Updated: Oct 17
Written by Kattie Hart, a World Changer Co. intern based in Austin, Texas. She's fashion forward, well skilled in UX design, and her favorite sustainable brands are Urb Apothecary & Indigo Ray Botanicals.
In today's world, it's becoming increasingly clear that our choices have a big impact on the environment and on each other. That's why sustainable living and ethical consumerism are so important. One way I've been trying to practice this is by supporting local brands that prioritize eco-friendly and ethical production. I want to share the importance of ethical shopping, introduce you to a fantastic local brand out of Austin, Texas, and share some simple ways we can practice living a more eco-friendly life.
The Impact of Ethical Shopping
What Does Ethical Shopping Mean?
Ethical shopping means consciously choosing products and services that align with our values and support fair labor practices. It means considering the social, environmental, and economic impacts of our purchases. When we support ethical businesses, we're helping to ensure fair wages, safe working conditions, and reasonable hours for workers. Fair wages help uplift communities by reducing poverty and enhancing economic stability. This also helps reduce income inequality and promote social justice. Ethical shopping contributes to creating healthier, happier communities as workers are treated with dignity and respect. Plus, ethical companies often prioritize sustainable production methods, which means they're taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and preserve natural resources.
Small World Goods: A Local Brand Making a Difference
Putting People First
Small World Goods is a shining example of a brand that has made ethical consumerism the core of its mission. I stopped by last year to do some Christmas shopping and was blown away by the warmth and energy of the owner, Bibi! One thing I absolutely love about Small World Goods is their people-first approach. It's all about "people over profit" for Bibi. She believes in fair pay for workers, fair prices for customers, and transparency in how their products are made. From the sourcing of materials to the manufacturing process, she is committed to minimizing environmental impact and creating clothing that is easy on the skin and on the earth. Her collection of colorful dresses are absolutely stunning!
My Personal Journey Towards Sustainability
I view living a sustainable life as a practice rather than perfection. It involves incorporating small changes over time and being mindful of our choices. A few ways I have done this recently are researching brands, finding better alternatives, thrifting, and opting for glass instead of plastic when I can.
It might not be feasible to completely stop shopping with big-name brands all at once for everyone due to economic conditions or location, but it is possible for most of us to get informed about the companies we are buying clothing, skin care, or luxury items at. Thanks to World Changer Co that is now easier than ever! I have made a personal vow to never buy products from a certain.. won’t name here.. athletic retailer due to factory conditions in their third-world sweatshops, and instead have decided to thrift for comparable items. For the things that can’t be thrifted (like skincare), I have committed to checking out company statements on animal testing, and if they share about their efforts in sustainability and fair pay to workers.
Another simple change is reducing limited-use plastic. For example, choosing glass the last time I had to buy dishes instead of plastic ones that inevitably will have to be thrown out in a few months due to spaghetti stains and a too high heat setting in the dishwasher.
I am not always perfect in my efforts, but the more ways I incorporate these things into my practice the better I get. Sustainability can be for everyone through small and simple choices!
Why does any of this matter?
Because our planet and our people matter. Fast fashion, plastic waste, and mega corporations have created an unsustainable environment for all of us. If we are breathing the air or drinking the water, these things impact us. Often the most vulnerable populations are exploited for labor in unsafe conditions. By supporting brands that prioritize fair wages, safe working conditions, workers' rights, and embracing eco-friendly choices we can create a better future for our planet and ourselves. We can all be a force for good! :)