Conscious shopping is something that has been on my mind, since I first saw a short feature on TV about a family who lived without producing any rubbish, when I was a child in the eighties.

The idea to live waste-free, has become much more popular since and I still hope to be able to achieve that in my lifetime as well.

But for now, it’s conscious shopping, and reducing waste as much as possible.

Some years ago, a friend gave me a pair of Toms shoes because they didn’t fit them right. And I’ve been very happy with them since.

Last summer, I barely wore any other shoes. So by the end of last summer you could tell that I did and I got myself a new pair this week.

Conscious Shopping is Exciting

This was very exciting. I have not bought myself a new pair of shoes in years. The last pair I bought were some almost new converse from a second hand shop. I also got myself a new pair of flip-flops this year because after about four or five years the old ones became too loose.

I remember an old flat mate of mine who only bought second hand or designer clothes, I wasn’t ready for such a commitment at the time.

But I am now. The fashion industry produces 10% of the carbon emission. Washing clothes, that contain synthetic materials such as polyester, are responsible for about 35% of the microplastic in the ocean (source: weforum).

As part of the Inner MBA curriculum, I participated in a Q&A with Eileen Fisher of the Eileen Fisher clothing brand. Not only is she a very humble, mindful and conscious leader, it was quite interesting for me to see that while she is trying to reduce the negative impact of her clothes to the environment, she is not producing locally.

Conscious Shopping can lead to global change

Instead, her company is trying to change the modes of production with their partners in any part of the world. Which seems to be the only way, if we want lasting and inclusive change.

Because the conditions for work and production need to change everywhere.

In the podcast I produced on Finding Freedom, this has also been mentioned by a Bulgarian friend of mine. Bulgaria is one of these countries, western European clothing companies moved their production lines to – because they can hire people for less and let them work more hours, than they could in Germany, for example.

So, we desperately need more people to show that fair working conditions can be implemented all around the world. It is good to see that we can create these changes and still be profitable.

When I was still working as a web designer, Toms shoes popped up here and there, as another model of a conscious business. For every pair of shoes you buy, they give one pair to somebody who can’t afford them. So different models of innovation exist.

I do think that it is important for personal well-being to have nice things, to care about one’s look and style, and to be comfortable to present in a way that makes us feel good.

Conscious Shopping makes us Happier

I am not convinced that buying things that are not produced with care, give us the same pleasure as the products we choose to buy for reasons that we are aware of.

With every decision that we know is wrong, we split ourselves a tiny bit more because we ignore the voice that knows and says it’s not good for us or anyone.

On the other hand, every time we do make a conscious decision, we allow for more freedom and happiness in our lives. We don’t have to push our feelings away and can be at peace with them and our choices.

Now, we can’t buy all things second hand and  the second hand clothes need to be bought first-hand first too, but there are a lot of things, that we really do not need to buy new.

Computers and phones, for example, can very easily be bought second hand with a guarantee that is often longer than if we bought them new.

Shoes, however, I’d rather have new, so I make sure I’m very happy with my choices. And I am.

How do you shop consciously?

Hope you have a lovely day,
Verena

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