A friend recently posted one of her handy-works on instagram. I had to have it for baby B. (My first official baby purchase, except I custom ordered it in a variegated purple!) This little shopping trip led me down a wonderful rabbit hole, so to speak.
I found her shop on Etsy and then went on to discover many other fabulous shops from readers.I had completely forgotten about Etsy. It hasn’t been on my radar for quite some time. But, then I started looking around. Wow, I need to get a teething toy as a gift. Oh, yes, somebody definitely needs those handmade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle golf club covers. And, oh goodness, look at those upcycled wool longies made from a cute sweater. Those will be perfect for E.
I looked some more and found some amazing shops that make safe and environmentally-friendly baby toys; shops that upcycle all of their materials for their products. And it got me thinking.
Can I make better decisions this holiday season? Can I buy more locally made goods this year? Can I be aware of where these goods are manufactured? Are they safely made? Are they safe for my family?
Are the people making them getting paid fair wages? Are they giving back in a positive way?
Do they reduce, reuse and recycle? (I imagine many bikers could use some bike floss in their lives.)
In a nutshell, I need to be better about putting my money where my mouth is! I buy cloth diapers because they are good for the environment. I make sure that I purchase brands that are safe and workers are paid fair wages. But, why don’t I think about this when it comes to purchasing Christmas presents? Or any other holiday present for that matter?
So, this year, I’m making an effort to support the local urban crafter. I will try to purchase from individuals instead of big businesses when possible. A not so local company to me, but definitely on the up and up in the crafting and recycling department is Rickshaw Bagworks.
They create many different bags as sleeves, and they are made from recycled water bottles. I don’t think it gets much craftier than that. They really hit home the message to manufacture locally, employ locally and pay their workers more than fair wages (even including health care.)
At Rickshaw, they have they have a simple approach to business:
We also observe the “KISS” principle: Keep It Super Simple. By making products to order, we can offer a portfolio of bags designed specifically for our own lean manufacturing process. We don’t maintain a finished-goods inventory, and our materials are delivered just in time. We keep our supply chain as short as possible, purchasing most materials from American manufacturers and working with local subcontractors who specialize in the few things we don’t do ourselves. We also focus on direct sales, as opposed to wholesale, to improve profit margins and support higher costs.
Maybe if you look around, you could find one gift that you could purchase from a local craftsman that is even better than the “same” gift that was already on your shopping list? You can check to see if your community has a local festival coming up, or even your farmer’s market. It seems like there are always more people with handmade and locally crafted goods available around the holidays. Or even check with your Facebook friends. Maybe they have their own shop or business you didn’t even know existed!
Will you make any changes this year with your purchasing power? Will you try to buy locally and sustainably?