Conscientious consumerism is at the core of our beliefs at Unique World Inspirations
and we strive to share knowledge about the immense power of our purchases. Each of us has the ability to consider the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of the items we buy. The good news is, it's now easier than ever to make more conscious choices when we shop. Together we can create worldwide change, one purchase at a time. In our continuing new blog series
, we dive into what is a conscientious consumer, ideas of how to make conscious choices, and why it matters.
Through our interviews from around the globe, we hope to give inspiration from the personal stories of their passion for mindful purchasing. Many have been so motivated by what they learned they started their own social enterprises! We hope you are enjoying this journey of real-life examples of amazing agents of change.
In our interview with Marisa, the founder and owner of RISE Creative
, we explore how the habit of becoming a conscious consumer is easier than it sounds!
How did you find out about conscious consumerism and Fair Trade?
In college, I studied Cultural Anthropology, and one of my professors specifically studied the ways that the fashion industry impacted different areas of the world. Around the same time, The True Cost movie had just come out, about the Rana Plaza collapse, sparking a demand for higher standards for workers. Also, at the same time, I had attended a conference sponsored by Noonday Collection, which is an incredible Fair Trade jewelry brand. It was the first time that I realized there were fashion companies combatting this issue on a daily basis, and you could say it was the perfect storm of events that led me to want to work in this space.
"For me, I think it’s the human beings behind the products"
What motivated you to make changes in your purchasing?
For me, I think it’s the human beings behind the products. While sustainability is great, my heart always takes me back to, ‘but who is the person making the product? are they being paid a living wage? can they support their kids, and afford an education?’
What exactly do you do to purchase Fair Trade and purchase consciously?
Any time that I’m in need of something whether it’s specific style of shirt, all the way to my cleaning products, I try to find the most ethical route to purchase first. Being that I work with ethical brands, it’s obviously much easier to just scroll through our social media feed, or our e-mails and find brands that fit that need. Although I know that I’m fortunate that it comes second nature because a lot of consumers don’t even know where to start or where to look when it comes to shopping ethically.
What has been the hardest part?
Fighting the impulse to just go grab a shirt at the mall. I’d say for the first two years it was hard to fight that impulse, and there were still times that if I knew I’d wear something for a good amount of time, I would still purchase from the mall because it was more sustainable than buying something online and never wearing it. However, now that I’ve been in this space for about 5 years, I never have the impulse to go to the mall or buy something ‘quick and cheap.’ I really think about what I need to purchase and the best place to get it.
What factors do you look into or research when purchasing?
Who makes the clothing? What is it made out of? Is it sustainable? Will it last? Is it making a positive impact on both people and the environment?
"Start with one thing....Slowly it’ll start to become a habit"
Does buying Fair Trade and consciously shopping cost you a lot more?
Oooo I like this question!!! I think our initial reaction is to say, ‘yes, everything is so much more expensive.’ BUT if you look at it long term, I rarely shop anymore because everything lasts so much longer than the fast fashion options. So in the end, it’s actually saving me money to have quality clothing and shop less, than to be running to Forever21 every week to buy a new shirt because the last one ripped in the wash.
What advice would you give to purchase more consciously?
Start with one thing. The next time something pops in your head that you need, try to research a more sustainable or ethical option. Slowly it’ll start to become a habit. For example, with switching my makeup to cleaner and more ethical products, every time I ran out of a product, I would purchase from ethical brands instead of going back to that same product. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, and I will still go grab something from Target if I really need it and can’t wait for something to ship, but it’s just trying to get into that habit.
Do you find the switch to conscious goods and products have improved the quality of the items?
Yes! I think I touched on this earlier, but with clothing, the pieces definitely last longer, with household items I feel so much healthier without chemicals around, and same with natural and clean beauty products.
How do you feel your purchases make a difference?
Honestly, when you’re in the habit of purchasing ethically, I think you sometimes forget to slow down and think ‘this purchase employed an artisan and allowed them to send their kids to school,’ etc.
About Marisa Flacks: Founder of RISE Creative, and trained Cultural Anthropologist, she left the corporate fashion industry to start an ethical branding agency, serving brands rising up to make a change. After years spent working in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for companies such as Fashion GPS (now Launchmetrics), Hearst Magazine Corporation, Starworks Group, and Nineteenth Amendment, her global cultural training and research lent insight into the horrible effects that fast fashion has on people and our environment. From there, she decided to take her experiences in public relations, digital marketing, and creative direction to serve the rising community of ethical brands worldwide. Since launching in 2016, RISE Creative has served brands such as VETTA, Sevenly, Encircled, FashionVeggie, and many more, expanding from creative marketing services to educating brands in development and strategy.
We appreciate Marisa, an agent of change for conscious consumerism, for taking the time to share her story! Whatever your motivation, starting with even one ethical item changes lives and is making a better world now.
We'd love to know - What are the ways you are trying to be more conscious with your purchases?
Unique World Inspirations is a social enterprise online shop, selling Fair Trade gifts and products inspired by the people and cultures we’ve encountered on our travels. By providing crafts to you that are handmade by artisans around the world, we are all working together to make the world a better place, one product at a time.