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Greenwashing. You’ve heard the term. It’s when an organization spreads disinformation to appear sustainable and environmentally responsible without being so.
Jennifer Young began getting frustrated every time she ran into this problem while trying to be an ethical consumer.
“’Hey, here’s an eco-friendly product,’” she describes of various companies’ marketing. “And it’s like, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s not really green.’”
This, combined with being in a moment of transition—“My youngest son was off to college, I was no longer at the job I thought I would be at for the rest of my life,”—led Young to create What’s Good, an eco-friendly online store boasting a variety of products at fair prices.
The way What’s Good works is simple. You’re looking for greener products? What’s Good is your one-stop-shop.
Every product offered at What’s Good is personally vetted by Young—but that’s not all.
“We also take a look at the makers and the small businesses we’re buying from,” she explains. “What is their corporate responsibility? Are they giving back to their community?”
Young also makes sure her company is vetted and giving back. What’s Good has a commitment to 1% for the Planet and donates to a new organization monthly, from the ACLU, to the Equal Justice Initiative and more. When advisors warned Young she may want more of a profit before donating like this, she pushed back.
“It’s my business,” she recounts. “This is where we lay the foundation for what we’re going to do moving forward. Could we put more money in our pocket? Yeah, but we’re giving back and we’re working with makers committed to the environment and social justice in their communities, so it’s a win-win.”
Young says small businesses are “role models.” She describes these environments and their cultures as domino effects. When employees experience an equitable, just, and sustainable work environment, they take that home and model it for others.
“You hear that people say we vote with our dollars,” she says. “Well, small business owners vote with their company culture. Small businesses can create change, not just in the product you're making, but in the way you run your business.”
Ready to get shopping yet? We know, we know, but hold on—there's more good on the way. Each first order comes with a sample packet of monarch milkweed seeds in support of the organization Save Our Monarchs.
“I think it's important—when you're dipping your toe in trying products that are not traditional—to be able to sample them.”
If it sounds like Young runs her business based on her own beliefs and desires, that’s not far off.
She admits part of the inspiration behind What’s Good was a selfish want to find eco-friendly products and not buy from corporations like Amazon or Walmart. Then she thought, why not share these finds and collect them in one place?
You don’t need to be a green expert immediately to buy green products—or ever.
As Young says, not everyone is “ready to go to soap nuts in their washing machines.” Instead, you could try soap strips, eco-friendly powder detergent, and more.
That’s why What’s Good offers a broad variety of products in numerous areas.
“You have a choice,” Young enthuses. “And choice is really important to us. Someday we’ll have huge capital, every product we offer will have three choices.”
Until then, shopping at What’s Good remains an easy and ethical way to find products that are kinder to the planet.
“There are days that I wake up and I'm like, ‘What are we doing?’ Young admits. “Especially with things like plastic-free July, it’s so challenging to try and live in our culture without plastic.
“You get overwhelmed and bombarded with, you know, the planet, the planet, and that creates a lot of anxiety. So I say: ‘Take it easy, just do one green thing.’ I really, really believe that if all of us are doing a little here and there, it's better than none of us doing nothing. And I think it becomes a lifestyle, you start with one thing, and then you move on to the next."