Ethical & Organic Brands for Eco-Conscious Families
I’ve always been environmentally conscious. I went vegetarian at 14. I majored in Natural Resource Management in college. Heck, I even remember bringing reusable bags to my local grocery store before it was hip… or enforced.
But from the moment our daughter Prairie entered our lives, living a conscious lifestyle became even more important to my family. We felt that as our family (and carbon footprint) grew, so did our responsibility for the choices we make.
As an environmentalist who also really freaking loves to shop (hypocritical, I know), I’ve long been aware that rampant consumerism is a problem, that traditional manufacturing has a huge impact on the environment, and human rights issues (think sweatshop manufacturing) often come into play. With all these issues weighing on my mind, I’ve been working really hard to focus my purchases on quality items that are produced sustainably, ethically, and organically. Luckily, there’s an increasing number of brands dedicated to stronger principles, and their products happen to be more beautiful then those you’d find at many big box stores.
I’ve searched far and wide for trustworthy brands to help me live more consciously and will share some of my faves with you… so read on.
Best Brands for Conscious Kids
I discovered Malu Organic when searching for a Christmas gift for my niece, who will only wear maxi dresses. Turns out there aren’t many toddler maxi dresses available out there, especially ones that aren’t super bright or frou-frou. I love the subdued colors and adorable block prints that Malu uses. Each piece looks like it would be right at home against our desert color palette. And I especially love supporting a family business that uses only sustainably-produced organic cotton, environmentally-friendly natural dyes, and manufactures in the US.
As a vegetarian, I struggle with my thoughts on leather. Tanneries are generally awful places, but vegan leather or pleather is a petroleum-based manufactured plasticy mess (and often not comfy or high quality). In my opinion, the best option is vegetable tanned, toxin-free leather. Katerina started Lex & Liv in 2014 after a lead exposure scare at her daughter’s one year checkup prompted her to search for a pair of chrome-free USA made moccs, and realized there were none available. Each pair of their adorable moccasins is handcrafted in upstate New York. My personal favs are the Plain White Tee and the soon to be released Icarus! (Check their insta for sneak peeks.)
Because Kate Quinn Organics is available at some mainstream retailers, like Nordstrom, they were one of the first environmentally friendly kids clothes lines I discovered. They were also one of the first kidswear lines to make me realize that you don’t have to dress your baby in traditional pinks, blues, brights, and cartoon characters. Kate’s line is all about nature-inspired colors and prints. I especially love to dress Prairie in their layette kimono rompers and footie pajamas. Seriously – is there anything cuter than a baby in footies? (The answer is no, there isn’t!)
Cuddle + Kind employs women in Peru to hand-knit adorable cotton dolls. Each woman is paid a fair wage. In addition, the company donates 10 meals to children in need for each doll purchased. Prairie has Pearl the Mermaid and she’s the perfect size for hugging and carrying around. I think a Cuddle & Kind doll would make the perfect thoughtful 1st birthday gift; I’m especially into the hipster-lumberjack vibe of the new foxes, Sadie and Wyatt.
I’m always on the hunt for wooden toys that are both beautiful and entertaining so that Prairie will actually play with (whyyyy, oh whyyy are babies drawn to garish plastic?!). I think she’s just the right age for blocks & stackers, and a set from Little Sapling is on my wish list big time! I also think one of their step stools could come in real handy now that Prairie is into doing things “by herself.” Everything Little Sapling Toys makes is so well thought out – from the locally harvested wood, down to the beeswax and jojoba oil finishes. I would feel very comfortable with my baby chewing on their toys!
Krochet Kids is one of the first brands I saw to incorporate a charitable model. They were formed by some high school pals in 2008 as a way to help Ugandans. Nowadays, they have expanded to apparel and bags on top of their signature beanies. They employ over 150 women in Uganda and Peru, to whom they provide mentorship and education along with a fair wage. I’m a sucker for a classic cozy beanie, and my whole family rocks Krochet Kids hats all winter, (it gets surprisingly chilly in the desert in the winter believe it or not!). Added bonus: Unlike some ethical fashions, they are quite affordable!
by Gail Karwoski
This board book was written by mom, Gail Karwoski, so of course it’s our favorite. But even if it wasn’t, we’d still love it, I swear! It’s a sweet little poem about Tu B’ Shebat, which is the Jewish version of Earth Day. I think reading this book to your child is such a fun way to both learn about a culture and to get your little one thinking about all that trees give us.
by Kim Krans
This is a board book with the sweetest, simplest message: All life is sacred. It has the most beautiful watercolor illustrations… Seriously, each one is a little work of art. Many friends of mine have received these two books as a new baby gift.
Best Beauty Brands for Conscious Moms
This range of all natural skincare products has been highly recommended to me, and I love that S.W. Basics have DIY ingredients for making at-home, customized products, as well as a full range of face and body products. They only use truly natural ingredients that are certified organic, fair trade, or sourced from family farms, and they really promote a simple beauty routine, which I love. I have my eye on the Cream Scrub (it's a rich moisturizer and gentle exfoliant all in one) – there’s just nothing better than the luxury of giving yourself a good sugar scrub massage in the shower!
Ever since having Prairie, I’ve struggled with terrible acne. One of my girlfriends told me about Osea and said using their skincare set changed her life and cleared her cystic acne. When I ran off to Google them, I was excited to find out that they’re a vegan, local (Malibu) brand! I’ve been using their cleanser and toner for a few months now and I do think it’s helping.
I may live in the desert, but I’m all about that beach wave. Here’s my “hot mama” haircare routine: Wash hair, and while damp, spray in sea salt spray and put some oil on the ends… repeat weekly. Maybe dump in some dry shampoo around day three, if you’re feeling fancy. There’s no need for a bunch of added chemicals in sea salt spray or oil or dry shampoo, and I love that La Tierra Sagrada provides a hair care line comprised of all-natural, hand-blended ingredients that are derived from plants.
This line of handcrafted herbal body care had me at their beautiful packaging (anyone else judge wine by the label, book by the cover, and body care by the packaging??), but they really sold me with their deliciously scented products that feel as good as they look. A few of my Fat and the Moon faves are the Lip and Cheek stain and Aloe Lotion for me, and the Calm Kid Mist for Prairie (although sometimes I steal a squirt for myself).
Ever since I’ve decided to move over to more conscious purchasing decisions, I’ve really felt better both mentally and physically. I’m excited to share all my favorites with you and hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.
Tags : parenting conscious living