There are many ways to celebrate Earth Week and highlight the importance of living a more sustainable life. EcoPlum, an online fashion and gift item store, is holding its first pop-up shop with Environment Furniture in New York City, lasting from April 16 to April 22. EcoPlum will then move its pop-up shop to the New York Green Festival, which runs from April 24 to April 26.
Wanting to know more about EcoPlum and the pop-up shop, I talked to the company's CEO and founder, Gia Machlin.
What exactly is EcoPlum? “It's an online store with a full range of fashion and gift items, where the selection is fashionable, stylish and always sustainable,” Machlin told me.
Machlin started EcoPlum in 2008 when she found there weren't a lot of shopping options for sustainable goods. "There was a lot of greenwashing going on in 2008, when we launched EcoPlum,” she said, "so we were very careful about making sure we had very strict standards that could be defined."
Driving in her car with her husband, it dawned on Machlin that there weren't any green rewards programs for shopping sustainably. So, EcoPlum started one of the first green shopping rewards programs. Through the EcoChipz Rewards Program, shoppers earn points for what they buy and can either redeem them for coupons or donations to environmental groups EcoPlum supports, which include the Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund and 350.org. Shoppers earn one EcoChipz point for every dollar they spend on the site and can redeem them once they have earned 150 points.
About a year ago, EcoPlum met folks from Environment Furniture at a Green Drinks event held in New York City. (Green Drinks is an organization that holds monthly meetings for sustainability professionals.) Later that year, EcoPlum approached Environment Furniture about doing a pop-up shop in their store, and the furniture retailer thought it was a great idea. EcoPlum has been going to the New York Green Festival, run by Green America, as a participant for years. But this is the first year they will have a pop-up shop at the festival.
Machlin personally curates all of the products found on the website. She looks for artisans that are either Fair Trade certified or made in the U.S., with a specific focus on items that are made out of recycled, upcycled or reclaimed materials. There are numerous examples of sustainable products from the thousands of items on EcoPlum, such as tumblers and glasses made out of old liquor bottles from the Las Vegas Strip.
Image credit: EcoPlum
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.