Six years ago, I launched Kaufmann Mercantile when a flimsy plastic stapler landed on my desk. It represented everything wrong with throw away culture: a cheaply made product that would break and end up in a landfill. I, like so many people, wanted to own things that would stay with me. Things I could use for years and repair if needed. Things made with natural, durable materials that aged beautifully over time and held meaning and memories. Disposable consumerism is incredibly wasteful, harmful and unnecessary. So I opened an online shop focused on offering only quality products.
As the company grows, the challenge is how to scale a business while staying true to our sustainable roots. Of course, the bigger we become the more negotiating power we can wield and the more selective we can be in choosing the right vendors and materials. Still, we wanted to be honest with ourselves and our customers about where we stand today to continue to set a higher standard of responsible retail for the future.
And so, we asked Sustainability Consulting to audit our offices in Brooklyn and warehouse in North Carolina. The takeaway? We have ways big and small to improve as well as things we’re already doing right, like working with a B Corp warehouse and ensuring we use as few synthetics in our products as possible (less than 5% in our entire store to date).
We believe consumers have greater power than ever to make a positive impact through their purchasing choices. Buying better products, those made with true care and craftsmanship, reduces pollution and the consumption of our planet’s precious natural resources. To kick off Earth Day, here are 5 simple tips to incorporate into your everyday from environmental experts we trust. We’ll be rolling out sustainability initiatives throughout the year, from starting a compost in our kitchen to adding a carbon offset option on every order.