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Advertising melts into our behaviors so slyly we hardly know the impact it creates in our lives. Powerful companies can build entire marketing plans on deceit. On top of that, we’re all trying to keep up with the Kardashians (okay, not all of us). So shoppers have a growing responsibility to inquire on the who, what, where, when and why we buy. The question of how much is an important one, but so is knowing what our stuff is made of, where it comes from and why it was made in the first place.

Despite all of the overconsumption we are supposed to try to avoid from a very wise and minimalist perspective, the truth is, we buy. We need stuff. From the organic cotton clothes we hope will never fall apart to the groceries in our reusable bags, the shop goes on.

And let’s be honest, not all environmentally friendly products have the type of quality or style we seek. It can be scary to leave your trusted brands behind to experiment with anything new. When we spend money on anything that turns out to be less than what we hoped for, disappointment reigns in. Maybe we curse ourselves for being adventurous and swear off those recycled plastic yoga pants that didn’t hug our butts just right, vow to play it safe next time and go back to our trusted yet not sustainably sourced apparel.

We get it because we have been there, and we are still discovering what’s fabulous and what’s not. That said, we want to promote and share the sustainable and socially conscious products that exceed our expectations and the rockstar companies that are going above and beyond to create items that will be better for ourselves and the planet.

So we should all ask ourselves what kind of consumers we want to be — conscious or indifferent? We can’t always make the most ethical, eco-friendly purchases. We are all in different financial situations with varying priorities, and sometimes those products just aren’t available (yet). It’s important though to understand the dollars we spend do support the types of business models we want to continue to shape this material world.