Blue skies, sand, and surf have made Southern California one of our favorite places to visit. Along with an infectious down-to-earth spirit, we discovered during those visits a growing movement of people who are making a positive impact in their local communities and abroad. Orange County, in particular, is putting itself on the map as a hub for creative social enterprises.
POPNOD and Lisa Liberatore of 31 Bits and Fashion Diplomacy recently teamed up to launch the Good City Guide for Orange County, the fourth guide in the series. From Laguna Beach to Costa Mesa, these eight brands are truly changing the world by bringing people together in impactful ways:
Freewaters Footwear believes in crafting beautiful footwear and in the healing power of water. Each pair of their sandals and shoes supports their clean drinking water projects in Kenya, Haiti and the Philippines.
JOJI is a line of handbags featuring handwoven Mayan textiles that empowers women weavers in Guatemala through job creation, health care, and education. Started by a mother-daughter duo, JOJI employs 15 Mayan women living in the rural highlands of Guatemala as part of their weaving cooperative. Each JOJI bag is one-of-a-kind and hand signed by the woman who made it.
3. Neat Coffee
Birthed out of a trip to a Ugandan coffee farm and a dream to create a space which fosters community, Neat Coffee opened up shop in the lobby of a co-working space in Costa Mesa. Neat Coffee serves top notch coffee that boasts of its land of origin while also having fun creating new and unique drinks. With house made syrups like Honey Cinnamon and Juniper Rose as well as locally made flavored almond milk (they suggest the turmeric!), you’re bound to find a new favorite caffeinated beverage. Be on the lookout for their new location in Westside Costa Mesa coming 2017! Store: 270 Baker Street E Suite 200, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Krochet Kids International is a lifestyle brand and an innovative non-profit. They employ women in Uganda and Peru and provide them with a job, mentorship, and education in order to empower them to rise above poverty. Every product they make is hand-signed by the lady who made it.
5. 31 Bits
31 Bits employs over 120 women in Northern Uganda. Through the beautiful jewelry the women make out of recycled paper, 31 Bits is able to provide them with education, financial training, business mentorship, counseling, health education, and so much more. Every purchase impacts a life. Store: 1663 A Superior Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
PURPOSE Jewelry is handmade by survivors of human trafficking in India. 100% of the proceeds from PURPOSE Jewelry benefit the survivors through the nonprofit, International Sanctuary (iSanctuary). Your purchase provides employment, job training, and the financial stability survivors need in order to properly provide for themselves and their families. These survivors are given the opportunity to follow their dreams and achieve goals that once seemed impossible. No longer hopeless, these young women are now empowered and able to live free from poverty and exploitation. Store: 17935 Sky Park Circle #F, Irvine, CA 92614
SEED Peoples Market is a curation of ethically sourced, locally made and responsibly re-purposed pieces. True adventure seekers will find a multitude of outdoor essentials to carry with them during their travels. From handcrafted leather goods and jewelry, to vintage home wares, SEED Peoples Market provides a marketplace for their local community of artisans to showcase their goods. Store: 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Wayfare is a co-working and gathering space, startup incubator, and community of creators, founders and adventurers for the common good. They exist to provide and support people with the workspace, community, and resources they need to thrive and make a positive difference in the world. Location: 270 Baker Street E Suite 200, Costa Mesa, CA 92626