How To Become a Conscious Consumer || Ask These Questions Before You Buy

January 01, 2019

Conscious Consumption Through Purposeful Spending

The truth is that our economy is built on consumption. Every day we eat, consume media, wear clothing, use electricity and much much more. 

Since we have to consume to live, we might as well consume our resources in a way that takes into account our impact on the economy, our fellow citizens and the environment.

What is conscious consumption? 

Conscious consumption focuses on being aware of the impact that your purchase makes on people, planet, and economy. It is a movement based on creating social change just based on the way you shop. 

How to be conscious of your consumption 

If you want to feel good about the things you buy there are a few things that you can do to make your consumption a positive influence on this world.

When you make a purchase ask yourself a few questions

  • Who is profiting?
  • Who made this item?
  • What is this made from?
  • Will this last me a long time?


Funding for local programs

Who is profiting from your purchase makes a big impact on your local economy. Just think about it: when you buy from a small business in your city the person who profits from the sale is your fellow neighbor, and they pay all the same taxes that you do plus more!

Not only are they paying local property taxes, but they are paying business taxes too and creating value on the sale of their goods that goes to the state/provincial and federal government to support basics like health care, schools, roads and so much more. 

Money stays in the economy

Let's forget about taxes for a moment. The money that is spent at a local business will be spent locally too in the form of (fair) wages and other expense items that are needed to run a business. Not only that, but most small business owners support other business owners, so the money gets circulated in the economy. This is in stark contrast to large companies that buy their goods from overseas and only employs local people at minimum wage.

One study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer.

Who Made This Item

Supporting Fair Labour

Cheap, trendy, and fast fashion is typically inexpensive due to the abysmal working conditions of most consumer goods workers. For clothing specifically, labor standards are so low that even less than 2% of the women who work in apparel women earn a living wage (a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living).

Most garment workers are ages 14 to 24, work an average of 14 hours a day and make just $2. This isn't a just for clothing. These poor, sweatshop type standards go for things like kids toys, shoes, and home decor. 

When you buy something from a company that is directly responsible for their manufacturing or even makes the goods themselves, you know that their workers are making a fair wage. All you have to do is ask or take a look at the company's FAQ section online to see if they mention their labour standards. Typically, the smaller the company, the better they know where their items are made. If you don't see, ask. If we all ask companies these tough questions they won't be able to ignore the answers for long.

Additional Reads: What is Ethical and Sustainable Fashion (Eco-fashion and Slow Fashion)

Choosing Sustainable or Recycled Materials

New Cheap Materials Harm the Environment

Many consumer goods are made from plastics, or in the case of clothing, polyester which doesn't break down easily. Also, many of the bight colours that you see in toys or clothing are made of lead. During production in other countries, lead and other toxins can trickle down into the surrounding water source, which, in effect, contaminate drinking water. Overexposure to these chemicals can increase the chances for a worker to contract a range of diseases and even cancer. 

Sustainable Materials Biodegrade and Divert Waste From the Landfill

When you buy items that use sustainable materials or recycled materials, you are eliminating the need for new materials to be made. Not only that, but you are redirecting waste from the landfill. Because of you (our lovely consumers), we here at Alora have diverted hundreds of kilograms of waste from the landfill through using recycled materials for our jewelry. 

Spending more on Quality 

Cheap Things Get Thrown Away

We throw a lot of things away, but it doesn't have to be like that! Currently, we throw away 13 trillion tons of our clothes away (and that doesn't begin to count our household items that go in the trash). A lot of these items sit around for 200 years or more slowly leaking toxic chemicals and dyes into our soil and groundwater.

Quality Feels and Looks Good

Investing in fewer higher quality items will actually save you money in the long run because the item will last you longer. Not only that but knowing those few extra dollars are going towards a good cause and helping others makes wearing it or using it worth every penny. 

Shopping for conscious jewelry

If you are looking at some Alora jewelry and asking yourself those questions I will answer them here for you!

Who is profiting?

  • We are a family run business, so at the end of the day, our family is profiting. We have two young children that we support from running this business and we appreciate all your support! We also do our fair share for society and pay our property tax, business tax (provincial and federal), GST, and payroll tax among other things!

Who made this item?

  • All of the jewelry that is made is designed and assembled in Canada. We are directly responsible for creating the jewelry that you buy from this website!

What is this made from?

  • Our signature pieces are created from recycled brass and recycled glass beads that we get fair trade from Ghana!

Will this last me a long time?

  • Yes! Alora jewelry will last you for a long time. We also have a two-year guarantee on our jewelry, so if anything happens to it, we will fix it for you.

Shop Jewelry 

The next time that you are going to buy something ask yourself the following questions and you will be on your way to being the best conscious consumer there is!

  • Who is profiting?
  • Who made this item?
  • What is this made from?
  • Will this last me a long time?


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