Becoming An Allied Consumer

The older I get, the more I recognize how poorly I’ve spent my money in the past. In my late teens and early twenties I used to own so many pieces of clothing. It was all clothes I wore, maybe once, or maybe a couple of times a year. Sometimes I even bought things and never wore them. I would try them on during one of my purges and find that they no longer fit or I no longer wanted to wear that piece and it would end up in the donate pile.

I’m a consummate purger — I love to purge. Marie Kondo may have made the process famous, and she certainly has more patience than I do when it comes to effective folding habits, but I’ve been purging my belongings since I was a child and I’m pretty ruthless at it.

I purge at least once a year, even now, when I buy and own far fewer items. Recognizing that I owned too many clothing items, led to a deep purge. Which was followed by deliberation of what my actual style was and what I needed in my closet versus what was frivolous spending.

My sense of style has changed a lot in the last 15 years. I used to be wild in my clothing — not just following trends, but also fearless in mixing prints and patterns, not shy of colour, still determining what cuts were flattering. But in the last decade, my body has changed, and my style has leaned heavily on comfort versus trends. That’s not to say that I don’t have stylish looks, but I tend to have two moods: comforting clothing and #lewks.

That fiery skirt is seen here again — this was a well loved outfit and I wore it until the top and sandals were falling apart and I could not comfortably wear the skirt anymore! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the same pop of colour to add to my current wardrobe.

Part of paring my wardrobe back is ensuring that I make more intentional purchases. When I first started on this journey, intentional purchases meant understanding how each piece of clothing would work in the overall wardrobe/style. When COVID-19 hit, “intentional” evolved to mean a complete end to fast fashion purchases and moving towards Canadian-made/local spending because it’s so important to boost local economy now, especially as travel is currently out of the question. When the Black Lives Matter movement ramped up following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, “intentional” further evolved again.

Now I’m looking to give my money to local businesses, businesses that really focus on sustainability, businesses run by BIPOC, even better if they are run by women. I’m turning away from businesses that use prison labour (aka modern day slavery), and away from businesses that spend their profits on political and social issues that don’t align with my own.

I don’t deny that this is a big, and extremely difficult change. It will take time to build up my roster of trusted businesses. I’m hoping you’re in for the ride, whether you are making these types of changes or not. So I’ve rounded up several businesses to shop at. The businesses in this list are those that I’ve recently discovered myself or through friends. I have not yet shopped at most of these but I look forward to reviewing the products and services I invest in.

NameType of Good or Service
6 By Gee BeautyBoutique
AnaraHome Goods
Anice JewelleryJewellry
Baba SoukHome Goods
Boneset StudioClothing
CambieHome Goods
Chance & FateClothing Boutique
Cheekbone BeautyBeauty
Comeback SeasonClothing
DecadeClothing (denim)
Earth Connection OilSkincare & Wellness
EaseClothing Boutique
Essentials by TemiSkincare & Wellness
Foe and DearJewellry
Forage and SustainBoutique
Fortnight Lingerie & SwimClothing (Lingerie & Swimwear)
Frances WatsonClothing
Gee BeautySkincare & Wellness
Goodee WorldHome Goods
hernest projectClothing
Horse AtelierClothing
June Home SupplyHome Goods
The LakeBoutique
Laurie Fleming JewelleryJewellry
LD ShoppeHome Goods
Leaves of TreesSkincare & Wellness
Love & NudesClothing (Lingerie)
Maguire BoutiqueShoes
Maison TessHome Goods
Mary YoungClothing
Mima CeramicsHome Goods
Mother Earth EssentialsSkincare & Wellness
Omi WoodsJewellry
Rug & WeaveHome Goods
Sade BaronSkincare & Wellness
Sahajan SkincareSkincare & Wellness
Sarisha BeautySkincare & Wellness
The Silk LabsClothing
Skwalwen BotanicalsSkincare & Wellness
Soft FocusClothing
Stole My HeartClothing (Boutique)
Unika SwimClothing (Swimwear)
VictoireClothing (Boutique)
Wild WovenHome Goods
Wildcraft CareSkincare & Wellness
YatehLikeLatteStyling Services

Businesses I have already invested in: Anice, Bluboho, Leaves of Trees, Laurie Fleming Jewellery, and Mejuri. Laurie made my engagement and wedding rings, and she’s got a lovely collection of pieces (many of which can be customized). I bought the Tarot Moon necklace from Mejuri earlier this year, with my Virgo twins, and their large jewelry box during quarantine. I ordered the Namesake ring from Bluboho at the start of quarantine, and just had it engraved this week (finally!). I’ve been popping into Anice for the past decade, picking up stacking rings and creating custom gifts. I bought some natural deodorant from Leaves of Trees, which was highly recommended. Unfortunately, I had an allergic reaction. However, their hand lotion is wonderful! Also, for full disclosure, the womxn who run Quartzy Crystals and YatehLikeLatte are personal friends and I believe their businesses deserve more attention!

I will also be purchasing from some Black owned businesses based in the States and some Indigenous owned businesses from across Turtle Island. So I’ll share more sustainable BIPOC businesses soon. For the time being, I wanted to share what I had found — in case you too were searching for new places to spend your money. We live in a capitalist society and how/where we spend our money really matters. It matters to the small, local businesses. It matters to the people who craft our products around the world. It matters to those whose well-being is constantly put at risk by those in power.

If you know of any businesses that fit any or all of my criteria, I’d love to learn more about them!

2 thoughts on “Becoming An Allied Consumer

  1. It’s crazy how many clothes we’d own but barely wear in the same breathe we’d balk at more expansive and better made clothing because it was “expensive”.
    Anyway I’m excited to see how we all evolve with buying better. Also thank you for sharing my services 😘

    1. I have been moving towards higher price tags and buying less, rather than cheaper and more. I just don’t need as many pieces as I owned as a teen/young adult. “Cheaper and more” takes up space and needs to be replaced sooner (so not really cheaper at all)! Something I’m working towards now is not looking for a sale. This is SUPER hard for me. But if everyone is being paid fairly along the supply and manufacturing line, then the final product shouldn’t be on sale. Marked up items go on sale, which is nice for my wallet, but the brand/store is still making a profit and those who are actually making my item isn’t making any more or less of a fair wage.

      Also, OF COURSE I’m gonna share your services. You’ve got skills and deserve recognition <3

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