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Inspired, Cause-Focused Brands Making a Global Impact

by Kelly Kabotoff

Fall always feels like a mental reset for me. Maybe it’s the kids going back to school, or the changing pace of life as summer traffic slows down and our lake town gets a little more sleepy. Whatever it is, it sets a course of reflection and makes me feel grateful for the things in my life. As a buyer, this translated to thinking more globally and seeking out inspired and cause-focused brands. These companies and their products fit perfectly into the lifestyle of the north, while also helping causes here in Minnesota and across the globe.

This amazing North, Minnesota, USA Apolis Market Tote ($68) – exclusive to The Lake + Co. Shop – is my everything bag. Heading to the farmers market, toting stuff to and from work, you name it. It’s hefty enough to carry 125 lbs, but fashionable enough to bring anywhere. Apolis’s model of “Advocacy Through Industry” is an effective way of creating jobs worldwide. They believe that when all people in the world have access to the same global marketplace and can support themselves with work and commerce, then we have the opportunity to create a society where people can not only survive, but thrive.

Not only are the children’s clothes and accessories from Milkbarn adorable and super soft (made with organic cotton and bamboo), but your purchase supports Exile International, whose mission is to bring restoration to rescued child soldiers and children orphaned by war in DR Congo and Uganda. Through art therapy and holistic, rehabilitative care, Exile International empowers former child soldiers and orphans to heal and become leaders of peace. This adorable newborn gown and hat set ($38) is perfect for the little buck in your life.

PAB’S PACKS is the brainchild of two Minnesota teens, Pia and Abbie, whose shared experience of time in a hospital feeling lousy and scared as kids led them to creating a solution for other sick teens. Since 2015, they have provided over 2,000 custom backpacks filled with comfort items to teenagers with a chronic diagnosis or repeat hospital visits. In addition, all proceeds of their retail merchandise go towards bringing more PAB’S PACKS to chronically ill teens, making the purchase of one of these colorful PACKS ($58) a feel-good purchase for kids and adults alike.

S’well® water bottles are fashion forward and truly functional- keeping your drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. They are triple-walled which makes them condensation free (a must when you are toting it around in your purse!) and they come in three sizes (the largest one even fits an entire bottle of wine…just sayin’!) But the best part is that S’well is a proud partner of UNICEF USA, and has committed $800,000 since 2015 to help provide clean and safe water to the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Sudara is a benefit corporation that creates jobs and provides skills training for women in India who are at the highest risk or survivors of human trafficking. They empower women to live in freedom and create a life of their own choosing. Their Punjammies® loungewear pants ($59) are quickly becoming my favorite for hanging at home or running around town.

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