The view inside Otto’s shoe workshop in the slum of La Limonada. 

Dear Consumer,

You are important. Like, crazy important. You, consumer, are pretty much a basic necessity in global economics. You are needed, consumer, very much indeed. In fact, you’re kind of powerful. Like, ridiculously so. Your dollars, and where they’re spent, mean a heck of a lot.

What I like to say is, “how you spend your money determines the kind of world that you want to live in.” When was the last time that you really took a step back and thought about where your money was going? You know how much your purchases cost you, but do you know how much they cost the person that made them?

The truth of the matter is, as a consumer, you have a certain responsibility to be conscious of how you’re spending your money. And another truth of the matter is, is that there are so many people out there who are living in poverty while working unreasonable hours with little pay, simply because they have no other option.

The Bangladesh factory collapse in 2013 woke the world up a bit and forced it to acknowledge that maybe there just might be something wrong with those $10 jeans that we’re buying. That maybe we should take a few minutes and hit the pause button before we hand over our credit card for five pieces of brand new clothing that are totaling $20. We’ve become consumed by getting things as cheap as we can without thinking of the consequences. The concept of “value” has been confused with what we, as the end consumer, can get away with in terms of how little we spend.

We need to step back and think about where our money is going and what it’s doing.

You, consumer, can control where your money is spent. You can make a difference by deciding to have your money spent with companies that are doing something to bring the faces back to production. The companies that are taking responsibility for the integrity of their end product by ensuring that it’s making tells a good story: a story of fair pay, proper treatment, decent hours, and humanity.

Be mindful, consumer, and be brave. Remember that we should all leave the world a better place than when we first got here, and we should remember how much impact our seemingly small and everyday decisions can be. Those decisions can literally help shape the world that we’re in today and turn it into something better for tomorrow.

Spend well, consumer, spend well. And maybe make the world a better place while you’re at it.

Bethany Tran
Founder of The Root Collective

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From The Editor
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