A resource for quality, sustainable, and/or ethical goods for living the good life
Over the years, I’ve made slow, incremental steps towards becoming a more informed and discerning consumer. Even after years of research and learning, I still found it daunting and a chore to buy essentials needed in life that I felt good about: fewer, better quality wardrobe items that are versatile and feel good to wear for years, thoughtful and intentional gifts, the little in-between things that I use day-to-day like toothpaste, cleaning supplies, period products, or even choosing my daily supplements like probiotics.
So, I built a resource that would make it easy for me to go back to the brands I had found that were exceptionally intentional and thoughtful about the products they produce and the way they conduct their businesses. (If you’re concerned that quality translates to be more expensive, that may be the case on a per item basis, but make no mistake, a key principle here is to buy fewer things that you love, so it can net out to be the same or even less costly.) It was a messy Google sheet with links to brands and not a lot of usability or formatting, but it worked for me.
After many conversations with people expressing frustration with the difficulty in doing that themselves, I polished it up and share it out in hopes that we collectively can better support good companies offering good products that help improve the quality of our lives (and consciences).
HOW TO USE THIS RESOURCE
The sheet is structured by individual tabs by category for easy navigation and search / skimming. Within each tab, brands are listed and linked to with an explanation of the brand and why they’re included on this list, and subcategories offer an at-a-glance understanding of products offered. Most sheets also have a few additional links to relevant resources at the bottom. The 12 high level categories are as follow:
- Face Masks
- Package Free and Made to Last General Stores
- Fashion and Apparel
- Personal Care and Cosmetics
- Travel and Lifestyle
- Menstruation and Toilet
- Home Goods and Care
- Kitchen and Grocery
- School and Office
- Pet Goods
This is a Google sheet so that it can be easily accessed and shared. **Please feel free to share this with others that you think would find it valuable.**
Feedback is welcome and encouraged.
Note: where possible, I’ve linked via affiliate programs to make it sustainable for me to maintain this resource. The brands were chosen first, then I researched whether they had an affiliate program, not the other way.
Have you ever heard of the Buyerarchy of Needs? It feels appropriate to include the Buyerarchy of Needs here, as it is a great way to visualize the options we have when we need something.
While almost all of the brands listed in the Essentials repository sell new items, there are a few upcycled, “sharing economy” / rental and consignment stores, and many of the brands are included because they are made-to-last with some care like replacing a zipper, mending a seam, or updating soles. For example, I have designer boots, which are easily seven years old, that even as a second hand owner and with thoughtful care still look great, make me feel great, and consistently still get compliments when I wear them. I hope you can find pieces that make you feel as good to use for years.