Each year at the dawn of the new year rising, we make commitments: to live better and healthier, love better with an awakened awareness of the moment, commit to causes that we hold dear and continue the good fight…
All through the last year and so much more obvious during our holiday shopping season, we needed to purchase something, for someone, for ourselves. We needed to put holiday food on the table to celebrate. And we will continue to do this throughout the year, the need to purchase, the need to give, the need to eat.
Statistic show that majority of people look to brands that do good in society and the world. For those awakened and more conscious, the question of what the brand stands for, what it embodies, who it helps is what supports their drive to purchase.
What I have seen in ECHOstore is that there is an evolution from purchasing for the CAUSE to that of PURPOSE. When we opened our stores six years back, we took in anything that could help people and so we embraced CAUSES: product made by the women in correctional jails, by deaf mutes or even products that support breast cancer patients. We supported the WWF, PETs, Fair Trade and all other groups. These made for attractive cause purchasing at our stores. Even corporations took our products in bulk! But I could already see the looming there shadow of cause-fatigue…too many causes, too much problems to solve!!
Slowly as ECHOstore matured, I started observing that we were moving towards PURPOSE: live healthier in a chemical-free environment while eating clean wholesome food, support the environment via traditional or slow food farming, techniques and processes, traceability, eating local, help elevate poverty of our small producers by purchasing local products, supporting our culture against globalization trends, of wanting the next generation and the young to be healthier and more aware. It is this purpose that we share with our loyal consumers and patrons, our licensees who embrace exactly what we do, all believe in us and help us by patronizing our stores and products. It is this authentic purpose we have when we take on developing from ground-up our small producers, sourcing for the truly traditional ingredients, embracing our cultural indigenous communities products.
Every holiday meal, we three Reena, Chit and myself, constantly ask ourselves: how can we continue to be authentic, truthful, honest? How can people see that what we do is because we have a social purpose and not look only to profit? How can we, small store and brand that we are, be the platform, the store that can represent the many other miniscule ones around? I believe the best strategies and creative pursuits must be rooted in purpose for this is the very soul that emerges that inspires our development programs and business behavior. Sometimes I feel it is like we are fighting it out in the market place, in the minds and hearts of the consumers. So ok, it is a good fight.
But why must we commit to this fight so early on in the year? Perhaps because we can see how the years progressing have made society move towards materialism and ego pursuits that support economic trends. Because we see that as countries integrate, we the small may be left behind. Perhaps because the world is getting dirtier and more polluted, more people getting sick, newer illnesses and viruses arising. Or that our local culture is slowly dying as the economics of life demand that body be fed even before spirit can be expressed
So our good fight continues to be about sustainable living. Not in some Pollyanna way of living, but in a way that understands the balancing of the kind of world we are living in. We will keep talking about this as we continue to be plant our organic vegetables, work in our development programs and disrupt the norm of formats, policies and practices that do not seem to work anymore. We are helping change a world culture and it is about asking more and more to join us. To join forces so we who are the minority can speak with a louder voice.
And so at the start of the new year, this is our renewed commitment. To fight the good fight with purpose.