With conscientious consumerism at the core of our beliefs at Unique World Inspirations, we hope to share the knowledge about the power of our purchases. With even small steps toward considering the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of what we purchase, we can create worldwide change together.
In our exciting new blog series, we dive into what exactly is a conscientious consumer, we provide ideas of how do can you begin to be one or better yourself as a conscious consumer, and why it all 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 join us on this journey of real-life examples of agents of change.
In our first interview with Petria, the owner of Coco Rose Interiors, we explore how living in a developing nation changed her mindset on consumption for life.
How did you find out about Fair Trade and conscious consumerism?
In all honesty, it happened quite organically. I’ve always liked shopping local and handmade to support small business but it wasn’t until we lived in Indonesia, we began to see how important it is to ensure each product you buy has been ethically produced by manufacturers that consciously supply fair working conditions.
What motivated you to make changes in your purchasing?
Living in a third world country really opens your eye to how easily people can be taken advantage of in poor conditions. We want to ensure each of our products are purchased from suppliers who create better lives for themselves and their employees, and not exploit them.
What exactly do you do to purchase consciously?
We have personally visited our suppliers and most of our manufacturers to verify how our products are made and by whom. Our children have played with their children while we discuss business and also the change we are helping to make in their lives.
What has been the easiest and hardest parts?
The best part is seeing the profound effect our business has made by investing in other family businesses and the very high quality we are able to deliver to our customers. The hardest part initially is verifying the full production and trade process. From a business perspective streamlining those processes can also prove difficult but definitely worth the rewards.
What factors do you look into or research when purchasing?
What type of material is being used - is it natural and is it sustainable? Does it have detrimental health and environmental impacts through production? Is it of high quality or are these products mass produced and force re-consumerism? Who is making the product - is our business making change in their lives? are the employment conditions ethical?
Does buying Fair Trade and consciously cost you a lot more?
For the initial purchase, I would say yes it does but the question to ask is what are the benefits of that? The answer is increased quality - therefore increased product life, elimination of re-consumption minimizing environmental impacts and subsequently producing a saving over the life of the product.
What advice would you give to purchase more consciously?
Purchasing consciously doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of work for the consumer. Seek out small business and handcrafted as the owners generally have direct contact with the production process or their suppliers and a higher control over the trade process. Invest in quality over cheaper mass-produced alternatives. Research the larger companies that offer the product you are looking for and ensure they’re actively pursuing a continual improvement process for ethical sourcing.
Do you find the switch in good and products have improved the quality of the items?
Absolutely! Production of a product can be broken down into three components - price, rate it is made and quality. If you change one or more of these then the others are naturally affected. A cheap product is achieved by increasing production rates and selling large volumes for which quality is sacrificed.
Slow that process down, produce less and ensure the product is made to the highest standards with good moral code and naturally, you will be investing in a high-quality product.
How do you feel your purchases make a difference?
We’ve seen first hand the effect our purchases make. The family that handcrafts our leather products have been able to hire another local artisan and ensure their life is improved too. Their son has had some medical issues also which they have been able to comfortably treat also.
What’s your favorite conscious living quote?
"A small investment in your conscience can make a big change in your world."
We want to inspire people to design their homes and live their lives in a more natural and eco-friendly way. We do this by sourcing all-natural, handmade products as well as demonstrating how to style and incorporate them into your every day living.
We appreciate Petria taking the time to share her story and help spread the world on how we each can increase the consciousness of our purchases!
What are the ways you try and be more conscious in 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.