Here’s something good: OBene. The fledgling company, founded by Tamsin Smith (of RED) and James Cannon Boyce (of Common Sense New Media Strategies), has yet to launch; the target is November. But the co-founders are promising something enticing: authentic, artisanal goods from around the world, with 10 percent (or more) of the profits going to a charity that the buyer chooses.
That’s the hook—it’s called “beneficial buying.” As Smith puts it, “The world doesn’t need more bags or mugs with non-profit logos on the side, just as a way to raise needed funds. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could all raise needed funds for charity by purchasing objects worthy of our craving because of what they are, how they were made, and by whom?”
So they’re going to be selling products that people want—like velskoen shoes made in Namibia and beautiful images by Henry Dombey, shown above—at a fair price, with the opportunity to donate to a charity chosen by the buyer (we suggest Learning AFAR!). Smith and Boyce are in Africa at the moment, and Smith has been sending me images of the products they’re scouting, like the bags show below, found at a leather goods design studio in Cape Town. Sold.
In Cape Town, scouting for products that will be available soon at OBene.
They’re asking the AFAR community to suggest where to go and what to seek out: what amazing artisans have you discovered on your travels? And what haven’t you found—in other words, what can OBene find for you? Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up for notifications at OBene.com.