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Kristen Gmerek

Kristen is a writer, creator, and healing human who falls in love with stories each day. She is currently the Conscious Marketing and Communications Director for Mindful Market.

The History of Conscious Consumerism

Believe it or not, Conscious Consumerism is not a new “fad”. We can trace its roots back to 1954 according to Grow Ensemble. “Economist James Buchanan stated that individual participation in the economy is a form of pure democracy” and thus the Conscious Consumer movement was born. As a result, this movement began as a means to protect workers. It also took into account the environments they worked within. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, the movement grew stronger as “unfair labor practices, ensure product safety, encourage healthy competition in the market and implement financial regulation” (Jennifer Nguyen).

Part 1

As we approached the 1970s, even more proof that regulation and safety measures needed to be prioritized. With that in mind, research done by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 12.6 Million People die from environmental health risks every year. Evolving the movement further into a dire situation that impacted the safety of workers and their lives. Not surprisingly, the research on Climate Change and Global Warming became popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. This perpetuated the Conscious Consumer movement tenfold. Now, it wasn’t just about people, but the world…

One World

Part 2

It has been interesting to see the world’s perspective on this movement evolve. The intersectionality between climate change, women’s rights, race relations, and democracy have all played a role in shaping Conscious Consumerism. This Pandemic has also shaped this movement more recently, evolving the way that businesses and consumers sell and buy products & services. We are shopping online more, and also shifting our values to the safety measure being taken to keep products, people, and the workplace environment safe from COVID-19 – something most of us never thought we would see in our lifetime…The more we learn about consumerism, the more we evolve our consumer habits. When you shop your values, you are contributing to a historical movement to better our world.

An Open Letter to Gen Z About Conscious Consumerism

To preface, we are bringing back the “open letter” trend from a few years ago because who doesn’t love a little nostalgia… So, here it goes.

Generation Z,

If there is anything we have learned from this year, it is that you are resilient. You have used your voice for good. You have endured darkness & challenges that most of us have not in our lifetime. That is why here at Mindful Market, we value your efforts to join the Conscious Consumerism movement. Because your generation has a lot to offer the world, including how we treat it.

But, Why Consumerism?

We know it may feel strange that we are calling on an entire generation to address consumerism, but the reality is, it affects everything in our world right now and your generation has a reputation of demanding change. From the environment to equal pay, consumerism and what products/services we buy into shapes the way businesses operate. For example, if you are always shopping for fast fashion, companies are going to continue to produce fast fashion. Your basic supply and demand lesson that you didn’t ask for… As you probably know, fast fashion is one of the greatest culprits of waste each year. Not to mention, a constant source of unpaid workers and hazardous working conditions to ensure fast production – thus “Fast Fashion”. So that’s why we are calling on you. To identify your role within this piece of the puzzle. Do you know how your clothes are made? By who? What businesses do you support? Have you ever researched their production ethics? Try it. Right now. And ask yourself, is this the type of consumer I want to be?

Conscious Consumerism is Cool

We promise this is not an attempt to give a stamp of approval like your dad does when you ask his opinion about a new trend. Instead, it’s a reminder that conscious consumerism can be what you make of it. We have been so inspired by some of you taking the opportunity to upcycle, thrift fashion, and hand makes jewelry. All for the sake of creativity and saving the planet. But you don’t have to be a cottage care vegan to practice conscious consumerism either. Taking a reusable straw with you when you go out to eat is one way to navigate consumerism consciously. Or researching brands that are practicing environmental consciousness and supporting those businesses wholeheartedly. We believe that you are the generation that will redefine conscious consumerism in your own way through curiosity and exploration.

As we close on this open letter, we want to thank you for all that you have done to pave the way for future generations as well as set an example for others. We believe in you and we can’t wait to see what you do next.

Sincerely,

The Mindful Market Community

It’s Time For The Conscious Business.

Conscious Business

Specifically, Conscious E-Commerce ™.

Online retailers are seeing Black Friday-like sales due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business. According to new data from Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, U.S. e-commerce jumped 49% in April, compared to the baseline period in early March before shelter-in-place restrictions went into effect. Source- Techcrunch.com 5/12/20

There is a lot of uncertainty in the air. Uncertainty breeds opportunity.  I believe now is a great time for the conscious e-business

Conscious leaders believe that business

What is a conscious business?

Conscious leaders believe that business is about more than making a profit. Conscious entrepreneurs view business as good, ethical, noble, and heroic.  There is a universal truth that people aspire to mean & purpose. Conscious businesses care about all stakeholders in their ecosystem. Conscious leaders focus on “we” not “me”.  They put people first which results in high levels of engagement, motivation, and commitment.  Conscious businesses intentionally foster cultures with high levels of authenticity, integrity, and personal growth. 

Facts prove that a conscious company is a much more profitable company because associates enjoy working and are more productive.  Happy associates produce higher quality products & services, leading to happier customers and larger profits. So here are the facts:

  • Raj Sisodia, Co-Founder of Conscious Capitalism, looked at 28 companies he identified as the most conscious “firms of endearment”, as he termed them, based on characteristics such as their stated purpose, generosity of compensation, quality of customer service, investment in their communities, and impact on the environment.
  • 18 publicly traded companies out of the 28 outperformed the S&P 500 index by a factor of 10.5 over the years 1996-2011. 

source Harvard Business Review 

A conscious business ethos typically transcends into the company’s web presence.  You can feel the essence of trust, loyalty, fairness, and genuine caring within the web pages and social media channels of a conscious business. During this most interesting shift, we are all experiencing, this spirit will pay dividends.  Combine a conscious business with the recent online shopping boom along with an expanding conscious consumer movement and you have a recipe for business growth and more importantly – increased impact. 

The crisis will be the cure. Maintain focus on your purpose AND your customer’s problems. Stay present and positive.  You’ve got this.

Two Stories from Two Generations: Are You With Us?

Two Generations Conscious Business Book

‘At 49 years old, most would call it a typical mid-life crisis; however mine was existential.

I remember sitting at my desk in my comfy corporate office when a wave of panic came over me. I realized I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. This was not the life I wanted.

 I knew I was supposed to be doing something else – something that had meaning – in a business that valued purpose over profit. But, What? Where? How? I didn’t know what it was or how I would get there. 

Swirling in my head were the lyrics from the Talking Heads song Letting the Days Go By: 

And you may ask yourself:
“Am I right? Am I wrong?”
And you may say to yourself:
“My God! What have I done?”

Not long after this moment of self-realization, my mother, a vibrant 80-year-old, died. 

She had a massive stroke after having surgery that she hoped would finally free her from years of chronic pain. To this day, I believe her acute pain was not just aging – it was from living in our modern-day toxic environment: GMOs, chemicals, plastic and acute stress. 

That event forced me to shine the light on how I was living my life. If I died tomorrow, what would be my legacy? Was I thriving or just surviving? I had always been a seeker and had, for several years at this time, been on a spiritual path; yet, I still felt “dense”- that low vibration weighing down my body and my spirit.  

I switched to a plant-based diet and turned to meditation and yoga to handle stress. I felt so much better, and I was eager to share what I was learning with others, so they, too, could thrive – not just survive. The problem was, few would listen. I realized what I was missing was a community-conscious community.

One day, my soul sister who had been traveling the same mindful wellness path I was, introduced me to Mindful Market and the founder, Jim Kupczyk. I didn’t know anything about conscious commerce at the time.  All I knew was this was the community I longed for: a place to find products that aligned with my values and support socially responsible, heart-centered businesses and individuals. 

At that point Mindful Market was more a vision than an actual marketplace; but, Jim’s pure heart, positive energy, and complete transparency made me a Believer. This was my place to serve. I was in

Little did I know that small leap of faith would bring me closer to the life I really wanted: to meet my soulmate, quit my 9-5, and move to the beach. 

At 55, I feel like my generation has been a large contributor to the social and environmental crises we are experiencing today. It’s not entirely our fault – we were just doing what we thought we were supposed to do – unaware of the consequences. Now, I’m looking at the faces of the next generation, asking: “How can we help?”

It’s never too late. Small conscious changes in our behaviors as consumers and Conscious Business owners can still make a big impact on the world. 

We can all do better, be better. Will you join me?’

Paige Baggett Riggins, Founder of The Beach Speaks

Paige Baggett Riggins

“Have you ever felt like you were losing your sense of purpose in life, while the world around you only got louder and more chaotic?  Well, that was me less than a year ago. As a millennial, I have grown up in a world of uncertainty, with messaging that only seems to provide reasons why we shouldn’t have hope. I felt forced to exist in a world that wasn’t heading in a positive direction and little understanding of how to change that. 

The day I met the founder of Mindful Market, I found that hope again.  Jim Kupczyk is a conscious entrepreneur from Buffalo, New York who had a dream to empower our world through consciousness. When I say consciousness, I don’t mean that we are all going to sit in a circle, sing “Kumbaya” and have all the answers, but the idea surrounding this word is about empowering, educating, and creating community around what we value, who we are, and who we support. Right now, it feels like this matters more than ever. 

After years of searching, navigating, and fighting for a space to feel heard, seen, and valued as a young professional I met Jim and knew that his story, his path, and this idea for a conscious marketplace would change the world. We are here to touch lives in small and big ways, starting now.

This is the beginning of our story. We hope you will share it with the world.”

Kristen Gmerek, Conscious Marketing and Communications Director at Mindful Market

Kristen Gmerek

On February 22nd, 2020 Mindful Market will launch a Crowdfunding Campaign and we need your help to reach our goals. We are asking our generations to step up and take action in this movement any way they can.

Mindful Market Introduces the “Global Good” initiative

Global Good

Mindful Market is a 2-way marketplace that loves serving small heart-centered businesses that enrich well-being and the planet.  We embrace conscious consumerism & conscious capitalism.

Mindful Market is now also a tool that elevates humanity by promoting
USA Local Vendors, regional, and global initiatives and movements.

We are excited to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).  The SDG is a call for action by ALL countries (poor, rich, and middle income) to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

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What is Conscious Capitalism?

Conscious Capitalism

Pictured above – Conscious Capitalism Co-Founder, Raj Sisodia with Mindful Market Founder, Jim Kupczyk

The idea of Conscious Capitalism has been around for about 20 years.  The foundational book, published in 2013, that captures the core ideas and spirit is Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, by John Mackey (cofounder of Whole Foods Market) and Raj Sisodia (thought leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior).

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