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Eyes of the World Imports
Store owner, Emily Geis Lanik, and her husband Gregg Lanik in 1993.
We are a locally owned business in Lincoln, Nebraska committed to working directly with cottage industries and fair trade companies all around the world.
Daily Nebraskan newspaper article featuring the store in 1993.
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Where we came from and what we're about!
When you buy from Eyes of the World Imports, you’re helping support our network of artisans and put money directly into their hands instead of factory workers who are generally paid an unfair wage.
Eyes of the World Imports opened in August of 1993 in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. Our founder, Emily Geis Lanik, was just 23 when she started the store all by herself. The vision for the store began when Emily took her first trip to Guatemala in May of 1993. This is where she realized how important to her it would be that the products sold in her store were produced ethically and purchased mindfully. She wanted her business to help support women and children in third-world countries.
A few of the places we work with.
In 1994, Emily and her mom flew to Indonesia and rented a motor bike which they rode all over the island of Bail so they could work directly with the artisans that make our same products today. Our focus has always been working with other small family ran business like ours from around the world. Mindfully sourced products at a fair price.
Before opening the store, Emily would travel to Tijuana and Ensenada. Here, she saw many of the blown glass and metal art she would be inspired to carry at Eyes of the World. We still work with many of the same families today.
Guatemala is where Emily’s heart became set on mindfully sourcing products. Before opening the store, Emily would fly to Guatemala with her husband Gregg where she met a woman who lived in Panajachel. She had seven children and was married to a very abusive, alcoholic husband. In an effort to make enough money to feed her family, she would make hacky sacks, which were all the rage in 1993. She would embroider these beautiful and brightly colored hacky sacks but if she sold too many, her husband would steal the money that she had made. Together, she and Emily set up a small operation where she could sell these hacky sacks to Emily and a mutual friend would keep the money for her to prevent her husband from finding out.