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December 15, 2013

Holiday 2013: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

The older I get, the less material things mean to me. I appreciate beautiful stuff—obviously! But the question I always ask myself before buying something is Will this improve my quality of life? So often the answer is no, and that makes it easy to move on, and to be more grateful for what I already have. When it comes to gift giving, I try to apply the same philosophy. Sometimes that means simply brightening someone’s day with a brand new lipstick or treating a hostess to a gorgeous candle. For my dad it’s usually a vintage bottle of scotch or cab he’d never buy himself. It doesn’t need to change the world to be the perfect gift! But nothing is better than gifts that give back while also hitting the mark. Those kinds of gifts are hard to come by, which is why I’m dedicating this post to Elephant Landing.

elephant landing pillows

Founded by the husband-wife duo behind Woodnote Photography (whom I’m honored to call friends), this new textiles cooperative is a decade in the making. What started as a sewing training center for women in the villages of Andhra Pradesh, India, has become a viable way for them to support and care for their families. Over 300 women have graduated from the program, and have been able to pursue a better future for themselves and their children.

elephant landing pillows

Ten years later, with the help of Elephant Landing and designer Joanna Hawley, graduates from the sewing center are creating these delicately stunning watercolor and embroidered pillows. They make them from their homes so that they are able to earn a fair wage while they can continue to care for their families. That makes my heart sing! So does that fact that Elephant Landing donates 100% of the profits to continue providing employment and expanding education programs for women in new villages throughout southeast india.

elephant landing pillows

If I didn’t know better, I’d want to collect every pillow anyway. Now that I do, I want to give one to everyone I know. What better way to add an exotic pop of color to a room and to your day. Every time I look at one it reminds me that life is good, and that it can be better if we continue to support each other. If anything, watch + share the story of Elephant Landing with the women in your life. It’s a gift in itself.

For more information about this amazing organization or to purchase any of the pillows seen here, visit


  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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