For the past 5 years, I've been paying extra attention to how much plastic I let inside my house. I've been carefully choosing the clothes I wear for almost a decade. I've bought my first refillable water bottle back in 2011 when there were not some many options around and it wasn't a fashionable thing, quite the opposite. And then, last month, in the Covid19-induced frantic desire to learn something new, I enrolled in a Sustainable Development Course at Columbia University. It truly is a theme dear to my heart. I truly want to learn about how I can live a more sustainable life and how I can actually run a sustainable business.
So far, in all these years of reading and learning, I realised a few things.
We need to choose items that help us become better people
While the global consumerism and international commerce push us to think that we'll be happy if we own that car or that sweater, we should pay attention to those brands and companies instead which are trying to make us think differently. Those brands which tell us not only to buy less but also to buy better. As they invite us to carefully select our possessions, they are also empowering us, as buyers.
What if we really started only acquiring goods that were produced ethically and in a sustainable manner?
Today's problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our things, but what would the world be like if we chose every single object based on its history and production method? What would change if our choice was based on the story of the people who gave birth to that object? What if we only bought things from people we respect? What if our shopping choices were driven by the respect we have for their work? Certainly, this would contribute to making a more conscious choice, based on quality rather than quantity and would allow us to support small businesses vs large corporations. Businesses that given their size, value more the creative and production process, respecting not only the environment but also the people involved and the rights of their workers.
Who made that?
For example, by buying inchiostro and paper's products you are not only buying and helping us grow, but you are also supporting the families of our providers and artisans in Italy. We know well that sustainability, passion and quality are the cornerstones of their artisanal and handmade work. And these same values are what we behold in our culture. What we truly care is cultivating traditions, beauty, creativity craftsmanship and made in Italy manufacturing, showing our products to you, our customers, is not just about business, but hopefully educating people to make aware choices when buying. We do this starting from the choice of exclusively selling products made in Italy, but also by creating categories of objects, like our weekly planner, that we believe can improve our lifestyle and, ultimately, the world.
Changing the world, one planner at a time.
On top of all these efforts, we exclusively use FSC paper and fairtrade, animal-free and cruel-free materials in our products. We are constantly researching materials and processes in the best laboratories and printing facilities in Italy to scout new technologies as well as machinery that have the least impact on the environment. Deliberately, far removed from the dynamics of low cost-low price products, we induce our customers to carefully select their favourite products on our shop as we hope they'll keep them forever, storing memories and ideas as they will rest on a shelf in their homes. Each item is made not only great attention to each and every detail but studied and tested for months before you actually see it.
Waste is the problem
In the publishing industry waste is so hard to handle, especially with dated products like our weekly planner. We had to estimate sale and we did a pretty great job as of today we have less than 100 left and thousands sold. However, it's a waste that these gorgeous little books will have to be destroyed if we don't sell them in the next month or so. We are learning to estimate better and moving to smaller and smaller collections where more and more products will be sold on pre-sale only to avoid having stock left or waste. And this is where I'm moving towards, not for business or economical reasons, but mostly for environmental purposes. I put so much care in every single detail of our products that it breaks my heart to see even one planner go to waste.
Only buy things that tell you a story
And yet every single page is studied, illustrations are re-designed, and collections prepared well in advance: what makes the difference is the story behind each object that we choose to introduce into our lives and buy in a conscious way is fundamental for the environment, but also for us and our lifestyle.
We must learn to value objects, selecting them and surrounding ourselves with things that we use, that we love and that have come to us with respect.
If we learn to do this, each of us, we'll leave our children a better world, a planet where not only there is less pollution, but were people finally only own things which are unique, useful, sustainable and special.
Think before you buy. Be the difference you want to see in the world.
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