While browsing a boutique I saw a "Consume Less, Be More" bumper sticker. I love this saying... although I did think it was a bit ironic customers had to buy the bumper sticker. This little phrase is a great point to consider. All in all consumerism is a good thing. Consumerism is part of what fuels our economy and creates jobs. However, it is how we consume that can occasionally get out of hand.
Sometimes we get caught up in the materialistic lifestyle and forget to focus on who we are as people and how we can improve. Most of us are guilty of participating in impulse buys leading us to purchase junk we do not need. I know I am! I tend to be a bit of a shopaholic at times and it can be difficult to say no. But ever since I became a "honest consumer," this has really changed my habits. I can actually walk through a mall without purchasing anything because I ask myself the tough questions...
Why is this shirt $5? Were the people who made this product treated fairly? Where was the garment made? Do I really need this? What does this purchase say about my consumer values?
However, I am a sucker for a good cause and tend to revisit my shopaholic habits when I see the fair trade stamp or know the story behind the product. When the product helps others, I'm sold. To me, the "Be More" part of this phrase focuses on how we can better ourselves for the greater good. By thinking of ourselves in reference to the greater good, this can lead to positive, healthy consumerism.
Each purchase reflects your consumer values and creates demand within the industry. For those who may have the luxury of spending, there comes a great responsibility of using purchase power wisely and demanding quality products for the greater good. The next time you're on the verge of an impulse buy I encourage you to ask yourself, what are my consumer values and how does this purchase reflect those? Chances are by asking yourself these questions you will encourage you to consume less.
Through discovering my consumer values I have noticed the products I now purchase each have a significant meaning and importance to me. One of my main consumer values is the mission of a brand and how their products effect other people. If a product provides employment to people in need, that is a huge selling point to me. This adds another dimension to the product and encourages me to cherish and share the story. Most of the goods I purchase now are better quality and last longer than the cutesy cheap goods I purchased before becoming a honest consumer. Typically the people who make socially responsible goods take pride in the quality of their products and want goods to last. I have sincerely been able to tell a difference.
Everybody has their own unique set of consumer habits. I challenge you to discover your consumer values. Below are a few of my consumer values if you're looking for a place to get started. It can be difficult to find products that encompass all the values, but even if you just pick one to focus on you ARE making a difference!
- socially responsible cause
- brand transparency & knowledge
- ethically made
- positive for the environment
- fair treatment & payment of employees
- high quality & will last
If you're looking for more resources to for conscious consumerism I encourage you to check out The Honest Consumer's directory of ethical and socially responsible places to shop! Broken down by category including apparel, home decor, furniture, & more this is a great place to start! There are more product stories and brands on the Blog page as well. I will continue to do my best to provide you with resources through out your consumer journey!
For more tips & tricks on conscious consumerism & ethical fashion be sure to follow The Honest Consumer on social media!