TL;DR Each time we make a purchase, we have the opportunity to choose a product that tells a story. By buying products aligned with our values, we can have a deeper connection and more satisfaction with what we purchase, we can help support the livelihoods of artisans around the world, we can empower businesses using practices that we believe in, and we can have something interesting to talk about when we receive a compliment on that product.
The reason we started Made Trade is that we believe business should be a force for good, and that sharing the stories behind ethically-made products is the biggest driver of change in the conscious consumerism movement. We believe products are more beautiful when we know where they come from. They hold more value when there is a deeper purpose behind them. And they have more character when they are crafted by hand.
When we spend our money in ways that align with our values, it creates an opportunity to bring more joy and satisfaction into our lives, knowing the products we use every day are creating dignified job opportunities for makers and artisans, and materials are sourced responsibly. We find that when we’re more intentional about what’s inside our homes and closets, we’re more content with what we have, rather than constantly searching for what’s next.
There’s an opportunity for true connection with makers and the planet when we wear consciously-made clothing with eco friendly fabrics, when we sit in sustainably-harvested wood furniture, or use table linens that have been handcrafted with a centuries-old, traditional weaving technique that’s at risk of being lost.
Goods with a story behind them are undoubtedly more meaningful for us on an individual level, but moving beyond this, when we share these stories with others, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for driving change.
If someone tells you they love the design of your drinkware, your shoes, or your wall art, it can be an opportunity to share a beautiful story of doing good, like the 1000-year old tradition of coppersmithing in Santa Clara del Cobre, Mexico, or the zero-waste fabric sourcing in Cambodia that went into making your jacket.
When we share the stories of consciously-made pieces, we believe it creates a mindset shift. People start questioning where their clothes are coming from, and perhaps even inspire the impetus for them to research and learn about the world of conscious consumerism and sustainable living. From bewilderment when sharing that our bags are made from Piñatex, a fabric created with pineapple leaves, or intrigue when sharing that a beautiful dress was also beautifully made by artisans earning living wages that enable them to send their children to school when before they didn’t have access to consistent job opportunities.
Sometimes it’s just a look of surprise and the conversation moves elsewhere, but sometimes it sparks an entire discussion. Either way, we know that this story has much more of an impact than “I got this shirt on sale for 5 bucks!” Every time we can share an impactful story and reveal better alternatives for where we spend our money, we are strengthening the movement and creating change.
These stories can provide a clear connection as to what we, as individuals, can do to support a better way of shopping and a better way of bringing products into our lives. It can also be a great opportunity to go against preconceived notions—for example, you can prove that in fact, sustainably-made clothing can be fashionable or that responsibly-made kitchenware can be functional.
Choosing to share a story or even a small anecdote about your consciously-made goods with your circles of influence really does have an impact. The proof is in the data—according to Nielsen, 83% of people trust product recommendations from their friends and family.
At Made Trade, we are honored to work with so many incredible socially and environmentally responsible brands committed to creating fair and safe job opportunities. From handmade bags that ensure dignified jobs for low-income and refugee women to home goods that were crafted with art forms in existence for millennia, to furniture crafted from responsibly-sourced wood that helps facilitate reforestation—these brands have wonderful stories that are worth sharing.
In our curation of ethically elevated goods, we hope you’ll find home goods, decor, clothing, and accessories that you’ll be proud to talk about.