Shop & Inspire at the College Bookstore

A t-shirt & a living wage.  A hat & help for veterans.  It’s amazing how simple, everyday items can inspire & change the world– for good.  Read More.

Barnes & Noble College cause logo

Starting this Fall, look for this logo on signs around the store. It will help you determine products and brands that benefit causes.

As you read this blog, people all over the world, all over the country, and even in your community, are in need.  We know you are passionate about causes that benefit others and want to improve today’s way of life for all.  It’s important to you to give back– and it’s important to your college bookstore.

You most likely walk into the bookstore, find the t-shirt, sweatshirt or tailgate gear for game day, purchase, and head off to cheer on your team.  Unbeknownst to you, depending on the items you chose, you just changed a life.

At the college bookstore, we carry products and sell many items that have great causes associated with the brand.  Alta Gracia apparel pays its workers in the Dominican Republic a living wage, allowing families to obtain housing, access to health care and education for their children.  Operation Hat Trick gives back a percentage of proceeds to aid our servicemen and women, and veterans.  League Collegiate Outfitters works to rehabilitate and employ ex-gang members in Central America.  Barnes & Noble College, too,  helps those in need, donating $100,000 to Habitat for Humanity, Intl., supporting their work to provide everyone with decent and affordable housing.

Surprised by all of this good?  There’s even more.

There are many more products sold in stores nationwide, which have moving causes and ties, but how can you make the powerful decision to purchase an empowering product?  We want to make it easy.  So, we’re helping to call out the products which are an item…&…a cause.  Just look for the “&” logo on signs in store this Fall.  These signs will help you distinguish these brands in store.  Plus, soon, you will also be able to log on to your bookstore website to learn more about each brand and their helpful messages.

We are inspired by all of the great work students do on campus to help their communities and now we are giving you an easy and simple way to shop & inspire.

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Style That Gives Back: Bridge for Africa Telephone Wire Bracelets

Believe it or not, we’ve reached the final installment of this summer’s Style That Gives Back series (we’re tearing up!). Each week we spotlighted some of our favorite Fair Trade items from all over the globe. From Colombia to Kenya to Thailand, these items came to us from all over and we couldn’t have been happier to share their stories with you. In this final post, we’ll be featuring the fabulous Telephone Wire Bracelets from Bridge for Africa.

Bridge, which stands for Building Resources to Inspire Dignity, Growth and Empowerment, began in 2003. By chance, an African woman and an American woman met in South Africa. There, they discussed the extraordinary art that comes out of the African continent and the lack of rewards the talented artisans receive for producing it. From this realization, they envisioned a non-profit organization focused on fixing this problem. And so, Bridge for Africa was born.

Today, this organization is a respected producer of contemporary crafts, jewelry, and artwork in the American market. As proud members of the Fair Trade Federation, they offer fair wages, equal working opportunities, and a commitment to safe working conditions. Their goal is to provide stable work and a living wage to all of their talented artists. They promote sustainable development in Africa and hope to help provide hope for future generations.

The Telephone Wire Bracelets are not just colorful statement pieces but chic additions to any outfit. Worn alone or in sets of two or three, they’ll capture everyone’s attention with their vibrancy. These unique items are all handmade and available in select campus bookstores. Swing by today!

Fashion for a cause never goes out of style. Look good. Do good. Feel good.

For a look back at all of our past installments of Style That Gives Back, check below:

Global Handmade Hope’s Patchwork Coin Purses
Thanda Zulu Beaded Jewelry
Aluminum and Brass Hollow Earrings by Global Handmade Hope
SEAsTra Open Weave Scarves
Tagua Flower Cuffs
The Leakey Collection I AM Charm Bracelets
Cana Flecha Cuffs
Acacia Healing Hearts Bracelets
The Leakey Collection Beads for Learning
Kamibashi String Dolls

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Style That Gives Back: Acacia Healing Hearts Bracelets

Acacia Creations are a fantastic example of Style That Gives Back. Their vibrantly colored bracelets featured in this next post are not just made from recycled materials – their proceeds directly benefit the artisans and their families. All artists are paid a monthly

salary in addition to a percentage of what they make, allowing all Acacia employees to earn five times the Kenyan national average. The Healing Hearts Collection focuses specifically on child healthcare – the sale of 10 bracelets can provide treatment for a child with malaria and the sale of 20 can cover all childhood immunizations.

Acacia, located in Nairobi, Kenya, has been making their jewelry creations since 2007. They follow Fair Trade practices

and focus on giving directly to families and communities. For each piece of jewelry sold, 15-35% is given back to Kenyan Communities. We’re happy to carry their Healing Hearts Bracelet Collection at our campus bookstores.

These bracelets are the perfect complement to any summer outfit. When paired with an outfit of neutral colors, the bright beads won’t just have you looking good…you’ll feel good too!

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Style That Gives Back: Cana Flecha Cuffs

We’re very happy to be back again this week with another exciting addition to our Style That Gives Back series. This post will focus on Global Handmade Hope’s Cana Flecha Cuffs, coming to us from the Zenú Indians of Colombia. These bracelets are carefully hand-woven from pieces of Cana Flecha, a palm tree indigenous to South America.  The leaves are sun-dried and then cut into strips for tinting and weaving. The result is a vibrant cuff, perfect for adding a pop of color to any ensemble.

The Zenú have a riveting history. During their peak, they were known for their construction of major waterworks and production of stunning gold ornaments. However, with the arrival of the conquistadors, the Zenú people faced oppression and foreign diseases, resulting in a steady population decrease ever since. Despite all of this, they continue to create and weave beautiful products.

Global Handmade Hope ensures that all workers receive a fair and living wage, while connecting the talented Zenú artisans with larger markets. In addition, they aim to promote sustainability throughout Colombia and operate using a Fair Trade business model.

Style that gives back is our favorite fashion statement. What do you think of these beautiful bracelets?

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Style That Gives Back: I AM Charm Bracelets

Look good, do good. That’s the mantra we’re living by this summer with our Style That Gives Back series. We’re happy to be back this week with The Leakey Collection’s “I AM” Charm Bracelets. The Leakey Collection is an organization that focuses on creating work opportunities in East Africa, while maintaining both environmental and cultural integrity. Their “I AM” Bracelets don’t just look beautiful, they are designed to remind us of the important things in life.

Made from fallen branches, these bracelets symbolized important values that all women cherish. Each charm is branded by hand with a meaningful sign: Peace, Heart (which represents love), or Flower (which represents beauty).  They definitely will be a beautiful and meaningful addition to any outfit.

The Leakey Collection operates using a Fair Trade business model. They research innovative ways to use natural materials in order to create beautiful lifestyle and Fair Trade products, while also providing  employment opportunities for those in rural Kenya. Those who bead for The Leakey Collection for only two months then have the resources to educate their child for one year. In addition, all workers receive a living wage and 5% of sales are donated back into the community.

You can find these accessories on our Trend Tables at select campus bookstores. Help a worthy cause and add some color to your wardrobe – it truly is Style that Gives Back.

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Style That Gives Back: Tagua Flower Cuffs

As part of our ongoing series, Style that Gives Back, we’re featuring Global Handmade Hope’s Tagua Flower Cuffs. These vibrant, handmade bracelets come to us all the way from Colombia. Though a beautiful country, parts of Colombia are all too familiar with the violence and fear that accompany the prevailing drug traffic industry. This uncertain and dangerous environment often lacks a safe haven for many children of Colombia to grow up in and their poverty-stricken lifestyles make them easy targets for gangs.

This is why the purchase and support of Fair Trade items is so important. They offer these children and their families safe working environments, away from the corruption that often lurks throughout other parts of the country. By working with Global Handmade Hope, these children are kept off the often gang-ridden streets.

These flowered cuffs are made specifically by a women’s group whose goal is to show their children how to incorporate their culture into all of their future business practices. They also promote sustainability and act as role models for the younger generation.

These accessories are as beautiful as what they represent – a brighter, safer future for Colombian children.

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Style that Gives Back: Aluminum and Brass Hollow Earrings by Global Handmade Hope

We’ve returned with another installment of our Style that Gives Back series! We are very excited to spotlight the amazing Fair Trade items available in our campus bookstores and to share the Fair Trade mission with our readers. This week we’re taking a closer look at Aluminum and Brass Hollow Earrings by Global Handmade Hope.

These gorgeous dangling earrings come to us all the way from Kenya, where both male and female artisans are taught work skills through this income generation project. These earrings are beautiful, but where they come from is even more inspiring. The Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya is one of the biggest in the world. The government owns the land – ten percent of the residents own shacks while the rest are tenants with no rights. Extreme poverty permeates throughout most

of the area and often prevents access to clean water, facilities, and electricity. The pounded aluminum and brass earrings provide a source of income for many of the people who reside here. Through this project, the group has been able to relocate to a much safer place along the outer edge of the slum where working conditions have improved immensely.

The trendy patterns and dangling design are upstaged only by the inspiring story behind them. Whether you opt for brass or aluminum, these earrings will catch the eyes – and hearts – of all who see them.

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Style That Gives Back: Thanda Zulu Beaded Jewelry

Waterfall Cascade Pearl Necklace.

Last week we kicked off our series focusing on Fair Trade trend items and we’re thrilled to be back again with our second installment. The Fair Trade community is an exciting and inspiring one and every item has its own background. This week we’re showcasing a set of magnificent beaded bracelets from Thanda Zulu, a socially conscious design company that brings hope to the rural communities of South Africa. Their jewelry, made by some of the most talented beaders in the world, has been featured in Nylon and InStyle . Most importantly, however, the women who craft these exquisite pieces are able to fully support their families and donate the remaining proceeds to Thanda After-School programs. They are given a hand-up, and not a hand-out. Keep reading to learn more about their story.

Thanda Zulu Slinky Bracelet in Kalahari

Thanda Zulu was founded in 2005 as a means of supporting South African artisans and beaders. It also helped fund the work of Thanda, a non-profit organization of Orphans Against AIDS, which address high HIV infection rates, education, and excessively high unemployment rates in Umtwalume, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The women of the Zulu Beadwork Project craft all of Thanda Zulu’s jewelry and they are, without a doubt, some of the most skilled beaders in the world.

Thanda Zulu Sweetie Bracelts in Honey Suckle and Sage. Available at select campus bookstores.

Each product is carefully crafted with both pride and love and anyone lucky enough to purchase one of these items, takes a little piece of Africa home with them. Beaded jewelry is a trend we absolutely LOVE for Summer 2012 and Thanda Zulu pieces combine a classic sense of design with contemporary color palettes. The skills these artisans possess have been passed down through the generations and the end result is a beautiful thing. The real beauty, however, is the support these products provide for the rural communities of South Africa.

Look good. Do good. Feel good. Can style get any better?

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Get & Give: Style that Gives Back

This summer, we’re focusing our attention on fashion that doesn’t just look good, it does some good too. Each week we’ll be spotlighting some of our favorite Fair Trade items that have been carefully crafted all over the globe. From hollow brass earrings made by hand in Kenya to Cana Flecha Cuffs crafted in Colombia, we’re thrilled to present you not only with the gorgeous pieces, but the stories behind them as well. It will be a fashion inspiration unlike any other.

A beautiful patchwork coin purse made by artisans in Kenya, Liberia, and Burundi.

What exactly is a “Fair Trade” item, you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like. All Fair Trade workers receive a just, living wage for their work. In addition, they are taught how to build sustainable businesses that will have only a positive effect on their communities. Money spent on a Fair Trade purchase will make its way back to improving an entire community. Exciting, right?

Today we’re happy to be showcasing the beautiful Patchwork Coin Purses from Global Handmade Hope. This organization began in 2009 after returning from a mission trip to Rwanda. Their primary mission is to promote social justice, specifically in Eastern Africa. How do they do this? They offer artists the opportunity to sell their handmade goods in order to help them provide food, housing, education, and gain access to medical care.

A Thank-You quilt from the artisans!

This specific project enables women from various backgrounds and places – Kenya, Liberia, and Burundi – to not only improve their sewing skills, but help develop their business and marketing sense. This, in turn, allows them to provide for their families and grow as a community. Not to mention, the coin purses they produce are BEAUTIFUL! With a mix of bold patterns and meticulous sewing, these coin purses are not only well made but incredibly fashion-forward. (Remember our It List post from January? Patterns are in!) You won’t just look great, you’ll feel great knowing that you’re giving back.

We’ll be checking back in next week with absolutely lovely beaded bracelets from rural Southern Africa, so stay tuned!

Fashion for a cause is the most stylish of all. How do you like to give back?

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