Beauty subscription boxes aren’t really my cup of green tea. We’ve been approached a few times to feature them on EWP and each time I’m thinking, Ugh those beauty samples in single-use packaging are so friggin’ wasteful! I don’t care how nice-smelling the organic moisturiser is, any trial-size beauty and skincare items in plastic packaging just rub me up the wrong way. Why must the earth pay the cost of our obsession with physical appearance and convenience?
Thankfully the Socially Conscious Club‘s “Socially Conscious Box” is not your typical subscription box. Founded by fellow Australian entrepreneur, Camille Damer, this ethical subscription box service features ethically-made, socially-conscious and environmentally-friendly products sourced from conscious changemakers, charities and social enterprises that are committed to doing good in the world.
When Camille reached out, I noticed she closed her email with ‘Love and kindness’. She’s warm and genuine, I thought. I quickly jumped online and researched her business and noticed she was sourcing supplies from social enterprise Who Gives a Crap, a toilet brand I adore so much we’ve featured them twice on EWP. Browsing her website, a title of one blog post caught my attention, “Why Feminist Isn’t A Dirty Word!“. After reading the rather detailed post (which celebrated many feminist movement victories), I thought, “Camille is my kind of female entrepreneur!” Suffice to say, it was a Hell yes! to collaborating with her.
Now the business offers customers three different subscription plans:
- one month $60 per box,
- three months $55 per box, and
- six months $50 per box
Each box features different items and doesn’t contain the same number of items each month, although it’s guaranteed you won’t receive less than three. The focus is on quality, not quantity. Something I ascribe to myself given my embrace of the minimalist lifestyle.
As part of our partnership, I was sent the December 2017 Socially Conscious box. I was excited to receive it; the shallow part of me was just super keen to no longer be a subscription box virgin ha!
100% Carbon Neutral Delivery
The business uses Sendle’s wonderful 100% carbon neutral delivery service to ship the box. Another box tick. Although in this situation, delivery hit a few snags. Not their fault though. I suspect the issues stem from where I live. Our farm is located in a regional area of Australia, an hour away from the nearest town and in a suburb where local couriers don’t travel due to the vast distance. I typically collect parcels from the courier depot and sometimes our nearest post office if a courier decides to leave it there. If a courier does leave it at the post office, it’s the responsibility of the post office to leave a card in my letterbox notifying me that it’s available for collection. But just my luck that no card was left.
Now Sendle could have sent me an email with collection details but as I receive so many emails (hundreds a week) it’s hard to keep track of them and it’s possible I overlooked it. Luckily living in a small town where everyone knows everyone, I had faith it would turn up. And it did. I was able to collect the parcel from the local post office because the ladies there had set it aside for me! If you live in a metropolitan area, you’ll likely avoid this ordeal altogether, and if you’re not running a crazy busy business like me, you’ll likely have no issues with receiving or locating Sendle’s email reminder either.
Now my first criticism of a product sent my way usually occurs when I open the postal sachet. You’d be surprised how many ‘conscious’ brands send me items in super-pretty packaging but fail to consider the environmental impact of it (I actually have some organic beauty products sitting on my desk right now, placed in expensive-looking white and Tiffany-bluish cardboard boxes shrink-wrapped in plastic, tsk tsk). But I needn’t curse Socially Conscious Club’s packaging. The box itself is made from recycled cardboard and I later learned (when referring back to the website), that the box is sourced from a local environmentally-conscious printing company in Perth.
What I Received
Flicking open the box lid, I came face-to-face with nine amazing items laid out on shredded recycled paper. They were:
- Oz Fair Trade Recycled Bombshell Bottle Opener – Made by Laos artisans using bombshells dropped during the Vietnam War. Also came with a handmade origami crane.
- Lemon Canary Travel Tin Candle – Handcrafted by founder Jasmin Kechel, the candle smells divine. A portion of sales is donated to a different charity each time sales reach $3000.
- Socially Conscious Club Bamboo Toothbrush – Made from bamboo, it is a sustainable alternative to non-biodegradable plastic toothbrushes. A toothbrush is also donated to a homeless person in Australia.
- Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper – Profits from the sale of this eco-friendly forest-free toilet paper brand are donated to organisations that help build toilet infrastructure in the developed world.
- Alaffia Body Lotion – Made from ethically-traded virgin coconut oil, great for a bit of skin pampering after a session in the garden.
- Shop Ethical! Pocket Guide – This organisation rocks and their small booklet is ah-mazing and offers so many tips for living ethically.
- Biona Organic Jelly Dinos – These lollies made from organic ingredients are tasty. So tasty, I pretty much ate them all after I took these photos!
- Hampstead Tea Organic Spiced Karma Chai Tea – Tea that is fair-trade, biodynamic and organic. Some of my favourite adjectives.
- Two blank cards made from recycled paper – Will come in useful as I do love sending written letters and cards.
How It Gives Back
In the box was also a ‘welcome’ letter printed on recycled paper with a paragraph about each item describing how it was made, who made it, its retail price and how the product is helping to create positive change. To help forge the connection between customer, maker and outcome, the letter also provides a quick rundown of how the box ‘gives back’. I particularly like that $1 from each box is loaned to Kiva, a non-profit organisation that allows people and businesses (in this case, Socially Conscious Club) to lend money to low-income entrepreneurs at zero percent interest to facilitate business growth and help alleviate poverty.
This ethical subscription box is ideal for those who love road-testing new consciously made goods. The items are practical and will come in useful. Most of the items are in packaging that can be reused and recycled, even the lolly packaging can be recycled if placed in a soft-plastics recycling bin.
It also makes an ideal gift for friends and family, particularly if you’re keen to introduce them to ethical alternatives and want to encourage them to consume more consciously. The story behind each ethical item is engaging and will hopefully pique their interest enough to want to keep buying from the charity or organisation, long after they’re done with the initial item.
The business also offers one-off box options for guys (“Giving Guy Box”) and girls ( “Giving Girl Box”) if you prefer to buy or gift gender-specific boxes. There’s also the Pamper Box and Bliss Box if you’re looking to treat yourself!
I really respect Camille’s genuine desire to make a positive difference in the world, and the planning, research and thought she has put towards her business model. I’m impressed not only with the ethical contents of my box, but the raw energy and passion she contributes to the social and environmental movement.
I hope after reading this, you’ll consider getting (or gifting) an ethical box subscription from Socially Conscious Club and join me in supporting this inspiring Australian female founder.
Disclosure: This product review was sponsored by Socially Conscious Club. All opinions are held by that of the writer’s. Facts and other specific product information checked with the company. Whether reviews are sponsored or not, they are free from commercial influence or bias. For more information about our policies, click here.