xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' OriginalStitch: Top Tips on Shopping Eco 3: Don't Lose Them, or You Might Lose Out

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top Tips on Shopping Eco 3: Don't Lose Them, or You Might Lose Out

Eco-friendly lunchbag!
You know I like to share with you easy ways to shop in an ethical way, because it's a good thing to do.  It's nice to the planet, and it's nice to people.

If you are a dedicated ethical buyer, as I am, though, there is a downside.   Each purchase has to be researched, considered, compared and then usually purchased online.  I admit there are times it would be easier just to slip out to my local builder's merchant, or mega-supermarket, or large famous online retailer.  You are lucky if you are able to nip down to your local high street to grab eco-friendly clothes pegs, some environmentally friendly furniture polish, or an eco solution for your child's lunchbag.  Every time I have a purchasing need, I have to research the ethical options online for solutions.

I admit it, I've had to change the way I shop a little, so I thought I'd share with you some of the ways I do this - I already spoke of online ethical 'magazines' in the post about Green e-Zines, and how to decrease your environmental footprint by buying British in this post, and this will add yet another dimension to your ethical purchasing.

Like, follow?

One of my vices. Shoooooz. Click for more.
I always follow great companies whose eco credentials I think will come in handy.  I may be fiercely resisting buying shoes, but want to know I have ethical shoe boutiques at my fingertips when that party invitation arrives.  When you find a company you like, go and find them on Facebook and click on the Like button, or follow them on Twitter if you're a tweeter.  They may also have a Blog - click on the Follow or RSS feed buttons on their blog so that you can keep in touch.

Cheeky minx.  Worked though!
Green businesses, like us, tend to use the social networking sites heavily to engage with their customers, because often they're not enormous corporates with massive advertising budgets.  We try to get up close and personal (in a very loving sort of way, not in a smarmy space invading way. Well, maybe sometimes if you're very handsome or pretty....) so we're right there when you need us.  Quite often this is where businesses are at their silliest, like when we asked for your help to name our visiting Grass Snake the other day.  (Olwyn, she's called, by the way.) The laziest customers, like me, even use Facebook or Twitter pages to ask customer service questions or even better, ask for discounts...I did the other day, in a blatant and cheeky post on Swings and Pretty Things' wall.  She responded, I bought, she was happy, I'm happy.  Everyone's happy!

And the answer was, yes, she did! Click here for more
After tweeting generally for eczema products, this company responded to me; we got into a conversation and they came back to me with links to a product, and even told me about a discount code I could use.  She wanted the sale, I wanted the product and I wanted it there and then!  Job done.

 Sign Up
Pass the Pimms darling
I'm an instant signer-upper.  I don't feel I'm powerlessly bamboozled by newsletters - companies are governed by very strict laws and guidelines when it comes to sending you email newsletters, and most, like us, just want to alert you to new launches, new products, sales, freebies, competitions and other things we're up to.  Sure, I get quite a few every day but I have them going to an email account which is not my work one. I scan them vaguely every day, and that way, if I'm sitting thinking about a garden party I'm planning for the summer (yes, summer - that sunny shiny thing we sometimes get in June, remember?)  and I happen to open a newsletter from the Natural Collection which says this in the title "Let's go Al Fresco! Outdoor Dining at its Finest", then I'm going to give it a look.  Honestly, I don't look at every email, but they're already self-selected - I signed up for them, chances are one day they may have the thing I happen to be after. And if my need was very fleeting - new pond lining specialists for example, and I'm not really interested any more, I can always unsubscribe.  Unless the newts eat the old lining, in which case I'd be really peeved I deleted it, darn it and fig.

See it, wish it. 

Sitting on my toolbar. Little temptress.
I am fully prepared for the onslaught of gasps and controversy I might now meet for consorting with big corporates; but I'm telling you, when the things you seek are not immediately to hand in your local supermarket, this - the Amazon Universal Wish List button is a very useful thing! You drag a little button up onto your toolbar, where it lives, waiting for you to press it whenever you see anything, anywhere, on any website that you like.  I'm guessing most of you have an account at Amazon, and you might even already have your wishlist set up there.  But did you know that you can add to your wishlist from ANY website?  For eco buyers this is great - if I stumble upon a product I like, I wish it.  It's a good tool for specialist buying.  And if you have persons in your life who are a little bit net savvy, you can of course leave it lying open, accidentally, or share it with them.
I wish!
(Let's put it this way - I actually ended up buying all my Christmas Wishlisted stuff, with all the Folksy gorgeousness I'd drooled over, myself.  With my eyes closed - he was trying to hide the pictures with his hand whilst I typed in usernames and passwords and navigated round sites.
No, he's not 80.

Pin it

Of course, if you want a place that's a bit more public to list the things you love, then there is Pinterest.  If you haven't come across this yet, it's like a mood board, or inspiration board - again, with a handy little button you install on your toolbar - see? Every time you see something you like, you click on the little Pin It button, and it asks you which of the images you can see on that page you want to pin on your board.  It's another sharing site too - other people can come and drool on your board, you can re-pin other people's pins, and you can have lots of boards, covering all your desires, fetishes, needs and wants.  So, next time you see a product you love, pin it!  Not only can you drop big hints with friends, but it's a handy reminder too.  And again - for specialist, niche or non-high street stuff, what a great way to keep a record.  If a little tempting...!

So next time you're browsing at OriginalStitch, but not quite ready to buy, don't just sit stand there twiddling yer thumbs! Pin us!  Wishlist us!  Like us!  Follow us!
Oops, I seem to have become a little self-serving there [grins evilly], but in all seriosityness, if you find a good green company, you may not easily find them next week.  Having massive, enormous standout and instant brand-name recognition in a crowded internet market is not easy for small green businesses, so grab their details while you can, then they'll be there when you need them, you follow me?!


Jo @ a life in lists said...

I know the feeling about buying ethically/greenly - EVERY purchase becomes a massive investment of time and energy. I have actually more or less given up on buying surface cleaner because I can't afford the green ones and the chemical ones are foul. But we appear to be surviving on my occasional douses of washing up liquid and vinegar :)

Catherine said...

Thanks Jo - yes, we're a fan of green cleaning too! I love the Parsley Cleaner http://tiny.cc/t5mu0 from Nigel's Eco Store, but as you say, it's not that cheap. I swear by the e-cloths, which just use water; or I use a washing soda and borax with essential oils; or vinegar and water with lemon. You might like this post too - which has some websites and book recommendations http://tiny.cc/gtp0d