When you go Christmas shopping this fall, will you think about the ramifications of your purchase? Will you ask once and for all, how to stop my dollar from supporting sweatshops? If you want to change how your clothing is made and distributed there is a way; stop going to the mall and buying from these massive corporations that place profits ahead of people. Start exploring your community for local designers. You’re depriving companies that use sweatshops of your support, and place it in the deserving hands of someone in your community.
HOW CAN SWEATSHOPS EVEN STILL EXIST?
In the last 20 years, much of us in the Western world have become conscious of where and how our clothing is being made. The majority of the clothing we see in big stores has originated from sweatshops in poorer nations. The outcry for change has been huge. Major clothing brands in the West have made attempts to improve conditions in many of their overseas operations, but time and again we see news stories of these same mega-corporations reverting back to using sweatshops. It’s easy and cost effective for them to exploit impoverished nations. When the consumers in the West hear of terrible conditions, child labour, or accidents resulting in death there is always a huge backlash. That backlash leads to the company at fault apologizing publicly and changing their ways. Then when things have settled in the media, a lot of these corporations go right back to exploitation to maximize profits for the shareholders. This leaves myself, and I’m sure many others, asking how to stop my dollar from supporting evil sweatshops?
THE CHANGE STARTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Many people think that their spending habits may not have the ability to effect change, but they’re wrong. Just like voting, every dollar counts. When we choose to buy our clothing locally, we disrupt the profits of the shareholders in these massive corporations. Companies are run much the same way that politicians run our governments. If they get the votes they make the legislation. If a company has healthy sales, the investors are happy, and so they can continue with business as usual. When we vote in another party or stop supporting a company with our purchases, changes come. Shareholders will see the dip in sales and change up the senior management and seriously contemplate the pressure on them to change their ways.
HOW TO FIND LOCAL BUSINESSES?
Finding local businesses doesn’t have to be hard either. This can be done in many ways, most popular of all is a simple google search, type in the product you’re trying to find followed by the city or country you want to shop in. You can also use the filter on Etsy to search and browse only local Canada shops. When you open up Instagram try searching #handmadeinCanada #MadeinToronto or #Canadianmaker on Instagram and shop their feeds or ask your friends! Word of mouth is a great way to source out awesome creatives for gifts and yourself. You could also try shopyourneighbourhood website. CLICK HERE.
YOUR DOLLAR CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
We cannot avoid the obvious reason why so many people still support these companies after decades of atrocious stories. Their products come with the cheapest price tag, and who doesn’t want to save money. Who cares what the price is… what’s the quality? We've all gone to a big chain to buy something before. We feel great when we see that the price is so low. However, something we have all encountered before is that it falls apart within days, weeks, or months. This is not just clothing, it applies to all the products in our lives. It leads me to believe are you really saving money when you have to replace these items every year or two? Most of the time spending more on a higher quality product means you have it for years! You really do get what you pay for!
HERE'S THE CHALLENGE TO YOU
So I’m challenging you, try a new way to search for local products in your area, hashtags. Word of mouth, local hashtags, local filters on Etsy or googling local cities are all great places to start shopping locally.
Until next time,