts for your loved ones or decorations for the holiday party you're hosting? I compiled this list last year and thought it would make sense to re-post it with updates. Since I originally wrote this post to support my Fair Trade Federation colleagues, I thought it important to delete those no longer part of our membership, and add some new ideas for your consideration. Keep reading...

I noticed a small uptick in our fair trade kippot sales. I'm sad that this may partially be motivated by the unthinkable massacre at Tree of  Life synagogue.  Those of us left behind to mourn and then worry about increasing antisemitism often choose to to wear our religion more proudly. One college student from Pittsburgh even wrote me and asked if I could offer a discount on one of our designs so she could (better afford to) stand in solidarity. (I did.) I've noticed several friends on social media proudly posting that they are once again wearing their childhood Star of David necklaces.

Heinous acts apparently motivate pride. And kindness. In the spirit of both, I thought I'd encourage everyone to support fair trade for Judaica purchases. Hanukkah coincides with Christmas this year, December 22-30. Why not make more of a difference?  Here are my 9 suggestions for fair trade Judaica gifts for you or your loved ones. Some are specific to Hanukkah. Some not. All are offered by verified Fair Trade Federation members.

1. CROCHET & BEADED KIPPOT - You know I had to mention Dunitz & Company and our fair trade kippot.  Most of our yarmulkes were designed with women in mind.  Yes, we have pieces perfect for men too. I suggest you browse the Dunitz site to find the perfect style and color for you. Our designs are crochet by hand, embroidered and then adorned with Czech glass beads. We've been working with artisans in Guatemala since 1989 and Dunitz & Company is a fair trade verified member of Fair Trade Federation.

2. CHOCOLATE CHANUKAH GELT  -  Last year I had the joy of discovering Divine Chocolate's fair trade certified Hanukkah gelt coins available on The Little Market's website. Growing up, chocolate coins were a tradition in my home. Now you can share and eat these guilt free! (Yes, they still have plenty of calories.) You also can feel good knowing cacao farmers were paid fairly and children were not enslaved to help with the harvest.

3. STAR OF DAVID PENDANT - Seeing friends of mine post recently about their childhood Star of David necklaces definitely had me searching for a fair trade option.  Partners for Just Trade offers this simple design that will undoubtedly make a perfect Chanukah gift for someone you know.  This pendant is made in Peru of sterling silver. And since Partners for Just trade are Fair Trade Federation members, that means this pendant is fair trade verified.

4. ORGANIC OLIVE OIL - Looking for the perfect hostess gift or something special for the cook in your family? For me, Hanukkah always conjures up thoughts of latkes and  fresh couscous. And for this, you need some premium olive oil. Serrv International (another Fair Trade Federation member) partners with Sindyanna of Galilee, a female-run organization that markets fair trade olive oil channeling all profits back to educating Arab women. Not only will you benefit from it's affordability, you're purchase makes a difference. Your purchase offers Arab farmers in Israel a fair price for their crops, Palestinian and Israeli women greater economic opportunity, and a rare model of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Learn more on their site.

5. HANDWOVEN CHALLAH COVER - I remember fondly making "French Toast" with my big sister during our childhood winter holidays. And in our house, it was always made with fresh challah bread. Yes.Yes. I know a challah cover is typically used on the shabbat table. But when I think of challah, I always think of Hanukkah time too.  So for this reason, I'm suggesting this beautiful handwoven challah cover with a brocade pattern from Mayan Hands as a lovely gift. I've been acquainted with the women behind Mayan Hands for many years, and I can personally attest to the great work they're doing and the difference they make in several Guatemalan communities. Mayan Hands is a member of Fair Trade Federation.

6. HAMSA BLESSING GARLAND - Will you be hosting a holiday party this year? Why not consider decorating with a updated traditional prayer flag banner from Nepal? Or take one to the party you'll be attending!  These fun adornments are composed of seven cotton flagsNot enough to stretch the length of your living room? Purchase 2. Offered by Global Gifts and Ten Thousand Villages, both Fair Trade Federation members. Click through to learn more about the symbolism behind these flags.

7. TREE OF LIFE MENORAH - Looking for a new menorah? Or perhaps you know a young couple in need of their first. Zee Bee Market offers this beautiful piece handcrafted in India. It's sturdy, affordable and made from aluminum.

8. MENORAH GREETING CARDS - New on the list this year! Looking for the perfect card to send with Hanukkah cheer? These cards created for Quilling Card in Vietnam are offered by Fair Trade Winds. These cards are so pretty, one might even frame them and decorate the mantel year after year.

9. FAIR TRADE COFFEE - & Finally, never ever forget the coffee. And always make your coffee fair trade. Twin Engine Coffee not only serves up some awesome beans from Nicaragua they wrap it up in some swell looking packaging. That makes for perfect gift giving. Support them this season, and take advantage of their free shipping offer for purchases over $25.  You know you and many of your loved ones will be drinking coffee. Fill your heart and mugs full, by supporting those that live by Fair Trade Federation's nine principles.

Dunitz & Company has been offering our fair trade kippot for several years. When I didn't think there was a market for fair trade yarmulkes, I was always encouraged by Ilana Schatz, who until recently served as the Executive Director of Fair Trade Judaica. Her tireless energy promoting fair trade to Jewish scholars and educators has helped build a demand for many items, including some mentioned in my list above. We all love beautiful things. Our world is a much better place when all of those beautiful things we choose to own are made by individuals who are paid fairly, treated with respect and work in safe environments.

My wish for all of you this holiday season is for peace, love and fair trade. -ND

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

17 Fair Trade Verified Gift Websites for Holiday Shopping

I originally wrote this post for the 2018 holiday season.  I wanted to share it again because these are such great gift resources. I've updated this list to include some fabulous new options. Unfortunately I had to delete those that are no longer verified members of Fair Trade Federation. Happy Holidays. Happy and Fair Shopping!

The holidays will soon be upon us and of course I hope you will purchase all of your fair trade jewelry and Judaica gifts from Dunitz & Company. If you're reading my blog, you are almost certainly interested in fair trade. Perhaps you're in the market for home goods, children's toys or aromatherapy? My Fair Trade Federation colleagues have you covered. Here's a list of 17 fabulous sites where you can almost certainly find a potpourri of amazing fair trade treasures for you and your loved ones.

In alphabetical order:

1. Awaken - I've been drooling over Awaken's hipster scarves and clothing. Their designs, handmade in Thailand are so cool. My guess is after checking them out, you might be purchasing gifts for you and your favorite gal pals at Awaken sometime soon.  www.awakenfairtrade.com

2. Dunitz & Company - Yes, that's my business and I've been working with artisans in Guatemala since 1990! Please check out our site to find incredible seed bead, embroidered and fused glass jewelry designs. We also have the most special kippot for women. Have you seen our laser cut jewelry? You might just need to own a pair of 'Starry Night' earrings. www.shopdunitz.com

3. Eternal Threads - I think you'll be really impressed with the wide selection of gifts from all over the globe offered by Eternal Threads. I am. (And this site is also offering some Dunitz fair trade jewelry this season.) From sophisticated to hippy, you'll find a lot of awesome gifts for your favorite friends and family. www.eternalthreads.org

4.  Fair Trade Winds - If you're not familiar with Fair Trade Winds, you should be. They have an amazing website offering so many wonderful fair trade items. They know retailing well since they own and manage several brick & mortar shops too. And since they've been my (wholesale) customer for several years, I can say with confidence that they are some of the nicest people I know. www.fairtradewinds.net

5. Freeset USA - I only recently learned about Freeset USA, even though they've been a member of Fair Trade Federation longer than Dunitz.  I'm so impressed with their long line of handbags, totes and duffels (made in India) which really have a great hip young vibe. They even offer fair trade T-shirts. I also found out that Freeset produces goods for other FTF members, private label. www.freesetusa.com 

6. HoonArts - New on my list and not to be missed. HoonArts works with artisans in Central Asia. Their luscious scarves from the Seven Sisters artists of Kyrgyzstan will make your heart race. And their hand-carved wooden combs from Tajikistan are so amazing, I couldn't resist. I purchased one recently. www.hoonarts.com

7. Kahiniwalla - Let's talk kids! Kahiniwalla offers the most amazing children's toys and accessories. I think you'll be hard pressed to find anything, anywhere available that is more precious that this collection crafted in Bangladesh. If you have tots on your gift list, you must take a look at this site. www.kahiniwalla.com

8. Maroma USA - This site is luscious. Maroma offers a very appealing collection of incense, luminaries, fragrance and body care, all handcrafted in India. They also have products tailored for men. www.maromausa.com 

9. Mayan Hands - I love supporting and encouraging others that work with artisans in Guatemala. I think Mayan Hands has been doing good in Guatemala for as long as I have. And that's a long time! You'll find some terrific Christmas ornaments on their site. For gifts, you must check out their pine needle baskets. They really are fabulous. www.mayanhands.org

10. Mehera Shaw - You'll have to search the Mehera Shaw site to discover all that they do. They've been working with artisans in Jaipur, India since 1999 and offer a wide selection of modern clothing and accessories. They even have Christmas stockings and ornaments for sale. www.meherashaw.com

11. Mr. Ellie Pooh - Looking for note cards, photo albums, journals or other paper products? Then you absolutely need to consider Mr.Ellie Pooh's adorable line-up. Fairly produced in Sri Lanka, Ellie's offerings are made from recycled paper which is 30% comprised of elephant dung. Seriously. Click to learn more. www.mrelliepooh.com 

12. Nativa - Nativa is all about fine Mexican clothing. If you know me, you know I'm crazy for beautiful embroidery work. I'm certain you'll also be drooling over this company's fine crafted blouses, dresses and children's wear. They even have yoga bags. www.nativashop.com 

13. One World Fair Trade - Looking for a wide range of gifts? One World's site might be the perfect one stop shop for you. I've been working with the One World team for many years and I can personally attest to their sophisticated and well designed choices. www.oneworldfairtrade.net 

14. Seeds To Sew - New on this list of fair trade suppliers is Seeds To Sew. You must check out their site. What I love the most are their affordable, environmentally conscious gift bags of every size. They are sewn by women in Africa from upcycled and donated fabrics. These women earn living wages and they are creating lovely packaging for all of us to use. Reduce your carbon footprint by supporting this group and what they do. www.seedstosew.org 

15. Shop With A Mission - It surprises me that I didn't know about this website until I started researching for this article. Heavenly Treasures/Shop With A Mission has been a Fair Trade Federation member since 2010 and their US offices are located in Southern California. (Gee, I've obviously been living in a bubble.) After checking out their site, I am marveled by their wide selection of fair trade gifts. You'll certainly find some great ideas here. www.shopwithamission.com 

16. Women's Peace Collection - The Women's Peace Collection is a social enterprise that helps women around the world by supporting their work and entrepreneurship. They currently offer jewelry, accessories (including some cold weather gloves that are super yummy), home decor and children's toys. Oh yes, and a few Dunitz designs, too! www.womenspeacecollection.com

17. Zee Bee Market - You'll love Zee Bee Market's website. It's so well designed and so easy to navigate with a wide assortment of fun gifts for just about everyone you know. And since they also operate two brick & mortar shops in Missouri, they have a great pulse on what customers want to find online. Click here to explore their site. www.zeebeemarket.com

So there you have it!  A perfect list of 17 fabulous retail fair trade websites where you can take care of all your gift purchasing needs.  You will find great gifts and if you have time, each one of these sites shares their unique stories. Stories of how they began working in fair trade. Stories of their artisans from varying countries. Stories of how fair trade makes a difference. And with the knowledge of how all these companies are making a difference, you will have a better understanding of how your purchases are also making a difference in so many lives.

Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry and Judaica is so proud to be part of the Fair Trade Federation family.  Our heart fills with joy because we are part of this important group of business people who care so much about human dignity and our planet. -ND