An Ode to Reusables: Connection Creates ChangeBy Faye Lessler |
We don’t make reusable cloth goods because we think they’re going to change the world—but we do think that GDS can be a positive force for community and joy.
"I grew up in Brazil, where my grandmother was a seamstress and our family was intimately connected to the daily rhythms of our community. I started GDS Cloth Goods because I wanted to honor my heritage, and because using reusables and sharing them with others feels aligned with the life I want to live."—Geana Sieburger, Founder and Designer of GDS Cloth Goods
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…Reconnect
Reusable items remind us to slow down and get connected. Daily rituals with reusable goods highlight our relationships, serving as a touchpoint between ourselves, others, and our planet.
We believe that there is power in the mundane. Small acts—like making a cup of coffee every morning or visiting the farmers market on weekends—encourage us to be more present. This presence helps us be more aware of the connections between us.
“Well-made reusables make me think about my grandmother. She and my mom embroidered our names on the cloths they used to wrap our school lunches, making sure I would get the sandwich with jam and cheese, not salami and cheese. Reusables for me are wrapped in a story of caring for the ones you love.”—Geana Sieburger, Founder and Designer of GDS Cloth Goods
The act of grinding the coffee beans, prepping the filter, and slowly pouring hot water over your cup is a reminder that you are connected to the farm where those beans grew, to the humans whose hands sewed the filter, and to the rivers that flowed from mountaintops into your tap. That sense of connection serves as a reminder that we’re responsible for each other.
Thoughtfully made, reusable products that serve our daily rituals are one way to bring more care into our lives. We care for one another by supporting fair labor and environmentally friendly practices, and we care for our planet by making sure that what we create is made to last.
We also take better care of ourselves through reusable rituals. Slowing down to make a cup of coffee or cook a fulfilling meal means focusing on what’s right in front of you, and learning to enjoy the moment. When we take the time to ground ourselves in ritual, we make more space for intention, connectivity, and rest.
Connections Create Change
We think there’s value in knowing where the objects in our lives come from. When we know the story of the things we use, we form a relationship with them.
“The ‘things’ in our lives aren’t just consumer products. They represent people’s lives, whole watersheds, animals, and the list goes on. Our products are stories, and I want to be able to choose stories of care and abundance over stories of extraction and harm.”—Geana Sieburger, Founder and Designer of GDS Cloth Goods
The objects that we use are made out of materials, labor, and time. The purchases we make have an impact on the world around us. Even if it’s a small change, reusables are one way to begin shifting our culture towards something better, something that looks more like justice and community care.
GDS goods are all made locally in the Bay Area in small batches. We source from field to factory, meaning that we work directly with the farmers who grow our cotton, the mills that weave it into fabric, and the factories that cut and sew each filter, apron, and towel. The people in our supply chain are our partners and we’re invested in supporting them while pushing for improvements in sustainability, wages, and working conditions on an ongoing basis.
Capitalism wants us to forget about the living beings that make up our supply chains. Capitalist systems value profit over all, which is why we live in a culture of single-use disposable plastics. Shifting our habits to prioritize reusable goods reflects a shift in our values. If we value community, fair labor, and environmental justice over profit, then we might find ourselves buying less, repairing more, sharing within our local communities, and getting creative to make do with what we already have. On a larger level, that means less production, less extraction, and less exploitation on this planet we call home.
Why We Choose Reusables
“I think reusable products are a great alternative to the myths so many of us have bought into. The myth that convenience, and cheapness are virtuous--that not having to spend time taking care of things is better.”—Geana Sieburger, Founder and Designer of GDS Cloth Goods
Are reusables more work than single-use? Yes. But using something that you need to take care of and pay attention to isn’t a “waste of time.” Taking care of an object reminds you of the hard work that’s required to create a life and home. Reusables invite you to see people, places, and things as less disposable.
Choosing reusable items over single-use products is about more than reducing what goes into the waste stream (though that’s important!). It’s about creating a sense of connection and kinship between us and our communities, our planet, and our inner self. When we change our culture on a micro-scale to become more connective and intentional, we pave the path for future sustainability.