Shopping small businesses is one of my favorite things to do! As a consumer, we have a choice in where we spend our hard earned money. Over at the Cave Of Wonders Jason (Kristin’s husband’s store), seeks out other small businesses products to carry. They range from bath products to kitchen gadgets and everything in between. By supporting the Cave Of Wonders you are supporting 2 small businesses in one transaction. That transaction allows Jason to seek out other small businesses to work with. It is one beautiful circle of shop small commerce!
Every week we are going to feature one small businesses product. This week the featured product is Friendsheep Eco Dryer Balls. My favorite thing about this brand is that for every product sold they plant a tree! Below is more information about the brand.
Friendsheep was created by Valeria Isaacs, a zero waste entrepreneur, disability advocate, mother, wife, nature lover, and former biologist. Always passionate about ecology and sustainable living, her pursuit of those passions was interrupted when a spinal cord injury left her quadriplegic at age 22. During her long and still ongoing recovery, Valeria has obtained a master’s degree in molecular biology, worked in contemporary art, and enjoyed living life at its fullest.
In late 2015, she decided to give new meaning to her life by founding Friendsheep, with the aim of providing high quality, eco-friendly products that respect animals and the environment while also providing work and purpose to women and people with disabilities in underprivileged communities of Nepal.
After getting things started, she quickly enrolled her husband Alessandro and just a few months later, in early 2016 Valeria and Alessandro were blessed with the most unexpected and extraordinary surprise: a twin pregnancy! Extremely rare event in the medical world, Valeria was the fifth known case of quadriplegic woman to give birth to living twins (and only the second one with identical twins!).
In summer 2016, at 29 weeks, Trent and Damon came into their lives with an emergency c-section due to rare twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Their birth and the following difficult months in the NICU reinforced Valeria’s vision of Friendsheep as a tool for equality and social justice.
As a mother and woman with disabilities herself, she holds a special place in her heart for every underprivileged woman that strives every day for a better life for herself and her family. Over the years, Valeria and Alessandro have grown Friendsheep from a small operation on the dining room table in their house in California, into their garage, and into bigger and more spacious warehouses with every year that’s gone by – all while raising little Trent and Damon into two healthy, strong, eco-conscious and very active kids.
Friendsheep now provides fair wages to hundreds of people in Nepal, and our Nepali friends have become part of our family, just like our employees here in the US. Our talented needle felters, ball makers, screen printers, warehouse managers, bag makers, are all equally important to our success and all contribute their loving work to everything we send out to our customers. It is a wonderful experience to have had the chance to expand our family across different continents, and we will treasure it forever.