“Your attitude towards money is something you learn growing up.” Kelly utters, as she shuffles through her back pack to lend me a pen made out of recycled water bottles. Kelly Van Patter is a radical consumer, she goes out of her way to purchase and support economically conscious and green businesses. She comments on the plastic cup at the cafe we are served water in, “I try not to perpetuate the use of plastic, unless it is recycled, I prefer glass.” Kelly has history with interior and production design where she helps people curate and establish their living space. She is using that influence to urge people into becoming smarter consumers. Not only does she work as an interior designer, she has a eco-friendly design and decor boutique and online shop Kelly Green Home.
Kelly’s passion stems from her past experience on the set of the hit show Survivor, where she worked in developing nations. “We saw so much trash on the beaches when we arrived we had to hire full time crews to clean the shores. It was gross and made me sad.” In light of these experiences she knew something had to change and Kelly Green Home was born upon her return.
At point of sale you’ll see a portion of her ethos; “consume with a conscience, think globally, act locally, lead by example” these are things we have all heard but don’t always live by. It can be tough to live a sustainable life in a world of convenience because the easy answers are disposable. “I’d rather purchase from a small sustainable company than a big corporation.” It is because Kelly goes out of her way to source these products, you don’t have to. It is actually the way the retail industry should work. Kelly optimizes her role as a and tastemaker and also serves as a resource to consumers looking to support green businesses.
The irony is that the system is cyclic, the more businesses that choose to support sustainable models, there more demand there will be. The cost goes down and becomes more accessible to more people and so on. The key is considering more than the upfront cost when we make purchases, which ties back to Kelly, “People complain about paying a little extra for sustainable products but shopping has become a hobby in this country and we don’t need it.”
The great thing about Kelly Green Home is that it is filled with items that people would ordinarily buy anyway. It is putting sustainable options in an accessible place where people can shop without having to trove blogs and hunt for small business. The web store is the same way. It is a more convenient way to get things that you need and be make a conscious decision about what values we are supporting. ” Voting with your dollar is so important. Every time I spend money, it can not be frivolous and wasteful.” The not-so-ironic thing about buying things that don’t last is that it makes your money as disposable as the cheap items you’ve bought.
So when you need a salt shaker or a set of plates consider stopping by the Kelly Green website before one the big box stores. When I ask what people can do to reduce their impact Kelly speaks about being a conscious consumer, ” inform yourself, you can’t just go to Home Depot and pick up whatever is on the shelf. There is always a way to use things that reduce impact.”
Kelly wants you to buy the things you would normally buy but take a second before you swipe. Consider where the item came from before you, and where it is going after you are done with it. If the answer isn’t one that is beneficial to the planet, how could it be beneficial to you?