Living in a super small apartment, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my space while also keeping it eye-pleasing (which is harder than it sounds, trust me). Lately, as I was contemplating my next apartment update, I realized that I didn’t know much about ethical home decor brands (unlike fashion or beauty), which got me thinking “If I’m clueless about sustainable home options, I must not be the only one, right?”.
So, guess what I did? I searched every corner of the internet and found 10 online stores that are doing just that. Hopefully, this little guide will be as helpful to you as it was to me making it.
Brand: The Little Market
Based in: California and a little bit everywhere
Do you remember Lauren Conrad from Laguna Beach? I know, silly question. How could you forget her?
Well, her and her good friend, Hannah Skvarla, launched this non-profit e-shop back in 2013. They carry tons of objects made by female artisans from all over the world, living in underprivileged conditions. Their initiative has many goals: help women earn fair wages, feel empowered through their work, and support their family, on top of encouraging the preservation of their artisanal traditions.
Based in: Montreal
To be honest, the idea of an ethical mattress had never even crossed my mind, more less one made in Montreal. Also, the words “high quality mattress made ethically and locally” sound like eight months of rent to my ears. Well guess what? I was wrong.
Polysleep is a Montreal brand which makes everything right here, from start to finish. Their way of doing things allows them to cut down on unnecessary middlemen, meaning they’re able to offer affordable prices. The second best part: your mattress is rolled up in an impressively compact box and delivered right to your door. Practicality: 10/10.
For the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to try out their queen mattress and I couldn’t be happier about it*. My body doesn’t hurt (which is a huge improvement from my last mattress, which felt more like a hammock), its firmness is on point and like any good foam mattress, I don’t go flying on the other side of the room when my 6’4 boyfriend turns around in the middle of the night. Basically, I sleep better and my chances of waking up face down on the floor are practically at zero. That’s what I call a win-win situation.
Here is A GIFT from me to you: If you’re thinking of buying a mattress, use my promo code “VERYJOELLE” to get a $70 discount on your next Polysleep purchase. You’ll have 100 nights to try it out and see if it meets your expectations (I’m pretty sure it will). After that, it’s guaranteed for 10 long years. That’s 3,650 nights. Sweet dreams!
*My mattress was generously given to me by Polysleep.
Based in: Everywhere
I’m sure it’s happened to you before—when you look at something so closely you miss out on what’s right in front of you. That’s what happened with Etsy and me.
I’ve always known Etsy carried thrifted clothes, but vintage furniture and home objects?!? Why didn’t I know about that? So many potential amazing apartment finds wasted. Trust me, now that I know, life will never be the same.
In the meantime, let me give you a couple of advice for your search:
1) With tens of thousands of objects waiting to be found, make sure you narrow down your research by category (like ‘frames’ or ‘coffee mugs’).
2) Limit the results to vintage only by checking the appropriate box on the left side.
3) To avoid any additional fee, tick the ‘free delivery’ box and see what comes up.
Brand: Ten Thousand Villages
Based in: Pennsylvania and a little bit everywhere around the world
If Ten Thousand Villages was a family member, he’d be the great great grandpa, the one who’s been around forever. Known as the store that popularized the fair trade concept, the brand works with people from around the world who are often marginalized when it comes to professional opportunities, such as women, people with disabilities, etc. They also favour the use of local, recycled, and sustainable materials.
Brand: The Citizenry
Based in: New York
In collaboration with artisans from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Uganda, the company designs gorgeous objects in limited quantities, showcasing both their very own sleek signature and the know-how of the people they work with. It’s like Scandinavian modernity meets exotic traditional craft techniques. In other words: it’s amazing. Obviously, the company makes sure all of its collaborators are being paid fairly—otherwise, I wouldn’t be talking about it here.
Based in: Winnipeg
One day, I dream of walking into an EQ3 store, head over confidently to the sales associate’s desk, sit down and say without a shadow of doubt “I’d like to have a custom-made couch, please!” It would then get made in their Winnipeg factory and, eight weeks later, it would grace my living room space, ready to host all my future hot dates with my significant other, aka Netflix.
I want to point out that not all of their products are made in Canada, but most of them are. When it’s the case, they’re clearly and proudly identified as such.
Based in: Los Angeles
Whether you’re a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow or not, we can all agree on one thing: the selection of her online boutique is pretty flawless. Yes, many objects are ridiculously expensive (like that $1,066 table cloth on which I would spill spaghetti sauce faster than it takes to say ‘uncoupling’), but some others are relatively affordable if it’s pay day and you feel like spoiling yourself a little (a $63 pink glass pitcher in which Gwyneth would pour kombucha and in which I would add a couple of bourbon shots). Every brand and product is carefully selected and is either produced where the company is from or in an ethical manner.
Brand: Fabrique 1840
Based in: Quebec
Thanks to the latest section added to the retailer’s website: people looking for beautiful objects made in Canada can now find them all in one place. Each brand comes with a little history paragraph to learn more about their products, but also the artists behind them.
Let’s say I was in a whatever-savings-are-over-rated mood, I’d definitely indulge in a lamp by Lambert & Fils. Truth is, I’m more in a need-to-pay-for-my-apartment-office-space-and-cellphone mood, so I’ll go with a beautiful poster by MPGMB instead and call it a day.
Brand: Cybele B. Pilon
Based in: Montreal
Last weekend, when I went to see my parents at the Puces Pop fair (my bipster dad—a contraction of “baby-boomer” and “hipster”—was selling his magnificent handmade pin games), I noticed Cybele’s incredible little ceramic objects sparkle from afar. They’re playful, colourful, precious, feminine, perfectly imperfect, and I love them. Next time I need a tea cup or a jewelry dish, I’ll know where to look.
Brand: Chic & Basta
Based in: Eastern Townships, Quebec
Chic & Basta is the kind of website you could go on with your eyes closed, select five objects randomly, buy them without knowing what they look like and, once delivered, you’d be 100% satisfied. No, I’m not talking about a super curated Scandinavian e-shop. I’m talking about Manon and Louis, the two owners of this boutique based in the Eastern Townships. They promote beautiful objects that are handmade, locally made, and made to last. Their motto: get away from mass production and reconnect with soulful objects, made by real people, individually and carefully.
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