Conscious Consumerism: The New Luxury
BEST PRACTICE RESEARCH
—The New Luxury?
In celebration of the Made With You launch, Kat explores the rise and trend of conscious consumerism. Through this piece, we discovered although this concept may be a luxury, it poses the question - can it be available to all for the good of the planet, through our Noéma Activated Essentials range?
We’re creating an unparalleled micro-range of activated essentials. Find out how you can co-design your own natural skincare range with leading experts – and get it free for an entire year.
The idea of voting with your dollar is hardly new. The concept can be traced back to James Buchanan, an American theorist, that equated economic participation as the purest form of democracy.
Our modern take?
Conscious consumerism. A buzzword that may seem (and quite frankly, is) overused, but remains still very much, if not more than ever, very relevant.
A recent Nielsen study reported that 66% of consumers would be willing to pay more for sustainable goods – simply on the premise that by purchasing well-designed and produced items, they are also minimising their individual impact. In the same study, 81% of millennials surveyed assume that the companies they support have at least some level of transparency and sustainability practices widely available.
By definition, conscious consumerism is action taken by “a consumer who takes into account the public consequences of his or her private consumption or who attempts to use his or her purchasing power to bring about social change.’”
This archetype of a conscious consumer, taken by a 1975 study, paints a picture of the conscious consumer as someone with choice to make a difference – economically, situationally, or systematically. And that definition rings true today.
In our eyes, the sustainability movement is largely elitist as it requires not only a disposable income, but the time and interest to research and justify your purchasing decisions. It’s assumed that those who define themselves as conscious consumers are in an environment that encourages self-discovery via how they navigate a world full of choices.
But conscious consumerism, while alluring to all, is very much still a luxury that’s only accessible to distinct socio-economic class. It makes sense – to produce well and to produce fairly requires more time, attention to detail, and operational standards then traditional businesses.
We see these higher costs throughout ethical skincare, clothing, and food companies in Australia and internationally. And that’s because the concept of conscious consumerism, and relevant business practices are still very much in their infancy on a global scale, which means that production costs, no matter how you spin it, are higher. Paying a living wage and sourcing responsibly isn’t free.
That’s why you see that successful companies in the conscious consumerism space don’t only sell products – they sell a holistic image of themselves. Individuals buy into brand narratives and stories, especially those that include a social enterprise, prioritise transparent supply chains, or are environmentally friendly. It makes sense (since we’re doing the same thing) to present products that start conversation and encourage ongoing education. After all, a business should be about more than just selling a product, it should be about strategically influencing customers.
Besides the relative inaccessibility of conscious consumerism to the masses, it’s exciting to see that conscious consumerism is slowly influencing big industry players to become increasingly aware of consumer demand for better-made and more responsible products. We see this in beauty giant Mecca through their ‘Mindful Beauty’ line or clothing retailer Mango’s ‘Sustainable SS18’ collection. While the most devout of conscious consumers can argue that large corporations are cashing in on the conscious consumerism trend through greenwashing, we think the integration of some sustainable practices are a positive step. Large companies that are conscious of what their consumers want is a direct segway to improvements on a large scale, which would make conscious products not only accessible to a wider demographic, but more affordable.
Let’s not kid ourselves - at the heart of it, true change in consumerism must happen systematically. But for now, conscious consumerism can be a productive and impactful avenue for conversation, innovative design, and ongoing education to influence that systematic change down the line. If you have the means and flexibility to adopt even slices of a conscious consumerism mindset, we see you and we support you.
As Noema begins our journey to develop a skincare collection that directly aligns with our values and what customers actually want, we’re keeping these musings in mind. We’re making a transition from reviewing products to actually creating them. It’s a new chapter, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Conscious consumerism drives our project - while we begin to create our formulas, reach out to impactful individuals for advice, and share our process in real time. We’re tired of seeing companies produce products because they think people want them. Our approach to design will actively involve our customers, inspiring and encouraging bold thoughts and opinions in a space that often overlooks direct conversation. In our minds, conscious consumerism is as much making a good and useful product as it is being directly integrated into the community using said product.
We’re trying our best to make our products as accessible as possible without diminishing our quality or morals.
Noema’s forthcoming product line is as much for you as it is for us. We’re introducing ‘community co-design,’ an active collaboration between anyone interested in sharing their opinions.
We’re calling on you, our community, to co-design an essential range of products that have killer formula, actually work, and aren’t harmful to the environment.
See how to get involved below.
Co-Design Your Activated Essentials —
Here at Noéma, we’re busy researching the best ingredients - so that we can make the best activated essentials for you, with you. We’re taking a radically new direction in skincare; we use you as the key ingredient.
By collaborating with industry experts such as naturopaths, biochemists, product specialists and formulators, our aim is to create an Activated Essentials product range with the best ingredients, formula and design.
We’re taking applications from our diverse community to contribute to co-designing an essential micro-range of products right for them. Get involved in upcoming events and workshops covering wellness, self-care and design.