Privilege Blog

Introducing Abe’s Market – Living Lightly On The Earth

If we’re talking values and virtue, as occasionally we seem to do, I have to talk about living lightly on the planet. In my house we compost, we recycle. That’s easy, our county offers the services and we comply. I also try to buy green. That can be trickier.

The commercial world took a turn without looking, I think. In the interests of feeding and housing large numbers of people, we invented mass production. Good news, bad news. Material suppliers focused on supplying more features at less cost across multiple supply chains. Unfortunately, they began to incorporate practices and ingredients that, as it turns out, harm the world.

And thus, us.

This is elementary stuff, news to none of you. But it’s not always elementary to make the decisions that let our economic weight effect change. I’ve often wished there were a phone app I could ask, “Plastic or paper?” “Made in Indonesia or in Poland?” “Do I really need to unplug the toaster when I leave the house?” But in the absence of EcoAnswers®, we might take a look at Abe’s Market.

Started by two friends with backgrounds in online retail, technology, and marketing, Abe’s Market wants to be “the online marketplace for great natural products.” They source environmentally-sensitive goods from small businesses, and remarket them online. They’ve done a bang-up job with the site’s user experience. The interface is quick to the touch, images well-presented. Search could use a little work, but there’s always Google.

I do love well-designed software.

Above you’ll see a few of the kind of beauty and house products I like and would use myself. Some of these are on sale, shipping is free for any order totaling over $25.

  1. Lavender shaving gel. Say no more. High WASP men make a religion out of shaving, High WASP women just whisper the hair away. Right?
  2. A duvet cover constructed of organic cotton and vegetable dyes.
  3. Glass water bottle. Perfect to leave in the car. Apparently sun’s heat can leach chemicals into some plastic bottles, and we all know about the waste from the disposable sort.
  4. Mascara. I use Dr. Hauschka at the moment but it’s expensive. This is only $9.50.
  5. Organic Darjeeling tea. I cannot live without tea.
  6. Dish soap, in bergamot. I don’t like sweet smells when I’m washing dishes, so let’s give a warm welcome to bergamot’s astringency.

I shop a lot at Whole Foods. However, although their success has been good for the entire industry of organic foods, and sustainable sourcing, I think by now we know that letting one big corporation own a market serves no one in the long run. Also known as, markets fail in monopolies. So I would like to support another national branded source for environmentally sensitive goods. Thoughts?



Affiliate links may provide commissions. I should note that I am also experimenting with affiliate platforms and interfaces, because you can take the girl out of  software but you can’t take software out of the girl. Thank you.

12 Responses

  1. I’m not so fond of Whole Foods myself, but they certainly fulfill a need in places where there are a dearth of locally owned natural foods markets or, better yet, farmer’s markets and/or food co-ops or small natural foods markets (we’re fortunate to have several of each in our area).

    The site is quite good, but you’re right – they need an advanced search option, but search functions are often the last thing retailers worry about on their ecommerce site. A shame really.

  2. You must have known that I leave my water bottle in the car, so I always have it when I go to the Y. Until now my concern has been whether it had black stuff growing on the rim. I see a glass bottle in my future.

  3. I’ve just recently discovered Abe’s Market as well. I love the idea of a curated, trusted source for all-natural products. I also love that each product line has a “story” and we can read up on the all the vendors featured on the site.

    But best of all, I love your cheeky disclosure!

  4. This seems like a great site, and I love the smell of bergamot too. Wonderful baby clothes too! Thanks for the introduction.

  5. I love Abe’s Market! Great customer service and nice site (agreed about the search function, though).

    I avoid Whole Foods in our town because we have a ton of other options: a well-stocked if over-priced co-op, TJs and Natural Grocers (my personal fave and cheaper than all the rest). That being said, I am glad I have so many options, and that WF is there for me when I need a large selection of dairy-free ice cream :)

  6. I shop at Ralph’s Market because it’s close to my house. The closest non-chain organic food market is 15 miles away so it’s a trade-off. You’ve probably read this long ago, but it’s a good article:

    The consumer choice that leaves the lightest carbon footprint is not buying things you don’t need. Shaving was irritating my skin so I stopped. No expensive razors, or special soaps required now. I don’t wear mascara but “only” $9.50 is still a lot of money to me, being on a fixed income with a kid starting grad school. We’ll keep using the comforter I bought twenty years ago. It’s still warm, if a bit shabby-chic now. I do buy tea, organic if I can find it. I still use my SIGG sports water bottle that I bought years ago. It’s made of aluminum so it won’t break. I can’t see any point in replacing it but it’s nice to know that there are options. Buying vintage is always good because it’s a form of recycling.

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