Aubrey Cox and Hanna Koch hope to revolutionize the way people shop through their online storefront, Philanshopit.  Launched this November, Philanshopit offers a beautifully curated collection of apparel, home decor, accessories and jewelry. What separates Philanshopit from traditional shopping websites is a commitment to selling products from partners who “have a clear social impact statement in their mission.”

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 11.40.48 PMBorn from an idea that came to Aubrey while still in college, Philanshopit’s mission is to “provide socially responsible items without asking consumers to sacrifice style.” As companies with powerful movements such as TOMS continue to thrive, the goal of Philanshopit is on target with the growing trend of consumers looking to empower positive change through their purchases.

earrings assortedThe Philanshopit team is very selective when it comes to determining who they will feature on their website. Each partner must demonstrate “a clear social impact statement in their mission, and before forming a partnership, they must complete a survey that quantifies their impact.”

 The story behind the creators of Philanshopit is as impressive as their worthwhile mission. Born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, Aubrey found her passion sooner than most when, as she explains, “at an early age I visited rural Mexico and witnessed extreme poverty for the first time which since inspired me to dedicate my work to international development.” Aubrey’s dedication to philanthropy shines through an ongoing commitment to worthwhile organizations, “I recently worked for Operation Smile, where I traveled to sixteen developing countries to build program sustainability by training local volunteers.”

Hanna grew up in Easton, Maryland and attended high school at the Island School in the Bahamas. She explains that the Island School “emphasized place-based learning, marine ecosystems and sustainable living.” “At the Island School, I cultivated a strong interest in environmental issues and international development. Recently, I worked as a conflict resolution journalist in Israel and the West Bank.”

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 11.56.17 PMHanna and Aubrey met while students at the College of Charleston and both currently live in Washington, D.C. Their common interest in international development, communications and fashion brought them together as friends. It was a shared dream of doing something bigger than themselves that brought them together to create Philanshopit. A mere three months after Aubrey initially shared her idea for Philanshopit with Hanna, the website launched.

One of the most powerful statements a person makes is through the way they spend their money. Changing this decision-making process is a significant part of Philanshopit’s long term vision. Those with discerning tastes will be relieved to know that quality and style don’t have to be sacrificed to make a difference with fashion purchases.

When asked to share examples of their favorite partners, the ladies at Philanshopit provided the story behind two very inspirational organizations:

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Our partners are carefully selected organizations that share our vision for fashion and philanthropy.One of our favorite partners is Connected in Hope. Connected in Hope empowers women in Ethiopia. The Connected in Hope weavers once carried  70-80 pound bundles of eucalyptus branches 10 miles down the mountain to sell in the markets of Addis Ababa for a  dollar. While carrying the bundles, the women were in constant danger of wild animals, harassment, and rape.

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 11.16.23 PMNow, 65 of the former wood carriers weave scarves to earn income for their families. Connected in Hope supports their efforts by bringing their products to global markets and reinvestment profits in programs that benefit the women and their families. Be  sure to visit Philanshopit to read about some of their personal stories.

Another inspiriting partner is Usful Glassworks. Usful Glassworks creates beautiful glasses made out of a recycled wine bottle,  so far saving over 127,000 bottles from the landfill. The organization also works with men and women from various underserved communities including: the homeless, low-income senior citizens, refugees, at-risk youth, and those on probation or parole. Usful Glassworks provides program participants with valuable job and vocational training. So far over 111 participants have graduated from their job training program.

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 11.36.17 PMPhilanshopit hopes to help make success possible for organizations like Usful Glassworks and Connected in Hope. If everyone made a conscious effort to incorporate socially conscious spending into their everyday spending, the impact would be incredibly far-reaching.

Thankfully, fashionistas style doesn’t have to suffer when making socially responsible shopping choices as the Philanshopit team always has their eye on current styles. Favorite trends of the season include stacked bracelets. According to Aubrey, “We love mixing and matching our Lily and Laura bracelets with favorite watches and bracelets, while knowing we’re helping women in Nepal support their families.”

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 11.38.29 PMAnother favorite this season comes are the Square and Angela & Roi handbags, Aubrey explains, “We adore the tailored look of our Square Angela & Roi tote. Each color supports a cause. For example, with each purchase of a blue tote, a donation is made to the Colon Cancer Alliance.”

With an array of on-trend items to choose from, making a difference has never felt lovelier. “We hope people see the beauty in our products, regardless of the sustainable and responsible backgrounds from which they come.”

Visit Philanshopit to join the revolution and make socially responsible shopping the new norm.

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Simplify your gift giving this year with Philanshopit’s Holiday Gift Guide.

*Images courtesy of Philanshopit