A family business founded in 1998, Albetta creates beautifully designed children’s clothing and toys while prioritizing people and the environment. While the company’s founder was living in Vietnam, she was inspired to work with Vietnamese garment workers by the high quality of their handicraft skills. However, she realized that a large proportion of the workers in Vietnam’s garment sector are hired on an informal basis, meaning that they have no legal protections and are often paid below minimum wage. With a desire to do things differently, Albetta’s products are made in a factory that complies with the principles of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI), a nongovernmental organization that promotes workplaces that are free from exploitation and discrimination. The ETI works closely with the International Labour Organisation to set standards and limits on working hours and overtime, health and safety conditions in the workplace, minimum working age, human rights, trade unions, fair wages, and benefits. Although ETI certification differs somewhat from fair trade certification, both provide consumers with the assurance that a company treats its employees ethically.
Albetta also values sustainability, embracing recycling and repurposing efforts and creating high-quality products that minimize the waste resulting from fast fashion. In 2018 Albetta began sourcing Better Cotton Initiative cotton, which promotes sustainable cotton cultivation, and by 2021 all of its cotton will be sourced from the Better Cotton Initiative or GOTS-certified organic cotton suppliers. All Albetta garment fabrics are also OEKO-TEX-certified, which guarantees that they are free from harmful chemicals.
Baby Elephant Ears was founded in 2005 by Alicia Overby when she was looking for a product that would provide support and relief for her own infant son, who was struggling with pain in his neck that made it impossible for him to get comfortable.
Baby Elephant Ears is proud to produce its products locally and ethically in Minnesota and to support fair and honorable labor practices. It is also an eco-conscious business, running a carbon neutral website.
In the 1960s, Barbara Sansoni, a Sri Lankan artist with an intense love of color, first began to explore fabric design. Today, under Sansoni’s direction, Barefoot products—clothes, bags, household linens, and toys—are still designed and produced in Sri Lanka. They are made by workers at home or by local artists and craftspeople in small country workshops working under ethical conditions—never by factories or production lines. As has always been the case, Barefoot works almost exclusively with women, who dye and weave cotton, silk, and wool yarns by hand, using eco-friendly, nontoxic dyes.
Bébénca Organics is committed to improving the lives of people and the health of the planet. All the brand’s products are made using GOTS-certified organic cotton, ensuring that they are sustainable and eco-friendly and that the people who make them work in safe environments and are treated fairly. And, equally important, these products are completely free of harmful chemicals and safe for your baby—with organic cotton, AZO-free low-impact dyes, and nickel-free snap closures.
Founded by a mom out of her living room in Salt Lake City, Utah, The Blueberry Hill is a line of adorable children’s hats. Each hat is knit by loving, careful hands in Shanan, China. Instead of being produced in a factory, Blueberry Hill hats are hand-knit by moms, dads, grandparents, and friends who work in the comfort of their own homes, at their own pace, in the presence of friends and family. The Blueberry Hill is dedicated to the ethical treatment of its knitters, whom the owners visit in Shanan to ensure their well-being.
Cheeni is a children’s clothing brand built around the artistry of India. Cheeni’s gorgeous, brightly colored dresses and bubbles are made of hand-woven Dobby fabrics and feature traditional Indian Banjara embroidery and block printing. They are handcrafted by talented artisans in India.
Cheeni is passionate about creating clothing that causes no harm to the little ones who wear it or the environment around them. That’s why the brand uses only natural fibers and nontoxic dyes to sustainably produce its clothing.
Cheeni is also dedicated to giving back. With every purchase, the brand donates a portion of its proceeds to Children Incorporated to give children around the world a chance at a better life.
Colored Organics is dedicated to making a difference in the children's clothing industry. All of its clothing is made in India of GOTS-certified organic cotton, which means it is better for the farmers, the factory workers, the planet, and your baby. Colored Organics is 100% sweatshop-free, uses absolutely NO child labor, and provides fair wages, medical benefits, capped work hours, and vacations to workers. In addition, Colored Organics partners each month with a global or domestic nonprofit in order to make a positive impact in the lives of children.
Design Dua was founded by Coretta Owusu, a lawyer, advocate, and entrepreneur working in the United States and West Africa. She created Design Dua to share the beauty of African design with the world by giving local artisans the opportunity to benefit from their own art. According to a 2014 study by the G-Lish Foundation, basket weavers in Northern Ghana often find it difficult to earn an income from their weaving, given the time they must devote to the process and the costs of materials and travel to markets. Design Dua creates opportunities for rural artisans through community empowerment, education, and awareness. It uses fixed pricing guidelines for all products (a 50% or higher increase over weavers’ previous profits), so that all weavers are paid at or above minimum wage. Design Dua also provides training, benefits, and access to materials for its artisans and brings awareness about fair compensation to other local weavers outside of its cooperative.
Designed in the Netherlands and produced in Indonesia, Donsje is an irresistibly cute childrenswear brand. All Donsje products are handmade by local artisans in dedicated factories that promise them a safe and positive working environment and fair pay.
Donsje also cares deeply about giving back. A portion of the brand’s profits are donated to the Shining Star School in Nairobi, Kenya, which was founded by Donsje’s two managing directors. Today Shining Star has provided a better start in life to more than 165 Kenyan children.
Founded by mother, nurse, and herbalist Melinda Olson in 2002, Earth Mama Organics is dedicated to creating plant-based products that are safe for the earth and for humans, especially pregnant women, postpartum women, and babies. Earth Mama products are certified organic by Oregon Tilith (or to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients when not all ingredients are available in an organic form), non-GMO, free of animal testing (Leaping Bunny Standard), and some are even EWG Verified, meaning that the Environmental Working Group certifies them as nontoxic.
Eco-Kids is a woman-founded, family-owned business focused on creating eco-friendly, safe, and fun art supplies for kids in Portland, Maine. Utilizing food-safe, non-GMO ingredients and pigments, as well as sustainable packaging, Eco-Kids ensures that your child's art making is as safe for the planet as it is for them.
Finn + Emma, voted one of the top ten sustainable baby brands by Vogue, is dedicated to outfitting little ones with clothing and toys that are adorable, comfortable, and safe for babies, its employees, and the environment. Finn + Emma uses only organic GOTS-certified cotton and nontoxic, eco-friendly dyes in its garments. All snaps are lead- and nickel-free and feature charming engraved coconut inserts. Finn + Emma’s wood toys are made from untreated, non-splinter Indian hardwood and finished with vegetable seed wax, and its soft toys are hand-knit from organic cotton yarn by a women’s collaborative in Peru. All Finn + Emma products are made under fair trade labor practices, providing workers, primarily women, with a living wage and safe workspace.
For more than sixty years, Glückskäfer, a small, family-run toy business founded by Manfred Käfer, has been creating high-quality wooden toys in Germany. Today Glückskäfer is owned by Nic Toys, which shares its mission to create ethical, beautiful wooden toys. With the philosophy “toys in harmony with nature,” Nic is dedicated to environmental conservation. It uses only wood from European forests certified for sustainable forestry management by the Forest Stewardship Council/Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (mainly beech and maple). The company also uses only paints and varnishes that are primarily water-based and certified as safe for the environment and for your little ones. All Nic toys are produced in a small factory in southern Germany.
Founded in 2011 by Brooklyn-based Juan Carlos and Anna Leigh Donado, fair trade company Goose Grease creates unique, handcrafted peg dolls. Each doll is carefully hand-chiseled on an electric lathe in a small carpentry shop in Bogotá, Colombia, using sustainably harvested wood. (When one tree is used, two are planted!) Goose Grease then trains and employs local artisans to hand-paint the dolls with nontoxic, water-based paints, making them perfect (and safe) for children of all ages.
Grapat, a wooden toy company based in the countryside of Catalunya, Spain, creates colorful, open-ended toys—indeed, 27 of them have been awarded a “Spiel Gut” (“Good Toy”) designation, a German toy award established in 1954. Nonetheless, the company remains dedicated to the welfare of its employees and the environment. Grapat’s employees come from the local community, and their work schedules are tailored to the needs of their families. They work under ethical and safe conditions, without forced labor or child labor, according to the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. In addition, Grapat collaborates with local organizations that help people with intellectual disabilities, providing employment opportunities related to packaging products.
Grapat, which is certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, only uses wood that comes from sustainable forests. It also uses water-based, nontoxic dyes and vegetable-based oils and waxes on its products. In 2019 Grapat eliminated plastic entirely from its packaging; the cloth bags that it uses in some product packaging are recycled and handmade from fabric that has been deemed defective and discarded by larger companies.
All Hamam Mama covers begin with handwoven Turkish cotton towels (hamam towels) that are sourced directly from “some of the few remaining artisan weavers in Turkey still doing things ‘the old fashioned way.’” These artisans use GOTS-certified organic cotton threads (dyed in a GOTS-approved dye house) to produce authentic Turkish towels on shuttle looms, so all the towels Hamam Mama uses are handmade rather than mass-produced using machines. In Colorado independent seamstresses and moms, many working in their own homes, then turn these towels into Hamam Mama’s beautiful, multipurpose covers.
Hamam Mama also donates 5% of each sale to Every Mother Counts, supporting its mission to ensure safe pregnancies and births for women around the world.
Koseli works exclusively with small fair trade workshops and artisans in Nepal. Its felt products are handmade from 100% wool, imported from Australia and New Zealand, in private homes or small workshops that provide comfortable, safe working conditions. Koseli’s artisans are treated with respect; provided with training and consistent, reliable business; and paid fair wages in full and on time. Koseli is a member of the BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK.
In 1990, after questioning why her own children’s rugs were not machine washable, Spanish designer Lorena Canals decided to establish her eponymous brand of 100% cotton machine washable rugs and textile accessories for little ones. Today her global brand employs more than 170 artisans in northern India who produce all products by hand, including spinning and dyeing the cotton fibers, using ancestral manufacturing techniques. Lorena Canals is committed to socially responsible labor practices and prides itself on using natural materials, including natural, nontoxic dyes.
In 2008 Lorena Canals established the Sakûla Project, opening a nursery in northern India where children who are found on the street receive care, a meal, and education. Today more than 120 children attend the nursery. As part of the Sakûla Project, the brand also donates a portion of its profits to the Jodh Sachiar Public School to cover the cost of educating some of its students.
Anjali Harjani was inspired by her childhood home in Malabar Hill, Mumbai, India, to create the textile brand Malabar Baby. The brand’s gorgeous hand block-printed designs preserve a traditional Indian artform and bring it alive for the next generation. Malabar Baby works with a factory that is a leading member of Jaipur Bloc, a group of small- and medium-size enterprises that promotes handcrafted textiles, the preservation of block printing, environmental sustainability, and fair treatment of workers. That means that Malabar Baby’s products are always eco-friendly and ethically produced.
Malabar Baby also gives back by supporting Mother’s Choice, an organization in Hong Kong that serves children who do not have families, with the goal of placing every child with a loving family.
For more than thirty years, Maple Landmark has been producing wooden toys in rural Middlebury, Vermont. Using wood that comes from native species—primarily rock maple, as well as some pine and cherry—the company supports responsible forestry practices and purchases the majority of its lumber from one local source. Maple Landmark is focused on environmental stewardship: it minimizes wood waste by providing sawdust to local farmers for cattle bedding and making scraps available to local citizens for use as kindling, and it also reuses and repurposes shipping and packaging materials. Maple Landmark is a family-run business that employs more than forty people, who are paid and treated fairly and work in a safe facility, according to US labor and safety standards.
Founded in 2006 with the goal of designing collections that appeal to Westerners while honoring the culture, craft, and capacity of Indian artisans, Matr Boomie is a fair trade organization striving to break the cycle of poverty in India. It works with more than 1,000 artisans in 40 partner communities throughout India, providing fair wages, opportunities for commerce, and safe working environments, as well as sponsoring community workshops, trainings, healthcare check-ups, and more. Since 2013 Matr Boomie has completed more than fifty important community development projects for artisan groups in India. In addition, the organization works with its artisans to make the creation process eco-friendly by eliminating toxins, reducing water and fuel waste, and recycling or upcycling materials.
Matr Boomie is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and Green America, a nonprofit that seeks to harness economic power to create a socially just and environmentally sustainably society. In 2018 Matr Boomie was a Green America People & Planet Award recipient.
Founded in 1997, Naguska provides primarily female artisans from rural areas in the Peruvian highlands and from neighborhoods surrounding Lima with the opportunity to supplement their income by creating handmade products. Most of these artisans work from home, so they are able to care for their children and fulfill their other domestic responsibilities while also bringing in an income that allows them to improve their family’s quality of life. Naguska also offers training, technical advice, and support for these artisans.
Formed in 2001 as Friends Handicraft, Nuptse Craft provides fair and sustainable employment for marginalized Nepali women. Its mission is to combat urban poverty, and to that end, it supports training and skill development for its more than 70 female employees, as well as access to education for their children.
Wool felt is the world’s oldest known textile, and felting is a traditional process that has been employed in the Himalayas for thousands and thousands of years. Nuptse Craft artisans preserve this ancient technique through their work, while also protecting the environment by using only AZO-free dyes and minimizing product waste.
Founded by Gregorio and Laura in 2016, Ocamora’s handmade, open-ended wooden toys are designed and manufactured in a family workshop in Spain. Ocamora uses wood from sustainable forests in Spain and Europe certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). It only uses vegetable-based, eco-friendly paints and oils on its toys, so they are 100% chemical- and toxic-free.
Papoose Toys is an Australia-based company that creates toys in Nepal using only natural materials such as wool felt, cotton, and wood and nontoxic dyes. Produced under fair trade conditions, Papoose’s colorful, imaginative toys are handmade by wonderful Nepalese artisans.
Established in 2004 out of founder Samantha Morshed’s spare room, Hathay Bunano ps is a nonprofit organization that trains and employs poor rural women in Bangladesh. In 2010 Hathay Bunano—which means “handmade” or “hand-knit” in Bangla—launched its brand, Pebble.
Pebble is certified by the World Fair Trade Organization, ensuring that all of its artisans are paid a fair wage and work in a safe environment. Today Pebble provides jobs to more than 12,000 women in 120 rural centers around Bangladesh, most of which have a nursery or preschool for the employees’ children. Working for Pebble allows these women to stay in their community with their family rather than migrating to a city to look for work, thus helping to keep families intact and prevent human trafficking and forced prostitution. Pebble’s work is changing entire communities in Bangladesh by giving women both a voice in a traditionally patriarchal society and an alternative to depleting the natural resources of their home for their livelihood.
As of January 2020, Pebble has also replaced all of the plastic materials it uses for mailing with “dirt bags,” made of 100% biodegradable and compostable materials, and all of its plastic packaging with a new type of bag that is 100% organic and biodegradable. Way to go Pebble!
Established by friends Jen Kelly and Becca Perren, Pehr is a female-founded and female-led Canadian company that works with artisans in India to ethically produce its playfully sophisticated products. In order to ensure the well-being of its female employees, Pehr partners with like-minded organizations like Care & Fair and Good Weave, which promote ethical production and education for workers and fight against child labor. Pehr only uses 100% certified organic cotton in its bedding and clothing, employs all-natural dyes and treatments, and generally works to minimize its environmental impact by choosing sustainable manufacturing processes and packaging. In addition, Pehr gives back to the Good+ Foundation, an organization that provides low-income families with essential products to support their children.
Sapling is dedicated to the care and comfort of the little ones it designs for—as well as the environment and its workers. As a result, it uses super-soft 100% organic cotton in all its clothing. It sources cotton from farms that are sensitive to not only their environmental impact, but also their social impact and the health of their farmers. Sapling prints its cotton with organic water-based dyes that are free from toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Its knitting, dying, and manufacturing plants—all located in India—are certified organic and fair trade.
Sapling garments are also designed with your babies’ comfort in mind—with flat stitching so there are no irritating inner seams, wider hips for extra diaper room, extra length in cuffs so that there’s room to grow, and chemical-free iron-on labels so there are never itchy tags.
Tender Leaf Toys is a design-forward brand that creates beautiful, imaginative toys with play and childhood development in mind—all without sacrificing the environment or its employees. Tender Leaf Toys uses only legal Indonesian rubberwood, a previously wasted byproduct of the rubber industry, for its toys. The Indonesian government is committed to replanting eco-friendly rubberwood plantations in order to grow its economy. Indeed, for every tree that is cut down, another is planted in its place, ensuring a continuous supply of rubberwood.
All parts of Tender Leaf Toys’s creation process are managed under one roof, in an Indonesian factory dedicated to the ethical treatment of its workers. The factory employs 1,600 workers from the local area, training these highly skilled craftspeople to use traditional methods and processes in finishing the toys. Tender Leaf Toys has been awarded the ICTI Ethical Toy Program seal of approval, certifying its fair and safe treatment of its employees.
Creating beautiful, sustainable, ethical, handcrafted toys for little ones, Tikiri—which means “teeny tiny” in Sri Lanka’s language, Sinhala—launched in 2013. Tikiri’s toys are handmade from ethically sourced cotton and 100% natural rubber, which is nontoxic, BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free, and biodegradable. Tikiri’s rubber is sustainably harvested from the Hevea tree, primarily grown in Sri Lanka. By sourcing rubber and producing toys in Sri Lanka, Tikiri greatly minimizes its carbon footprint and environmental impact.
Tikiri also cares deeply about treating its employees with fairness and respect. It is certified by Garments without Guilt, an initiative of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association that ensures ethical working conditions and an environment free from child labor, forced labor, sweatshop practices, and discrimination. Tikiri provides all its employees with free meals, transport, medical facilities, and healthcare, and their children are supplied with school bags and books year-round. In addition, a portion of sales of Tikiri’s Bonikka line go to subsidize the living expenses of the children at the Viharamahadevi Centre for Child Development, an orphanage for girls located close to Tikiri’s main factory.
Tikiri was the 2020 winner of the Ethical Gift of the Year award.
Under the Nile products are good for your baby and good for the world! All products are made of 100% organic Egyptian cotton (not just organic, but also biodynamic) and use only low-impact dyes. They are free of harmful chemicals like AZO dyes, bleach, flame retardants, formaldehyde, fragrance, PVC, lead, and nickel. Under the Nile has GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and USDA National Organic Program certifications. It is also the first and only baby clothing company in the world to carry the Gold Seal of Egyptian Cotton.
Under the Nile products are made in fair trade–certified facilities, so you can be sure that the men and women who create them are safe, paid fair wages, and treated with dignity and respect. Under the Nile works diligently to empower women, implementing a pilot project to promote gender equality and female employee retention in its factory. However, only 30% of its factory employees are women, so in 2008 it launched the 13 Villages project to provide home-based employment to women in neighboring villages. These women are trained to create Under the Nile’s iconic fruit and veggie toys from their homes and are paid fair wages for their work.
Profits from Under the Nile’s sewing factory are used to fund the Sekem School, a school located on the same farm as the Under the Nile factory for children from surrounding villages. Rather than a traditional Egyptian school, the Sekem School utilizes the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, instilling in students an understanding and appreciation of their humanity and world citizenship before their social, racial, and economic differences. Under the Nile has also created a daycare located near the factory for working mothers, a special needs program for disabled members of the community, and a vocational training center focused on teaching woodworking and weaving skills.
Viverano Organics believes in the importance of producing environmentally, socially, and economically responsible textiles. The brand uses 100% organic cotton and produces all of its textiles in India in a GOTS- and fair trade–certified manufacturing facility. Viverano also supports a farmer-owned social cooperative in India that works with small organic cotton famers in order to “enhance and improve their livelihood options by making their small farm systems more sustainable and profitable, and creating access to ethical and robust Fair-Trade markets for Non GMO cotton.” Plus, Viverano’s clothing does not use any harmful chemicals, toxic dyes, bleaches, of finishes, so it is perfectly gentle for your baby’s skin.