On Friday the population of the United State doubles. Or at least it seems to in Muncie, Indiana. Starbucks will be crammed with saggy-eyed shoppers selling sleep for a good deal. Target’s parking lot will be bumper-to-bumper, the chaos moving tectonically slow if it moves at all.
Ears will be filled with Christmas music, hearts with joy, credit cards with debt, and fingernails caked with the epithelials of the other shoppers you had to claw out of the way between you and the Chia Obama. Muncie CSI will find them later, but for now you can enjoy shopping.
But what if shopping could be different? What if you could stay home in your PJs, eat leftovers, and read a book or watch football? What if you knew that you were supporting a company that cares about the people who manufacture their goods and the environment? What if you didn’t only buy a gift for someone, but supported a great company or a great cause?
Introducing the 2010 Engaged Consumer Gift Guide
These are companies that I can 100% vouch for. I’ve either visited them myself or have had multiple interactions with their management. They are good people doing cool things. Striving not just to produce a product, but to make a difference in the world.
I visited soleRebels this spring. Here’s the report I filed on my visit. They pay their workers three times what other such workers get in Ethiopia. All their shoes are organic – they aren’t exactly pumping their cows full of horomones and steroids in Ethiopia. And all of their products come from within 60 miles of their factory. From my perspective, this is the world’s most ethical shoe company, providing quality jobs that are changing lives of entire families in Ethiopia.
Cotton of the Carolina’s T-shirt
The cotton was grown in North Carolina by Ronnie Burleson, the Ginner was Wes Morgan also in North Carolina as were the spinner, knitter, finisher, cutter, sewer, dyer, and printer. From dirt to shirt in 750 miles all without leaving the great state of North Carolina. Cotton of the Carolina’s are the official T-shirt provider of the Great Touron King – aka me — (I have two T-shirts) and I guarantee you will never have a shirt that is more comfortable. Also, that Ronnie Burleson is a heckuva nice guy so you should feel pretty good about that too.
Saving Trees with Tees. RainTees donates school supplies to children living in the rain forests of Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and Costa Rica. The children draw what they see happening to the rainforest. RainTees prints the drawings on eco-friendly organic shirts. You buy one because you are awesome. RainTees donates a tree to be planted in the rainforest.
All American Clothing Company
Buy jeans made grown and sewn in the USA. Don’t believe it. Go to their website and trace the path of your jeans from a field in Texas to your closet. I wish more companies would allow their products to be traced like this.
The Belted Cow
The belts are made in Maine. The artists who design the belts are Mainiacs as well. I have one a ring style Belted Cow belt and a leather belt that is “good for holding up your pants or pulling a car out of the ditch.” The Belted Cow is the official belt provider (I have three) of the Great Touron King.
The apparel industry comes under a lot of heat, but these companies are doing it right. If you buy their products, not only are you getting a great product, but you are becoming a part of their story, and enough stories like the ones above could change the face of fashion forever.
Need more shopping suggestions? Check out SweatFree Communities 2010 Shop with a Conscious Consumer Guide.