Can I really make a difference? How do I have the power to change such an untouchable force that is capitalism? Is it possible to have positive impact when shopping? I bet these are some questions that many of you have had. I certainly did (and I’m sure, Lydia, too, but she was born with a HUGE heart and a can-do attitude!). The short answer is, yes. Yes, you can. And a good start is being socially conscious when shopping. But hold on, what exactly is social consciousness?
Social consciousness is having a sense of responsibility or concern for the problems and injustices of society. It is about understanding how your actions have an impact on the others around you and on society in general. One of the most powerful actions that consumers have is where they spend their money. One of our favorite quotes is “every time you spend your money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want” by Anne Lappé. This quote empowers us to understand that where we are spending our money encourages what business practices continue. Companies listen to what consumers want and where there is demand, most of the time, they will adapt. Today, millennials are the largest generation to have a huge effect on corporate companies to engage in more socially responsible practices and 70% of us are willing to pay a little extra for a product that makes a positive impact (Forbes, March 2017).
Where do we go from here? We can start where we have power, which again is our money. We understand that having a social conscience in regards to buying goods can sometimes be expensive, however; paying a little extra can result in big, amazing change. But this doesn’t mean that you have to switch all of your buying habits right now. Make small changes, ones that you can afford, and maybe that means rethinking the priorities in your budget or deciding the importance of which of your goods are made with social consciousness in mind. Maybe your entire wardrobe doesn't immediately change, but your jewelry does.
Now, don't panic! While some ethical purchases can cost more than your average department store, there are plenty of socially conscious purchases you can make that won't break the bank and make a huge impact on the world (though you should note that oftentimes the price we pay is for the standards the business practices). For example, the next time you decide it's time for some new jewelry (or you start holiday shopping), do some research to find companies that tie a beautiful mission to your favorite style of jewelry! One of our favorite pieces is the copper cuff from Branded Collective - where every cuff is hand made by survivors of human trafficking. This cuff is incredibly beautiful and well-made, and at $19, it is comparable to what you'd find at your local department store. The difference? Spending that $19 on that copper cuff from Branded Collective empowers women to overcome the trauma of being sold into slavery. The products we choose to buy empower us, but the purposeful products we consciously choose to buy empower others too.
We can make a difference. We have power. And we have to start thinking in a collective sense instead of individually to see a change. We are all human beings. Yes, we have differences, but when it comes down to it, we all live on planet Earth; we have to share it, have to take care of it, and have to have love and empathy for our fellow human beings. There are many ways to start on this journey to a better world, and the easiest way to go about it is by simply being aware of where your dollar is going, and becoming empowered to spend that same dollar in a way that changes the world.