I feel like I have to preface this post by saying, I shop on Amazon. I have an Amazon prime subscription. There are just a lot of things I can get on Amazon that I have a very hard time finding elsewhere. I am *not* judging or knocking anyone for using or shopping on Amazon. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think a lot of things about Amazon are problematic… that also doesn’t mean that I don’t acknowledge that a lot of things on Amazon are unethical, a lot of Amazon’s practices are unethical, there have been numerous stories and accounts of people who work for Amazon working in terrible conditions, long hours, etc. There are many counterfeit products sold on Amazon, etc. The list does go on and on. However, there are some ethical brands that DO sell on Amazon so, again, it’s just a matter of pros and cons.
Remember I say this all the time: progress, not perfection… especially when it comes to shopping ethically. Baby steps. We all have to take baby steps.
I have made a concerted effort in the last couple of years to, whenever possible, shop places other than Amazon FIRST… and then, when I’m not able to find the product I need or want elsewhere or if the price difference is JUST that drastic, then I shop on Amazon.
Does that all make sense?
Again, just a personal choice that I make for me and my family…
With that all being said and all of those prefaces out of the way – I thought it might be helpful to share some ethical alternatives to Amazon for when you are looking for a more “one-stop-shop” sort of place online to be able to shop for a variety of products in an ethical way! There are actually quite a few amazing places that have popped up in the past couple of years and so I wanted to share them with you!
First up? Books!
Amazon originally started as a place to shop for books and there’s still a BIG push for shopping for books through Amazon. However, there IS an ethical alternative! I have many friends who have written books and pre-ordering books is actually a big deal for authors and publishers… I used to pre-order books through Amazon all the time, but this year I discovered Indie Bound! I know it’s been around a while, but I didn’t learn about it until this year so I figured others might not know about it either.
On Indie Bound, you simply put in your zip code / location and it will populate a list of small, locally owned bookstores near you! THEN, you can go directly to that bookstore to pre-order OR order the book you want! Not only are you taking a purchase away from Amazon, but also you are supporting a local book store! In fact, during the pandemic, I discovered an awesome locally owned bookstore near me that I now LOVE. It’s so easy for me to preorder or order a book I want through their site and then they call me when it’s ready and I go pick it up. They do deliver, but I actually love doing the curbside pickup option. In some cases, I’ve actually received my preordered book from my local bookstore *before* the book is even released!
The other way to shop for books online that supports local bookstores is through Bookshop! Bookshop is another great alternative to shopping for books on Amazon because you have access to basically every book there is and they directly support your local bookstore! It’s really awesome and incredibly easy to use.
Now, the other obvious category for using Amazon is just for, well, shopping in general. Anything from toothpaste and toothbrushes to toilet paper, clothing, etc. etc. You can basically find just about anything on Amazon.
In the past couple of years, a few businesses have popped up that have made a big difference in this area!
I actually had the founder of Simple Switch, Rachel Kois, on my podcast back in the spring! Click here if you want to go back and listen to that podcast episode! Simple Switch really has nearly EVERYTHING you could want to shop for ethically all in one place. You can get everything from womens, mens, and kids clothing to toothbrushes and toothpaste, to toilet paper, to belts, to luggage, to camping gear, to coffee and tea, snacks, candles, bed, bath… I mean… just about everything!
Rachel has done a phenomenal job with creating Simple Switch and truly has a vision and passion for making ethical shopping easier and more accessible. You shop for the items directly FROM SimpleSwitch so it all comes in one package / order. You can easily shop online at SimpleSwitch.org and you can use the promo coupon code PURCHASEWITHPURPOSE for 20% off your first order at checkout!
You can learn more about Simple Switch here:
I also had the founder of DoneGood, Cullen Schwarz, on my podcast a few years ago! You can listen to that interview here. DoneGood, is really a giant aggregator of ALL the ethical things around the internet. You can search by category you’re looking to shop and you can find different ethical businesses to shop from. Another cool thing DoneGood has is a browser extension that you can install on your web browser and it will give a little popup when you land on a site that will suggest an ethical alternative to shop from!
You can learn more about DoneGood here:
Now, I actually have a whole category in my Ethical Brand Directory that is specially for “variety shops and boutiques“ – this individual category features over 30+ businesses that carry MULTIPLE categories of items… not just clothing or not just jewelry. Many of these shops carry gifts, food, clothing, books, etc. So, you can easily check out that section for more ideas!
So there you have it! A couple of easy ways you can shop ethically online without going to Amazon! I hope that this is helpful. If there are any other specific categories of items that you’re looking for that you want to know how to shop for, please let me know in the comments. Or, if you’re looking for something specific that you buy on Amazon that you want to buy elsewhere, let me know that, too! I’m happy to help.
Here’s to using our purchasing power for good!