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      Blog: Sustainable + Inclusive + local

      Thoughtful Regifting: The Perfect Way to Spread Joy and Strengthen Community

      Thoughtful Regifting: The Perfect Way to Spread Joy and Strengthen Community

      Regifting This Holiday Season

      By Curtis Harding 

      Regifting. Once the source of mockery, it’s become far more socially acceptable in recent years. According to one recent survey, up to 83% of people polled were perfectly fine with the practice. And these days, everyone from HuffPost and CNN to the Wall Street Journal happily weigh in with regifting “rules.” But the practice isn’t without its detractors. An acquaintance recently informed me that if I thought there was anything positive about regifting, I didn’t understand it. 

      The truth is, when done right, regifting is capable of so much good. For one thing, there are the green benefits. The practice can cut down on production and packaging and keep unwanted items from filling up our landfills. But you can’t just regift something to get rid of it. Give it to someone who doesn’t need or want it, and it’s likely to end up in the trash you saved it from. That’s where thoughtful regifting comes into play — and it’s where the benefits of regifting can push beyond decluttering and recycling. 

      My coworker, for instance, got some unique work swag at the beginning of the pandemic: a mini-fridge full of bottled water. It was a nice enough gesture for those stuck at home during lockdown… but she didn’t really have much use for it. Then this past summer she was going to a baby shower when she learned the new parents needed something small to keep breast milk and refrigerated medicine handy. She was upfront about regifting, and they were thrilled with the mini-fridge.  

      But the practice doesn’t have to be relegated to helping those you know. There are always families in need and local organizations that could use a gift you might have no interest in. And even if you recycle a gift to friends or family, you can still help out in your community. Just donate the cost of the present to your favorite local charity and you’ve got double the gift for the price of one.

      And sometimes, as I just learned myself, if you think outside the box, you could even build a sense of community and togetherness from the ground up. A friend of mine told me a story recently about how his ex sent him flowers. He wasn’t entirely comfortable with the gesture, but didn’t want to just toss a present that was, for better or worse, meant to be caring. Instead, he decided to do something good with the unexpected gift. 

      “I put them in a vase,” he told me, “and tied a ribbon around them.” He then placed them at the door of his new neighbor and attached a note that read simply, “A housewarming from 3B.” 

      Later, my friend found a note on his own door. It was from his new neighbor. She thanked him and wrote that she’d just moved to his building because of a breakup. It must have been such an overwhelming, lost feeling to have to start over because of heartbreak, but when she got the flowers welcoming her to her new home, she was so touched that she cried. As my friend wonderfully put it, “I like the idea that his show of love still warmed somebody’s house.”

      When done with care and intention, regifting can be a beautifully green way to spread some joy, help those in need, and strengthen a sense of community. 

      DOB provides access to a community of small, sustainable, inclusive and local businesses.  Supporting your own local small business this holiday season benefits you and your community.  Get out and discover locally owned restaurants, clothing stores, specialty shops, thrift stores, and charities

      5 Ways To Shop Smart & Shop Small

      5 Ways To Shop Smart & Shop Small

      5 Ways to Shop Smart & Shop Small

      By DATE OF BIRTH®

      Supporting local small businesses this holiday season benefits you and your community. It’s fun to get out and discover locally owned restaurants, clothing stores, specialty shops, thrift stores, charities, etc.

       

      1. Buy Local

      It’s fun to get out and discover locally owned restaurants, clothing stores, specialty shops, thrift stores, charities, etc. By supporting these businesses you discover more about your neighborhood & community. It keeps $ local, fosters personal service & relationships, creates local jobs. Helps local non-profits (92% of small businesses donate to local charities). Shopping local has a full circle ⭕️ effect in your community!

       

      2. Scroll Past The First Page

      Small businesses often appear on page 2, 3, 4, etc. of your Google Search. They don’t have large marketing budgets to deploy SEO teams (search engine optimization) or pay for expensive search term ads that always pop up to the top 4 spots (“Ad” top left of search results). Discovering small businesses that match what you are looking for is fun and interesting pushing past the same large corporate names we see in every mall and high rent highly trafficked shopping districts/streets. Who knows what you will find, that’s part of the discovery, that’s part of the fun!

       

      3. Thrift Shop AND Donate

      With the renewed popularity of vintage shopping, giving a vintage item as a gift can be very welcomed. One thing to be mindful of when you shop vintage is you could be taking away on-trend pieces from people who don’t have the means to shop any other way. So, when you shop vintage, make sure to also donate some cool clothes that you aren’t using anymore.

       

      4. Do It Yourself (DIY)

      Making a gift yourself is probably the most personal gift you can give. If you need any supplies make sure to get them from your local art store or hardware store. I know shopping on amazon is easy and convenient, but spending the extra time to shop local will help keep these stores in your neighborhood.

       

      5. Shop & Support D.O.B.

      We provide access to a community of small sustainable, inclusive and local businesses. When you shop D.O.B, you directly support neighborhood art and dance classes, send kids to school in Kenya, provide fair wages to workers and women artisans, vote with your dollar to reduce carbon emissions... and create a more sustainable future.

      The Slow, Steady Destruction of Main Street

      The Slow, Steady Destruction of Main Street

      How Big Chains Broke Up Small Town America

      By Curtis Harding 

      As shopping habits have been shifting more and more to online, we seem to have entered an utterly bizarre era of social consciousness. We talk about supporting small businesses, but in the same breath, we lament the erosion of brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy and Barnes & Noble, and make nostalgic documentaries about the last Blockbuster in America. 

      It’s as if we’ve forgotten that, before their decline, chains like these washed over the nation, sweeping away countless local businesses that didn’t have the resources for their markdowns or strong-arming communities into providing financial incentives. And it’s not like it was a sudden occurrence. This was happening before our eyes for decades. 

      Once, as NPR explains, the U.S. had laws to protect small stores and keep larger chains from buying products at higher volume discounts. It kept the playing field somewhat even for everyone, as big stores couldn’t price out small mom and pop businesses. But in the ‘50s, those laws began eroding, and by 1962, the stage was set for an explosion — K-Mart, Target, and, of course, Wal-Mart all launched that year. 

      By the ‘80s and ‘90s, chains were expanding aggressively, and as they spread out across the country, communities changed with them. The shopping experience extended out from a thriving downtown into more remote areas where there was room to build massive stores with sprawling parking lots. Retail chains were convenient, but they were places for picking up things, not for communities to gather and interact. 

      Out of all these chains, Wal-Mart probably gets the most sustained flack — and for good reason. Even in the online age, they still dominate, outstripping Target, Amazon and every other retailer out there. And while they can provide jobs and groceries in communities with no other options, in already healthy communities they can drive down wages, shut down smaller businesses, and add to an increase in obesity and crime rates. 

      But even Wal-Mart began struggling in lean times, and during the Great Recession, cheaper alternatives with even less to offer started flexing their muscle. As money grew tighter and folks cut back, dollar stores stepped in to provide rock-bottom pricing. But even when the economy bounced back, that expansion kept flying forward. Now, Money projects, over 40% of new stores opening in the U.S. are going to be dollar stores, moving in to flood and change small communities. That’s… jarring, but how bad is it? 

      The Guardian tells the story of Haven, Kansas, where Dollar General moved in. They demanded a staggering break on utility bills, but promised revenue-boosting in return. They made good on that promise by raising tax revenue for the town by $60,000. But then they forced the local grocery store out of business. It had provided $75,000 a year in tax revenue — plus it actually paid its utility bill. And without the grocery store, fresh produce and local food was out, and cheap, unhealthy, processed food was in. Even the mayor who championed the Dollar General doesn’t like shopping there. Then, with its biggest draw gone, the town’s main street began sputtering out as well. 

      It’s a story worth reading through in its entirety, but it’s not entirely hopeless. When Dollar General tried moving into Haven’s neighboring town of Buhler, those folks saw what had happened and shut the dollar store out. They were doing just fine without them. If big retail chains can tear communities apart, they can also be stopped when communities come together. And maybe, in coming together, our communities can emerge stronger than ever. It’s a lesson worth learning if we want to stop chain retail racing to the bottom and dragging our communities down with them. 

      D.O.B is building a community of local and inclusive brands where equality of access provides exposure and growth to small business, with positive effects on the people and environments of our neighborhoods. 

      Inspired by Generations of Women CEOs

      Inspired by Generations of Women CEOs

      The Future is looking like “Powerful Women”

      By Beth Hoad

      Legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, simply says, “I did not know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be. I wanted to be a woman who’s in charge of her life, who’s independent and, you know, who was driving her life — designing her life.”

      And to be a woman is a privilege, but to know their story is an honor. The women listed below encompass diversity, change and strength; and their stories are told to evoke change worldwide.  

      Roya Mahboob: Founder, CEO Afghan Citadel Software Company, President Digital Citizen Fund 

      In countries where males dominate the workforce and culture is deeply conservative, Roya Mahboob  is a standout star. Roya has received threats for running a business, for hiring women and for driving a car. Her idea is to find opportunities for women and encourage them to pursue careers, attend school and escape a world of domestic abuse, forced marriages and strict rules. As an Afghan woman in a position of power, Roya fights justice and inequality every day to create a new norm for women. 

      Altheas Simons: Founder GRAMMER

      In 2016, Altheas’ apartment building burned down, and she lost all her belongings. The difficulty she felt trying to replace her wardrobe, made her notice that the perfect garments for her life did not yet exist, showing that sometimes in the most difficult of times, creativity can prosper.

      Arlan Hamilton: CEO Backstage Capital 

      From being homeless, to establishing her own company, Arlan helps the community by investing in founders who identify as women, people of color, or LGBTQ+, in the U.S. In an interview with Camila McConaughey, Arlan says “I’d like to teach Women of Today that they should treat themselves well. They should understand that they are valuable just by their existence. They are someone’s hero even if they don’t know it, they are someone’s role model even if they don’t know it, and people need them. Someone needs them right now. So being their authentic true self is very important, because someone out there is looking for them.” 

      Kimberly McGlonn: CEO & Founder of Grant Blvd

      Shopping at Grant BLVD encompasses more than fashion, it educates people on sustainable clothing, unites communities and enforces radical change. As Kimberly puts it, “Grant Blvd is the story of two types of American families: those who know stability, security & hope- which, until I was 13, was us. But it’s also the story of families that collapse- families that face adulthood depression, self-medication with cocaine, and then weighing “criminal options” as a means of surviving. Grant Blvd is the place where I learned the power of acting with love and of speaking out against inequity. It’s the place that I think best defines who I am.” 

      Someone’s journey can walk us through history, but their personal story can foster connection. In a world where many women must give up work to be mothers, face inequality in the workplace and gender bias throughout life, it’s crucial we listen to and acknowledge their stories. When we as a society work together, we can accomplish much more for future generations. 

      We all have a story and it’s waiting to be told.

      Which Celebrities Are Committed To Sustainable Living?

      Which Celebrities Are Committed To Sustainable Living?

      Celebrities - They’re Just Like Us! (Kinda)

      By Curtis Harding

      Celebrities supporting environmental causes are nothing new. But it’s a bit trickier to find celebs really, truly dedicated to sustainable living. So why don’t we take a moment to celebrate a few actresses who use not just their money, but their life choices to champion sustainability? 

      Rosario Dawson. Having grown up with her family having to salvage and repurpose furniture and materials for their home, Rosario Dawson learned the value of sustainable living early on. It’s something she’s carried her entire life, along with the drive to push for change. 

      Dawson’s fought for the planet, raising awareness on the impact of bottles and cans on the environment, and supporting organizations like The Nature Conservancy. She’s even tackled sustainable food production as executive producer and narrator for the documentary The Need to Grow

      And when she co-founded Studio 189 with her best friend, Abrima Erwiah, she gave the world a fashion line focused on sustainability, environmentally friendly practices and locally produced pieces. 

      Those are values embraced by more and more brands. They’re certainly ones that drive ONE432. Their sustainable pieces are made in Pakistan by local artisans and help sponsor children’s education within the country. With options like these out there, it kind of makes it hard not to support ethical and sustainable lifestyles.  

      Cate Blanchett. Few celebs come with sustainable living credentials as burnished as Cate Blanchett’s. When the environmentalist and her husband, Andrew Upton, became the Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic directors, they launched their Greening the Wharf initiative. From solar energy and rainwater harvesting, to environmentally responsible theatre production and community education, they transformed the Sydney monument into a sustainable institution. 

      Then there’s her fashion. In 2014, the actress joined the Green Carpet Challenge to showcase sustainable luxury on the red carpet. She pushed things even farther in 2018 by re-wearing a red carpet dress to the Cannes Film Festival. By 2020’s Venice Film Festival, she made sure that every single one of her pieces had been previously worn. 

      Fortunately, for the rest of us, reusable fashion doesn’t require red carpet luxury. Not with brands like Altar. In just March of this year, the company took their dedication to sustainability a step farther when they launched an online “Pre-Loved” store. Customers can buy and sell used Altar pieces with the company’s backing and make sure their clothing doesn’t end up rotting in some landfill. Who knows? Maybe Blanchett’s next step is walking down the red carpet in a Pre-Loved dress! 

      Emma Watson. It’s hard not to love Emma Watson. I say that not because I love Harry Potter, but because we’ve watched her and her sustainability journey grow in real time. 

      While still in college, after learning about the fashion industry’s massive carbon footprint, Watson decided to use her voice for change. The actress first teamed up with People Tree, modeling and designing for the sustainable fashion collection. She then went on to push for ethical production practices as she donned sustainable gowns at red carpet events. 

      And after wowing with a dress made from recycled plastic at the 2016 MET Gala, Watson started an Instagram account dedicated to showcasing sustainable fashion labels. She was appointed as the youngest board member of Kerig, the parent company of brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci. Her role? Chairing the company’s sustainability committee. 50 points to Gryffindor!

      Make Sustainability Part of Your Lifestyle 

      With celebrity and cultural shifts towards sustainability, many brands have already taken initiative. Take Vustra, a clothing brand formed after the founders came to their own realizations about the fashion industry’s harmful footprint. Vustra found that what’s traditionally been men’s fashion was still lagging behind with sustainable options. So they filled the gap to ensure everyone has sustainable choices.  

      In the end, it’s easy to be inspired by celebrities enthusiastically embracing sustainable living, but we can’t just rely on them to lead the way. We all have options to do our part, whether that’s upcycling furniture, choosing renewable energy sources, or wearing sustainable clothing. So why not get started?

      D.O.B believes an ethical & sustainable future is built through our actions today. We welcome new voices and experiences as we build a community dedicated to a better planet, a better human experience, and the possibility of a better tomorrow.