Although retail therapy may initially soothe a shopper-in-distress, buyer's remorse could quickly follow the therapy’s resulting pile of credit card bills. However, with several Orange County-based organizations and stores, retail therapy has a longer lasting and more rewarding type of outcome: the generosity from shopping with charity in mind. Now, as you drop bills, you're allowed to drop that guilty conscience too – you're shopping with a reputable cause in mind.
The Olam Project
Inspired by those who helped Mike Vavak and his wife in the difficult process of healing from tragedy when their son was stillborn, Vavak created The Olam Project to take his turn in helping others. Through the project, Vavak sells T-shirts and donates a portion of the profit to a variety of charities and organizations. Current products include Pulse, a 100% organic cotton T-shirt available in black or white and also the first T-shirt made. Other products include several limited-edition T-shirts such as Katin-Colab – Rasta, Katin-Colab – Rising Sun and Harbour Surfboards Colab. The organization recently raised $1,100 for the OC Walk to Remember during the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month of October. Olam Project T-shirts can be bought in-store at Huntington Beach’s Katin Surf Shop (562.592.2052), Seal Beach’s Harbour Surboards (562.430.5614) and Costa Mesa’s Surfside Sports (949.645.4624). :: theolamproject.com
Turning recycling into a form of evolving fashion, Rebagz creator Marty Stevens-Heebner advocates sustainability through her brand of handbags. Vibrant, colorful and eye-catching, the bags are made from a multitude of materials, including coated, recycled paper and recycled PET plastic for the Statement Makers line and recycled rice sacks for the Rice Sack Graphics line. A portion of the proceeds from the Statement Makers line goes toward organizations such as Greenpeace, the Kind Campaign and the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. Rebagz products can be found at The Passionate Collector in Balboa Island (949.673.0440). :: rebagz.com
Knots of Love
Non-profit organization Knots of Love certainly understands what love is – founder and Executive Director Christine Shively began the project in 2007 and since then Knots of Love has already "warmed over 87,000 hearts and heads to date" – literally. It distributes "chemo-caps," or hand-knit and hand-crocheted caps to those in need, specifically individuals who deal with the aftermath of cancer. The knitted caps are donated by a community of magnanimous knitters and dispensed from the organization's distribution center in Newport Beach. To help support the cause, its website not only explains how potential Knots of Love knitters can get involved, but also features a shopping section. Can't knit, but want to join the movement? Visit your local Sears or Sears online to purchase from the Knots of Love Charitable Jewelry Line, a collection of delicate jewelry pieces, including pendants, rings, bracelets, and earrings, with each piece displaying a heart. Two percent of every purchase goes back to Knots of Love. You can also buy Knots of Love Totes; tote bags that can hold the yarn, needles and hooks necessary to become a knitter ($28 plus $5 shipping for California residents). :: knotsoflove.org
Fashion-forward and humanitarian-forward apparel brand Jedidiah puts its two cents in for change through the selling of men and women's clothing. Each season, Jedidiah partners with a different nonprofit organization in hopes of heightening awareness, raising money and fighting for a social cause. This season, for fall/holiday 2011, the clothing company links with StandUp for Kids, a nationwide, nonprofit organization that strives to improve the lives of homeless teenagers and at-risk youth. Proceeds from the season will go toward a new StandUp for Kids homeless center in New York City. To purchase in-store, visit Orange County retailers: San Clemente's Icons of Surf (949.429.733) and Swell (949.234.4600), Huntington Beach's Katin Surf (562.592.2052) and Sakal Surf (714.536.0505), Brea's Vagabond (714.674.0000) and Boardwalk Surf Skate & Snow (714.529.2053) and Laguna's Thalia Surf (949.497.3292). Jedidiah items can also be purchased online. :: jedidiahusa.com
Mother Ann and daughter Dagmarette Yen work together to own and operate Laguna Beach-based Damo Momo. The company began when Dagmarette's pregnant sisters desired more than what was available in terms of maternity wear in stores. Dagmarette offered a solution to the issue by creating Damo Momo as a hip and specialized maternity clothing line with renewable resourced and environmentally friendly pieces. Staying connected to the maternal and loving nature of the clothing, for every maternity dress purchased, the duo donates a dress to Casa Teresa in Orange, a program for pregnant women who are homeless and alone. Damo Mamo is available at San Clemente's Fairytales Children's Boutique (949.276.7740) and online. :: damomomo.com