Conscious Consumer Anonymous
Brandon and I were asked to do a styled engagement shoot with a photographer working to build their portfolio. I was excited not only for the nice pictures but, of course, to use the opportunity to show off some MAD approved products.
So I excitedly searched for all the little pieces I'd need to pull it off. She wanted an elegant boho vibe. I can do that!
Dress? One from Reformation I already had! Jewelry? These hammered silver and turquoise pieces from American Nomad are PERFECT. Shoes? I even had boots from Well Made Clothes. Final touch? How about a hat?
I found a company after a bit of searching with cute hats, the right style and they even had a few affordable options. They claimed to be made in the US with recycled materials, working to better the world, etc. Yay!
So a few days later (a day before the shoot), I received the hat in the mail. It was cute, nice condition, but the FIRST thing I noticed was that the label said: "Made in China". Okay, just because it was made in China doesn't mean it was bad. But it definitely didn't line up with
what was on the site. The tag also said "Certified B Corp". Great! Okay, maybe it wasn't like it said online, but this means it was still ethically made. Feeww.
I went back on their site to see if I could find more info on their B Corp certification and couldn't find anything on the site that talked about it. I then went onto the B Corp database and searched the company name. Couldn't find it. I sent an email to the company and - very respectfully and kindly - asked about the manufacturing of the hat I received and if they had any certifications. I get this can be a daunting question, but most companies boasting ethical manufacturing are happy to talk about this. I didn't receive a response.
I still wore the hat on the shoot hoping that something would come from my research and inquiries. But since I didn't, I opted to post the pictures and try to find a similar hat that I could point people to (still looking). After all was said and done, I don't feel like the company was maliciously using false advertising to draw in customers like me. I think it's possible that the company used to be certified and so they still had tags with the stamp on it. They looked to be a pretty small company, so, giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they just weren't able to keep up with the certification dues. And then they tried expanding their selection and brought in a few products from overseas while still making the rest of their hats in the US. I obviously have no idea, I never got to the bottom of it, but I want to be as gracious as possible. The main point is, I trusted the company's claims before making my purchase because I was in a hurry. We have to just do the best we can. That's what I preach. I'm not here to shame anyone, not even myself, but just to share that it can happen! I've gotten so spoiled working with such amazing little companies that I became overly trusting of every small business. But we still need to push for transparency, accuracy, and truth and find ways to combat greenwashing or whitewashing.