THE REFRESH BOX

From the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea to the healing powers of the South American rainforest, we've sourced handmade and Fair Trade items that support artisans from all walks of life. So sit back, relax, and let these treasures from around the world soothe your soul.

What's Inside?

DEAD SEA SOAP BY SINDYANNA

This unique soap combines the healing minerals of the famous dead sea mud and the natural moisturizing effects of olive oil to provide a truly cleansing experience that helps to maintain healthy skin and hydration.

Sindyanna of Galilee is a nonprofit Fair Trade organization established in 1996 to address issues related to the status of Arab women in their society. Led by women striving for social change, Sindyanna works with the Arab population in the Galilee region of northern Israel, as well as with olive growers and artisans in Palestine.

Sindyanna combines commercial activity with work in the community, thereby enhancing Arab women’s empowerment while developing the olive industry as a whole. The organization stresses values such as land preservation, environmental consciousness and social commerce using the principle of fair trade.

Sindyanna symbolizes a unique cooperation between Arabs and Jews, striving to strengthen the economy of the Arab Palestinian population, both in Israel and Palestine. Sindyanna is not only a means of helping farmers and growers; it is also a way of showing that a solution to the Middle East conflict starts by opening real economic opportunities.

Sindyanna provides sickness and maternity benefits, retirement benefits and vacation. The group also organizes cultural events, educational projects and summer camps for the children of artisans.

NATURAL HEMP WASHCLOTH BY BAGDHA ENTERPRISES IN BAGDHA, BANGLADESH

Hemp fiber, with an ancient history of use around the world, is back in fashion for its strength and quality. Better then a loofah or the average washcloth, it exfoliates without roughness and is great for those with sensitive or allergy-prone skin. Bangladeshi artisans harvest, spin and knit natural hemp fiber to create this Earth-friendly washcloth.

Bagdha Enterprises was started in 1982 to create employment for rural Bangladeshi women. From a remote village with few resources, Bagdha has transformed the lives of its women artisans, their families and the community. To create the cloth, the cooperative of weavers come together in a central location where they clean, sort and spin hemp fibers into rope and twine. The twine may then be used to make products such as purses and bath mitts.

Many families depend solely on their crafting income to support themselves. An all-women management committee directs the association’s business. Benefits to producers include medical assistance and a producer development fund.

HAND-PAINTED CANDLE BY NOBUNTO IN NAPIER, SOUTH AFRICA

Our vibrant Hand-painted Candles bring a special glow to the home. Each candle is handmade with a high quality wick and fully refined paraffin wax. The candles are then hand-painted by South African artisans with designs that reflect the culture and influences of their heritage. Each set includes 3 candles.

Nobunto is a South African Fair Trade company creating hand-painted candles using mainly African inspired designs. Their products are responsibly made with love and care for their customers, the artisans and the environment.

Based in the small village of Napier (about 180 km east of Cape Town), where the unemployment rate is 50%, Nobunto has provided employment for women of the disadvantaged communities and guarantees an income for over 18 families.

The word Nobunto comes from the Sotho language, meaning “For the people." In a region with high unemployment, their mission is to alleviate poverty, not only through development of industry but to be socially, ethically, and sustainably responsible.

YERBA MATE TEA BY GUAYAKI IN THE SOUTH AMERICAN ATLANTIC RAINFOREST

Rich in essential vitamins, minerals and additional compounds, Yerba Mate tea has natural energy-boosting powers. Stimulate focus and clarity and aid in “elimination.” Full of antioxidants to help keep your body healthy.

Guayaki was started in 1996 with a vision of protecting and restoring the South American rainforests, empowering the native forest people and improving economic conditions for farmers and their communities.

Guayaki becomes intimately involved with their partnering farmers and encourages cultivation under native rainforest trees. This promotes the preservation of forests. Additionally, they work with farmers to reforest native hardwood species. Guayaki provides technical advice on how to create nurseries, helps them manage the organic growing process from cultivation through harvest and then buys what they produce. The farmers, in turn, must repopulate their rain forest with native hardwood trees -- restoring the land to its original shaded, biodiverse state -- and providing a living wage and fair working conditions.

Partnering famers are incentivized to protect the native trees in the process of growing mate. They sustainably harvest (by hand) organic yerba mate from rainforest grown cultivations and reforestation projects, generating a renewable income stream which enables these communities to improve their lives and restore their lands.

Their current mission is to steward and restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic rainforest and create over 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020.

SHEA SHAMPOO BY ALAFFIA IN TOGO, WEST AFRICA

Handmade with traditional, African Black Soap for gentle, natural cleansing of the hair. Virgin coconut oil adds extra hydration. Infused with rooibos tea to encourage new hair growth and improve overall condition. Pro-vitamin B5 strengthens and repairs.

Women in West Africa have long been excluded from the formal education sector, which means many cannot read or write. This makes them less valuable as employees, and as such, they do not have many employment opportunities. One could "empower" these women by teaching them to read and write, and helping them to find employment. However, with Alaffia’s women's cooperatives, they look at what these women have to offer that no one else does - their unique skills, traditions and knowledge. Then, they compensate them at fair value for these skills. As a result, they gain income and livelihoods to support their families, while maintaining traditions and managing a sustainable resource.

Through the sales of our shea butter products, Alaffia raises funds for community projects in central Togo aimed at alleviating poverty and advancing gender equality. These projects target problems that have been identified as holding back communities - such as exclusion from education, maternal deaths and environmental degradation.

Alaffia was founded in 2004 to alleviate poverty and empower communities in West Africa through the fair trade of shea butter and other indigenous resources. Proceeds from the sales of these products are returned to communities in Togo, West Africa, to fund community empowerment and gender equality projects.

Shea butter has traditionally been a woman dominated trade in West Africa. While women gather and prepare the shea nuts individually, they come together in cooperative groups to bring the nuts to market. In addition, the traditional craft of extracting the oil from the nuts is entirely done by women and passed on to their daughters.

With growing demand for shea butter, the traditional knowledge and culture of shea butter and the involvement of women is threatened. First, nuts are being exported and oil extraction is taking place outside West Africa. Second, if oil extraction is happening in West Africa, there is increasing pressure to replace traditional techniques with mechanization. In both cases, traditional knowledge is not valued, and women are losing control of their resource.

It was in direct response to these changes that Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative was started in Sokodé, Togo in 2003. They organized the cooperative to create economic opportunity for women who were denied access to education and whose skills and knowledge are undervalued in today's societies. They also wanted to maintain West African traditional knowledge by traditionally hand-crafting shea butter. Since women hold the historical, traditional knowledge of this craft, they make up 99% of the members. The funds generated through the sale of the handcrafted shea butter supports stable, fair salaries and also goes toward alleviating poverty and fostering gender equality in their communities.

PALM LEAF BASKET BY MARTINA GARCIA GARCIA IN OAXACA, MEXICO

This traditional "tenate" basket is made from discarded palm leaves by indigenous Oaxacan artisans and colored using natural, water-borne paints. Each basket can take up to 6 hours to weave.

Martina learned to prepare and weave palm at the age of six. She started by making small wallets and small basket covers to help her aunt. Her aunt eventually taught her to create all the items she now sells. And as her mother used to say, “what you learn well once, you never forget.”

Guayaki becomes intimately involved with their partnering farmers and encourages cultivation under native rainforest trees. This promotes the preservation of forests. Additionally, they work with farmers to reforest native hardwood species. Guayaki provides technical advice on how to create nurseries, helps them manage the organic growing process from cultivation through harvest and then buys what they produce. The farmers, in turn, must repopulate their rain forest with native hardwood trees -- restoring the land to its original shaded, biodiverse state -- and providing a living wage and fair working conditions.

Martina is very energetic, and loves working hard and getting things done. She is originally from Ocotlán, a rural village in the southern mountain region of the state of Oaxaca. She moved to the city with her husband and three children 17 years ago in order to find work. As her children grew up, Martina worked domestic jobs to make ends meet. A few years later, she began to revisit her old craft of palm weaving – and this created a great change in her life. The most difficult situation she has encountered is not finding a place to sell her works – but this is now in the past. With her sales through GlobeIn, she is now able to rent a spot where she can sell her work and dedicate all her time to creating her pieces.