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Travel stories, inspiration, news and musing

We are the dreamers, the seekers, the travellers, the adventurers, the optimists. It's nice to meet you! There are lots of us with the same DNA - we look forward to sharing the journey with you.

When sustainable worlds collide...Wanderlust People catches up with AmyAnn Cadwell from The Good Trade

Aimee Pearce

As an ethical brand we love connecting with like-minded businesses and individuals who can inspire our community in our sustainable lifestyle journey. Here we catch up with AmyAnn Cadwell, the founder of The Good Trade, to find out more about ethical consumerism and why sustainability in trade is important....

What is the vision of The Good Trade?

The Good Trade was built on the fundamental idea that consumers are powerful and the dollars we spend each day are a vote for the world we want to live in. Our team envisions a world where ethically minded consumers vote with their everyday purchases for a world that is sustainable and free from forced labor.

What made you want to start this community?

The driving force in our work with The Good Trade is to start a meaningful conversation. We want to be a gathering place for a quickly growing collective of conscious consumers who aren’t afraid to use their voice and their wallet to question the way things are and seek a better way.

What are some of your biggest concerns or pet hates about the world of consumption?

Documentaries like The True Cost are helping us understand how fast fashion is depleting the earth’s resources and leveraging slave labor to pass a “cheap” cost to the end consumer. Over $150 billion dollars of profit are generated from forced laborers who produce the products we eat, use and wear everyday. American consumers alone generate nearly 254 million tons of waste per year. Much of this waste and exploitation is is due to the fashion industry. Most of us are deeply disturbed by what’s behind fast fashion and other industries, but we don’t really know where to start to change our lifestyles or our spending habits.

Social responsibility is a term we hear a lot but what does it really mean and how much "responsibility" should consumers take?

Social responsibility calls businesses ­ and consumers ­ to a higher standard. For businesses, I think social responsibility involves implementing radical transparency about how their particular products and practices impact both people and the planet.

As consumers, I think we have the responsibility to question the status quo and to support companies and lifestyle decisions that align with our personal values, whatever they may be. We are also responsible to acknowledge the effect our actions and our purchase decisions have on the world around us.

What inspires you?

Many of the ethical companies we feature on The Good Trade exist to empower men and women around the world by extending them the incredible opportunity of entrepreneurship and fair trade work. My undergraduate degree is in development economics where I learned that if you empower people through entrepreneurship, you can transform an entire community. These stories deeply inspire me and are some of my favorite to tell.

What are some of the most basic first steps people can take if they want to begin the journey of becoming more ethical in their consumption?

I’m a total believer in small steps, in asking more questions, and in raising one’s voice. When it comes to our spending, we cannot underestimate the power of our little decisions to accumulate into something meaningful. That choice to buy local or to grab a fairly traded coffee roast, these are all small but amazing steps.

But the decision to consume more ethically is not always about choosing to buy better, it’s also about choosing to buy less. After 100 years of an industrialized world, we find ourselves pressed up against the limits of our monthly budgets to sustain more space, more clothes, more furniture and just more things. As a society, we’ve set new standards for how many outfits is suitable, how many square feet a family should have and how many rooms we should be able to fill.

The standard of how much stuff we’re supposed to have in our lives is just wrong and it’s time to re­invent it. Ethical consumption not only about buying more conscious products, but also about buying less things in general and making the few purchases we do make really count in terms of quality, ethics and durability.

What's your latest favourite sustainable find?

Ah so many good ones! Right now Everlane is my ethical go-­to for clothes. They have minimalist, modern basics and are radically transparent about their production processes. They’re also totally affordable if you buy for quality, not quantity.

Two of my favorite local social enterprises are The Giving Keys, a jewelry company that employs those transitioning out of homelessness in Los Angeles and Krochet Kids, an apparel company that employs and educates women in the developing world.

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Like The Good Trade, Wanderlust People, is all about living sustainably and making wise consumer choices, while still appreciating the beauty in the world and without having to succumb to ugly hemp purchases! Make sure you visit our online store to search through a treasure-trove of wanderlust-inspired pieces to adorn your home and to take with you on your journeys.