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Brands that make you feel good

December 20, 2012

TOMSThe list of storytelling companies that produce products with their heart is growing.
It shows that it’s possible to do business and to do good at the same time.
For people in need, but also for Mother Earth.
Here’s a selection of some of those kind of brands and designs that came across my path or are in my closet. Some of them just recently, others already a while ago.
The brands are presented in random order.


Photo by Peter Stigter

Photo by Peter Stigter

1. TOMS Shoes & Eyewear is the brainchild of Blake Mycoskie. He got inspired by a trip to Argentina where he saw extreme poverty and health conditions, as well as children walking without shoes. That’s when he recognized the traditional Argentine alpargata shoe as a simple, yet revolutionary solution. He quickly set out to reinvent the alpargata for the U.S. market with a simple goal: to show how together, we can create a better tomorrow by taking compassionate action today. That’s the beautiful thought behind TOMS One for One program: when buying a pair of TOMS Shoes or Eyewear, a child in need will get a new TOMS pair of shoes as well. The same happens when you buy TOMS Eyewear.
It makes wearing my TOMS black suede desert wedges (as shown above in chestnut) extra special. The brand name is big on its heels. Normally I would never wear shoes with such a big logo on it, but for TOMS I make a great exception.

2. MyBasket is a clever invention of two Amsterdam-based entrepreneurs who understand the needs of modern cyclists. Amsterdam is cycle capital numéro uno. Amsterdam people, including me, do EVERYTHING by bike. And they also transport EVERYTHING by bike. MyBasket has the design of a regular shopping basket, but is easily to click on your bike and to remove from it when doing your grocery. So you can never forget your shopping bag (and don’t need to buy an environmental-unfriendly plastic bag) and you have a solid solution to replace max. 9 kilos of whatever on your steering wheel.
The basket has a special hole for your bike light. MyBasket comes in several designs, is locally produced, and is fully recyclable. I am waiting for the day that the basket is also made of recycled material. I am testing MyBasket soon and you can read the product review at my other blog OSKAR en ik.

3. Marie-Stella-Maris is a new Dutch mineral water brand founded by former fashion guy Patrick Munsters (of the label Scotch & Soda, what’s in a name!). In The Netherlands drinking bottled water isn’t that common as it is in many other countries as here you can drink tap water. I prefer to filter the tap water, before I drink it. Although I don’t drink much bottled water, there are some reasons to spend attention to Marie-Stella-Maris. The water comes from a spring in Hoensbroek, a town in the South of the Netherlands. I have lived in Amsterdam for over 20 years now, but originally I’m from Zuid-Limburg as the province is called. I went to school in Hoensbroek. So, hell yeah, I should write about Marie-Stella-Maris!
More important: when you drink the water you are sharing water as well as the great introduction film tells you. The brand invests 15% of the gross profit to drinking water projects in countries where water is a rare good. So bring a bottle of Marie-Stella-Maris instead of wine when visiting friends for diner. Oh, and the deposit bottle is made of 50% recycled material and 100% recyclable.

4. This cute BoMini tree of corrugated cardboard is the latest addition to the tree family of OnceUponaTree. This Dutch brand designs beautiful interior products in a form of a tree. Life trees with a meaningful story. They are made using sustainable materials and non-toxic finishes. Most of them are made of wood, but the BoMini is made of carton that can also be painted to make the tree even more personal.
Each tree is made with great care. They are not only built in a social workplace in the Netherlands but also inside a community project in Egypt. OnceUponaTree donates a part of the profit to a Unicef center for young street mothers in Cairo. A great Xmas present as well!

5. Last, but not least: Studio JUX. Again a Dutch label that understands how to produce in an honest way and makes you feel extra happy when you wear its designs. Jux means to have fun in German. The fashion brand is raised by Jitske Lundgren (1980) and Carlien Helmink (1983).
Their slogan ‘My Nepali tailor is a rockstar’ explains it all. They focus on every link in the fashion chain and they have the opinion that everybody who works on their fashion designs needs to do this in a respectable way for human and for earth. Studio JUX is winner of the Green Fashion Competition, season 2.
THIS VIDEO tells you all about Studio JUX’ acclaimed way of fairtrade and organic producing. Love it!

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