Moving towards conscious living, is no easy path. One of the challenges of becoming more self-conscious is knowing what you buy and how it affects the world. Finding the right brands that suit you and do good can be challenging.
The Good Tee is always hyped to learn about good people doing good things. On our blog, #TheGoodTribe series, we share stories of the kindest and generous people we meet in our sustainable living community, and this time was no exception! This incredible community has been growing bigger and bigger, and we couldn’t be happier about it!
Meet the inspirational Emily Waddell, a girl who like all of us, was trying to find her way through the sustainable and ethical world, until one day she decided to share it with all of us! She created The Honest Consumer, a place where she talks about sustainability, mental health, social impact, and more. And through her sister site Give A Damn Goods she also shares some of the best sustainable brands that are doing good and changing the world.
We had an amazing chat with Emily, where she tells us all about her journey, The Honest Consumer, her mission, and her newest project Give a Damn Goods. Without further spoilers, we hope you enjoy our talk with her!
Tell us about your journey and how The Honest Consumer began.
When I started The Honest Consumer I was a sophomore in college majoring in Social Entrepreneurship. I had been learning about all of these impactful business models in class, seeking out social impact brands online, and enjoyed going to weekend craft fairs with my roommates. Through all of this I noticed that a lot of college aged students were really into the big social enterprise brands such as Toms or Giving Keys, but were not as aware of some of the smaller brands that were doing good. I met a lot of changemakers making a difference through their businesses at the craft fairs I was going to. I wanted to highlight these small businesses, create a trusted outlet for people to discover new social impact brands, and encourage my classmates to support them. So I launched The Honest Consumer from my dorm room back in 2016.
You have written and advocated a lot on Fair Trade. What is something you have learned in this process? Why is Fair Trade important to you?
Throughout writing about Fair Trade I have learned how much of a difference a livable wage can make for people, specifically women. Livable wages are something that so many people take for granted or don’t even think about because it doesn’t directly impact them, but when you really dive into the fast fashion industry and learn about the modern day slavery, the abuse, and ridiculously low wages, it’s hard to ignore. Fair trade is important to me because I believe everyone deserves to be treated with respect, able to provide for themselves, and feel safe at their jobs. The garment workers making the clothes are just as important as the people wearing them.
What is your mission with The Honest Consumer?
Through The Honest Consumer I hope to get people excited about conscious consumerism by providing them with easy guides, educational resources & by connecting them to the brand stories. With our fast paced society there is such a disconnect in what we buy and I think stories are a great tool to help people remember there are other people behind the products you’re purchasing. I think once people realize this, they are more likely to pause and ask the tough questions before purchasing.
You launched an ethical boutique called Give a Damn Goods. How did that start and how do you pick the products you sell?
After graduating college I had started to monetize The Honest Consumer, but at the time my blog revenue stream was not something that could support me full time. I had also always been a doodler & dabbled in graphic design, so I wanted to create some statement tees that would encourage conversation about caring about the greater good. I thought launching an online boutique would be a great way to further my impact, bring my t-shirt designs to life in a conscious way & support some of the accessory brands that I had previously worked with on The Honest Consumer. Along with my own t-shirt designs I partner with brands that I have developed relationships with over the years.
What was the most challenging moment you’ve had during the process of creating Give a Damn Goods?
The pandemic was definitely a challenging moment for Give a Damn Goods. For the past couple years I’ve been going to craft fairs to sell the t-shirts and accessories, so that was a big revenue stream for me. When the craft fairs and events started to get canceled, it was definitely a challenge to shift and rely solely on online sales.
- During your process of writing blogs, what is something you have learned about yourself or a specific topic that you want to share with us?
Through writing my blogs I’ve learned I’m a very scatterbrained thinker, haha. I usually have a few blog posts that I’m working on at any given time and writing is such a process for me. I have to write a few paragraphs, think about it, sleep on it, and come back to the post.
In your blogs, you also talk about mental health. Is there any advice you want to give to the people out there that are struggling with anxiety or any mental health problem?
For anyone struggling with mental health I encourage you to talk about it with a loved one, a therapist, or both. I struggled in silence for so many years and when I started talking openly about my anxiety it was freeing and I felt like I was living in a more honest way.
It’s been a tough go this year for so many, but we’re sure there has also been some good. When was the last time you had a really good laugh?
Honestly, my pets keep me laughing just about daily. We have a three year old rescue dog named Jimmie and a three year old rescue cat named Theo and they love to play with each other. It’s hilarious to watch them wrestle. They also like to clean each other and cuddle, so that has been a joy during the past year.
What are you working on for 2021 and beyond that you want us to know about?
I’m looking forward to hopefully getting back to craft fairs in 2021. I really miss selling my t-shirts in person and starting those conscious conversations with shoppers. I’m excited to see how The Honest Consumer & Give a Damn Goods continue to grow.Heroes like Emily help the community to get stronger and small brands that are helping the world to get more attention. Make sure to check out her blog and new brand!
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