Sustainable Shopping

Hi everybody! I just wanted to catch up with y'all! I'm in Chicago on a business trip and now realize why they call it The Windy hair is living in my face. I only had Sunday afternoon to cram in seeing everything in the city but I managed to do it in under six hours after I landed! I'll be posting pictures from around town and the Art Institute of Chicago soon! In the meantime, I wanted to talk about sustainable shopping!

As someone who does logistics for a living, I spend a lot of time thinking about the actual cost of products rather than the perceived cost. Let me explain. You may or may not already know that the clothing you buy from mass retailers like Target and Old Navy are drastically under priced. If you actually took into account labor and shipping of getting that item from the factory in Indonesia, you'd likely have to pay well over $100 for that swimsuit you snagged for $14.99. There's a documentary about it that is very eye opening and you can learn more about it here. I will fully admit that I shop at these stores but I believe it's important to educate yourself on how you shop and how your purchasing choices affect others. Where and how you spend your money says more about you than you think.

No matter where you shop, there are ways to shop more sustainably and I wanted to put those out there.

Steps towards sustainability:

1. When possible SHOP LOCAL! If you can support a local boutique or artist, do it! Look into where they get their materials and how they manufacture their product. I recently got some boots that are handmade in Mexico from a boutique called Front Porch of Vinings up the street from our house. Most of what I buy is a little bit more expensive but much better quality. I've had some of my shoes for >10 years!

2. Before getting new, FIX WHAT YOU HAVE! Like I said before, I keep things for much longer than most people. I got my first really expensive pair of boots, Fryes when I was 15. I have re-soled them three times since and get them oiled once a year to keep them in great shape. Keep in mind that if you don't wear leather items and shoes regularly, you can get dry rot of the rubber and leather which is hard to fix. Force yourself to wear items that are at risk. 

Rain jackets, ones like you'd find from The North Face and Patagonia are made out of synthetic (man made) products which are not that sustainble however, you can keep a good rain jacket for several years. Avoid leaving them where they can be ripped or snagged and if they start to lose their waterproofing, Nix makes a wash you can wash your jacket in to restore its waterproofing. Get some here!

3. Buy SECONDHAND or new clothes MADE WITH RECYCLED OR SUSTAINABLY PRODUCED materials. I got my favorite headband from a local boutique at the beach when we went. It was made from recycled material and dyed. It's one of my favorites and albeit was a bit expensive, so worth it knowing that that material didn't end up in a landfill and I helped provide to a local person's livelihood.

4. Make sure the companies you shop are ETHICAL in their treatment of employees. I work for Stella and Dot on the side and am very proud at how the company treats stylists, designers, and artisans. We do outsource some portions of our productions, bead work and stone work to India but the company ensures that products are obtained ethically. 

5. If you're going to shop at a store, TRIP CHAIN and stop by when you're in the area. Most people are huge fans of online shopping and I'm no different, I find things online that I can't live without too. However, there's no such thing as "free" shipping. You're putting more carbon into the air by having the postman stop at your house and all of the other houses in your neighborhood, to drop off that one package. You've also consumed more water, energy, and materials because of the plastic and cardboard packaging required to deliver your one package. By shopping in an actual store, you've cut the number of miles that the delivery truck had to make and eliminated a large portion of the packaging material. If you are going to shop online, consider shipping with UPS. They have a carbon offset program that allows you to buy carbon credits as an individual and also offers it to their customers. The trucks themselves run off natural gas. Learn more about UPS and their sustainability efforts here! 

Hopefully this post has provided you further insight into how you shop and how you can improve on your current buying behaviors. What are your thoughts? Do you have other suggestions we haven't touched on before? Email me or hit me up on Instagram! 

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