Posted by StreetWise in Magazine Articles
Celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit, our annual gift guide this year highlights products that benefit non-profits, entrepreneurs and artisans in Chicago and around the world.
Sweet Miss Givings
With 100 percent of profits benefiting Chicago House’s programs, indulge guilt-free with Sweet Miss Givings. Chicago House has changed the lives of thousands of individuals who are homeless, living with HIV/AIDS or gender non-conforming. The bakery was started in 2008 with the intention of providing job experience at the Chicago House employment program. Through a six-month paid internship, a student gains valuable experiences in baking, packaging, delivery and customer service. Sweet Miss Givings baked goods can be found at Palmer House, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf and Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Those with a sweet tooth can stop by their shop in Ogilvie Transportation Center or visit sweetmissgivings.com to place an order with free shipping.
Cookies n’ Brownies Tin, $54.95
You could get just a cookies tin or just a brownies tin (both for $54.95), but why would you? With the Cookies n’ Brownies Tin you get the best of both worlds. Included in the tin are 18 cookies (six cranberry white chocolate, six ginger molasses and six chocolate chip) and 24 brownie bites (eight milk chocolate cream cheese, eight caramel chocolate chip and eight chocolate chip cookie dough).
Multitude of Muffins, $54.95
There’s something in this assortment of muffins for everybody to love. A dozen muffins, a dozen flavors including popular ones like an old-fashioned blueberry, chocolate chunk muffin and toasted almond poppy seed. There are also unique muffins: cinnamon sour cream streusel, black tie and red velvet.
Co-Op Sauce was born from Co-Op Image, a non-profit youth arts education and entrepreneurship organization. Mike Bancroft, a.k.a. “the Sauce Boss,” began manufacturing and selling his sauces with kids enrolled in the program as a way to raise funds. Bancroft’s sauce soon became in high demand and eventually he decided to branch out and run Co-Op Sauce as its own business. All of the sauces are made from scratch using hand-picked ingredients grown in the Midwest. Co-Op Sauce has even collaborated with Crumb Chicago to open Sauce and Bread Kitchen (6338-40 N. Clark St.) where customers can purchase and sample their products with sandwiches, soups and salads. Half of the profits go to Co-Op Image and the company frequently employs former students of the program.
Rum Barrel Gift Box Combo
A collection of Co-Op specialties, this combo offers a hot sauce, meat sticks and Bloody Mary mix. Rum Barrel is a multi-purpose sauce for even the most sensitive eaters; it is great with pizza and rice and beans. The jalapeno pork sticks come from Jake’s Country Meats in Cassopolis, Mich. and the Co-Op’s own Wild Mary Mix.
Sweet Beginnings, part of the North Lawndale Employment Network, offers full-time transitional jobs to the formerly incarcerated and others with barriers to employment. Sweet Beginnings helps both the community and the environment since it provides all-natural products. Its honey-based products come from bees that travel and pollenate in Chicago. Most importantly, individuals in the program truly gain valuable career skills; the recidivism rate of their former employees is below 4 percent.
Beelove 12-ounce Chicagoland Raw Natural Honey, $16
Beelove has been given the distinction of Certified Naturally Grown, a testament to its flavor and quality. Other sizes include 3-ounce and 6-ounce.
Beelove Cleanse and Refresh Amenity Lathering Shower Gel, $5.20
Great for both men and women, this shower gel is all-natural and boasts a rich and silky lather. The scent leaves a clean feeling throughout the day. Its pH level is 9.5 – 9.6.
For more information and to order products, call 773.638.7058 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Founded in 2007, Bright Endeavors offers handcrafted candles and bath products made of soy and vegetable waxes, fair trade soaking salts and eco-friendly materials. The non-profit social enterprise of New Moms Inc. helps adolescent mothers and fathers transition to economic independence. Participants begin with four weeks of classroom training on skills valuable for careers. While working, the students gain valuable on-the-job experience in key business areas like manufacturing, inventory, marketing and customer service. The program helps more than 70 young women annually.
Dreambean Scent Suite, $25.20
This holiday exclusive offers an excellent sampler of some of Bright Endeavors’ most popular products. The set includes one Cardamom Neroli soy candle, one jar of Fair Trade soaking salt and two pods of bath tea.
Dreambean Tea and Tin Travel Set, $13
This collection is the most popular gift set, with one lemon tea soy travel candle and two pods of lemon bath tea. The convenient white box is perfect for professionals and travelers.
Products from local entrepreneurs and artisans
Local Goods Chicago
Local Goods Chicago is committed to supporting handmade livelihoods and to creating a space dedicated to increasing awareness of the handmade movement. Run by the non-profit Chicago Artisan Lab, the Edgebrook store features the works of more than 100 different people.
Items include Chicago maps with a blend of typography, graphic elements and landmarks, women’s crocheted hats, matted linocut prints, variety art dolls, eau de parfum made from Chicago-cultivated flowers and household goods featuring Chicago-centric images, such as the table runner (pictured).
The store, located at 5354 W. Devon Ave., is open Mon-Fri: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat: 9 a.m. -5 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m.-5 pm. For more information, call 708.669.7520.
Redbud Jewelry’s Janeane Bowlware moved to Chicago to pursue acting after receiving a bachelor’s degree in theatre performance from Oklahoma State University. She took metalsmithing classes and works at a studio at the Cornelia Arts Building in Roscoe Village. Handcast and one-of-a-kind, her jewelry shows her love of nature and organic design. Bowlware will be part of the annual craft market at Waters Elementary School, 4540 N. Campbell Ave., from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. December 13 and the Ephemora Pop Up Shop, 12-8 p.m. December 20 at 2115 W. Damen Ave. Chicago skyline bracelet, $45.
“Mindful Indulgences” is the name Nicole Melanie Davis has given to her consciously curated organic vegan confections in original flavors such as almond almond, cayenne cashew, curry coconut, mace mocha, paprika pistachio and vanilla raisin. This fall, she added caramel apple crisp, ooh oreo, pumpkin pepita and sweet tater pie.
Davis pairs certified organic and vegan dark chocolate with health-benefitting certified organic super spices; the products are also certified fair trade, gluten-free, kosher pareve and non-GMO.
Mini-indulgences range from a (10-piece) Sampler at $25 to the Assorted Gift Set (20-piece) at $45 and the Event Assortment (36 pieces) at $65. Deluxe indulgences include the Quatro (4-piece) at $12.50; the Sampler Set (12 pieces) at $36 and the Assorted Set (20 pieces) at $55.
Truffles are purchased online via big cartel-http://mindfulindulgenceschocolatetruffles.bigcartel.com & Square Market https://squareup.com/market/mindful-indulgences-organic-chocolate
Made in Chicago
The Apparel Industry Board’s “Made in Chicago” permanent pop-up store gives local fashion designers sales and marketing opportunities not otherwise available due to the disappearance of mom and pop stores.
First created in November 2011 and now located at 17 E. Pearson St., the store has sold more than 2,000 pieces of merchandise made in Chicago, reflecting more than $150,000 in retail sales. The store offers everything from accessories to millinery, sportswear to eveningwear. Beneficiaries include not only the 12 Chicago designers, but also support industries such as pattern-makers and contractors that produce the apparel.
The store is open seven days a week: Mon-Sat, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 312.836.1041.
Ten Thousand Villages Shopping Days for Non-Profits
Ten Thousand Villages, which partners with more than 110 artisan groups in 37 developing countries to establish long-term relationships that lead to stable income, has 75+ stores and an online presence at www.tenthousandvillages.com. Local stores also host Community Shopping Events to benefit local nonprofits. These events are opportunities to give three times: to friends and family, to the artisans who crafted the quality gifts and home décor and also to the sponsoring organization. Ten Thousand Villages typically donates 15 percent of their sale during each event.
Community Shopping Events
At 840 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago
The Dreamcatcher Foundation works to end sexual exploitation of at-risk Chicago-area youth.
At 719 Main St., Evanston
Heartland Alliance works with lawmakers to shape public policy to benefit 1 million struggling people.
Well of Mercy is a communal home environment for single women who need shelter and support
C.G. Jung Center offers sliding-scale psychotherapy, public programming on analytical psychology and continuing professional education.
Solidarity Bridge helps impoverished Latin Americans through medical care and fair trade partnerships.
CROSO ensures a brighter future for Ugandan street children through higher education.
Curt’s Cafe benefits at-risk youth by training them to serve local food, often made from scratch.
Howard Area Community Center distributes emergency food and clothing and provides healthcare and education in Rogers Park.
Artisan-Crafted Items at Both Stores
Holy Land Sands Candleholder, $34
Handmade by family-owned Hebron Glass in the historic West Bank city of Hebron. All its tabletop items are lead-free. Hebron Glass employs 60 people in three main workshops and their own homes.
Sacred Mark Bookmark, $8
Lovingly stitched by the artisans of Sacred Mark, this bookmark helps improve the lives of women who have broken away from the sex trade and now make their living by transforming recycled sari cotton into colorful art.
Kites are with childhood toys here in the United States, but they hold symbolic coming-of-age meaning to the artisans who craft this necklace. $2 from each purchase goes directly to a learning center founded by artisan group Tara Projects in New Delhi.
Handcrafted Doves, $34
Cambodian artisans shape these doves and their universal message of peace from recycled unexploded brass bomb casings. Artisans group Rajana helps young people gain skills in handicrafts production and marketing as they transform this war litter into fashion items.
By Suzanne Hanney, StreetWise Editor-in-Chief, and Austin Sanchez, StreetWise Editorial Intern