Becoming a Conscious Consumer

Becoming a Conscious Consumer

As a marketer, my job is to tell the story of a brand, product, or campaign with a goal of creating a relationship between person and subject. Infusing these stories with purpose and allowing people to build a relationship with a deeper meaning has made my career​ feel​ more authentic. Working for brands that are conscious of their social responsibility has forced me to be a more creative and engaged marketer, while also forcing me to consider my personal footprint.

Did you know that the fashion industry has been named the second-biggest polluter to our planet after oil? I am a fashion coveter, so I was shocked to learn that an industry that I respect for creativity and expression is also responsible for so much damage. As a consumer, I believe it’s my job to learn about which brands and companies are conscious of their impacts, and how they’re making a difference—whether that be in the fashion, skincare, or home decor industries. People often seek speed and convenience to satisfy their immediate needs; but fast purchasing, especially online, stops us from pausing to think beyond satisfying an instant desire. This often results in less meaningful consumer behaviours.

I've discovered some of my favourite brands through exploring their purposes. For skincare and home apothecary like soap and moisturizers, I shop from Aesop. This brand has the Aesop Foundation, which supports literacy and storytelling programs. And I love The Citizenry for homewares—check out its chairs. All of its products support artisan entrepreneurs from around the world, whose stories are shared on the company website. Plus, 10% of proceeds are invested back into the artisan communities.

For basics (especially cashmere), I shop at Everlane. The brand has incredibly transparent pricing and manufacturing guidelines, and has a special collection called 100% Human, partial proceeds from which are donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Last but not least, I invest in lots of pieces from Obakki (where I work): a brand that covers all of the administrative and operating costs for the Obakki Foundation, which means that 100% of donations to the foundation go directly to its programs investing in clean water.

These decisions are easy to make: all you have to do is conduct some research on the companies you’re supporting. It’s so empowering to have the opportunity to make conscious purchasing decisions, and to be able to make change through thoughtful buying patterns.