Administrative Professionals’ Day Gift Ideas

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On Administrative Professionals’ Day, April 24th, honor the hardworking, talented, multi-tasking administrative professionals who keep offices running smoothly. There’s no better way to show your appreciation than with unique, eco-friendly gifts that give back!



Tea & Tin Travel Set

This set contains one Lemon Tea 2 oz. travel-sized eco-friendly soy candle and two pods of Lemon Tea scented bath teas. White gift box measures 6″H x 2.25″W x 2″D. Proceeds from the sale of this product provide a job development training program for homeless and at-risk young mothers between the ages of 17 and 24. Retail: $14.00 



Delectable Cookie Duo

This simply delightful 1 lb. tin boasts a half-pound of double chocolate chip cookies and a half-pound of peanut butter cookies with tasty peanut butter chips. The purchase of this product provides valuable support to programs that serve adults with developmental disabilities. Retail: $17.95


THANKS6f54a2Thank You Bowl

Say a special thank you with this 11” handcrafted metal bowl handmade by the artisans at a fair trade workshop in India using recycled bicycle spokes. Proceeds from the sale of this product benefit the coop of individual crafters and artisan collectives in the developing world by ensuring compensation and building sustainable livelihoods. Retail: $32.95 

MESSENGER.1809a66Recycled Motorcycle Seat/Netting Messenger

Both durable and functional, this eco-friendly messenger bag is made from repurposed motorcycle seats and recycled netting. Features include an adjustable strap, snap hook for keys, front pocket, zippered back pocket, and two inside pockets. Available in Black and Brown. The purchase of this product provides income, dignity and hope to artisans and their families and free daycare and preschool for their children. Retail: $74.00 Small; $80.00 Large

Fashion Revolution Day: #INSIDEOUT

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Who Made Your ClothesIt’s not common to ask yourself, “Who made my clothes?” But it should be. We should more curious about how our clothes are made and who made them. Fashion is about relationships. Fashion Revolution Day is about reestablishing those broken relationships and the connections we’ve lost with the clothes that we wear; it’s about transparency in the fashion supply chain.

On April 24th, 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-floor factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed killing 1133 people and injuring many more. It is considered be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history. Today, people are still suffering as a direct result of our fashion supply chain. Fashion Revolution Day says enough is enough.

The first ever FRD will take place on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. “We’ll start by remembering its victims and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s biggest challenges. But because we want fashion to be a force for good, we’ll also be celebrating fashion and spreading excitement about the power it has to make big change happen fast.”

FRD’s founder, Fashion Revolution, asks you to show your support for better connections and transparency across the fashion supply chain by wearing an item of clothing inside out, photographing it and then sharing it with the hashtag #insideout. So tweet it, link it, like it, share it. Spread the word.  Let’s put an end to the era of disposability and celebrate the faces of our makers. Let’s turn fashion into a force for good.

Our sales and marketing coordinator, Diana, and graphic designer, Allyson, went #insideout for #FRD!



Introducing our 2014 Mercado Global line

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As Chicago’s arctic winter nears an end, we feel it’s time to bring on the spring colors, prints and materials. We’d like to introduce a few handbags from the {haute} 2014 collection by fair trade partner, Mercado Global.

MG LogoMercado Global is a nonprofit organization that promotes community driven development by linking Guatemalan women’s cooperatives to the U.S. market through a model of fair wage employment. Mercado Global provides assistance to the one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessory artisans in the areas of design, product development, technical training, financial planning and organizational management. Today, the employment and support given by this organization has made it possible for over 200 women cooperative members to provide basic necessities such as nutritious meals for their families and schooling for their children.

The ideal spring trio: Matea Weekender, Emilia Tote and San Juan Clutch.



Matea Weekender

Made by Guatemalan artisans, the Matea Weekender combines traditional stripes with intricate handwoven brocade. Features inner and outer pockets, a detachable strap, and macrame pompom details. Accented with nickel hardware. Natural and black. 100% cotton. Fully lined. Measures 18.5″H x 15.5″W.  Retail: $328.00




Emilia Tote

Constructed by Guatemalan artisans of handwoven stripe and brocade, this stylish carryall features leather handles and piping, an inner pocket with leather detailing, and is accented by detachable macrama pompoms. Natural and black. 100% cotton. Fully lined. Measures 16″H x 14″W x 5″D. Retail: $165.00



San Juan Clutch

This must-have clutch, constructed by Guatemalan artisans from handwoven traditional striped fabric, is the perfect accessory. Accented with fabric piping is and brass zipper closure. Fully lined. 100% cotton. Measures 6″H x 12″W. Retail: $48.00


Oh spring, how we love thee.


Doing Good Is Good For Business – Motivation Show Seminar

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At this year’s Motivation Show, HHR Founder Michael Arkes will be giving a presentation about how doing good for others can be good for business. Along with him at the panel Michael will have several program participants from some of our partner social enterprises.

If you want to check out a panel on Wednesday afternoon, this will definitely be a good one. Hear some life changing stories and learn something while you’re there!

When Did This Whole Fair Trade Thing Start?

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Many of the products that we feature in our HHR assortments are considered Fair Trade products. It’s a term that is used increasingly more often as social responsibility takes a bigger stance in business. It hasn’t obviously been around for forever, so how did it all get started?

Most attribute the start in the United States shortly after World War II. Edna Ruth Bylor is credited with initiating the movement, traveling from the Mennonite community she volunteered in to Puerto Rico buying hand-sewn linens from women who were living in poverty. Over time, Bylor went from selling the hand made needle work from the back of her car to selling at an event in Switzerland to opening up a shop. This shop is something today known as 10,000 Villages.

Overseas at this time? OXFAM was started around the same time in Europe, helping to relieve hunger of individuals deemed refugees as a result of the war. This movement eventually spread and is now active in many countries throughout the world.

There is more information here about the detailed history of Fair Trade and even a good timeline of events in the world of Fair Trade progress.

What ways have Fair Trade products affected your buying decisions?

Say Thanks (The Socially Responsible Way)

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With Administrative Assistant’s Day around the corner, what’s a great way to show your appreciation? Helping Hand Rewards is now offering a Thank You card just for this sort of occasion. These cards show your gratitude by giving your valued recipients the opportunity to choose from a variety of socially responsible gifts produced by Helping Hand Rewards’ social enterprise partners. Each item includes a description including an explanation of who will benefit from the selection of that gift. A reply card is included for the recipient to make his or her gift selection and return for fulfillment.

Two gift levels are available, $29 and $48, ideal for any budget. Give a gift that not only says “Thanks”to your recipient, but also gives back to another person in need. For more information about these cards, feel free to contact Drew Hawkins at 773.890.5900 x3387  or email at

Proctor and Gambles Helps Children Live, Learn and Thrive

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They make many of our heavily used household products like Tide and Old Spice. The folks at Proctor and Gamble have other tricks up their sleeves to in regards to corporate social responsibility. More specifically, their Live, Learn and Thrive program.

The Live, Learn and Thrive program roots its focus in improving the lives of children around the world. The program doesn’t encapsulate one specific mission but instead has a general focus over all areas of social responsibility, with 100 different programs found in 60 different countries. The company dedicates a lot of time and resources to helping clean water and vaccines to children in Africa to improving educational opportunities for children in Asia.

Why, especially in a tight economy, would so many valuable company resources be spent outside the walls of the company. The people at Proctor and Gamble feel that large corporations have a responsibility to be a power for good in the world. They have applied this corporate responsibility culture into their philanthropy programs and even in their employee engagement systems. P&G encourages its employees to carry that attitude out into their own communities. This goes beyond financial support (P&G employees have donated millions to charitable causes) but volunteering time to help with building projects and youth mentoring.

This is just one example of how a company has fostered an attitude of social responsibility to encourage employee engagement and help make the world a better place. How are you changing the world?