Swapping clothes happened because saving money made sense. The happy consequence is that it was one more way for us cousins to stay connected. We weren't poor, but Nana was careful with money. My parents blame Nana for making me the hippie... I mean, eco-conscious person that I am. :)
My daughters were born in 1987 and 1989. My siblings and most of my friends did not have children at the time. Some of my cousins had children, but we were now spread out and didn’t see each other as often. I realized that our old tradition of families and neighbors trading clothes had all but gone away.
My concept was a shop where parents could meet, exchange clothing and share their parenting experiences. One day, I called my Mom, and with a very excited voice, I told her that women were breastfeeding on the floor, while their children were playing in the playhouse. She said, "that sounds, well... good, I guess?" But she knew, this was what I had envisioned (at this time, my shop was called Mother & Child). I was very happy. We had begun to create a community of parents who cared about each other and the planet.
30 years later, we’re known as M&C and have grown to offer clothing and goods for teens and adults, as well and children and parents-to-be. Our customers include children and grandchildren of our original customers.
The focus is bigger, yet exactly the same: Buy less. Quality over quantity. Re-use and then pass it on. Shopping secondhand allows us to save money and clothing from landfills, and puts money back into the pockets of our consignors.
It's possible that there is already enough stuff on the planet. Maybe we need to stop creating stuff from virgin resources. Let's look at what already exists and find ways to re-use or re-invent the stuff that already exists. Be aware of how your actions affect the community, the planet and future generations.
This milestone has made me so thankful and hopeful. Thankful for everyone that is part of the M&C community and the difference that every purchase makes both globally and locally. Hopeful for the opportunities we have to make positive change in the world.
Thank you for being part of something bigger than ourselves. -Karen Goddard