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Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Shopping is More Than Shopping

This post is brought to you by Rickshaw Bags. All opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.

Does that title make sense? Hopefully it will make sense by the time you have read through the whole post, so bear with me.

I personally believe we live in an over-commercialized society. The first tip off to that is Black Friday. Thanksgiving is the one day we set aside to give thanks for the unbelievable amount of awesomeness in our lives, and then the next day we show how truly ungrateful we are by thinking we want and need more! (notice I am saying "we", I am not pointing fingers here)

We spend so much money on stuff. And have you ever stopped to think about where that money goes?

Where are the products you buy manufactured? And by whom? Are they safe? Are people getting paid fairly or is the majority of the money going to those with their pockets already full? Are we supporting our own economy?

What are we supporting exactly?

Thank goodness I started this blog. Because before I really started digging into the companies behind the products I use, I didn't think about the answers to these questions. Thankfully, now I have seen the huge difference between companies with heart and soul, products made locally, supporting the right kind of causes with my money and the big, huge companies that are faceless and nameless to their consumers.

Why does any of this matter? Let me give you an example.

Let me talk for a minute about a small company that puts a lot of heart into their products. Rickshaw Bags is an awesome company out of California that makes specially designed bags made out of recycled water bottles! They have a serious passion for making specially designed products (you can DIY all bags and sleeves!) that are very sustainable and earth-friendly.

My favorite product is their Zero Bag. The Zero is "specially designed to optimize cutting and eliminate material waste," and additionally, the bag is made locally in San Francisco with domestically sourced fabrics. It's also made from 100 percent nylon, so when the day comes, it's entirely recyclable. A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

When you purchase from small companies like Rickshaw Bags, you know your money is going to support people and causes that you believe in! Rickshaw Bag's CEO says it well, "Our 20-person cut-and-sew operation is an anachronism in today's tech-driven economy, and our location--about 50 miles north of Silicon Valley--makes what we do even more improbable. At $10.55 an hour, San Francisco has the highest minimum wage of any city in the United States, along with onerous business taxes and skyrocketing rents. Fully burdened with insurance, taxes, and benefits, our factory labor rate is $20 an hour--20 times the current labor rate in China and 100 times that in Bangladesh."

Rickshaw Bagworks: Who We Are from Rickshaw Bagworks on Vimeo.

I personally would much rather support products I know are safe, well made, sustainable and companies that pay their workers a fair wage, are proud of the way their products are made and where their raw materials come from. If possible, I also love buying locally. Your money is going to support someone and something, so you might as well know what you are supporting!

Remember, you vote with your dollars. You have heard me mention this several times about food. Does your food have GMO's in it, pesticides, human growth hormones, artificial this and that? The list could be endless. Half of the food sold in stores (actually probably way more than half) is not even real food. It is chemically loaded franken-food. When I buy locally harvested raw honey from a local bee keeper, I know exactly what is in my food. When I buy eggs from a local farmer who lets her chickens run wild and eat plenty of grass, bugs and other yummies, I know exactly what is in my eggs and what is NOT in my eggs. I want to KNOW what I am putting in my body. I want to KNOW that I am supporting things that help us all live healthier and more naturally. I want to KNOW I am supporting companies that I would love to be CEO of.

This is when shopping is truly more than shopping.


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