Oh, yeah...the shop.
Ok. So, I think we should all buy less stuff. Seriously, much less stuff. We have too much stuff. So why do I have a shop where you can buy stuff?
That's a great question.
One that I have thought long and hard about.
I think our current production methods are often dangerous and unsustainable.
We pollute rivers, we create plastic that is toxic and will never break down and return to the earth, we put children and adults in countries far away from us into working conditions that we would never accept for ourselves or our loved ones.
We also sometimes 'consume' in ways that are incredibly unhealthy for us. I know that I sometimes buy things that make me feel good for a moment, things that fill a gap, is it loneliness...a desire for human connection? I like the feeling of getting something new. It feels good. And so, I use this feeling to distract myself from the more important things in life.
I've also got a bit of a habit of keeping too much stuff. I find it hard to let go of things, some fear of my own mortality sits at the heart of this I'm sure.
What am I doing making and selling things then?
Humans have always made and kept things in order to create meaning in their life. We painted on cave walls and made small ceramic objects, we wove fabric by hand, built structures from wood and we hand crafted jewelry...so many different ways of using our skills to make and record meaning.
I have to confess to loving paper, loving artwork and books and solid objects. I like to surround myself with images and ideas that inspire me, that remind me, to think and behave and act in ways that align with my values. I believe we become the things we immerse ourselves in and I don’t believe immersing ourselves only in a digital format is the healthiest thing for us (audio is one thing…but screens – I’m not convinced hours of staring at screens is that good for us).
And I have all these ideas in me. I have these thoughts about the world, this self-reflection that I do and it seems to connect with some people. My hope is it inspires them to self-reflect to contemplate things about their life that moves them towards a more self-aware, more generous, more civic minded and ultimately more fulfilled life.
I want to make my life all about spreading these ideas as far as I can so that we can heal some of this pain and suffering, so that we can stop destroying our own life support systems. To do that I need to earn money. Money that I can use to live a comfortable life and money that I can use to invest in these ideas to amplify them.
Where is this money going to come from?
Well, that’s what I am experimenting with right now.
I make and share a lot of content for free. I just get up and make it and put it on the internet for anyone to read or look at. That’s the tradeoff for ‘democratizing’ the publishing and content creation industry. There are now less ‘gate keepers’ to publishing but how you ‘make the money’ is also less straightforward.
I’m happy with this because I think there is a way for me to make this work. All I have to do is build a community of people who share my passion for making things better and invite them to support me to do what I do. If it feels valuable enough to them then they will invest in it.
So, I’m experimenting with different ways that they (you!) can support me.
I’ve created live performance events, like Campfire and Dear Self that you can host with me or come along to, you can make a monthly investment to show your ongoing appreciation and, you can buy things in the shop.
Maybe these things will be exactly what people want in order to show their support for me, maybe the wont be and I’ll have to try something else. That’s the experiment.
When you buy things in my shop there are some promises I can make you…
- I will have thought a lot about the impact the product will have on the world. The supply chain matters to me, I will ask the uncomfortable questions of the suppliers I work with to ensure they are making things with a conscience.
- I will always use recycled and recyclable materials when I can.
- I will make things that lean towards the hand crafted, high quality, boutique and unique so that you treasure them for a long, long, time.
- I will make things that encourage self-reflection, that remind you of what is important to you and reinforce the behaviours and actions you want to take to make the world a better place.
In turn, I would encourage you to:
- Invest in things that are special to you, that will remind you of something that matters to you.
- Buy presents for others that you think will be meaningful to them.
If we both do these things then I think I can feel good about making and selling things and you can feel good about buying them.
Let’s see how that goes.