Hoping to change the world in 2017? There’s been a serious upswing in “ethical” shopping options over the past few years as consumers rethink the role of possessions in their lives.

Can you really make a difference by wearing artisan jewelry? Or buying environmentally friendly products? Buying products from cause-driven companies is a small gesture, sure, but your hard-earned dollars can make a difference. And these Twin Cities businesses are a great place to start.


My Sister

T-shirts make a statement at this Uptown boutique. The shirts also help raise funds for organizations that fight sex trafficking and exploitation. So far the T-shirts have helped My Sister raise more than $85,000 to support the cause.

The shirts were designed to start conversations, yes, but they’re also stylish. “We see them styled in a ton of different ways,” said co-founder Mandy Multerer, “from athleisure and casual street style to business casual and night-out dressed up.”

With the recent opening of their storefront, My Sister has more opportunity than ever to make change. Bonus: The boutique sells items from other like-minded brands (including handmade products from Krochet Kids) so you can get all your shopping done in one place. 1616 W. Lake St., Mpls.; 612-400-1194, mysister.org

Fair Anita

Are you serious about accessorizing? Fair Anita will be your new favorite. Founder Joy McBrien started her venture two years ago, working with 8,000 women in 16 countries to provide them with fair-trade jobs. Many of these women have experienced sexual or domestic violence. “Financial insecurity is the number one reason [people] stay in abusive relationships,” McBrien explained. “By providing them with sustainable income, these women can potentially leave an abusive partner.”

So McBrien and her Minnesota team do the branding, and women across the globe create their jewelry, scarves and other accessories. Their bestselling item? “Jewelry made from recycled bullet casings, made by women with HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia,” said McBrien. Find Fair Anita’s fares at boutiques across the Twin Cities and online. fairanita.com

Askov Finlayson

You’ve probably seen the ubiquitous “NORTH” hats while out and about. They’re everywhere, and for good reason. When you purchase one of the cute pom-pom beanies, Askov Finlayson donates a portion of sales to an organization called Climate Generation, which works to battle climate change by educating high schoolers. “One of our favorite things about living in the North is our four distinct seasons, and especially our winters,” said Eric Dayton, co-founder of Askov Finlayson. “In 2015, Minnesota was ranked as the second-most-affected state for climate change, putting our state’s signature season at risk.” 204 N. 1st St., Mpls.; 612-206-3925, askovfinlayson.com

Love Your Melon

Living in Minnesota means stocking up on stocking caps. As luck would have it, Love Your Melon features a line of cozy knitted beanies in a rainbow of colors. The company was founded in 2012 by a pair of University of St. Thomas students who wanted to support children with cancer. Today the product line includes T-shirts and sweatshirts, with 50 percent of profits donated to organizations that fight pediatric cancer. Since its inception, Love Your Melon has donated more than $2.5 million and has given away 90,000 hats to American children fighting cancer. loveyourmelon.com

Hippy Feet

Everyone needs socks — especially the homeless. Did you know that socks are one of the most-needed items at homeless shelters? Every time someone purchases a pair of Hippy Feet’s socks, which are made in the United States with sustainably sourced materials, the company donates a pair to someone in need. You’ll be keeping your toes and your heart warm every time you pull them on. hippyfeet.co


Minnesota-based “custom wood products” manufacturer Woodchuck plants a tree for every product sold. Help it replenish forests by buying an iPhone case, flask, journal or MacBook skin. Since being formed in 2012, Woodchuck has planted nearly 400,000 trees worldwide, from North America to Africa. And it’s not wasteful with natural resources. The company says it takes only one tree to create 3,000 Woodchuck products. woodchuckusa.com

Kara Nesvig is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and beauty blogger.