Brand Spotlight: Powered By People

Jan 19, 2024

In the era of overnight shipping, influencer marketing and one-click shopping, it’s easy to feel like consumerism—and overconsumption—are running rampant.

And to some extent, that’s true.

According to Heal The Planet, consumption of goods and services has risen 28% over the last decade, with Americans consuming more than their weight in goods and products every day. And this rise in consumption is having a serious impact on the planet.

One of the biggest culprits? Fast fashion.

The term was first coined by the New York Times in the early 90s to describe clothing retailer Zara’s unique ability to replicate runway styles and get them into the hands of buyers in just over two weeks. It’s a solution designed to meet the demand for trendy, must-have styles before competitors—and before those same trends fall to the wayside.

And while fast fashion has been great for companies’ bottom line (and for consumers looking to pad their closets with the latest and greatest), it’s doing a number on the environment., an environmental news and data platform, states that “fast fashion has generated more CO2 emissions than both the aviation and shipping industries combined.”

A shocking statistic, sure. But what does that have to do with Sur La Table and cookware?

We may not be in the fashion business, but as leaders in the cookware and entertaining space, we are no strangers to the impact the brands we work with (and in turn, the products we sell) have on our communities, planet and environment.

We’re constantly striving to bring sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally conscious brands to our customers. So when we were given the chance to work with Powered By People, we gave a resounding “oh, heck yes!”

Founded in 2021 by Ella Peinovich, Hedvig Alexander and Alison Phillips, their mission is simple:

“We work to provide sustainable economic opportunities to independent makers by providing them access to the global economy. They, in turn, strengthen the lives of their employees, families and communities, potentially impacting millions worldwide.”

At the center of that mission: people.

Powered By People currently partners with over 700 artisans and makers in more than 70 countries—from India and South Africa to Guatemala, Kenya and even the United States—enabling them to sell their goods in the global market through “innovative tech and financial solutions” that connect makers with buyers in a seamless and frictionless way.

And it’s a symbiotic partnership.

As Powered By People’s brand and reach grows, so do the businesses of their makers. As consumers and retailers buy goods from makers in Powered By People’s marketplace, that money, in turn, is funneled back into their local communities. It’s a relationship that benefits not only the brand, but also the craftspeople and the planet.

And based on growing consumer sentiment for more sustainable goods and products, it’s clear that Peinovich, Alexander and Phillips have tapped into a winning model.

According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Co., 66% of all respondents consider sustainability when making a purchase and align themselves with brands who share those values and priorities.

For Powered By People, those values are at the core of what they do.

Not only are they committed to helping artisans and makers reach a global market and return those profits to those very same communities, but they also keep their global impact front and center. A few of their core tenants? Responsibility, innovation, diversity, transparency and, of course, sustainability:

  • A responsibility to cause no undue harm to people and the planet.
  • Innovation that drives them to think globally without forgetting the local impact.
  • A diverse supply chain that resembles their customers—global, diverse and female.
  • Transparent in choice, giving customers what they want without compromising value for price.
  • A sustainable business model that grows with their maker partners, rather than beyond them.

So, whether it’s a serving bowl handmade in Tunisia, a terra-cotta pot from Morocco or a vase designed and sculpted in India, we invite you to explore this new collection and bring a piece of this global community home.

Hungry for more? You can shop these pieces and more in our Powered By People collection.

Shop the Powered By People Collection

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