Winter 2017
Products with Purpose By Sam Ujvary

Companies make an impact at home and abroad

Pebble ChildSamantha Morshed, founder
Company Mission: “Helping women out of poverty and putting smiles on faces worldwide.”

How do your products serve the mission? “Disadvantaged women from rural villages of Bangladesh are happy to make Pebble products as they can earn and carry their family expenses. On the other hand, moms around the world are happy to give nice and fabulous toys to their children and the children are happy to get colorful toys from their mom. So Pebble toys are really putting smiles on faces worldwide in the whole supply chain.”

Plans for the future: “Diversification of product for long term sustainability through ensuring 100 percent fair trade practice.”

How can retailers get involved? “Buy stocking Pebble products and sharing the story. And everyone can be involved by buying fair trade where they can.”


Sunshine Nut CompanyDon Larson, founder and CEO

Company Mission: “We believe world-class food products made in third world countries can be a catalyst to lasting economic transformation among the poorest and most vulnerable.”

How do your products serve the mission? “Sunshine Nut Company is operated under the philosophy of the Sunshine Approach business model. The Sunshine Approach business model I developed creates markets for smallholder farmers, employs young men and women who were abandoned and orphaned in their youth, gives dignity through the value chain all the way down to the farmer, pairs up the widowed and orphaned into family units, and gives back our profits to help the poorest of the poor.”

Plans for the future: “Our goals are to help the least fortunate in this world have better lives. In that regard, we will continue to grow our food company’s profitably to help that goal.”

How can retailers get involved? “In less than two years, we have gained access to most food distributors and many major retailers. We are now in over 2,500 of the United States’ best retail stores. More and more retailers are getting involved with programs to help us achieve our mission of helping to bring hope, opportunity and transformation to the poor and orphaned of Mozambique. Retailers can first get involved by selling our product in their stores. Every flavorful bag of our cashews that people buy helps us to achieve our mission.”


Denik | Brett Reynolds, brand manager

Company Mission: “The idea for the Denik brand began with a few college kids at Utah State University in 2011. They were tired of being told that they’d never amount to anything by pursuing art careers. In response, they started selling artist designed notebooks, made in the U.S., with a global charitable contribution. The vision has since blossomed from a grassroots street team of book-slinging artists, to an artsy, eclectic bunch of business professionals.”

How do the products serve the mission? “Art has a unique way of bringing people together, and the goal is to use that unity to help those who are lacking the basic services and rights that we take for granted. We gather artists from across the globe and put their work on notebooks, journals, and sketchbooks. Then, with every product sold, 5 percent of all profits are given directly to the designated schools, and an additional 5 percent is sent to the contributing artists.

The school in Mali is currently teaching 120 students during the day and night classes for adults. The school in Guatemala, delayed by local government, will begin construction in early 2017. In August, the Denik team broke ground on a third school in Mok Chong, Laos. With the partnership of American Apparel and their customers, this five-classroom school will be fully funded during the holidays this year.”

Plans for the future: “Denik plans to rapidly expand and grow to help build more schools. Currently, just over 55 percent of the funds have been raised for the new school in Laos. Denik is set to fund the school by the end of the year. Next year our goal is to build five more schools in various underprivileged countries.”

How can retailers get involved? “Every week brings increased excitement as more people discover how Denik and its partners are promoting the idea that art can change the world. It isn’t just an idea, but a movement that has caught fire across corporate America. Retailers that are interested in joining the movement can get involved by collaborating with us about producing co-branded notebooks or accepting product for special events and giveaways.”


Bears for HumanityVijvay Prathap, Chief Giver

Company Mission: “The Bears for Humanity Mission is to provide a sustainable way to give our bears to children in need. For every bear sold, we donate a bear to a needy child through our wide network of giving partners. Whether it’s to children with a life-threatening illness, an underprivileged home, or a needy veteran’s family, our bears end up just where we want them: with someone who could use a smile.

Bears for Humanity is trailblazing the social e-commerce space by committing our for-profit efforts to helping our community and sustain the earth. From farm to fulfillment, our plush toys are made using only 100 percent GOTS Certified Organic materials and Global Fair Trade practices, while employing at-risk women from Welfare-to-Work programs right here in the United States.”

How do your products serve the mission? “We manufacture 100 percent GOTS (global organic textile standard) Certified Organic toys and gifts. We are the only company that is Fair Trade Global certified — entire supply chain. We create jobs for women and at-risk mothers from welfare to work program in the U.S. who hand stuff and sew the toys and gifts for children of all ages. When you buy one we give one to child in need. By the end of 2016, we expect to give our total of one million in retail sales of teddy bears to children in need.”

Plans for the future: “(To create) GOTS certified Organic, chemical, pesticide and heavy metal free Children clothing, and smart toys with learning capabilities for children.”

How can retailers get involved? “Become a Bears For Humanity retailer. Reach out us and drop us a note. When you buy $500 or more at wholesale, you can choose a local charity of your choice for the BOGO.”


Tuli Megan Kitt, founder

Company Mission: “Tuli fights poverty by creating sustainable, fair-waged jobs in Uganda. We sell products that are handmade by women in Uganda who, prior to working with us, were living in poverty. Through their work with Tuli, our artisans are able to feed their families, educate their children, save for the future, and rise out of poverty. We believe that economic development is the key to ending poverty for good, so we focus on providing reliable and livable incomes to each woman we work with.”

How do your products serve the mission? “Our products are handmade in Uganda, and every product puts money directly into the hands of the woman who made it. Tuli products create steady, livable incomes for women in Uganda who otherwise would not have access to an income, allowing them to provide for their short- and long-term needs.”

Plans for the future: “We plan to expand our product line so that we can reach more consumers and, in doing so, create work for more women. Right now, we are working to expand into hand-cut bronze jewelry. As Tuli grows, we also plan to expand into more avenues for fighting poverty with a focus on sustainability, such as providing college scholarships for promising students or seed money for entrepreneurs with solid business ideas.”

How can retailers get involved? “Retailers play a key role in expanding Tuli’s mission by helping us reach more consumers. We offer competitive wholesale rates with low order minimums, and we give every retailer informational flyers about Tuli and its mission to use or display as they see fit. We also partner with retailers to host pop-up shops and special events around the U.S.”


BraveHoodsAllison Yacht, executive director

Company Mission: We make fashionable, super comfortable hooded apparel with empowering, positive messages. For each BraveHood we sell, we will donate one to a brave kid who is going through cancer treatment.

How do your products serve the mission? Our BraveHoods offer comfort and hope to kids and families going through treatment. We also give to siblings because we know they are affected as well. BraveHoods make a perfect gift for those just diagnosed with cancer and for those that need a little inspiration.

Plans for the future? We will continue to sell and distribute BraveHoods until kids are no longer diagnosed with cancer.

How can retailers get involved? We are working to get our message out to people all over the country. Our shirts are an easy, feel good way to tell someone you are thinking of them. And, for each BraveHood bought, one is given away, making the BraveHoods more than just a shirt.


Sammy Soap | Beth Forsee and Karen Copeland, managing members


Company Mission: “Sammysoap is a job creation machine for adults with intellectual disabilities disguised as the world’s best soap company. We are not a not-for-profit, on purpose. We manage to the strengths of our employees to make the best soap around. We exist in support of human health, a clean planet and disability wage equality.”

How do your products serve the mission? “We’re a factory. We make all the products here in our St. Louis factory, and our mission team is helping in the factory. They’re wrapping soap and making the product.”

Plans for the future: “We are proponents of all-natural skincare products, so we would love to see our stuff sweep the nation. We’re only two years old, and we feel like we’ve done a lot (since the beginning). We started wholesale in January, so we’ve been to market three times, and we’re expanding our product line as well.”

How can retailers get involved? “By purchasing our products, they’re supporting the mission. If they wanted, they could follow the train and choose to employ intellectually disabled adults in the same manner (that’s an option). Retailers can be more conscious of the marketing data. If you’re not offering a no-artificial-anything product, you’re leaving a lot of business on the table. If you’d like to see change in the world, you can support those companies who are ethically in line with your own values and principles. For instance, there are a lot of sheltered workshops out in the world doing an old-fashioned paradigm relative to disability employment, and we consider ourselves sort of a new generation of (that).”



Sam Ujvary

Sam is the managing editor of Gift Shop Pets, Museums & More and Party & Halloween Retailer, and is a contributing editor for Gift Shop Magazine. She has a copywriting background and has been in publishing for six years.

Social Connections

Gift Shop Plus Summer 2024
Get one year of Gift Shop Plus in both print and digital editions for just $16.

Interested in reading the print edition of Gift Shop Plus?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs