(Photos courtesy of Samantha Gassaway)
Share and Do Good: A Shop for Others
By Samantha Gassaway
Share and Do Good owner and founder Lilly Tokuyama started her business on a question. She wondered years ago whether a store offered items in mass and diversity for the purpose of helping other people. A kind and generous soul, Tokuyama dedicates herself to learning and pursuing various charity organizations, most of which put helpless people to work around the world.
“This world is full of so many tragic stories. There’s so much anger and hatred in the world but there’s a lot of love, too,” Tokuyama says. “There needs to be more happy stories. More hopeful stories.”
Before starting Share and Do Good, Tokuyama began by attending music festivals and conferences to promote a clothing brand she worked for at the time. At these events she would meet representatives from nonprofits and charities, gathering information and accumulating enough corporate connections to start her own gathering business. She now works with approximately 50 corporations, raising awareness and selling quality products for good causes.
“I’m really picky about how things look. Because, one: I don’t want people to pity the person who made it or who it’s helping. I want them to really enjoy it by itself as a product, because then they’ll use it and wear it or give it as a gift,” Tokuyama says. “This way, when you wear it and people ask about it, more people get to know and talk about it. Then more people will want to be a part of doing something good.”
Though she admits to having a hard time choosing, these are her five store favorites.
The Giving Keys
1. The wooden display board reads “When you get this key, you must give it away at some point to a person you feel needs the message, then write us the story of why you gave it away. We employ those who are transitioning out of homelessness.”
2. A line of keys hung on the display board. The first four keys read, from left to right: Hope, Brave, Create, and Dream.
“I really love The Giving Keys. They work with people transitioning out of being homeless in Los Angeles. So they engrave encouraging words on keys. If you have a key, you’re eventually supposed to give it away to someone who needs that word more than you. So yeah, I really love them because I love what they do; not only because it’s a cool and individual thing but it’s the idea of passing it on and not just holding onto things for yourself.”
2. Founder and Owner Lilly Takuyama lights a Bridgewater Candle, displayed in her shop.
“Each [Bridgewater] Candle helps feed a child for a day through an organization called Rice Bowls … We’ve provided almost 1,600. So almost five years; five years of feeding through one candle at a time.”
1. Takuyama folds a hand-stitched Basha blanket, made by a company dedicated to giving poverty-stricken women in Bangladesh good work to provide for their families.
“These [Basha] Blankets are made by survivors of sex trafficking in Bangladesh. Each tag is embroidered by the woman who made it. I actually met the founder of it, she came to the shop … These blankets have a lot of soul. It takes three days to make one, of constant stitching. You can just kind of tell that there’s a person behind it … She sat there stitching this, row after row. You have to wonder what she was thinking. She’s safe now, she doesn’t have to live on the streets, and she doesn’t have to worry about how she’s going to feed her family, and she doesn’t have to worry about if she’s going to be hurt, if someone’s going to hurt her and she could be injured or killed.”
Thirty-One Bits Jewelry
1. Takuyama holds a unique bracelet made by Thirty-One Bits, a transitional company who puts women temporarily to work until they get back on their feet.
2. A row of fine quality Thirty-One Bits bracelets, hand-made by Ugandan women.
“I also love Thirty-One Bits, I love how they become storytelling pieces. So whenever people will compliment me when I’m wearing them, … I can say, ‘Oh you know this is made out of paper? Helping women transition out of poverty in Uganda. While they’re there they learn to read and write and start their own business because the hope is they only work for Thirty-One Bits for a short period of time. But they’re unique enough that someone’s probably going to comment on what you’re wearing.”
The Shine Project
1. A necklace lies displayed in the shop, reading “Thank you for helping me become a first year college student.” Each item of jewelry is made by Shine Project employees, most of which received financial scholarships for school through the corporation.
“This is called The Shine Project, they work with first-generation college students, who might not be able to go to college. This is a scholarship program for them, so they can work there and help them get to school. I feel like education is, for some, it’s expected that you go to college. For some, it’s expected that you probably won’t go. So, I like that this gives them the opportunity to go.”