When first semester ended of this school year ended, I remember coming up for air and thinking, Oh, thank God, I survived. Now I must be more deliberate.
And then second semester ended and I thought, Less, now. Get rid of the clutter. Say no more often.
I have become obsessed with the idea of white space this summer. Mostly because it is both of those things. Deliberate and less.
And less in a way that creates new meaning.
I've been thinking a lot about consumption of late. Of where and how and why I choose to spend my money. And about how much power we actually have as individuals (or groups) to shape markets.
I posted two companies on instagram--companies that prioritize social good--and asked for suggestions for others. And man did you all come through. In many ways this list was crowd-sourced, and as such, is a living document. I did a little research on all of the companies put forth and then made a value-judgement on whether to include them. This list is neither comprehensive nor inclusive, and it doesn't pretend to be. It's also worth saying, my values aren't everyone else's values, so we might disagree about some of the particulars here.
Here's the thing: there are some incredible and badass companies out there who believe in totally all-natural products or reducing their economic footprint, but I looked for a bit more than that. I looked see that central to the company's mission was something larger than the company itself--a mission that positively impacts someone or something else--and a transparency about how that policy in action.
And it turns out, there are a lot out there. So many out there! There are so many cool companies doing cool things.
W.R. Yuma prints sunglasses from recycled materials using a 3-D printer (their ethos is "waste is only waste when it's wasted"). The by-product created by Everlane's denim factory is mixed with concrete and used to build affordable housing. Better World Books has raised $26 million for literacy and donated 24 million books. Soma is dedicated to ending the global water crisis.
Researching these companies was a fascinating experience. For example, I learned that Etsy no longer has its B-Corp Status (to describe what a B Corp is I'll use their own words: "B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk"). Etsy did away with their Value Aligned Business Team and started prioritizing profit over the original mission of social and environmental impact (the New York Times wrote a really interesting article about it). But more than that, I was heartened (thrilled, actually) by just how many excellent companies there are out there, how much good they are doing, and how reasonable their price points are.
This price point thing is something to dig into for a moment. Not everyone can afford to buy the goods listed here. I get that, I really do. People should buy that which they can afford (to even engage in this conversation denotes quite a lot of privilege). But, just as a comparison, a pair of jeans at Everlane is about $68, at J. Crew, $125. Within the world of that which is advertised/sold on Instagram or on Lifestyle Blogs, these goods are really, really reasonable.
At the core of this list is the idea that how we, as consumers, choose to spend our money matters. As does how companies choose to do business.