Shopping with intent is about actively choosing to buy from companies and brands who value the same things as we do. For every dollar we spend sends a message about what we value. Shopping with intent means choosing to vote with our wallets for companies who align with our set of values.
Too often, we spend money without thought of what we are giving value to. By choosing to shop with intent based on what we value, we support companies doing good and can demand change from those who are not.
Most of the time we buy something as it is a reflection of us. We buy things because they reflect our creativity, our status or simply because they highlight our best features. Buying with intent means we also care about the message behind the brands and companies we support.
Decide What Matters The Most
Shopping with intent is about deciding what is important to you. Focusing on the issues you feel strongly about and using your purchasing power to make a difference by spending with companies who are aligned with your values.
Environmental Protection: In valuing the environment you will want to be buying products that are made in an environmentally-friendly manner. You will care greatly about sustainable products and supporting brands that use these.
Ethical Practices: In valuing ethical practices you care for the people behind the products, you will want to be buying from companies who treat workers with dignity, pay fair wages and ensure safe working conditions. You may also prefer to purchase locally-made, artisan-made and fair-trade products.
Cruelty-free: In being concerned about the welfare of animals, you will be looking for brands that are vegan, cruelty-free and PETA-approved. You will be wanting to steer clear of animal skins, animal by-products or any item that has been tested on animals.
Giving back: In being charitable with your money, you will be looking for brands that give back a portion of their profit to charities that you support.
Your ideal set of values will be a combination of some or all of the above. For example, you may value products that are vegan, ethically produced and environmentally-friendly. You may, therefore, choose to buy things that do not take away from others, but instead give back to communities and to our planet. You may choose to only buy things that are from sustainable resources, can be recycled and do not add to the waste in our oceans.
Realising the effect of your purchasing power is a powerful shift towards shopping with intention. Incorporating this intent into everything you buy makes a powerful statement to companies about the need to walk the talk when it comes to consumer values.
Steps Towards Shopping with Intent
Unsubscribe from stores and companies who do not follow your values. If you don’t see their advertising you won’t be tempted to buy from them. Find brands you like, that are aligned with your values and follow them.
Learn More About The Brands
Get informed about the companies you buy from. Be sure to read the company’s About page to find out more about who they are and what they stand for. If the company claims to be environmentally-friendly, ethical or vegan, you will find more details on their About page. Look for certifications to prove they have gone the extra mile to be recognised as an ethical brand and are willing to submit to random audits to keep their certification.
To consume or not to consume
Just because you can buy something, doesn’t mean you should. As conscious citizens, it makes sense to pause and consider if this is something you really need to add to your home or wardrobe. Shopping with intention does not mean going without, it means consciously choosing items which align with your values, and impact the world in a positive way. It means refusing to buy from brands who do not match your values.
Ask The Hard Questions
Before you buy something, the most important questions to ask are: ‘Who made this item?’ and ‘How was it made?’. This is particularly important for fashion items. Here are some great resources to do just that:
The Fashion Revolution the global movement towards a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.
The Greenpeace Detox Catwalk encourages mainstream fashion labels to reduce the level of toxins used in the production process of their clothing.
Start using the Good On You Brand Directory to check the impact of your chosen item on the planet, people and animals.
Rank a brand gives you the latest sustainability rating for thousands of brands.
Find out more in the consumer guides produced by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Shopping with intent also takes into account the durability of an item. Taking care to buy high-quality items also comes with the commitment to take care of them correctly through their lifetime. Companies like Patagonia’s worn-wear program is an excellent example of a company caring about the longevity of their products, with guides on how to care for them and repair them.
Feel Great About Your Choices
The most important part of shopping with intent is to choose products from brands that you feel good about. It is about choosing items that you can proudly wear, knowing they align with your own values. Purchasing from value-based brands is an intentional vote for a better world for all of us.
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness”—Mahatma Gandhi