Danae: joyful and conscious consumer

Danae and I go way back. We attended the same high school in a small town and have more mutual friends than I can count! She has a gift of making everyone around her feel welcome and instantly known. I've been to impressed at Danae's commitment to shop ethically no matter the cost. You're going to love this gal! 

conscious consumer interview
conscious consumer interview

Tell us about your personal background...

I was born and raised in a small suburb of Portland. I absolutely love Oregon and will hopefully live here all my life. I have a bachelor's degree from a small university in Northern California.  I spent seven years there (on and off), sweating in the ridiculous heat before finally moving back to the glory of evergreens and fog and overcast skies.

I work as an admissions counselor at a local university and spend all my spare time either adoring my nephew and two nieces or volunteering at my church in various capacities. My family members are the most important people in my life and I prioritize doing life with them.

I also love the city of Portland and dream of the day I can live in a loft in the Pearl, buying all my vegetables from the farmer's markets and jogging by the river. I love to cook, read, sing along with Keith Urban on the radio, and watch Madam Secretary. 

conscious consumer interview

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am an early bird! I wake in the 5:00 hour and spend time in the Scriptures, worship, and meditation before jogging or practicing yoga. I head to my job and recruit and advise adult students 8 hours a day. My lunch breaks are spent mentoring and coaching high school students from my church, and sometimes I get to meet with my own mentor. Evenings are for either church events or resting at home, cooking dinner and catching up on the day's events with my family. 

What prompted you to start shopping ethically?

Last summer, I began reading Selflessly Styled and was very intrigued by what I was reading. I have been aware for a long time of other types of slavery that exist in the world, but the truth about clothing and fast fashion was really new to me. After watching True Cost, I made an immediate decision to change the way I shopped. Before, I frequented Nordstrom, Target, and DSW on a bi-monthly basis, and now, the last things I bought myself were two floor-length sweaters from the Goodwill for $8 each in December, and some underwear from PACT (highly recommend!!). 

conscious consumer interview

Describe your personal style...

Simple. Minimal. Classic and conservative. If I could wear comfy jeans and a gray tshirt every day of my life, I'd be thrilled. Gwyneth Paltrow could be one of my fashion icons. After purging my closet and only keeping things that I loved and found myself wearing over and over again, all that was left were neutrals, some bright blues, and a few stripes; they all work together and are versatile for lots of different outfits. I have never cared much about latest fashion, but focus more on fit for my body (thank you, Stacy and Clinton) and longevity of the style. 

conscious consumer interview

What are your favorite brands to support?

If I had the money, I'd be supporting so many more, but currently I purchase mostly from PACT. They're wonderful.  

What's been the biggest obstacle in your endeavor to shop ethically?

The biggest obstacle was in my mind and it was regarding materialism. A lot of the people in my life have a lot of clothes. It's rare that I see an outfit repeated in the office and there is always something new bought over the weekend to compliment someone on. When it's "normal" and around me so often, it's really hard to not be tempted to join in. I am now the abnormal one, who doesn't have a huge closet anymore and who rarely buys anything.

However, I feel more peace in my heart this way. I love everything that I own and I love the simplicity of my closet. It's refreshing. I got past the temptations by simply reminding myself how good I felt - virtuous, happy, at peace - in this lifestyle. I'm very self-aware, so remembering the goodness that settles in my spirit is motivating enough. One other thing that helped was talking about my new lifestyle with my sister-in-law, who also cares deeply about living ethically. I'm inspired by finding support from her and sharing ideas and brands that we follow. 

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How do you make ethical shopping fit within your budget?

Lately, when I have bought something, it's been second-hand from ThredUP or from a thrift store. It's the best way to work with my budget when I want something new and haven't saved up enough for the super ethical things on my list. 

What's been the most rewarding part of this shift for you?

The clarity of mind and the simplicity of choices in dressing every day. I am doing my part to end a form of modern-day slavery, and that feels powerful and motivating to do other things that change the world. 

What would you give someone who is considering shopping ethically?

 Go all in, baby! It's WORTH it! Find someone who shares your values and maintain an open conversation to process with them as you purge your closet, choose to be happier with less, and avoid temptation to impulse buy at sales or without thinking of the true cost. 

Check out Danae's blog for more of her thoughts and stories.

All photos for this interview were taken by Madison Kay Photography