Shop responsibly as you decorate your home

We are all familiar with the term ‘buy local’ and I’m sure that most of us support that philosophy when we are purchasing items for our home.

I have been of the mindset that if I am working to buy from locally owned proprietors and business owners that I have done my part to sustain the local economy but last week I was challenged to look at my spending on a deeper level.

I am bargain-driven, I revel in a good deal or sale price and consider it a victory to obtain the products I love either on sale or even on consignment.

There has been a challenge laid down for me (and you) to look beyond the shop front and the cheapest price and to discover where and how your product was made. The demand for inexpensive items has driven human trafficking into mind-blowing numbers and I for one am encouraged to spend my money on products which support fair trade and fair labour practices.

The easiest way to make sure your dollars are being spent on ethically and globally responsible products are to buy Canadian or North American made.

North America, in most cases, has higher standards for Occupational Health/Safety and of course enforced labour laws. When a product is sold at a drastically reduced price someone along the way has paid a price for that. When a manufacturer is forced to cut costs due to consumer demand they usually cut the labour force first as material costs generally cannot fluctuate – this results in workers receiving less than fair wages and substandard working conditions.

An example of this would be the comparison of buying hardwood, I have had clients challenge why the product I sell is $9/sq. ft. when they can purchase a seemingly identical product for $5/sq ft.

Consider this, a hardwood is grown and manufactured in Canada will be subject to reforestation laws, environmental restrictions during production, health and safety regulations, wage minimums and law enforced working conditions.

A hardwood produced in a country that does not have labour or environmental laws can be manufactured at a dear price including illegal child slavery, products which are produced with no safety standards and irresponsibility in harvesting wood.

Visit for information on your favorite products and stores.

When looking for products for your home, research not only the company history of where you are buying but what you are buying to ensure you are making an informed choice. Does the manufacturer or business support local charities, are they environmentally responsible and are they creating Canadian jobs with their products?

Are they actively involved in the community where they do business and are they giving their employees a fair opportunity to make a decent living? These questions are vital if sustainability and global consciousness are a part of your shopping goals.

‘House proud’ is a term we all use for a well finished, completely cared for home but I think it can go deeper than that. Be proud of items you have purchased knowing you have contributed to the lives of others as they struggle to make a way for themselves in this world.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at

Just Posted

Rebels lose 13th straight against Kamloops

Red Deer hasn’t won on home ice since Oct. 28th, 2017

Kings and Queens sweep Briercrest

RDC basketball is begining to gear up for the ACAC playoffs

WATCH: Setters Place officially opens in advance of the 2019 Canada Games

Red Deer is one step closer to the 2019 Canada Winter Games the opening of Setters Place

City council approves operating budget to a tune of $364 million

The 2.02% hike includes 1% for capital investment and 0.11% for the carbon tax

Province not providing aid to Red Deer for its June storm

Cause of storm wasn’t ‘extraordinary’ according to province

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates present visions to Red Deerians

Party members will vote for their new leader on Feb. 7th

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

Most Read