Sustainable Gifting & Shopping: How Secondhand is becoming First Choice

This is a condensed transcript from the episode of the same name for Conscious Choice Podcast, released on January 29, 2020.

Karen: Hello and welcome to our listeners!

Jenny: Hi, I’m Jenny. I consider myself an Eco-mom, you know the one who sends their kids’ to school with reusable water bottles and packs their lunch in metal containers. This may not seem too extreme now, but imagine what it was like sixteen years ago. My kids used to say, “Moohhhmmmm, that’s so embarrassing!” A lot has changed since then, more families have become aware of the positive impacts of a conscious lifestyle; which has helped it become more socially acceptable to make Conscious Choices. I look forward to supporting each other one tiny Conscious Choice at a time.

Karen: Hi, I’m Karen. I consider myself a newbie to conscious living. I’m excited about discovering this world and all that it has to offer. I look forward to not only learning more about how I can make a personal positive impact on the environment and world around me, but how I can help others find their path toward making conscious choices they can easily do and maintain.

Karen: What is Conscious Choice Podcast all about and did we get started? Back in the Fall of 2019, Jenny and I met at a conference in San Francisco for professional color designers. This was my first color or even image consultant conference, and I signed up for networking, to get directly involved in the industry, and to learn what I could. I don’t have extensive formal training in color, but it is a part of what I do, and where better to learn about it from a color association.

Jenny and I exchanged business cards and started following each other on FB. A few weeks later she reached out to schedule a call.

Jenny: I was excited to talk to Karen because she posted on her FB page that she was interested in sustainability. I thought, since we share a background in personal branding and color wouldn’t it be great to collaborate on sustainable style!? I kid you not, as soon as I read that post, I responded with a comment and sent and followed up with an email to connect.

Karen: I was so excited that Jenny responded so quickly! I could tell that she was a powerhouse and expert on the subject, and had passion about it. So of course I jumped at the chance to even just have a 1:1 conversation with her on the topic. I knew I had a lot to learn and figured she’d be able to point me in the right direction. I never expected this!

Jenny: It was so easy to talk with Karen and I loved how excited she was about sustainability. I remember Karen saying, “This is great, what can we do to collaborate?” I said, “What about co-hosting a podcast?”

Karen: And then I said…well, I have my own podcast, Bannister Breakdown, so I had some familiarity and am comfortable with podcasting.

Jenny: I couldn’t believe it. I’ve thought about starting a podcast for about three years, but didn’t have a topic nor the technically know how to get one started. Meeting and collaborating with Karen was meant to be. We brainstormed for about 30 minutes, offering up ideas and names for the podcast. We literally came up with the outline and context of the show in no time flat. The original name was The Mindful Choice, but we felt like Conscious Choice would reach more people concerned with and considering environmental impact.

Karen: Once we landed on a name, I started our social channels - IG, FB, LinkedIn, go find us!

Jenny: Once we had the social channels secured, I called a graphic designer to create our branding. And voila, we are ready to bring-on change.

Jenny: Conscious Choice: The Podcast provides listeners with practical and actionable nuggets of information to start initiating behavioral changes towards healthier and more sustainable living. Each episode has one eco-conscious topic and then we share three thoughtful options that you, our listeners, can make that work for where you are in your conscious/sustainable lifestyle journey. Taking small and simple steps together will make a big impact. Let's show Mother Earth how much we love and appreciate her. With Hugs & Heart let’s begin.

Jenny: Again, we’re here to discuss “Sustainable Gifting & Shopping: How Secondhand is becoming First Choice”

QUOTE: “Whether people are shopping for soap or shoes, they’re weighing a brand’s principles as much as its products. Opting out of taking a stand is no longer an option for brands.” - Edelman Earned Brand Report

With that in mind, here are our 3 options to offer to you:

1. When deciding to make a new purchase for yourself or your family, start with buying secondhand items first. This could include clothing, shoes, accessories and home decor.

“The resale customer is no longer somebody else’s customer, they are everybody’s customer. Mass market or luxury, if people can find a high-quality product for much less, they’ll choose used.” - ThredUP

At thredUP, we’re seeing first-time thrifters coming to platforms like ours in droves. Not surprisingly, the younger generations are leading this charge, with millennials and Gen Z adopting secondhand 2.5x faster than other age groups.

Karen: I can share a personal experience here. My son and his girlfriend, who are in their early 20s, have found that only does it help the planet to shop second-hand, but they LOVE it - and it saves them a ton of money. She has decorated most of their apartment with finds from their second-hand shopping experiences and their place is absolutely beautiful and beyond charming. He has sent me photos of clothes, including this amazing trench coat he found, while shopping. I’d like to say I had something to do with it, but it was mostly her and they both love doing it.

2. When gifting items to friends and family, choose experiences over newly-bought gifts.

Jenny: We live in the age of information and the data is in: the science of happiness has shown us experiences elicit more happiness than buying material things.

Dr. Gilovich explains, "Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless, they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”


“We consume experiences directly with other people and after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.”

Experiences are social, which makes them worth so much more than any object. Most of the time experiences happen with family, friends, and fellow interns which makes them so much more valuable. Even after the experience is over and the moment passes you’re still left with a story to tell.

"Turns out people don't like hearing about other people's possessions very much, but they do like hearing about that time you saw Vampire Weekend," said Cornell doctoral candidate Amit Kumar.

In conclusion, we feel like Investing in purpose and passions and not possessions makes for a more eco-conscious life.

3. Serve a special meal. Food brings people together. Our third choice is to encourage listeners to slow down and be mindful about what goes into your body. We all can be busy, but how we fuel our bodies will directly impact our mood, energy, and how much stamina we may have when making eco-conscious choices. When we feel happy and energized, we will more likely be more willing to go the extra mile for mother earth.

Choose organic foods, grass-fed meats, and low-sugar foods.

Jenny: "There's a relationship between what you eat and alertness," says registered dietitian and busy mom Cassie Dimmick. "Research shows consuming fatty foods can leave you mentally fatigued." Your body has to work overtime to digest the food. And if you go carb crazy, your insulin levels increase, which causes drowsiness, she explains. That's why after Friday Pizza Night, you bring the family back home, plop down on the couch and watch Journey 2: The Mysterious Island with one eye shut.

The Fix: The ideal meal is a mix of fiber-rich carbs and moderate amounts of fat. For instance, on pizza night, eat one less slice and fill the rest of your plate with a big salad. Picking up fast food? Forgo the burger and fries and grab a turkey sub with a side of hummus and veggies (instead of baked chips). Or order a salad with lean protein, like salmon or chicken, and a bean-based soup or chili.

Karen: In summary for this episode, “Sustainable Gifting & Shopping: How Secondhand is becoming First Choice,” we leave you with three options you can try and incorporate into your life:

  1. Search for Secondhand

  2. Share a Moment

  3. Serve a Special Meal

Which one can you incorporate into your life so help build a sustainable lifestyle? Let us know at

Thank you!

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