At Unique World Inspirations our mission is to spread awareness of conscious consumer lifestyles, and along with it, the knowledge that we all can make a global impact through our local contentious decisions.
Through each of our daily choices, we have the power to positively influence our global family, and by utilizing the power of our purchases we can work together to save the planet and its people.
Through our interviews from around the globe, we hope to inspire from personal stories and journeys of mindful purchasing in action. We hope you are enjoying these interviews of real-life examples of agents of change and collecting tips for your exploration of conscious consumerism along the way.
In our interview with Yaa and Ako they share how, just like at Unique World Inspirations, traveling changed their lives and imparted the understanding of the importance of conscious consumerism. They remind us to not be hard on ourselves when our every purchase can’t be perfect, but through small steps of taking into consideration in what we buy, we are still making a difference.
These inspiring women started Olivan Kai because they wanted to create a business that could help others and support projects they believe in. Their goal was to create something that didn't depend on charity, but that was in itself sustainable, that could respect the earth and also give back to her.
How did you first learn about Fair Trade and Conscious Consumerism?
We had heard of the terms for a long time but didn’t really grasp their importance until we started traveling. Seeing things with our own eyes gave us a whole new perspective on what conscious consumerism really means.
Our trip to India was probably the most eye-opening. Seeing the amount of unnecessary waste us humans are capable of producing is shocking! It showed us how far removed we have become from nature and from each other. When we returned home, we started researching more on the Fair Trade and Conscious movements and decided we wanted to create something of our own that supported this.
“Seeing things with our own eyes gave us a whole new perspective on what conscious consumerism really means.”
What motivated you to make changes in your purchasing?
What motivated us was feeling that we weren’t contradicting ourselves and that our thoughts and beliefs were in alignment with our actions.
By shopping locally we’ve built great friendships with small business owners, we’ve watched them grow and have been a part of their journey. We have gained a whole new appreciation of the things we buy and that’s been a huge motivation.
What exactly do you do to purchase consciously?
In our daily life, we keep things simple and try to live a minimalist/zero waste lifestyle. We shop locally as much as we can and buy only what we need. Before purchasing a product, we ask ourselves why we want it and how much we really need it. If there aren’t enough good reasons, we simply don’t buy it.
When we do buy something, we take a good look at where and how it’s been made and how much plastic is in the packaging. That alone says a lot about the brand.
We love transforming old things into brand new secondhand pieces rather than purchasing new things. And instead of shopping for veggies at the supermarket, we enjoy helping around in our brother’s garden growing organic crops.
“Before purchasing a product, we ask ourselves why we want it and how much we really need it. If there aren’t enough good reasons, we simply don’t buy it.”
What have been the easiest and hardest parts?
The easiest thing is that today there are a lot of options to choose from. Thanks to people supporting Fair Trade and conscious brands, the market has been growing.
The hardest part has been accepting that you can’t always buy as consciously as you would like. Sometimes synthetic materials are needed, sometimes what we want to buy is not produced locally and sometimes something that is not organic is still made ethically and is supporting someone less fortunate. We take this is a good life lesson though! To remember to not see life as Black and White but to see the bigger picture and always do the best we can.
“…remember to not see life as Black and White but to see the bigger picture and always do the best we can.”
What factors do you look into or research when purchasing?
We spend months researching the most sustainable materials for our collections. When purchasing from new suppliers we take a good look at their company values, their supply chain and whether they are making a positive impact on both their workers and the environment.
Does buying Fair Trade and consciously shopping cost you a lot more?
Not at all! We spend less now buying organic and Fair Trade than we did before. The initial payment may seem higher, but we have found the products we buy are better quality and last longer, in the long run, they are worth it. There’s a saying here in Spain which says “Lo barato sale caro” it means “cheap things turn out expensive in the end.” It’s so true!
“Lo barato sale caro
it means cheap things turn out expensive in the end.”
What advice would you give to purchase more consciously?
Start within. Don’t worry about what others are doing or not doing, instead spend that energy asking yourself what you value and what you wish to support. When you want to purchase something ask yourself if the product you want meets these values or not. Spend a little time getting to know the brand and feel happy and proud of the decision you make.
Do you find the switch in goods and products have improved the quality of the items?
Absolutely. A lot more thought is put into creating a conscious product than a mass produced product. To create something consciously we have to take into account more than just the quality of the material. It involves the quality of the lives who make the product and the quality of the lives who are indirectly affected (usually sea life). Quality is not only how long a product will last for us but how long it will take the planet to decompose.
How do you feel your purchases make a difference?
When we shop locally, we know we are helping to keep a small business alive, no matter how small our purchase is. When we all make small changes, the result is multiplied!
When we shop ethically, we are voting for something we believe in and encouraging ethical business to grow and keep up the good work.
They say: what you do makes a difference and you have to decide what difference you want to make.
“When we all make small changes, the result is multiplied!”
What’s your favorite ethical living quote?
That’s a hard one. There are so many to choose from. Probably the one that touches us the most for its simplicity is:
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.” - Maya Angelou
We want to thank Yaa and Ako for being an inspiration! Through their passion for travel, people, and the plant, they expanded their own conscious lifestyle and ability to share that with others through Olivan Kai. All our choices do in fact add together to make a global difference.
Olivan Kai is an online shop dedicated exclusively to sustainable fashion. Using organic, upcycled and biodegradable materials, their aim is to create modern and stylish designs that respect the earth and are fair to the hands that made them. Their latest collections involve 100% vegan-friendly handbags made from cork fabric.
Unique World Inspirations is a conscious consumer education platform and social enterprise online shop providing Fair Trade gifts from 31 artisan groups around the world. Through our mission to share how We Are One, we hope to inspire you on your conscious ethical consumer voyage!
What are you doing to add contentious shopping choices in your life?
Please comment below.