An Unexpected Detour

Every year (typically the first week in January) I take a week off to hole away in a no frills hotel and spend my time planning what my next year will look like.

This year, from December 26th until New Year's Eve, I retreated to San Luis Obispo for an incredibly relaxing, productive week. During one of my days there, I treated myself to lunch at a brilliant Thai restaurant. And as I was walking back to my hotel, I found the most amazing store.

Humankind Storefront

[I apologize for so many pictures, but I couldn't help myself]

Humankind is not at all a traditional store. They operate as a non-profit and the store workers are all volunteers. The items in the store are impeccably curated, 100% handmade and 100% fair trade.

As I entered I noticed beautiful baskets, purses and textiles.

As I looked closer I saw that the baskets were handmade by women in Rwanda. I wish you could feel these throws and bags through your computer. The quality of the materials - not to mention their diversity! - brought me back around to this area several times.

Further on, there was a display of keychains, each designed as a unique character (ex: Rosie the Riveter, Susie Survivor). I bought "Gunna", who "encourages you to fearlessly go wherever life may take you". Gunna and the rest of her gang were handmade in Thailand. Each one has a special message on their tag, depending on the character.

Beneath their display of baby clothes and other infant items is a huge basket full of finger puppets. As you can see in the picture, they are all handcrafted in Peru and beyond adorable. I expect kids would easily have hours of fun with any of these.

Their kitchen area not only has a selection of linens and cookbooks, but an array of tempting foods from all over the globe. Small wonder...I took a picture of the chocolate display. Can't imagine why...hmm. ;)

On the wall hangs this stunning piece of art. I SOOOO wanted to take this home with me, but part of my 2017 planning was organizing my finances and budget. I forgot to leave a budget line for "really, really cool stuff I see".  I don't know how long it took the artist to create this, but it's an incredibly colorful, solid metal piece that will last forever.


They also have a whole wall of handmade jewelry, facing a wall of greeting cards. I found an anniversary card for my husband (that was in my budget!) and was delighted when I flipped it over and read...

"Handcrafted in the Phillipines by a woman who has escaped sex trafficking, using handmade recycled paper on a traditional letterpress. PRINTED BY: [signature]" How cool is that?!

I intended to explore this store for 10-15 minutes, but ended up spending well over an hour! Each day of my retreat, each minute that I am away, I try to cram with mind-blowing creativity, inspiration and intention. The extra time I spent in this store was completely worth it. I left on cloud 9, thoroughly inspired, with my brain full of ideas for my own company.

If you find yourself in the SLO area, make some time to drop into Humankind for a visit.

982 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo


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