Meet Rainbow Bear, a social business focused on bringing natural crafts, fabrics and designs to a wide range of baby products and toys. By introducing children to sustainably sourced and ethically made fair trade toys the brand hopes to be a part of the green future in a more impactful day. All the products are handmade, some are made in the USA and others are handmade in parts of Asia (Nepal, Myanmar and India). The brands mission is to help empower women artisans and support children’s rehabilitation efforts. With the giving business model, the brand can manufacture the products ethically and then sustainably donate 10% of profits to women and children in need, without relying on fundraising or sponsorship.
The Rainbow Bear creates their impact with three different organizations. The companies partners include Save the Children, The Salaam Baalak Trust, and the Program for Women’s Empowerment and Self Sustenance.
Below is a Q&A with Lea, founder of the Rainbow Bear 🙂
Tell us about your fair trade and sustainable materials used to make The Rainbow Bear products.
The Rainbow Bear products are made from ethically sourced wood, plant-based dyes, cotton and hypoallergenic poly fill. All raw materials are responsibly sourced, goes through our rigorous quality control measures and is completely bio-degradable. We don’t use plastic or metal or buttons or anything else that we remotely deem unsafe. We have a new line of nursing necklaces that uses organic cotton cords. Our cotton fabric is sourced from a certified fair trade factory and so is the hypoallergenic poly fill. Our entire offering is made from raw materials that have been certified and audited as adhering to fair trade standards.
How has The Rainbow Bear taken a stand against toxic toys, made from hazardous materials?
I grew up playing with wooden pull toys and handmade rag dolls. My parents never encountered the threat of toxic chemicals that could find its way into my organs while I played with my dolls. Today toxicity in toys is a sad but alarming reality and the general outcry will only strengthen in the days to come as more information is made available. The CSPC rules will hopefully get stricter and manufactures will better represent their responsibility.
The Rainbow Bear offers toys (both wooden and stuffed) and all-natural teething products. We follow strict quality guidelines, use 100% cotton, ethically sourced wood and plant-based dyes where needed and incorporate safety into our basic design process. For e.g. we will never offer any plastic toys and our designs ensure that our toys don’t use any sew-on buttons. Little decisions that go a long way in ensuring that our products are safe while being full fun. All our toys meet and exceed USA and international toy safety regulations.
Tell us about the unique designs behind The Rainbow Bear toys.
The Rainbow Bear brand is a line of happy, thoughtful, fair trade toys. We love bright colors and simple intuitive designs and our toys have huge personalities of their own. Our “go-to-guy” the good Rainbow Bear, is very, ahem, colorful. He eats bananas by the dozen, hugs when he is happy, and can sleep for days. Oh, and he doesn’t like Wednesdays.
Taking a cue from his happy and colorful energy, the rest of the stuffed toy line also has a story behind each toy. Our teething line features all-natural teethers, nursing/teething necklaces and rattles. Our wooden toys combine the fundamentals of creative playing and constructing learning and use plant-based dyes for color and vibrancy.
Toys can teach so much to our kids, and our mission is to design toys and other baby products that are ethical, happy and fun to play with.
And, we are committed to a green, sustainable production process that empowers women artisans.
Tell us about the female artisans you are working with and your charitable partners.
Little drops of water make the mighty oceans. And, we are doing our bit through our proud association with women artisans and through our efforts to motivates craft producers to adopt best practices and all the different aspects of fair trade.
While reviving traditional designs, our artisan workers receive training, fair wages and the dignity of honest dealings. Women receive basic training, hands on sewing and design experience and eventually become participants of the program where they earn fair trade wages based on piece-rate, which is determined by all the participants. We work with artisan producers in Nepal, Myanmar and India.
The other aspect of our commitment is to donate 10% of profit to our partner organizations that are working for rehabilitation of women and children – that’s how we pay it forward.
Our partners include: The Salaam Baalak Trust, Program for Women’s Empowerment and Self Sustenance and Save the children. Each of our partners our doing commendable work. SBT provides opportunities to street children for productive adulthood through vocational training. Save the Children works to support children living with HIV or in households infected by HIV through HIV sensitive approaches. And, PWESS helps victims of domestic abuse, both women and children and provides economic and social support through their rehabilitation and assistance program.
The Rainbow Bear strongly believes that today’s consumer appreciates and understands businesses that are found on strong moral and ethical grounds. We are all heart and our products, partnerships and consumers share our commitment. We are excited and invite you to be part of The Rainbow Bear family.
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I am a social entrepreneur. That means I use business as a catalyst for social goodness. I am deeply passionate about sustainable travel, zero waste living, ethical fashion and social good. I currently run North India's first zero waste guesthouse, Hara House, and am the Content Director at Causeartist.