While Flipkart, Jabong and Amazon are favourites when it comes to online shopping — owing to their plentiful stocking of popular brands — there are some online stores that stock gifting, apparel and home decor items made by women from underprivileged backgrounds, the proceeds from which go into funding empowerment programmes. Why not make a difference by considering shopping from these online outlets.
* Women’s India Trust: Women’s India Trust trains underprivileged and underskilled women to create products that are then sold in WIT’s retail showrooms at Tardeo, Mahim and Panvel as well as regular sales organised in different parts of the country. They also have an online store where they sell homemade jams, marmalades, pickles, chutneys, etc., apart from gifting options and home decor products. Click here to shop.
* Conserve India: Conserve India has tackled the problem of waste disposal by recycling — or rather ‘upcycling’ — plastic bags by washing, drying, and pressing the bags into sheets. They are then converted into trendy bags, belts, wallets, shoes, necklaces, etc., by some of the most disadvantaged women of Delhi’s slums. Click here to shop.
* Earthy Goods: Earthy Goods works with India’s many invisible artisans and rural micro-entrepreneurs — mostly women. They are promoting a culture of ‘ethical gifting’. They create and sell personal accessories, corporate gifts, cosmetics, food items as well as home decor. Click here to shop.
* Reeti Fashions: Reeti Fashions — a hand-crafted artisan jewellery line — is a self-sustaining, revenue-generating initiative benefiting disadvantaged women under the care of Mumbai-based NGO NIRA. Revenue generated is routed back to NIRA and its humanitarian programmes. Click here to shop.
* Women Weave: Women Weave provides craft skills training, and organisational and design assistance to rural women with an aim of making handloom a profitable, fulfilling, sustainable and dignified income-earning activity for them. They sell handloom products like scarves, sarees and fashion accessories. Click here to shop.
* Purkal Stree Shakti: Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti — based in Purkal village near Dehradun — empowers rural women by providing skill training — in newer techniques like patch-working, appliqué, etc. — and a work space to produce hand-made products they can sell. More than 100 women work in a work space that is comfortable, airy and hygienic. Upon completion of training, they either create new self-help groups (SHGs) or get absorbed in one of the existing SHGs operating under the PSSS umbrella. They sell hand-stitched quilts, bed covers, silk comforters, handbags and home accessories. Click here to shop.
* Indie Eco Candles: Indie Eco Candles trains underprivileged women in handcrafting various types of luxurious candles that are made of 100 per cent natural vegetable wax and infused with the finest fragrance and essential oils. Click here to shop.
* Samoolam: More than 60 women have joined Samoolam’s ‘Prosperity — The livelihood initiative’, in which they are trained unskilled women from Gaya, Bihar, in craft skills — especially crochet skills — helping them earn a livelihood. They sell handmade crochet jewellery and accessories. Click here to shop.
* Craftroots: Craftroots is an initiative of Gramshree, which aims to give marginalised women a sustainable platform to support themselves and their families. Gramshree works with more than 500 women in Ahmedabad, Patan, Kachchh, Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts of Gujarat, training them in handwork, tailoring and catering. They sell apparel, home furnishing, accessories, corporate gifts and kachhi crafts. Click here to shop.
* Tania Clay Studio: Tania Clay Studio works with 10 women belonging to slums of Delhi, training them in deco-clay craft apart from providing them education. They have also worked with women artisans and adopted villages in Chennai and Orissa to revive the dying art form of creating boxes with natural fibers. They sell various kinds of clay products like bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, hair accessories, cake toppers, centre pieces, gift boxes etc. Click here to shop.