Finding Balance With Fair Trade - Saltbox Sash

Finding Balance With Fair Trade

The fair trade business model promotes the ethical and sustainable production of products that support people to earn a dignified wage in underserved communities around the world. As we continue to celebrate Fair Trade Month, I wanted to reflect on the idea of conscious consumption versus mindless consumption. Our society celebrates and encourages overconsumption of just about every category one can think of, food, clothing, homewares, technology, media, vanity, etc. And with the hundreds of ads on our phones, televisions, and radios, it's not a surprise that we've become a society that's very accustomed to maximum consumption. Today, I want to share how we can welcome items into our lives with a more balanced and mindful approach.

The best place to start, and the reason I became a fair trade shop owner is the simple act of asking questions. Where was the product made? How is it made? Who makes it? What is it made of? Of course, I'm not suggesting you ask these questions about every single item you purchase. Start small and see if you can get your questions answered by reading labels, talking to a salesperson, or conducting a quick online search. You may be surprised by what you discover and inspired to change how and where you shop. Since I love home decor and cooking, I focussed on making a few changes in those areas of my life such as buying ethical fashion when I could, purchasing second hand clothing, and moving towards a low-waste lifestyle in the kitchen. Small changes over time add up to lasting impact and habits that benefit people and the planet. 

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Now, not only did I ask questions of the outside world, but I also began to ask them of myself. When I really paid attention to why I was purchasing certain items, I realized that at times, my purchases fell into the category of being mindless, or I was trying to fill a void such as boredom or sadness. I also can remember shopping for sport, meaning I actually shopped to fill my time as if it were a hobby. Once I discovered fair trade, I began reflecting on those habits and vowed to change so that my shopping trips aligned with my values, and true needs. Do I shop for everything fair trade, ethical, and sustainable? No way. Perfection is never the goal; I strive to do better when and where I can in my life. I still shop at big box stores and online giants sparingly because I do think they have a place in our world. However, I don't believe they should be the only options we depend on as local and small businesses need our business too. When you support fair trade, you are contributing to the demand of ethically made products. By moving away from what has become the societal norm of purchasing cheap, mass-produced products, we can as a society can achieve balance through conscious consumerism and supporting fair trade.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post, and feel inspired to support fair trade. Let us know your thoughts. 

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