Being a Conscious Consumer:
Use Less. Love More.
When I was younger, buying something – anything – always made me feel good. More was better and stuff was good and shopping gave me a buzz. But somewhere along the way, I become a more conscious consumer. Perhaps it was one too many “instant gratification” purchases that left me feeling deflated only days later. Or maybe becoming a mother, having to manage more than just my own ‘stuff’, and thinking about the future of the planet I am leaving for my child, has mademe more conscious about how and what I buy. This shift in my consumer consciousness has made me pickier, for sure, but also more sensitive and thoughtful about what I consume as well as more grateful for what I already have. As I became aware of my consumer habits, my lifestyle changed from “more is better” to “use less, love more.”
Like most things, conscious consumerism is a practice. Just the other day, I almost fell back into an old pattern. I was walking past a store and the dress in the window caught my eye. You know this store – they are as ubiquitous as Starbucks – and they do a great job at marketing. I walked in and checked out the dress. It was pretty enough, and the old me wouldn’t have thought twice about purchasing it. But on this day, I stopped. I thought about how I was feeling in the moment. You see, I was getting ready for a business trip and I thought the dress would ‘work’ for my event. But when I thought about how buying this dress would make me feel after I purchased it, I remembered that I’ve purchased clothing from this store at least a half-dozen times before, and I never ended up really loving the items. They seemed to always end up sitting in my closet for a couple of years, unworn, until I finally decided to donate them to Goodwill. The truth is, I don’t really like their clothes, but I used to like how the purchase of something new made me feel in the moment. This time, I left empty handed and happier for it.
These days, my conscious approach to consumerism gives me a different kind of buzz. I am constantly looking for ways to buy and use less. I ‘shop’ for books at the library, download all my music online and hardly ever buy cleaning products anymore because I know I can make them myself, and not only are they less caustic, they work better! Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t shop at all, but when I do, I try to feel good all the way through, as often as I can.
A couple of companies that give me the feel-good buzz every time are:
thredUP is the world’s largest online consignment store. This genius ‘service’ allows me to shop for my son online at an amazing value on used clothing that he will wear for 6 months, tops. And, I can shop some of my favorite brands as well, without breaking the bank. And on top of that, they pick up our used clothing for free and if they sell it, we get a cut while 5% of each purchase goes back to a school that I choose to benefit. They make re-using simple, I feel great shopping here.
Cuyana’s motto is fewer, better. If that’s not enough to convince you, their lean closet movement will. This year I got one Christmas present from my husband, and it was the Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote, I expect it will carry me for a while. Their ‘lean shipping’ option will deliver you a bag and shipping label to send back your old clothing that gets donated to those in need and will afford you a $10 credit on your next purchase. I literally cannot wait to make another purchase with this company!
Check out this video from Cuyana that makes me feel good just watching it:
But, the greatest feel-good buzz I get is not when I consume – even consciously – but when I give. As the founder of Beauty Heroes, I practice conscious consumerism every time I select a new Hero product. I know that not only is the product of the highest quality, but the creator is usually someone I know and love, her business practices are ethical and her product development is sustainable. Nothing gives me more pleasure than knowing that each month, I get to introduce this community of conscious consumers to non-toxic beauty through our beauty discovery service and clean beauty shop.
I’d love to hear from you. In the comment section below, tell me about your conscious consumer practices, favorite brands and best advice!
TAGS: conscious consumer, Use less. Love more.