ethical shopping

How Ethical Shopping Changes Lives

Temples and Markets was born out of a love of travel, eating and shopping my way through South East Asia. Along the way I discovered products created by resilient individuals, employed by Social Enterprises and Artisan Groups. These groups exist to improve people’s lives and empower them towards a better future. By showcasing their handmade and unique products, my store has become part of the growing movement of ethical retailers.

Ethical shopping is a win-win for the conscious consumer.

As a global community we can no longer pretend not to know where our products come from, how they are made and who by. Shopping consciously literally makes a difference to individual lives and communities. One may think one person can not make an impact. But, if we all join together and shop with a conscience can you only imagine what good can come of that globally.

An ever-increasing circle of world citizens, affecting each other’s lives postively through trade

Invest in something unique and wonderful that can be cherished for years. You will be helping artisans and their communities towards a better life. Enjoy browsing Temples and Markets selection below!

Mekong+ Basket Bags

Mekong+ creates sustainable employment for under-privileged women in remote and rural regions of Vietnam and Cambodia. Their tagline is “Every item purchased from Mekong+ is a gift that gives twice.” 

Their eco-friendly Basket Bags are crafted from Water Hyacinth, a sustainable resource. The women artisans who make these designer bags enjoy the flexibility of working from home. Their income not only improves their lives, but the lives of their families as well as the economies of the greater communities in the villages in which they live.

mekong plus model bags

Bruno Leather Flat Circle Bag and the Viva Basket Handbag

Angkor Bullet Jewellery

Angkor Bullet Jewellery produces unique jewellery pieces fashioned from recycled bomb casings remaining from the days of war. The jewellery is made by a group of home-based artisans who reside in a small community outside of Phnom Penh. The metal from the casing is melted down and sculptured into the works of art featured in this collection. From horror comes resilience, strength and incredible beauty.

The Enterprise is committed to the personal development of their home-based workers, providing wages, a safe work environment and education for their families. At the centre is a special man, Chanta Theoun. Orphaned during the horror days of the Khmer Rouge, Chanta learned the fine art of jewellery creation in the orphanage he grew up in.

Leaf_Earring_Angkor bullet

Leaf Drop Earrings


Smateria employs women, displaced from the ever-developing and urbanised Phnom Penh. The women work at their own pace, in their own time at a workshop that has it’s own free childcare and preschool upstairs. The stylish bags are handmade from recycled fishing nets.

Smarteria Shoulder Bag

Smarteria Tag Handbag

The Lotus Charm Bracelet

This jewellery is part of the “Freedom Collection” from the Senhoa Foundation, whose tagline is “Employ, Empower, Emancipate.” Proceeds from the sales of their jewellery go directly to the rehabilitation and education of young women who are at risk of, or are survivors of slavery in Cambodia. Senhoa Jewellery is individually hand crafted by vulnerable women and the brand has collaborated with super models including Coco Rocha and Iman. The brand’s passion is to create opportunities for survivor artisans to earn an income, share their stories and raise awareness against exploitation. Senhoa literally translates as Lotus Flower, the symbol of beauty blooming from the muddy water.

Grey Freedom bracelet

Freedom Multi-Band bracelet with Lotus Charm

Judith Treanor Founder Temples and MarketsJudith Treanor, Founder, Temples and Markets

Judith is a Sydney based mum who has enjoyed holidaying, shopping and eating her way through South East Asia since 1997. She is addicted to the buzz of the night markets, the serenity of a resort spa and the heat of the food.  But most of all she loves the creativity and talent that is inherent in so many of the people she meets on her travels – the artisan who hand stitches his leather handbags or the designer who drills through seeds to make a necklace.

These are the people who use their local resources and traditional crafts to produce modern and sophisticated designs. As a result they provide employment to the disadvantaged and are improving the lives of their local communities.


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Header image by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Posted by Alanna Bastin-Byrne - Femeconomy Director

CEO of the house, community builder and a globetrotting nomad. Background in Marketing and Communications leadership in the UK and Australia.