A Fashion & Lifestyle Blog
Check out my organization, Style Lottery! Style Lottery is a social enterprise dedicated to sustainable fashion and fashion philanthropy. with the desire to uplift young women in the community. Style Lottery, through nominations from community members, selects hardworking women and men from low-income communities and gives them the gift of a free clothing.
Visit the site at stylelottery.org
Website Designed by Timi Komonibo & Featured Picture by Bunmi Ishola
When it comes to shopping, I am beginning to realize that a brand’s promise can be more important that the sticker price of its products. There are some brands that take their commitment to quality and customer service to a higher level. I’m talking about brands that care about a product from the minute you purchase it to the second it gets a rip in it. Read below to explore 5 brands that offer lifetime/satisfaction guarantees for their products.
For all my outdoorsy friends out there, Patagonia is a brand committed to making “high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it.” This anti-consumerist message may seem paradoxical for a for-profit apparel brand, but Patagonia knows exactly what it’s doing. They have managed to create a customer culture that values quality items and hand-me-downs. They even created a blog that celebrates the stories behind their customer’s favorite Patagonia items, may of which have been restitched and repaired rather than being discarded or replaced.
Patagonia is so true to its promise to give well-loved clothing articles a second life that it embarked on a repairing cross-country journey. Additionally, through their “Worn Wear” recycling program, if your Patagonia gear is unrepairable, you can send it to them (or bring it into the store) to be recycled and/or repurposed. Old or new, Patagonia gear holds a lot of value. Not only will this brand last longer than most. When it finally gives up the ghost Patagonia repair technicians are ready to breathe life back into it. You can find many previously owned Patagonia pieces online and the repair promise applies to them as well. This is a brand it wouldn’t hurt to buy used.
In the movie “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon starring as Cheryl Strayed, there is a scene when Witherspoon throws her hiking boots off a cliff in frustration. She later calls the company REI and they send her new boots, free of charge. A few years ago, REI customers would have told you that was a normal occurrence. Recently, REI changed its return policy to a limited warranty that covers manufacturing defects but not regular wear and tear. However, it’s big outdoors competitor L.L. Bean has maintained its 100% satisfaction guarantee promise.
The scene in “Wild” prompted me to look for comparable policies. I discovered L.L.Bean’s robust return policy. According to the website, you simply return the item and L.L. Bean will either reimburse the original purchase price or give a L.L.Bean gift card to replace the item. There was an interesting NPR article that examined how REI and L.L. Bean’s return policies affected customer loyalty. If you search online, you can hear countless stories of customers returning items more than 10 years old and getting back a new replacement. Outdoor gear can be a hefty investment but these generous return policies give customers more bang for their buck.
LEVI’s jeans are known for their quality and durability. What most customers don’t realize that some LEVI’s locations have an in-house tailor shop that will make alterations, repair rips, hem and customize your jeans for you. Customers who often have to pay to have their pants shortened or taken in can take advantage of Levi’s free tailor services. When I spoke to one of Levi’s store tailors in Copenhagen, he said that as long as you keep your receipt you can bring in your jeans for mending. Even if you don’t have a proof of purchase, you will only pay a small fee for the tailor services. To find a tailor shop near you, check out their website for locations.
Going back to school always involved shopping for the perfect backpack. Most backpacks have to be replaced year after year, but Jansport backpacks come with a lifetime warranty that few customers take advantage of. Their warranty promise states “If your pack ever breaks down, simply return it to our warranty center. We’ll fix it or if we can;t we’ll replace it or refund it.” I may not have believed the validity of this warranty, had I not sent in my ripped backpack a couple years ago. After I filled out the form and returned it to the mailing center, Jansport sent me a message saying they had received the backpack and were in the process of replacing it. They informed me that an exact replacement of my backpack was unavailable, but gave me the option of choosing from newer Jansport designs. I selected my backpack design and a new one was delivered to my front door, free of charge. The Jansport-brand warranty makes certain that its classic backpacks will .
These brands are household names for a reason. They know how to keep customers coming back and that is why they have lifelong fans. These “give back”policies create a feeling of reciprocity that enable the customer to justify a higher price tag. Customers hand over their money knowing that, along with the item they paid for, they are also ensuring the upkeep of it as well. While the brands listed above are not perfect, they are exemplars in the apparel industry. Simply selling clothes is no longer sufficient, apparel companies must create a culture around their products. Patagonia values storytelling, REI and L.LBean celebrates adventurers, LEVI’s is the symbol of rebels, and Jansport exudes reliability. Apparel brands seeking die-hard fans must ask themselves, what is the brand promise that customer’s get with each purchase? If the answer is nothing, then it may be time to go back to the drawing board.
Every year the fashion industry announces the newest trends, the color of the season, and the newest blue jeans cut. But something changed in recent years. The fashion seasons got shorter and the trends were turning over faster and faster. Before they knew it, consumers were finding that their new clothes were already out of style. In response to this change in fashion, consumers made some changes of their own. Here are 3 majors things to know about today’s fashion consumer.
#1. Consumers are pushing back against trends
At one point in their lives, consumers were content with the $5 tshirt that fell apart less than 4 months after purchase. However, when we consider the unethical labor practices that accompany cheap clothing, that $5 tshirt starts to look a little less attractive. Additionally, because most fast-fashion is not designed to last, clothes bought today could rip and fall apart the next day. This is fast-fashion’s cheap trill marketing trip. Brands entice consumers with low prices to distract them from the relatively low quality of the material. They then employ marketing schemes to convince consumers that their old clothes are not trendy and need to be replaced. Following trends feeds the endless cycle of buying and dumping clothing. Recently, the minimal fashion movement has been making a comeback on fashion blogs that focused less on trendy clothing and more on defining personal style. For example, the capsule wardrobe challenges wearers to build a cross-seasonal and versatile wardrobe that is comprised of interchangeable style staples. Minimal fashion pushes consumers to be intentional about their purchases. Every article of clothing has a purpose and impulse buying is discouraged. The result is a disciplined shopper who who know her/his style well enough to select items that complement it.
#2. Consumers have their fingers on the ethical pulse of big brands
With the low cost and accessibility afforded by fast-fashion, consumers often unknowingly purchase clothing from brands with questionable supply chains. However, saying consumer do not care about the conditions their clothing was made would be inaccurate. A recent study showed that 90% of the shoppers surveyed would boycott companies with socially irresponsible business practices. With more movements (like Fashion Revolution’s Who Made My Clothes? campaign to commemorate the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse) holding brands accountable for their their supply chains, the fashion industry is being forced to be more transparent about their business dealings. This new breed of empowered consumers have no qualms with exposing fashion’s dirty secrets, but they also raise awareness about ethical brand initiatives. Working closely with vocal eco-fashion advocates and bloggers allows brands to tap into the market of eco-inclined consumers. Brands should be careful not to throw out gimmicky greenwashing efforts that attempt to clean up its image. This specific type of consumer is known to examine brands with a fine tooth comb before giving their monetary support.
#3. Brands, Consumers, and Producers must come together to bear the cost of producing ethical & sustainable clothing
While consumers have been vocal in their urgings for more sustainable fashion practices, they haven’t necessarily connected those convictions to their wallets. Ethical fashion labels are mystified by this. A GQ article accurately explained this phenomenon: “[consumers are] not usually willing to pay a premium just because something is more socially and environmentally conscious.” Currently, the fashion industry has a limited supply of truly ethical and sustainable brands and the demand from consumers has not yet reached the point where the price is attractive for the average consumer. The good news is that the demand for sustainable fashion is growing. Perhaps, one day it will be an industry norm and more apparel retailers will switch over to eco-friendly practices. Until then, brands and their producers should be expect to bear the brunt of an “eco-tax,” rather than charging the consumer exponentially more for greener products. The eco-tax, for the sake of this article, is the cost (money, time, and effort) of implementing the more costly eco-friendly practices in lieu of cheaper, more wasteful options. Nin Castle, cofounder and creative director of sustainable fashion brand Goodone, encourages sustainable brands to create products that will entice people to buy based on its design. Over time, I believe brands will see that consumers will be willing to meet them half-way in exchange for eco-friendly products that are more affordable and of higher quality.
Warning: Before I fully launch into this post, I should let you know that I’ll be talking about periods…as in a woman’s menstruation. The skirmish readers out there can go check out some safer posts here.
To hear about my full experience with the cup, watch below to see my Periscope recap where I talk about menstrual cups:
Don’t take my word for it. See what these other ladies had to say:
1. Zero Waste Menstrual Products- by Fort Negrita (blog post and video)
2. Lunetta Cup Review- by Hallease (video)
3. Menstrual Cup 101- by The Eco Chic (blog post)
4. 18 Reasons You Should Switch to a Menstrual Cup by Buzzfeed (blog post)
5. About Menstrual cups- by Outside It’s Electric
Any questions? Leave them in the comments below!
In my minimal waste journey, I’ve been looking for areas where I could reduce my carbon footprint. One of the ways I found was switching over to a bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic. From the moment I saw a bamboo toothbrush, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try. In this post, I will focus on the two brands that I tried:
1) Brush With Bamboo and 2) WooBamboo.
Those who know me know I am borderline obsessed with taking care of my teeth. I had changed up my toothbrushing routine to include the occasional (diluted) hydrogen peroxide rinse and activated charcoal powder for whitening. I wanted to see if these bamboo toothbrushes could keep up with my
#1. BRUSH WITH BAMBOO (BWB)
I tried this brand first and I really enjoyed using it. It felt sturdy in my grip as I brushed my teeth and I could angle it to get to hard to reach areas of my mouth. I had been worried that the bamboo would be too hard and potentially knock out a tooth with my rigorous brushing., Thankfully, the wood was lightweight and doesn’t clank around on your teeth. I have a bad habit of biting down on the bristles when I’m distracted with tasks like putting on mascara or something else, so the bristles quickly got bent out of shape. However, they didn’t shed from the toothbrush. The bristles did a good job of leaving my teeth clean without irritating my gums. One of the downsides was that the toothbrush was a bit porous so if you left it in a wet cup, it had a weird moist texture when you picked it up. After making the mistake once, I made sure to keep my tooth brush in a dry place. When I was done with the BWB toothbrush (after about 3 months of use), I snapped off the head of toothbrush and threw the head of it away. I saved the handle of the toothbrush for composting later.
Overall, I really liked this toothbrush…so much so that I’ve gifted it to a few people.
#2. WOO BAMBOO
If we were voting by design alone, Woo Bamboo toothbrushes are definitely killing the toothbrush game! They have different bristle types (super soft, soft, and medium), different handles (for kids, for adults, regular, and slim). I loved that I had those options. I went with the soft, slim handle combination. The slim handle was a cool design, but using it was an interesting experience. I’m not sure how to explain it but you have to hold it differently and getting used to that takes a little time. This handle was more compact than the BWB, so it didn’t have the same porous issue that the other toothbrush had. The bristles on the Woo Bamboo toothbrush were the detail breaker for me. On several occasions, the bristles came out while I was brushing. Once I almost gagged on a bristle that went astray. It was like that feeling you get when you almost swallow a piece of hair. I’ve been using the toothbrush for a little over two months but because of those flyaway bristles, I’m going to have to give up on this otherwise perfect toothbrush.
Overall, I love that both toothbrushes are biodegradable. The Brush With Bamboo toothbrush is the winner in my book because it does it’s job without trying to do too much. Anyone transitioning from a plastic toothbrush to bamboo will find this to be a good transitioning toothbrush. Also Brush With Bamboo’s packaging is mostly cardboard, with the toothbrush wrapped in a compostable wrapper. Woo Bamboo’s has a plastic cover with a paper backing. I’ve found my go-to bamboo toothbrush and I can’t wait to get my next one!
If you’d like to see more great reviews about Bamboo toothbrushes, check out these great blog posts:
1. Trash is for Tossers: I Brush With Bamboo, Do You?
2. The Plant Strong Vegan- Brush With Bamboo Review
Originally posted on CHASITY COOPER:
Today’s Millennial on a Mission is not only a (future) fellow Syracuse University graduate, (congrats to the class of 2015!) but she’s also a entrepreneur with heart for giving back to her community. Her nonprofit organization, Style Lottery, is a sustainable fashion philanthropy nonprofit that hosts “pop-up swaps” where guests can swap their lightly used clothing items with each other and donate what is un-swapped to organizations that serve women in need throughout the community. Now that she’s on the cusp of entering the job market, she hopes to launch a career within corporate social responsibility and/or philanthropy.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Timi Komonibo.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Timi went into college as an undeclared major, convinced (in her words) “that all Nigerian kids were supposed to excel at science and math”, but she struggled to fit into that cultural…
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In the midst of the Baltimore Uprising, I have been hearing some concerning statements from Black people criticizing Baltimore residents for their participation in the protests. At this point, I have grown weary of warning my friends against the danger of respectability politics and propagating the myth of the “good Blacks.”
So instead of me going on a rant to break down the issue for you, I will let my younger self teach you a lesson or two about how to effectively engage in anti-racism. The video you’re about to see is part of a school project for Professor Eric Tang’s course on race. I took the course through the African & African Diaspora Studies department during my senior year at The University of Texas at Austin. The project focused on the problem with the model Black minority myth. This is a simplification of a very complex issue, but I hope you all will use it as an educational tool to build Black solidarity and teach effective anti-racism.
Another great post:
When I made the decision to transition to a minimal waste lifestyle, I chose to simplify my daily regimens so I could invest in a few products that could be used for multiple purposes. Before moving forward in my new lifestyle, I wanted to finish up the products that I have been using recently. When they are empty I will decide whether or not to keep them in my regimen.
#1: Heritage Store Rosewater
This bottle has lasted me for several months. I found rosewater to be a very versatile ingredient to have around. I’ve used it as a gentle astringent, mist to moisturize my face and locs, and it also makes a great ingredient for natural facial masks. Because of the multiple uses I get out it, I will continue purchasing rosewater. I will probably opt for a glass bottle next time, for a more reusable option. I can reuse this bottle for DIY cleaning solutions.
#2. Hydrogen Peroxide
This ugly brown bottle is slowing erasing white strips from my life. I posted a video of my literally squeaky clean teeth on Instagram a while back and people wanted to know who I got my teeth so clean. I started using diluted hydrogen peroxide as my mouthwash occasionally. Now that I’ve added activated charcoal and oil pulling to my regimen, my teeth obsession is on another level. I’d advise everyone to do their proper research on the risks and benefits before integrating it in their routines. But the benefits have been worth it for me. I’ve also started using hydrogen peroxide as a bleach alternative. I’m not sold on the results yet, but I’ll take more time to look up more recipes. Again, for it’s multipurpose uses, I will keep this product in my toolkit.
#3. Yes to Blueberries Facial Wipes
I honestly bought these wipes on a whim. These little guys work very well at taking off makeup at the end of the day. The downside of these was that I can only throw them away and there’s no recycling option (that I can think of). Instead of repurchasing these, I will opt for reusable cotton rounds instead.
I can wash them and reuse them over and over again. I found a great Etsy seller who has an assortment of them at low prices. I think this is a good compromise for me. I have enough of them for a week so I toss them in a pile as they get dirty. As the end of the week, I hand wash them and let them air dry. They get a little curled up, but they still get the job done.
#4. Shea Moisture Bath Massage Oil
Thankfully, I’ve never really been much of a product junky. I’ve always appreciated simplicity and versatility so this transition to minimal waste has been more fun than I expected. I’ve been able to look at how I consume and upgrade the parts that are unsustainable.
MORE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately discovering the heart behind brands. I find myself going to the “about me” sections of their websites, looking for the heart, soul, and conscience behind the brand. More and more, I’m pleasantly surprised to find a mission to help others behind many emerging brands.
An app called Orange Harp is making it easier to find these brands under one roof. I’ll be honest and say that before finding these brands, my method of discovering was stalking hashtags like #ecofashion, #fashionphilanthropy, #sustainablefashion, and #ethicalfashion on Twitter and Instagram.
I stumbled upon the Orange Harp app and saw that their mission is to “connect people with makers that respect the planet and its people.” The team describes the app as “a curated marketplace for socially conscious products you would want to pass on to your future generations.” When you see the app, you’d think Instagram and Etsy got together and had a baby. All the products are aesthetically pleasing and you can discover new brands from skincare and jewelry to lingerie and shirts. The Orange Harp app does a great job of curating great brands and products for you. Instead of going and searching through hundreds of Instagram profiles and websites, I can scroll through all of them at once through the app. In one click, I can see the products from each brand and see a quick summary of their mission or unique selling point.
For example, here are a few of the brands you can find on Orange Harp:
I have a great time discovering some new brands. Here are my top 3 favorite brand discoveries from Orange Harp:
Tomboys, eat your heart out! This brand specializes in button-down shirts for women. I love a good Oxford shirt so looking through their lookbook was entirely too much fun for me.
I loved this statement from their website:
“At Tradlands, our intention is to make the best clothing for our customer, the woman who drifts towards the men’s section and thinks, “I wish they made this for me.” We create menswear inspired staples for women with a relentless emphasis on fit, details, and quality…For the world traveler or the green thumb or girl-about-town, we empower our customers with products that are both classic and comfortable. We are committed to designing and constructing items you love today and value for years to come.”
#2. Be Good
The sock enthusiast in me was so excited to see these cute socks on Orange Harp’s Instagram page. The brand’s fashion sense is what they call ‘The French Closet,’ the Gallic preference for selecting seasonal basics- timeless designs that never go out of style. I’m loving the drive to good basics that stand the test of time. From comfy-looking shirts to socks wrapped in recycled paper, Be Good makes being good through fashion look easy.
Check out Be Good’s stance:
“Our ambitious mission is to be the first closed-loop retailer. It has gone mostly overlooked that big retail is the second most pollutive industry on earth. Today, we produce about 10% of the chemical and water waste of a conventional manufacturer. By examining our supply chain from seed to stitch, we believe we can expose holes in the industry and work to fix them. Like you, we’re passionately curious.”
I first saw the bamboo Bogobrush a year ago and thought it was the sexiest thing ever made for your teeth. The toothbrush was so popular that they ran out of their pilot design! I was so excited to see them as one of Orange Harps’s brands.
When I couldn’t get my hands on a Bogobrush I wait…and waited. While I waited I discovered other great bamboo toothbrushes (Option 1, 2). Now the wait is over and I can check out the new Bogobrush design. Unfortunately, the brand switched from bamboo to an eco-plastic for their toothbrushes but their buy-one-give-one model is still the same. I’ll be watching for the release of the new toothbrushes to see if they stand the test.
The Orange Harp team certainly knows how to pick ’em! I’m always interested in the story behind brands and Orange Harp tells them very well. As an entrepreneur myself, I appreciate the platform Orange Harp is giving these small businesses. This app gives them an opportunity to showcase their products to their unique markets. Like the app, the brands attract people who buy from the heart. Their customers attach an added value to the fact that their purchases either contribute to sustainability or give back to the world somehow. I’m excited to see what other brands are going to pop up in Orange Harp’s app. This app does a great job of sniffing out socially conscious brands. For consumers like me looking to give back with our spending, e-shopping with Orange Harp might just be a match made in eco-Heaven. In addition to bring great brands under one app, Orange Harp also donates 1% from all sales to Not For Sale, a organization ending human trafficking.