Conscious Consumerism With The Girl in Calico

When you visit you are greeted by a series of beautifully simple, yet perfectly crafted images. As you scroll through the thoughtfully chosen handmade and vintage items, you become aware that each plays a role in the mindful and seasonally-aware lifestyle that the brand promotes. Their aesthetic is like a breath of fresh air, leaving you feeling more in touch with the natural world around you. 

Kaetlyn Kennedy is the woman behind Calico and Twine, and I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her inspiration, goals, and interest in conscious consumerism.

© Calico and Twine

To start off, tell us a little about yourself! 

I'm Kaetlyn, I'm 22 years old, and I currently reside in Ohio! I run a product shop called Calico and Twine, full time, out of my home! It's a dream come true as I've always wanted to work for myself while using my creative gifts in the process. 

Tell us about your business, Calico and Twine, what's the story behind the brand? 

Calico and Twine actually formed out of a rebrand of my previous Etsy shop, Tumbleweed and Twine. I had been selling hand painted wooden signs, which I really enjoyed doing, but eventually stopped feeling like me or my style. At the time I was getting more into sustainability and conscious consumerism and wanted to curate a shop that reflected both of those things, not just selling cute home decor. Calico and Twine was born in mid-summer 2018 and has grown ever since. We now sell a variety of vintage clothing and goods, as well as lifestyle goods that help people live simpler, more sustainable lives. Our goal is not to encourage purchasing things that aren't needed, but to give people sustainable options for things that are needed in everyday life. 

One of the key values of Calico and Twine is being a conscious consumer, what does this mean to you? Do you have any advice on some simple ways in which we can be conscious consumers? 

Being a conscious consumer means that purchases are thoughtful and intentional, rather than cheap and impulsive. For so long, as consumers, we have had the mindset of "oh I really don't need this, and I may never wear it, but it's only $5 so I can't pass that up!"That leaves us in a never ending cycle of shopping in a way that firstly, adds up and costs us a lot of money over time, secondly, supports unethical and unsustainable fast fashion, and lastly, leaves us with a closet full of clothes while still feeling like we have nothing to wear. The same thing can happen with any items that we bring into the home. Instead, when we act as conscious consumers, we give ourselves time to reflect on our current wants or needs and ask ourselves, "Do I really need this? Do I really want this? Is there a sustainable version that I can purchase? Is there an ethically made option that I can purchase? Is there an option that will last we longer and be worth the investment? etc., etc. Conscious consumerism is buying slowly and buying less, while convenient consumerism is buying more and buying impulsively. 

© Calico and Twine

My best advice to begin implementing this way of consumerism is always to start small. It can be easy to feel like you need to completely uproot and change all your belongings and way of shopping, but it can easily become overwhelming. Start small by asking yourself the questions above the next time you need to make a purchase. Sleep on it or wait it out a week if possible. You may notice that most of the things we think we want or need to have will be forgotten in a week or two if we wait to purchase. That's a sure sign that it's not really necessary to bring into your home. If the thought or need is still nagging you after thinking about it for a while, then it's time to make a purchase! 

What does a typical day running Calico and Twine look like? 

A typical day begins with a slow morning. I love slow mornings where I have time to sip my coffee, read my devotions, meditate, or exercise if I desire. For me, being able to carve out this time is one of the best parts about working for myself. I'm able to create my own schedule and work when it's best for me and rest when it's best for me. 

After my slow mornings, I typically start out my work day on the computer and my phone, answering emails, comments, DM's, and other admin work that needs doing. I then take some time to do creative work such as taking pictures, filming videos, styling outfits, etc. I'm almost always most creative in the morning, so I always try to give myself free time to work on whatever feels right! 

© Calico and Twine

Afternoons look different for me depending on the day, but I typically continue with shop things, whether it be going out to forage vintage pieces, writing listings, social media work, running errands, writing blogs, etc. 

My workday usually ends around 5 or 6. Because I work from home, tidying up my space and putting away all work-related things at the end of the day is a must, or else I won't be able to turn my mind off! After everything is tidied, I make dinner, hang out with my family, and relax by reading a book or watching some TV.

What do you envision for your business going forward? 

It always seems a little against the current when I say that I would like to stay small. I've never really had dreams of becoming a huge corporation with factories or warehouses. I want to stay small and sustainable. I'd love to continue being a home-based family business, an maybe have a small general store on my property when I move to the country in the future, where I can continue to sell vintage goods, produce from the garden, teas, and apothecary goods. 

© Calico and Twine

You mention seasonal living many times on your blog, what are your favorite ways you practice this in spring? 

Seasonal living is a huge part of my life. It's really helped me stay present and grateful for the current season instead of wishing for a different one. In the springtime, my favorite way to practice seasonal living is to get outside and plant a garden. Winters are often long and hard in Ohio, so to finally be able to stretch my bones, get my hands in the dirt, and plant seeds that will become a harvest in the coming months connects me to nature and grounds me in a nourishing way. 

A special thanks to Kaetlyn Kennedy for taking the time to share the inside scoop on her story and brand! Make sure to check out her Instagram, @girlincalico, and website Calico and Twine, for more amazing content!