Holiday shopping with a purpose, shop in Independence helps to keep people with Down syndrome employed

Holiday shopping with a purpose, shop in Independence helps to keep people with Down syndrome employed
A gift shop in Independence has something for everyone on your holiday shopping list, but the best part of shopping at the “Artful 21,” is the fact that every item you buy helps to keep a person with Down syndrome employed. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A gift shop in Independence has something for everyone on your holiday shopping list, but the best part of shopping at the “Artful 21,” is the fact that every item you buy helps to keep a person with Down syndrome employed.

Holiday shopping with a purpose, shop in Independence helps to keep people with Down syndrome employed

“I just love doing what I’m doing, and it’s probably the best thing I ever decided to do was to start my own business,” said Lauren Hunter

Hunter’s business is called “Baskets with Love.” Her husband Derek Hunter helps her out. This - as you can imagine - is one of the busiest times of the year for their customized basket business.

“It’s always a joy to watch my wonderful wife,” said Derek Hunter, “It puts a smile on my face knowing that she’s doing what she loves to do.”

The Hunter’s baskets can be found at the “Artful 21.” The Artful 21 is operated by the Upside of Downs, an organization that helps and promotes people with Down Syndrome.

Both of the Hunters have Down Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that causes developmental and intellectual delays.

“The reason the “Artful 21,” marketplace was created was to not only sell things that were made by individuals with Down Syndrome, but it is a program that we offer so that 90 percent of all the sales go back to that entrepreneur with Down syndrome,” said Leslie Burke, a program coordinator for the Upside of Downs.

Tiffany sells the bracelets and headbands that she creates.

We asked her how it feels when someone buys one of her bracelets. She said, “so excited.”

“This year we also added their own website. So you can find the USOD.org, but more importantly, you can find them at Artful21.com,” added Burke.

Every item purchased helps provide meaningful work for people like the Hunters.

“I love having my own business because I get to work for myself, and I love it that other people get to be a part of it,” said Lauren Hunter.

If you’d like to shop the “Artful 21,” click here: www.artful21.com.

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