This post is sponsored by Catalyst Collections
How we spend our money matters. We can choose to support retail giants, small businesses in our community, or buy fair trade gifts that support women in other countries. Personally, I love shopping small and for fair trade goods whenever possible, so the money I spend supports families. Keep reading about how fair trade gifts support women and enter to win some items from Catalyst Collections!
As an award-winning philanthropist for my work in Haiti, I’ve witnessed the impact of fair trade products on entire communities. Fair trade goods ensure artisans receive a fair price for their work. A fair price means artisans receive wages to afford life’s essentials such as food and education. Fair trade products are a sustainable way to make a living. They also provide economic empowerment through meaningful work.
How Catalyst Collections Fair Trade Gifts Support Women
Catalyst Collections works to revive artisan capacity and entrepreneurship in Iraq and Haiti. Through social enterprise hubs, operated in Baghdad and Port-au-Prince, Catalyst Collections works with resilient and determined women.
Many women Catalyst Collection works with have faced a lifetime of struggle in countries where it’s hard to earn an income, let alone get ahead. The purchase of one a handcrafted product from Catalyst Collection gives one of these incredible women an income for themselves and their family.
With each purchase, you support a mother, daughter, wife, entrepreneur, sister, and artisan. 100% of the profit from your purchase is re-invested into the local enterprise hubs to support the continued development of local business and artisan skills.
Fair Trade Gifts from Haiti
I’ve collected gorgeous pieces made by soapstone and metalwork artisans that I’ve gotten to know from my numerous trips to Haiti. When I look at the Fanm Limye line, I can see the river in Leogane that serves as the source of the stones that become the riverstone tealights and taper candleholders. I hear the distinct tapping on metal oil drums as artisans in Leogane create each scratch and divot that become items such as the Hamsa Serving Tray, Hibiscus Garden Stakes, and Lam Veritab Bowls.
Fanm Limye is Haitian Creole for “Illuminated Women. Launched in Haiti in 2012, Fanm Limye promotes the economic empowerment of vulnerable Haitian women.
Through the years, Fanm Limye has grown into a network of small businesses that includes candle makers, metal workers, recyclers, and beekeepers. All work together to produce gorgeous fair trade products for your home. Products in this collection are handmade by artisans using upcycled materials sourced in Haiti. Here are a couple items from the Haitian Fanm Limye line that I absolutely love.
I am always captivated by the intricacies of Haitian metalwork. Having watched artisans make each cut, scratch, line, and dot by hand makes them even more special.
The luminary candle is made by Djoudline, a woman in Haiti who learned how to make candles and enjoys the people she works with on her team. She appreciates how they share their knowledge and skills to make high-quality products.
“The more women can find opportunity, the more hope we will have for Haiti.”
—Djoudline, Haitian Candle Maker
It was love at first sight when I saw the interlacing design of the Arabesque Luminaries. The cut-outs create for the candle glow to peek through when lit. It’s perfect to display on a mantle or in any room to create a soothing glow.
The Arabesque Luminary is of 100% beeswax hand poured into an upcycled rum bottle. The candle sits inside a metal luminary that used to be a metal oil barrel.
The item comes gift wrapped in a recycled Kraft pinstripe cardboard box with Fanm Limye’s logo and a story card providing information about our artisans and Prosperity Catalyst.
I usually love a good statement necklace, but the Lotus Earrings are the perfect accessory to dress up any LBD. These handcrafted earrings are made by Haitian metal workers from upcycled oil drums.
The lotus flower symbolizes purity of the body, speech and mind. They remind us even in difficult times there is beauty and grace in the world.
Fair Trade Gifts from Iraq
Looking through the items that are part of Catalyst Collections’ Akkadian Collection, instantly transported me to Turkey. The name Akkadian comes from Akkad, a city in Ancient Mesopotamia. Today it includes parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
Gorgeous painted candles, beaded jewelry in vibrant colors, and home goods are part of the Akkadian Collection. This innovative program is the first of its kind in the region that creates economic opportunities for Iraqi women through entrepreneurship and handcrafting artisan products sold throughout the world. The project has grown to include vulnerable women all over Iraq, including war widows, internally displaced women fleeing ISIS, and religious minorities.
Items made for the Akkadian Collection have the power to change women’s lives. Watch this video to learn more about Iman, a married mother of three boys.
Iman always dreamed of working but never thought she was educated enough to find a job. Her mother died when she was younger, and she wasn’t able to finish her education because she had to drop out and care for her family.
Through Catalyst Collection, Iman has been able to achieve her dream. The income she earns pouring candles helps ensure a better future for her sons. She’s also received the gift of having a community of mothers to bond with while working.
Here are 4 products from the Akkadian Collection that I love.
“A candle gives light to others. My first candle gave me this impression and every time I make candles I feel a joy,” says Hiyam Muhsin, a trained candle maker who helped make the Hand Hammered Copper Candle.
This hand-hammered copper vessel brings a modern aesthetic to a classic Mesopotamian craft. The contemporary custom design is inspired by the artistry of ancient traditional metal work and is just gorgeous. Like the Garden of Eden ceramic container, the copper vessel can be easily cleaned and re-purposed as beautiful table, kitchen and home decor once the candle is finished.
This candle also arrives exquisitely packaged in custom designed gift box and includes a card sharing more about Hiyam.
Inspired by the hanging gardens of Ancient Mesopotamia, the Garden of Eden Collection presents vibrant colors and contemporary adaptations of traditional Iznik ceramic designs dating back to the Ottoman Empire.
The hand painted floral design reminds me of artwork I’ve seen on trips to Turkey. The light lavender scent provides just enough fragrance without being overwhelming. The candle provides 75 hours of burn time and I’m glad I can reuse the ceramic container when the candle is gone. The ceramic vessel is for decorative purposes only, not suitable for food, oven, microwave or dishwasher.
What if you were forced into marriage at the age of 17 and your family forbid you to finish college because you had 3 children? This was Fatima’s reality. She was born in Bashiqa, a village in the Ninewa Plains and forced to marry her cousin when she was just 17.
After her husband died in a car accident, family custom dictated that she marry his brother. Her family refused to let her complete college studies because she had three children. She joined Prosperity Catalyst to learn a new skill and now makes jewelry like the Red Multistrand Necklace.
She loves how much confidence this work has given her and you’ll love the simple beauty of the Multi Strand Necklace. Available in red, blue, or turquoise, this necklace’s colorful seed bead beadwork makes a statement with a pop of color and the gold-finish brass beads and brass leaf charms are lovely little details.
Basket weaving is a centuries old tradition in Iraq’s southern marsh communities of Dhi Qar. This Palm Basket from Catalyst Collection is handwoven using sustainably harvested palm leaves from Iraq’s Southern Marshes. It’s a multipurpose basket that can be used around the home and the neutral color goes with any décor.
Each basket measures 11.8” in diameter and is 4.1” deep (30 x 10.5 cm). I used mine to gather cherry tomatoes from our outside garden but it’s perfect for our outdoor table, mail, or as a catch all for keys, change, and masks.
Catalyst Collections Giveaway
I love how Catalyst Collections fair trade gifts support women like Djoudline, Fatima, and Hiyam and so many more in Haiti and Iraq. I’ve seen first hand how the work they do builds confidence and provides a purpose while providing income. The ability to earn money that supports their families contributes to sense of independence.
Catalyst Collections has provided a set of items from both the Akkadian and Fanm Limye collections as reader giveaways. Enter to win the following sets of items through the Rafflecopter entry form below. Good luck!
Akkadian Collection Giveaway from Catalyst Collections
- Garden of Eden Candle
- Red Multi Strand Necklace
Fanm Limye Giveaway from Catalyst Collections
- Arabesque Luminary
- Lotus Earrings
For more information, visit their website and follow them on social:
For additional chances to win different sets of items, check out these blog posts where there’s a different set of items from Catalyst Collections being given away on each site:
- Catalyst Collections- When Doing Good Feels Good & Looks Good on Champagne Living
- Fair Trade Gifts That Support Women Around the World on All Things Fadra
Join the Facebook Live on July 28th at 8 pm ET for another chance to win!
Join me and Catalyst Collections, and The Compass Girls for a Facebook Live on Wednesday, July 28th at 8 pm ET! You can join through the Compass Girls Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheCompassGirls
Product and compensation were received to facilitate this post although all opinions are my own.