As a new company, in an era of growing change and uncertainty, we at ARDDUN STORES thought it imperative to underscore the importance and significance of buying well-made, unique, and conscious products.
Conscious Consumer Explained
Consumers are more aware than ever of the impact of their purchases on the world and as a result this has lead to a lot of companies and brands using the term "sustainable" all too eagerly. At ARDDUN STORES we believe instead of a one-size-fits-all "sustainable" label, we’d much rather think of our products as being "conscious".
By this, we mean that before we stock any product in our store we carefully consider whether we believe it's doing more good than harm to the world, whether it was built to last and whether it has a positive effect on the lives of the people who made it. At ARDDUN STORES, either online or in our Harvey Nichols store, we will always try and provide you with as much information as possible about each product so you can make a conscious choice.
5 Easy Tips to Buying Conscious
If you are wondering where to start, here are five easy tips and tricks to help you become a more conscious consumer.
Is the brand you are purchasing from transparent on product information?
This includes the little label on the inside of your clothing and the product information section on their website. If you are struggling to find out where something is made and what it is made from, there is a good chance it’s because there’s something not so nice they’re trying to hide.
2: Look for Handmade
Especially when looking for beautiful, unique lifestyle products, look to see if it’s handmade. When you buy handmade, you’re not only receiving a completely unique product that has been made with love and care, but you are supporting small businesses and keeping craft skills alive.
3: Natural and Organic Materials/Ingredients.
It’s not always easy to find 100% natural and organic materials when buying garments and beauty products. This is because a small amount of synthetic or man-made materials can be helpful in prolonging the shelf life or longevity of a product.
That being said, buying natural is always preferable, for you and the environment. Synthetic and manmade materials are harder, if not impossible to break down after use and often have harmful effects on our water streams and soil if not properly taken care during production.
4: Who Made Your Product?
It’s always a great thing if you know who is making your product. After all, you’ve spent a significant amount of time researching your new purchase, shouldn’t you know who made it? If you can find a brand that will either state your maker by name or champion their craftsmanship, that’s a sure sign your product was made ethically.
5: Community Matters.
Of course, a company is there to make profit, but it is important to know the companies you are supporting are supporting communities, charities, or the environment. For example, some companies will donate a percentage of their profits to ocean clean-up efforts or planting new trees. Some will partner with charities to support individuals or communities in need, whether it’s locally or abroad.
Knowing you’ve not just purchased a handbag, but helped improve the lives of someone else, makes it a truly conscious purchase.
ARDDUN STORES and Our Conscious Brands
At ARDDUN STORES, it is our mission to discover and showcase brands that are thoughtful, well-made, care for their workers, good for their consumers, and have a meaningful story to tell.
Here are a few of our favourite brands that are not only making great products but that are also doing great things for the world.
Sheenagh, the director of Maison Bengal, was constantly impressed by the traditional artisanal skills she came across in the poorest parts of Bangladesh. She founded Maison Bengal in 2004 to provide a market for some of these marginalised communities, and in particular, to provide work and education to young women and mothers.
The company works with three fair trade organisations in Bangladesh. These organisations provide training in handicraft production and utilise each area's natural resources to help communities develop their renowned traditional skills.
Maison Bengal proudly work with over 5,000 women throughout Bangladesh, who are able to work in their home environment and are therefore able to care for and financially support their families.
Cesta Collective was founded by Courtney Fasciano and Erin Ryder in 2018. They wanted to create joyful and ethical products that give back to the community, empower women, and celebrate age-old artisan traditions.
All of their bags are hand weaved in Rwanda and hand finished in Italy or America. The Artisans receive 400-500% more than they would from local markets, helping to support their livelihoods and lift them out of poverty within 12 months.
Each basket is made from vegetable-dyed organic sisal, grown in rural Rwanda, and the leather straps are vegetable tanned Italian Nappa leather. Their basket linings are made from deadstock fabrics, mostly organic cotton canvas, and their packaging is all made from biodegradable materials.
Arokiyam is a candle company, founded by Joela Sakayam. Named and inspired by her Great Grandmother, who lived in a small fishing village in Sri Lanka and was known as a wise elder who lived in tune with nature.
Made in a local London factory, each candle uses a vegan wax made from coconut and soy. The scents are made using 100% natural fragrances and are free from nasty, harmful chemicals. Their candles are poured into recycled glass and their sticker labels are biodegradable. Furthermore, Arokiyam donate 1% of their profits to global reforestation causes.
How we continue to live consciously
In order to maintain a conscious way of consuming, it is imperative that we do not settle or become complacent with the information brands provide us with. If there is something you are looking to buy but you have questions about where or how it was made, ask! Don’t be afraid to hold companies accountable.
Whilst it may all feel a bit too much to try and consider every purchase we make, remember that no step is too small. Don’t feel like you need to investigate all toothpastes and slippers on the market (unless you want to of course), but start small and forever be curious about where your things are made.