Kael Robinson, founder and CEO of Live Worldly, turned her passions for global culture and helping others into a business of benefit (you know, brands born for the greater good like TOMS Shoes). In 2008, Robinson launched Brazilets out of her downtown Denver loft after discovering Brazilian wish bracelets (a traditional good luck charm) on a family trip to South America. To give back, the company started planting trees in Brazil's rainforests. She was soon importing other products from Brazil and, by 2010, traveling the world in search of handmade accessories to bring back from villages in India, the beaches of Indonesia, and tribes in Africa.
With the worldwide expansion came significant growth and a name change. Brazilets became Live Worldly. Now operating out of offices in the Denver Tech Center, Robinson aligns with artisans she meets throughout her travels to not only buy a beaded belt or hand-sewn wallet, but also to improve the business and create jobs for other locals. Plus, up to 20 percent of proceeds from each product is donated to a partner charity that works with or in the item's country of origin such as the Surfrider Foundation in Costa Rica and the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Thailand.
“When I travel, I’m always looking for things that are, of course, beautiful, unique, and well made,” Robinson says. “But our main goal is to create communities in these countries with viable employment opportunities and help them refine their crafts into something even more people will buy.”
You can support Live Worldly through its crowdfunding campaign on MoolaHoop (until September 15), a new platform dedicated solely to women entrepreneurs. Launched earlier this month, the $25,000 goal will directly fund Live Worldly’s newest handmade jewelry collection out of Kenya and give the students at the country's Olepolos Primary School access to clean drinking water, supplies, and additional teachers.
Want to globalize your wardrobe? Here are Robinson’s top five trends for fall along with product picks (all are available online):
Oversize Scarves: Live Indian Recycled Sari Rainbow Scarf, $32
Bold Backpacks: Live Thai Orange Phi Phi Backpack, $56
Cascading Necklaces: Live Brazilian Beleza Bib Necklaces, $50-$70
Big Belts: Live Bolivian Fringe Belt, $35
Follow contributor Katie Shapiro on Twitter and Instagram at @kshapiromedia.