Global Community + Ethical Marketplace | For the People & the Planet

Jewel & Lotus

I love when an online shop stresses the importance of community and consciousness. Jewel & Lotus understands the significance behind each and every purchase we make as a global citizen. We should always treat the planet as if it is our own backyard and community. Knowing where our products are produced, and how they impact those local economies is a thought constantly on my mind when shopping. When people come together to create a shop built on conscious consumption, it makes sustainable shopping easier, especially for those who are just learning to make changes in their purchasing habits. Andy and Ashira, the founders of Jewel & Lotus, want to bring sustainability & ethics to the forefront of the retail industry. They believe the power of business can change the world! Currently, they have 75 vendors from all over the world consisting of social enterprises, non-profits, artisan cooperatives, ethical fashion brands and small businesses with values. It is a part of their mission to help educate and encourage the businesses they work with, too. Even their shipping is thought of in the process, and they use eco-friendly packaging. With each product, People & Planet are always considered & you can feel confident your purchase is casting a vote in the right direction. 

Ashira breaks Jewel & Lotus down for us: 

People : Fair trade. Healthier and happier environments in workplace and marketplace. 
Planet: We offer a wide variety of products that are better for our planet. 
Profit: Creating sustainable livelihood. Alleviating poverty & creating economic opportunity.

For 10 years, Ashira has been working with a NGO called STOP in Delhi, India where they help rescue girls from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Meeting many girls throughout the years, she saw the devastating effects of exploitation & wanted to create positive change starting with herself. 

"When I came to realize that most the products we buy are being made by people who are being exploited and treated unfairly, I had to change the way I lived and shopped. The people being exploited aren’t just people over there that we don’t need to care about, they are our sisters and brothers who have dreams of living a happy and good life" - Ashira

When she started her new conscious shopping journey, she realized how difficult it was to find the right products. A lightbulb went off to begin her own shop - Jewel & Lotus - a marketplace where you can buy everything you need at all different price points so everyone can participate.

"Another reason we have created Jewel and Lotus as not only a marketplace, but as a community is because we have found that it is really challenging to have a small ethical business and we need to be supporting each other. Right now, ethical businesses are like islands that you discover every once in awhile or after a few hours of searching online. We are growing Jewel and Lotus to be the place for ethical businesses, to connect with each other! It’s too hard to do it on our own" - Ashira

I so agree with creating a community of like-minded brands and people. We desperately need to work together in order for ethical shopping to become more feasible. When I started Sustainably Chic in the summer of 2014, I spoke about it being a community for anyone who had a passion for sustainability. I think creating a space which is inviting and positive is a great way to get people involved. 

Andy met Ashira a few years ago after leaving NYC in pursuit of a meaningful life 'which at the time meant WWOOFing at an organic farm-to-table care in Cooperstown,NY'. He loved the idea of entrepreneurship and social action, but hadn't had a solid idea of combining the two. One day, Ashira showed him a Facebook post featuring Falling Whistles - a non-profit selling fashionable whistles to campaign for peace in The Democratic Republic of Congo. This became his inspiration behind Jewel & Lotus. Like Ashira, he noticed a gap within the market for ethical retailers - 

"Then, the idea became clear… that we needed to start a website bringing together all these good businesses, making it easier for them to be found, and supporting and promoting their work in the process" - Andy

Let's talk about some of the beautiful products I have pictured throughout this post. 

The Tutti Frutti Blanket Throw is a fun way to brighten up your couch, and is made by Batan Ecos, a business out of San Sebastian, El Salvador dedicated to preserving their heritage and consistent income. When the weather warms back up, this blanket is coming to the park with me! For now, we're cuddled up in my living room :D 

For my jewelry fanatics, the Turquoise Moon earrings and Seed of Life copper ring are made by one of their good friends Sonam. His family business, Himalayan Artefacts, is located in India. Andy & Ashira met Sonam at a craft fair in Delhi called Dastkar. They became great friends over many chai teas, and they are happy to support a small business where it directly impacts the lives of families. Lucky for you, I don't have pierced ears & I will be giving away the Turquoise Moon earrings on Instagram in the next few weeks. Be on the look out!! 

Ditch the paper towels, and get some reusable napkins. The Salila Rising Rasa Napkin Sets are the perfect sustainable switch. Made in Delhi, India, these napkins are created by young women rising out of human trafficking. Andy & Ashira started Salila Rising: Threads for Freedom, a social enterprise supporting the girls in transforming their lives. They want to include a zero-waste approach to producing, as well, so extra saree fabrics was used to create this lovely tote. {I use it for my light colors knits when I'm on the go} It's so great to hear a brand takes as many measures as possible to lessen waste! To learn more about Salila Rising, click here.

Andy & Ashira are calling ethical businesses and conscious consumers to unite at Jewel and Lotus! If you have a business that you think should join Jewel and Lotus, the would love to hear from you! You can apply through the website on their Open A Shop page or you can send an email inquiry to hello@jewelandlotus.com. 

Even if you don’t have a business, you can still be involved and become part of their Community. It’s free to join and Community members can shop our brands and earn JewelCoins to spend by promoting and engaging with their website!

We truly believe that together we are better! - Jewel & Lotus

JewelCoins help earn you money to put towards any products at Jewel & Lotus. When you get others to sign up for an account through their site or share your unique link with friends & family, you earn JewelCoins! Learn more about their program, here.

Don't forget to stay up-to-date and follow Jewel & Lotus on Instagram

 

Fashion, LifestyleNatalie Kay