Business 06 July 2018
In today’s day and age, consumers are becoming more aware of how the products they purchase are being produced and the impact they have on the environment. Products or product packaging that is harmful to the environment stands a slim chance with even the slightest of conscientious shoppers. Sustainable shopping is one trend that’s on the rise—particularly with millennials and Generation Y. Through demand, shoppers are creating a world of responsible retailing.
The key group that is leading the charge of demanding more eco-friendly brands is Generation Y. 84 percent of their generation believe it is their duty to change the world, and they are far less accepting of businesses not joining them at that party. Kelly Stickel, Founder and CEO of Remodista, a fintech and retail analyst, has her finger on the pulse of the best eco-friendly brands out there right now.
"While ethical shopping and sticking to eco-friendly only brands is a tall order to fill, there are ways to go about it that adhere to one’s own personal moral compass and ethical code"
While ethical shopping and sticking to eco-friendly only brands is a tall order to fill, there are ways to go about it that adhere to one's own personal moral compass and ethical code. Nowadays it is possible to find products that are eco-friendly in just about every industry of shopping, from home goods and cleaning supplies all the way to beauty and fashion. Stickel has done the heavy lifting of researching and identifying brands that are truly committed to their eco efforts to save consumers the time and effort of wading through them all. These are her top picks for brands to support in the eco-friendly commerce spectrum:
- Modibodi makes period-proof underwear and swimwear. Enter sustainability. The average woman will use about 20 tampons or pads during the course of her period. That translates to about 300 pounds of product, both in applicators and wrappers, used over the entire course of her menstruating life.
Using a washable and reusable product such as Modibodi, saves money and waste. Modibodi was founded by Kristy Chong, a fast-tech entrepreneur and a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights.
- Naadam is a cashmere brand who pays their suppliers, nomadic goat herders, 50 percent more than traditional traders, and they don’t use any middlemen which means you get the product for cheaper. Their cashmere never sees harsh chemicals or bleaches. They have programs for healthier goats and sustainable grazing practices. Their products are made in clean energy powered facilities and they ensure that their employees are paid livable wages. The brand was born out of the ever-growing demand of the population of consumers that seek quality and transparency in manufacturing.
- Moroccanoil is a hair treatment brand making big moves when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint. In 2017, Moroccanoil saved 737 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted through the use of solar energy. They also save an average of 4,000 trees every year by cutting out secondary packaging. Carmen Tal, Co-Founder, looked to other woman for support when launching the business and to the women of her native Chili when shaping her aesthetic.
- Flora and Fauna sells only vegan and cruelty-free products. Their offices are solar-powered and all of their shipping materials are plastic-free and made with recycled materials. The brand is focused on running an ethical, responsible business and being transparent with customers.
Some other Australian eco-friendly retailers that are making their mark include: Wholesome Hub, Nourished Life, and Pure Home Body. The three are online websites that focus on selling organic and natural products and provide toxin-free shopping options. Each site vets the products they agree to feature to ensure they meet the eco-friendly standards they wish to uphold.
In addition to being eco-friendly brands, Flora and Fauna and Modibodi are both female owned and operated brands that are recognized for their work by Stickel’s Women2Watch program. Women2Watch is a group of women who drive innovation in both online and brick-and-mortar retail. Through Women2Watch, Stickel has had the opportunity to work and consult with the women behind the brands, the trailblazers of responsible retailing.
“We are thrilled to highlight all of the amazing brands who are thinking about the future of retail in terms of sustainability and conscious retailing. We continue to learn and be inspired by these women leaders and their efforts in the sustainability arena.” - Stickel
"These brands all exemplify how companies can go about taking responsibility for their impacts on the environment on both a local and global scale"
Many people are familiar with the damaging effects of fast fashion but are less familiar with the impacts other industries have as well. Each of these brands represent a different industry and market. Consumers are no longer limited to specific avenues of their lifestyles that allow them to be environmentally conscious, nor are eco-friendly brands pigeonholed to specific industries. These brands all exemplify how companies can go about taking responsibility for their impacts on the environment on both a local and global scale.
Eco-friendly does not only apply to the processes in which products are made in factories. Their efforts include making sure that their workers and suppliers are paid a fair wage and safe working conditions. They also focus on how items are treated before consumers receive them to ensure that they are not breaking down during day to day.
Remodista and Stickel not only have their pulse on the businesses out there that are eco-friendly, they are also able to predict how these trends will impact the marketplace in the future as well as where these trends will take businesses. One of the main common threads among these companies that helps make them eco-friendly is their online presence verses a brick-and-mortar location. Purchasing goods through an online retailer cuts down on the carbon footprint that item leaves behind through both packaging as well as distribution and delivery.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."