global goods partners
Photo: Global Goods Partners/ Edited: Epicure & Culture

By Daniela Frendo

Have you ever bought a hand-woven bag and wondered what the story behind it is? Perhaps you were curious to know where it came from, or wished you could meet the person who put hours of care and dedication into the product.

A growing lifestyle brand specializing in handmade travel accessories is helping bridge the gap between producers and buyers, introducing customers to the talented women working on the products. Global Goods Partners is a non-profit organization that sells handmade and Fair Trade gifts created by women artisans in impoverished societies.

Photo courtesy of Global Goods Partners
Photo courtesy of Global Goods Partners

The mission of this social enterprise is to improve the living conditions of marginalized women across the globe. In fact, Global Goods Partners works with 40 artisan co-operatives and communities based in Africa, Asia and South America, employing over 3,000 women in 20 countries.

Here’s how Global Goods Partners is changing women’s lives through a wide selection of unique, handmade gifts — and how you can help.

Photo courtesy of Global Goods Partners
Photo courtesy of Global Goods Partners

Empowering Women In Low Income Communities

Global Goods Partners was founded in 2005 by Catherine Lieber Shimony and Joan Shifrin, who had spent some years traveling around the world to help community-based organizations in poverty-stricken areas. Their economic support has helped women artisans gain access to the Fair Trade market to sell their beautiful, handmade products.

As a member of the Fair Trade Federation, Global Goods Partners continues to support women-led co-operatives around the world, providing technical assistance, helping them with product development and ensuring that artisans receive decent wages for their products. These economic opportunities are enabling women artisans to obtain financial independence, making them self-sufficient and allowing them to provide for their families.

Securing A Sustainable Change In Women’s Lives

Global Goods Partners ensures that women artisans get more than just a fair wage to sustain their economic freedoms. With proceeds made from product sales, community-based organizations are able to provide a variety of services to the women and their communities, which include educational programs, health care and training in human rights. They also employ sustainable production practices by promoting traditional handiwork and using organic and recycled materials for their products.

The latest survey by Global Goods Partners shows that 80% of partners provide some sort of educational training, and 59% train women in different job-related fields. Global Goods Partners also hands out small grants to these organizations to help them implement sustainable programs for their workers. As a result, 63% of partners are able to offer free health care, while 50% have used these funds to provide consistent meals for the women.

To step up their fight against poverty and social injustice, Global Goods Partners is reaching out to individuals and organizations to support these artisan communities through fundraising programs, publicity and donations.

Photo courtesy of Global Goods Partners
Photo courtesy of Global Goods Partners

How You Can Contribute  

Through product sales and donations, Global Goods Partners is able to advance its mission to alleviate poverty and continue pushing for social justice. Thirty percent of revenue goes to artisan partners while 17% of profit is invested in grants and technical assistance.

The organization’s online store features a dazzling array of travel items and other gifts, all handcrafted by women artisans in developing countries. Each item comes with a description of the producers and their cause, which means you get to learn more about the artisans and how your purchase would be helping their families and the wider community.

We’ve picked some lovely gift ideas for responsible travelers and shoppers, but you can view more items by visiting the store

Recycled_Tire_Wallet_For_Men_Detail_1024x1024Recycled tire wallet

Made from recycled motorbike tires, this sleek wallet was handcrafted by artisans in Cambodia. This wallet and other similar ones are produced by Friends International, an organisation which strives to eradicate child labour and helps poor families with their children’s schooling.

Indigo_Ikat_Weekender_Bag_1024x1024Indigo ikat weekender bag

This gorgeous bag has been woven by Guatemalan women working with the Maya Traditions Foundations, which provides a variety of social services for the artisans and their families. Peruvian_Textile_Travel_Pouch_Brown_1024x1024Peruvian textile toiletry case

Produced from handwoven wool and locally-sourced leather, this Peruvian case and similar items are created by teenage mothers at the La Casa de Acogida Mantay refuge in Cusco. The sale of these products will help the refuge provide shelter, food, medicine and education for these mothers and children, who are often the victims of abuse.

Men_s_Recycled_Tire_Travel_Kit_1024x1024Recycled tire travel kit

Another product by Friends International, this water-resistant tire kit makes for an ideal travel gift. The sale of this product will make it possible for Friends International to continue offering their support to needy families in different countries, including Cambodia, Honduras and the Philippines.


Glitter and tire luggage tag

This sparkly luggage tag has been created with recycled tire and candy wrappers — truly unique gift for travelers. Similar travel items, including wallets and card holders, are crafted Friends International in Cambodia, where the organization supports over 20,000 children who are at risk of HIV/AIDS, trafficking and extreme poverty.

What’s your favorite Global Goods Partners item? Please share in the comments below. 

Global Goods Partners empowers women through travel fashion. Here's how.


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Daniela Frendo

Daniela Frendo is a travel writer and photographer from Malta. No matter how often she travels, she keeps breaking out in cold sweats at boarding gates. She is terrified of flying, but willing to try out stomach-churning delicacies wherever she goes. Her trips aren’t complete without doing a bit of trekking, experiencing local culture and getting a souvenir t-shirt.She has a degree in Communications and divides her time between teaching English and writing for different publications, including her own travel blog

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