Why We Reject Those Big Nameless, Faceless Companies In It For The Profits
While one person (or one brand) can make a difference, they rarely—if ever—save the world alone. We all feel the need to take action now as the global temperatures continue to climb (over 2 degrees F now!), and in the harrowing words of Don’t Look Up, “maybe the destruction of the entire planet isn't supposed to be fun.”
Small businesses can feel this pressure on an even more acute level. The issues we tackle are big: ocean pollution, big oil creating plastic, and even hyperconsumption in order to keep up with the Jones’. We’re trying to change hearts, minds, AND economies all at the same time. That’s a lot of pressure!
So what do we do when it all seems so daunting?
We start small. We get a kick-ass solution. And then—we make some like-minded friends.
Going Against the Grain
It’s Vogue Business official: small brands are the ones leading the way for sustainability. We have the grit to actually get things done when the larger companies flounder, even as we claw and gain every inch of ground.
We know the big boys are the ones contributing most to the environmental problems of our time. Big oil companies, fast-fashion, multi-media corporations: plus we all know that for the most part, the big companies aren’t listening to us.
We could get upset about it. We could lose hope. Or, in our own stubborn fashion, we can elevate those smaller voices that actually represent us. People like us, who are just as fed up, and just as fired up to change what we can in a radical way.
At some point, we needed to embrace one of sustainability’s unspoken truths:
Sustainability efforts without human connection are hollow. The real sustainable brands that balk at greenwashing are also the ones setting new standards as they lead with their heart and their science.
That’s what sets us apart from those "other" meet the minimum standard, greenwashing companies, that like to borrow our language without embracing our values.
Okay, I hear you say, the power of friendship and all that. But is all this kumbaya stuff REALLY going to do something meaningful?
Trust me, I used to be in the same boat. I had heard too many “we’re all in this together” campaigns for too long to really buy into it as a viable solution. I needed to see the results and figure out the puzzle: how do we portray our message backed with scientific facts? We didn't want to be filled with empty promises *cough* (Coke, Nestle, P&G we see you!) so we invented something new and set our sites on striving zero waste and making only plastic free products and packaging for healthy skincare. Then something immensley beautiful happened.
And then, I met Kate.
When Brands Collide
Haaaaave you met Kate? If not, there’s no better time than now. Kate is the fearless leader of Dip Sustainable Haircare, a feisty small business that offers premium haircare bars to replace salon-grade bottled options. Yup, that’s right—a bar shampoo and conditioner that really works for the modern busy person!
Talk to Kate for two minutes, and you can feel the lifetime of passion behind everything she does. She does nothing halfheartedly. She’s also not content to stand still: she’s pushing to share the facts on eco-friendly beauty (without concern to ruffle feathers), “live-in” sustainability habits, and creative solutions to the world’s plastic problem.
If that message sounds familiar, it should… This is similar to the philosophies of Dew Mighty!
Finding someone who shares your joy makes you feel less alone in the world; it ignites something in you. Finding Kate was a catalyst that felt something like fate. Like a whetstone to a blade, we both come out of our conversations sharper and more fired up than anything. Connecting over our mission and our philosophies has been the biggest blessing.
What Comes Next?
Small businesses are the lifeblood of a community. It is where local news is shared, debates over passion topics are started, and yes just like in Cheers everyone knows your name. So think about it? Where do people like me make this connection? It's all happening at the Refill Shops! Truthfully as a business owner it can feel isolating and there are the days when you want to just scream out “IS ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION?” It can feel like an uphill fight managing every aspect of a business while trying to market so customers can find you (especially frustrating on social media), all the while trying to educate on why hyperconsumption behaviors that prioritizes convenience over all else is the core problem. That's a tall glass of water and refineries are the town well.
Our best resources are each other. We’re not tied up in the bureaucratic crap or politics that plagues some of our bigger counterparts. We have the freedom to connect with people just as unique, outspoken, opinionated, and passionate as us; get a few of us in a room, and watch the fireworks start!
When we find each other, there is a spark that ignites and the energy builds. After all, culture shifts starts with finding your flock and making the change evident to all others.
There’s power in rejecting the conventional. When we choose to buy local and remove our dollars from the nameless, faceless companies, we’re voting with our dollar plus connecting with passionate change makers. Now, the only thing left to ask is this: who do you think we should connect with next?