So I’m a crazy schemer, and one of my crazy schemes has been to start an ethical amazon.com type company. How awesome would it be if you could go one place for all kinds of products, and know what you were looking at was anti-slavery, pro-a-more-just-world? I don’t suppose I’ll ever follow through with that scheme (I’m not so business savvy), but for the last several months I’ve been web-stalking an on-line shopping site which is a very close cousin.
Roozt is dedicated to promoting companies who stand for more than profit, who have a vision to positively impact the world. You can find all sorts of practical products that are hard to find on other “fair” websites – like basic t-shirts, underwear, shoes – stuff you’d actually use in day-to-day life that are really big on the slave-labor scale (clothes and footwear are really bad). Not every company on this website uses fair labor – the site also promotes companies whose vision is purely humanitarian (supporting diverse charities), eco (recycled, good for the environment), and community-impacting (supporting various community change efforts).
But what is really helpful for me is that Roozt will tell the consumer “Why we love them” for each brand, so you can purchase items that fit your top values. You can search the “impact map” to see where companies are based around the world and focus in on a specific geographical area. You can also search brands based on your primary values. Finally, Roozt has daily sales and discounts on featured products, so you can get a “deal” on your favorite stuff. (I also like stalking the sale page because it helps me “discover” new ethical brands in bite-sized amounts).
After months of stalking I finally decided to get some things today so I can find out how this whole process works. Now I can tell you that shipping is charged separately for each separate brand (bit of a bummer – My ethical amazon scheme would function differently). But they do have a 30-day money back guarantee so you don’t have to freak out about whether you’ll get stuck with stuff that you hate or that doesn’t fit, so that’s a positive thing. In order to get sale prices you have to become a member, which is free, but you will get a slew of sale announcement emails (which I don’t mind super-much, cuz I get that small visual of what products are out there and can look into the ones that catch my eye). One aside, some of the brands/photos can be a little edgy as far as modesty standards, so don’t sign up if you don’t want to deal with that.
I still haven’t found a simple, perfect solution to the consumer ethics dilemma, probably because non exists, but I am encouraged that many people are trying to change the status-quo through all these small visionary companies. Of course my ethical amazon would be simple and perfect – which is why dream world is so much nicer than the real world. But, seriously, if anyone with business savvy feels like making the dream world the real world, we should get together and start something. Or maybe you can start it, and I’ll let the world know about it on my blog…