Wear It Wednesday | Dressember 2018 Raffle Items

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Dressember is but a few weeks away. And this year I’m upping my fundraising game to reach a goal of $500 to help rescue & restore people from human trafficking.

In an effort to encourage you to give to this organization that I truly believe in, I am giving away 4 ethically made/fair trade/give back pieces that promote and encourage artisans globally.

I’m so grateful to all these great brands and brand ambassadors who quickly and excitedly said yes to my requests and are supporting my Dressember campaign this year! Want to know more about each of these items? No worries, feel free to do some early fair trade Christmas shopping! Shopping through these small businesses makes a meaningful impact of women here in the US and artisans globally. Purchase with Purpose.


Starfish Project – restores hope to exploited women in Asia. They provide life-changing opportunities through our Holistic Care Programs and their social enterprise where women create beautiful jewelry and become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers.

Through their Holistic Care Programs, they provide vocational training, healthcare, shelter, counseling, and education grants for the women and their children. Starfish Project has employed over 130 women and has served thousands through our Community Outreach Services.

Balthazar & Rose – was born of inspiration from travel to Ellie’s husband’s country, Tunisia, and from a love of simple gifts from other cultures that fit effortlessly and purposefully into the California lifestyle. One such gift was the Fouta and more recently, the addition of our Savon d’Alep (Aleppo Soap).

Our towels and soaps are a match made in heaven. Both are wise, ancient traditions that come to the modern world with thoughtfulness, purpose and meaning. Both are of superb quality and haute de gamme products in their respective worlds. We are so proud to bring these treasures to the United States and to share their special stories, the lives they touch, and not to mention their incredible beauty, simplicity and usefulness.

Aside from helping in our own small way to support the economy of newly democratic and fragile Tunisia (and the Winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize), it is our honor to also engage with our local community in the packaging of our soaps.  Our ultimate goal?  To one day build an earthen factory for our artisans, and to be able to hire more people in life who need a second chance and a fresh start. Please stay tuned!

Ellie Montazeri, Founder

Balthazar & Rose is a social enterprise that strives to bring beautiful, simple, useful gifts from the East to the West. Our mission is to make a positive impact by bridging cultural divides with products that are socially responsible and embody powerful significance: working directly with artisans, protecting the cultural heritage of ancient products and providing economic opportunity for people on the margins of society.

Trades of Hope – So many women live in poverty, not because they lack abilities, but because they lack opportunity. We started Trades of Hope to give women that opportunity for a better life. Each woman has a story, and with Trades of Hope’s help, their story has changed from pain and struggle to a story of hope!

We work with the artisans themselves and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war-torn countries and others have HIV/AIDS and leprosy. These women have never had the chances we’ve had, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them.

We are helping by marketing their products through the home party model, so they can put food on their table, a roof over their head, get medical care and an education for their children. We want to tell their stories to the world! We have a heart for ministry and business, and through this we have started separate successful non-profit organizations and businesses. Together, we have a combined 30 years of experience. This has given us the tools and drive we need to help women and make an impact on the world! As mothers and daughters, we also wanted to partner together to help create a beautiful world for the next generation. Check out our bios below to read our personal stories.

Sseko Designs –  is a fashion brand based in Uganda. Through the sale of beautiful handbags, accessories and leather sandals, we create opportunity and community for women globally.

We believe that every woman has a dream. When she has the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter, more just and beautiful world.

Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women in Uganda to continue on to university. And it has worked! Every woman who has graduated from Sseko has gone on to pursue higher education and is on her way to making our world a more beautiful place. This year, Sseko will enable our 106th woman to attend university—and we’re sending our biggest class to date (nineteen) this year!

In addition to our university-bound team, Sseko also employs women from all walks of life. By creating an environment of dignity, honor and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.

In addition to our team in Uganda, we create opportunity for women in the U.S. to earn an income and fulfill their dreams! Through the Sseko Fellows Program, we provide the resources for women across the U.S. to sell Sseko and launch their own ethical and impactful direct sales businesses. Every Fellow is paired one-to-one with a woman on our team in Uganda!

Finally, Sseko partners with existing artisan groups across East Africa to produce exquisitely crafted goods. We’re currently partnering with organizations in Kenya and Ethiopia to produce woven textiles and fine leather goods. To learn more about where each product comes from, visit our Mission & Impact page, or click on the Impact Tab on that product’s description page in our shopping cart. These additional products help us contribute to our goal of growing East African economies through trade and employment. In addition, the revenue generated through these lines allows us to expand our mission to educate and empower women through employment, training and scholarships.


Want to be entered to win? Be sure you give to my Dressember page! Click the image below. Want to join my Dressember team and wear a dress every day in December? Join in the Style Challenge!


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