Feel Good Online Shopping with Ethical Living

I’m sure many of us can recall being frustrated at the lack of ethical products available in large department stores and shopping centres. We can also all remember feeling saddened at some stage by the hardships faced by people in developing countries and their daily struggle to survive in unforgiving circumstances. However it’s rare that we feel empowered to take action and start making a difference. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sara from Ethical Living, who is taking that extra step in order to help create a better future. 

Q. What inspired you to create the Ethical Living online store?

Only recently I went to our local shopping mall and tried to buy a handbag. A task I thought would be quite simple. I didn’t really have any style in mind, however it had to be sweat shop free. I was very disappointed in the result of not being able to find a single bag! In addition to this I have two young girls who I want to grow up in a world without slavery, child labour, poverty and human trafficking. All of which are much more common than I first thought.

I started Ethical Living to offer an alternative to consumers, with the hope of one day making ethically produced products mainstream and readily available in local shopping centres.

Beak to Tail Carry Bag supplied by the fair trade organisation SHOHOJOGITA , a Bangladesh word which means “helping each other”
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the positive impacts of buying Fairtrade items?

Fairtrade items give people in terrible situations the opportunity to access basic items and services which we all take for granted. They provide the artisans funds to purchase food, housing and medical treatment for themselves and their families. 

Handmade Owl Paper created by artisans employed by Eastern Screen Printers, located in Saidpur, Northern Bangladesh
One of the organisations we purchase from is currently building a school for poor children in India and looks after 9 orphaned children. This type of community involvement isn’t achieved through typical sweat shop produced items.
Q. Do you think Australians are becoming more aware of the consequences of their purchasing decisions?

There are a large number of ethically minded consumers and the group is growing. It would be wonderful to see ethically produced items become part of mainstream shopping and available in large department stores.  We hope to work with other organisations to eventually make this a reality.

Q. Do you have a favourite item in store right now?

I love this multi-strand turquoise necklace. It’s great at adding a little colour to an outfit and it’s made by women who have been rescued from sexual exploitation. 

Q. What steps has Ethical Living taken to reduce its own ecological footprint?

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our processes to ensure we have the least environmental impact possible. Currently we use as much recycled and reusable packaging as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to find space to store all of the donated boxes and tissue paper we receive for packaging.

Our carry bags are also handmade from recycled newspaper and string. With all of the profit from these bags being donated to charity.

Many of our products are also made from recycled materials. Just to name a few, we currently have handbags made from recycled fruit punch packaging which would have otherwise have been sent to landfill. We also have a range of jute toys which as completely biodegradable.

Baby Jute Giraffe supplied by Siham Craftlink who are working toward empowering crafts people in the developing world through fair trade
Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

I take most of my inspiration from stories of survival. People who are able to overcome such difficulties in their lives and still find the strength to change their lives and help others are truly inspiring.

The Starfish Project has beautiful stories of courage and strength from ladies who were sold into sexual exploitation and have since been rescued. They make the most amazing jewellery to support the work they do in rescuing other women. 

Coconut Shell Multi-Strand Necklace made by the Starfish Project, which is committed to restoring hope for each woman that enters its doors
Q. What does the future hold for Ethical Living?

We are currently in the process of increasing the range of products we stock to include even more jewellery and fashion accessories. We are also looking to supply a children’s clothing range.

It’s great to be able to support a wider range of organisations and so exciting to see such support for fair trade and ethically produced items. 

You can also find Ethical Living on Facebook and Twitter  

3 thoughts on “Feel Good Online Shopping with Ethical Living

  1. Kendall says:

    Hi Julia! Thanks so much for reading Kindness by Design :o)

    It's always so wonderful to hear about what people like Sara and yourself are doing to promote ethical shopping!

    I'd love to interview you some time 😀

    KB x


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