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Sustainable Furniture

Sustainable Furniture

Sharing my complete sustainable furniture guide with you on the blog.  I get asked about sustainable furniture a lot, what is environmentally friendly and so on.  I wanted to do a deep dive into what sustainable furniture is, what brands offer sustainable furniture, how furniture is eco-friendly and if there is affordable sustainable furniture brands.  There is so much to consider when looking for sustainable furniture and I want to make sure and cover every last detail so you can make an informed decision when you are looking for options for your home.  Another term that fits sustainable furniture it eco-friendly furniture. I'll be talking more about how they are intertwined below.

Sustainability involves so many aspects of a business!

 

What Is Sustainable Furniture?

 

Let's first answer the question, what is sustainable furniture.  Sustainable furniture is furniture that keeps the environment in mind and is thoughtful about how it is made, where materials are sourced and the impact it has on people and the world.  

This is the next generation of furniture.  Just as we consider what we buy when it comes to our clothing, food, so is the same with furniture.  I believe this is the next wave in the sustainable movement.  Eco-friendly furniture is another term that I like to use when talking about sustainable furniture.  When we refer to something as eco-friendly it means it's safe for the environment.  Often this can be misinterpreted.  Although something might be safe for people, does not means it's safe for the environment.  Eco-friendly at it's core is ensuring that from packaging to production, the product is safe for the environment and taking measures to make sure it is.  I believe truly sustainable furniture companies do that.

Also, with sustainability comes safer furniture.  When furniture is more thoughtfully made and sourced ingredients and materials are considered much more.  Through the process a cleaner and safer product is made.  Did you know that when it comes to cotton, organic farming produces 46% less C02 than conventional farming practices?  

This is one thing that sets sustainable furniture apart.  Not only is the process safer for the environment but also for the consumer as well.  If you start to dig a little deeper in furniture it's easy to start to see how toxic it can actually be.  Chemicals found in furniture today are downright horrible for the body and yet we can be potentially exposing ourselves to them everyday.  Some of these ingredients are, polybrominated diphenyl, phthalates(1), formaldehyde(2), benzene(3), acetaldehyde(4), vinyl acetate(5), hexabromocyclododecane (6), perfluorooctanoic acid(7), perchloroethylene(8), and trichloroethylene(9).  These chemicals pose a serious threat to our bodies from being known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, skin irritants, causing reproductive issues, respiratory issues, nervous system damage, and more.  As the furniture gets used, these chemicals come out into the air, settle into dust, and land on the floor.  We are not only touching them and being exposed as we sit on the furniture, or touch it but also from air we breathe.  Babies and toddlers have the greater chance of being exposed as they are smaller and are constantly on the ground, crawling and touching things.  

Sustainable furniture tells a story.

“Several studies suggest associations between exposure to some flame retardants and poorer neurodevelopment in children,” Asa Bradman, associate director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley. (10)

Flame retardants started being added to furniture in 1975 by California after the California Flammability Standard was formed.  This standard set a new precedent for all furniture companies as many started to adopt it and add flame retardants to their furniture.  Companies didn't want to have to make specific furniture just for California and different furniture for other states.  Therefore flame retardants were added to any furniture contains foam.  In 2014, lawmakers realized that the flame retardants weren't needed, however, there have been no ban on flame retardants being used still as most furniture you purchase will still have the flame retardants on it. 

Flame retardants are just one of the big heavy hitters when it comes to harmful chemical exposure from furniture. There are so many more chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis because of our furniture.  This is one of the reasons I love digging into sustainable furniture.  It takes all of this into consideration from planet to consumer.  

I want to share some more topics that make sustainable furniture different than conventional furniture:

  • Supply Chain
  • Ethical Practices/Labor Practices
  • Material Sourcing
  • Sustainable/Green Business Practices

 

Sustainable furniture requires focused sourcing and creation.

 

 

Supply Chain

If you're not familiar with a supply chain, it is the start to finish of a product.  How a product gets made.  This takes into account, the sourcing of the materials, the manufacturing, all the people involved in making it happen, to how it's organized- every resource used to get a product to a consumer.  With the advancement in technology in the last 20 years sustainable supply chains have become more and more the way of the future and are almost expected among consumers.  I love this!  In the past supply chain was more of an afterthought to a product.  However, now consumers are asking questions and wanting more transparency.  There are many facets a company can focus on when considering creating a sustainable supply chain.  One such area is how the supply chain and production is going to affect the environment.  For example, how can a company successfully source their materials from a sustainable farmer who is giving back to the land, while also being cruelty-free?  This is something that sustainable furniture companies have to consider when thinking about their supply chain.  More questions are being asked by the consumers and they're wanting to know all the details of the supply chain and what that looks like.

It's not enough to source wool used to make furniture, a sustainable furniture brand must tell the story of how it was sourced from farmer, to region, if the employees were compensated fairly and how it actually got to the manufacturer.  The details all matter!  As I mentioned earlier with the help of technology sustainable supply chains are becoming more and more prevalent.  Technology is the best way for companies to accurately analyze their supply chain from start to finish and see what actually is working and how they can improve overall.  It's an exciting time to see companies step up to the plate and improve their supply chain to make it more eco-friendly and sustainable overall.  This is one area that makes sustainable furniture unique, the supply chain matters and is considered!

Sustainable furniture gives back.

 

Ethical Practices/Labor Practices

When it comes to ethical practices sustainable furniture companies are going above and beyond to ensure that all aspects of a business are supported through ethical practices.  From how the customer is treated, to how the worker is compensated, to being honest when it comes to sales, ethical practices including the business as a whole.  Ethical practices also include how a company considers their mark on the environment and how they are helping to lessen the impact they have on the environment too.  They are uploading themselves to a higher standard of conduct to ensure not only are they using ethics when it comes to people, but also how their company affects the environment around them.  

Labor practices go hand in hand with ethical practices.  If a company sets up a standard of ethical practices to adhere too, it's often going to include what they deem safe for working conditions and pay within the company.  Something that falls right under labor practices.  It's easy to see what type of labor practices a company has in place after reviewing their ethical practices.  Knowing how a company views labor practices is paramount since it determines how workers are compensated, how their working conditions are and more.  When it comes to labor practices in sustainable furniture it's important to look for ethical standards that a company is adhering too.  Then it will be clear how they are prioritizing labor practices within their company.  For example, you could look at a companies ethical practice standards and better understand if they are putting the workers needs and environment first.  This ensures you're getting a truly sustainable product from start to finish!

Material Sourcing

Where the material is sourced is very important when it comes to sustainable furniture.  Is it being sourced from around the world where the cost and footprint is great because of shipping and distribution?  Is it sourced from a farm that doesn't use pesticides and also is uphloding ethical practices of their own?  These are all things to consider when looking at material sourcing.  Responsibly sourced is another term you may come across when shopping for sustainable furniture.  The material may be clean but is it responsibly sourced, meaning as a whole there are no negative effects on people and the environment through the process.

Sustainable/Green Practices

Things to look for when it comes to sustainable/Green Practices-

  • Partnership with employees- Share the mission and sustainability goals with your employees.  This also helps to ensure there is accountability within the company to uphold green practices.
  • Water and Electric Conservation- Is the company actively looking to be sustainable when it comes to water and electric use.
  • Recycling- Does the company recycle?  Is it recycling furniture?  What about paper products, light bulbs, electronics, etc.
  • Sustainable Company Policies- Are their sustainability practices clearly defined and shown on websites and easy to find.
  • Chemical/Waste Management- How is a company lessening the overall chemicals being used in production and managing the waste in a sustainable matter. 
  • Education- This is an important one.  How are they educating the consumer when it comes to sustainability and not only what they are doing but what we as consumers can do as well.
  • Material- Again it's important to consider how the fabric and material are sourced when it comes to sustainable furniture.  Is the fabric doused in flame retardants, formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals that are not only dangerous for people but also for the environment?

 

Now that you have a better understanding of sustainable furniture let's dive into sustainable furniture brands.  Some common sustainable furniture questions I'll be answering:

  • Where can I buy sustainable furniture?
  • What is sustainable wood furniture?
  • Affordable sustainable furniture?
  • Sustainable furniture company materials?
  • Is IKEA Eco-friendly?

We are going to tackle some of the most prominent questions surrounding sustainable furniture so you can be informed as you shop!

Where can I buy sustainable furniture-

While there weren't that many companies in the past when it came to sustainable furniture, the tides are changing and now more than ever there are so many more brands to choose from.  I'm going to list them below, and share what makes the brand sustainable and sets them apart from other sustainable furniture brands.  Some of these brands I've experienced first hand through buying their furniture, I'll note that as well.

West Elm is making waves when it comes to sustainability practices.

 

West Elm

This is a company I do have experience with when it comes to sustainable furniture.  Not only are they are a well known commercial brand, but they are making waves in the sustainability department.  Their prices are more middle of the road.  Some being higher than others.  Definitely not the highest of the high, but also not the lowest of the low.  The are more modern in their design and very with the current style.  

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products:

  • Bedroom, living room, baby cribs, office, and dining room. 

Here is what West Elm currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and green practices:

  • Fair Trade- Their fair trade factories support over 13,000 workers and their families. That's a total of 16 fair trade facilities total.  West Elm was also the first home retailer to join Fair Trade USA.  These facilities support fair working conditions and fair wages.  Here's a quote from their website, “We've paid 4.7 million into community development funds. Workers invest these funds in needs of their choice: commuter bicycles, cultural services, hot lunches, hygiene kits, and more.”  How cool is that?  By 2020 their hope is that 40% off their products are fair trade certified.  The items that are fair trade certified will have a fair trade certified symbol on them and be noted in the description on the website or at the store.
  • Responsible Sourcing- 100% of all cotton is organic.  Because of this 2.3 billion liters of water was saved in 2019 alone.  10,000+ chemicals & VOCs screened when producing their GREENGUARD Gold certified furniture.  Additional certifications they use are OEKO-TEX certification.  Meaning that a product is tested for harmful chemicals or substances. Check out more information on responsible sourcing here.
  • Environmental Protection- Not only are you supporting fair working conditions and fair wages when you purchase their sustainably sourced furniture, but you are also protecting forests globally and ecosystems. They are also Forest Stewardship Council certified. Many of their products are also up cycled, recycled or reclaimed when it comes to wood. Which means less waste overall. 
  • Supporting Local Economies- They support their local artists, designers, to help their businesses grow.  They also support local economies around the world with their handcrafted goods.

*For a full list of their certifications and partnerships check out the full list here.

When it comes West Elm's wood furniture, it is GREENGUARD Gold certified, meaning that a product has been tested for low chemical emissions.  Meaning it will only give off low level VOCs.  Their are products that are GREENGUARD Certified, but those that are Gold certified as well eliminate even lower levels of VOCs(11).  Another reason to appalled West Elm as they are also GREENGUARD Gold certified too!  You will also see depending on the wood furniture what finish it has on it.  Most of them are covered in a nontoxic water based finish. 

West Elm doesn't just offer sustainable furniture but also sustainable accessories too.  From pillow, bedding, mirrors, art, rugs and more. 

My Experience with West Elm Furniture-

My husband and I have their Mid-Century Modern Acorn Bed Frame and love it! We've had it for almost 3 years and it's held up great. I love that it's made of real wood- no particle board or manufactured wood. Since a bed is such a large piece of furniture I didn't want it off gassing harmful fumes. It also couldn't be cloth or fabric.  Although I do like the look of the cloth headboards, from research I've learned how dust mites can live in them!  Plus, I wondered how they would really get clean, since you can't take the cloth off.  The bed frame is not only made with real wood but fair trade as well.  The price wasn't so crazy either.  I found most furniture made from all wood can be very costly.  I'm SO happy with the purchase!  It didn't even have a smell when we opened it other than just a pleasant real wood smell.  My hubs was impressed with how well it was made too.  Can't recommend it enough!  Shop the Mid-Century Modern Bed Frame here.

Shop all of West Elm Sustainable Furniture here!

Love the strides Crate and Barrel is making when it comes to sustainable furniture.

 

Crate and Barrel

This is another mainstream company that I have firsthand experience with.  Crate and Barrel offers some environmental initiatives from upholstery, packaging, furniture and housewares, catalogs and sourcebooks, energy conservation and recycling and outdoor.  It's so cool to see a mainstream company upholding a higher standard when it comes to sustainability and furniture as well as green practices.  

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products:

  • Bedroom, living room, baby cribs, office, and dining room. 

Here is what Crate and Barrel currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and green practices:

  • Upholstery- Crate and Barrel now offers over 50 styles in eco-friendly upholstery.  Their products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  They also are using less petroleum based foam in their cushions and instead replacing it with soy, corn- based foam and fibers.
  • Packaging- All of their black and white boxes are made with renewable fiber that contains post-consumer recyclable material. Also, their shopping bags are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.  This means that a minimum of 85 percent post-consumer waste certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  They are also printed with water-based inks.  They also use 100% recyclable tissue in their shopping bags and boxes. They also use GreenWrap or air pads to package and protect their products.  GreenWrap uses 100% recyclable paper.  It can go directly into a recycling bin.  The air pads are made from source-reduced packaging. Every pad is 98% air and 2% recyclable plastic. You can pop the pad and disposed of in the recycle bin.
  • Furniture and Housewares- A good amount of the wood dining room and office products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  As Crate and Barrel states on their website, “The gold standard designation for wood harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally appropriate and economically viable.”  They also do a great job of using woods that would otherwise be tossed and instead making furniture out of them.  Such is the case with their Mango dinning collection.  They also repurpose wood from from buildings no longer in use in China, Indonesia, and Brazil. They also offer bamboo in many of their kitchen and bath collections.  Bamboo is known for being naturally anti-microbial and sustainable.  They also offer recycled glass for some of their dining options.  In addition, they offer OEKO-TEX certification for some bed and bath linens. 
  • Catalogs and Sourcebooks- All of their catalogs are printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper and that is not bleached with chlorine.  They also offer catalogs online as well.
  • Energy Conservation and Recycling- They operate one of the largest headquarters of Crate and Barrel at their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED) on the West Coast.  They also have LEED certification at one of their stores in Durham, NC.  They also have switched to lower energy lighting at all of their stores. They have a thorough recycling program at their stores and are working towards zero waste.
  • Outdoor- Crate and Barrel has taken their sustainability and green practices and have carried them over into their eco-friendly outdoor furniture as well. For example, they use only Forest Stewardship Council certified teak that is plantation grown.  They also use nontoxic resins for their outdoor wicker furniture.
  • Social Responsibility- Crate and Barrel is part of California Transparency in the Supply Chains Act which prohibits any human trafficking or slavery of any kind. Also, they have a Code Of Conduct that all vendors have to adhere too.  This ensures that all who work for them are treated fairly.  For more information, check out their social responsibility here.

*For a full list of all of their certifications and partnerships check out the list here.

When it comes to Crate and Barrel's wood furniture, it is made from certified sustainable hardwood that's kiln-dried to prevent warping.  Some of their products are made from teak and are Forest Stewardship Council certified as well. 

My Experience With Crate and Barrel

I bought their Lounge Chair last year and love it!  It didn't have a strong smell at all when I got it.  It is extremely comfortable and fits nicely in our space.  I loved that I could go and check out the chair at a local furniture store if I wanted too before purchasing.  Makes for an overall easier experience for the customer.  It's held up well too- and that's saying a lot with three kids!

Shop all of Crate and Barrel sustainable furniture here!

Room and Board supports wood makers across the country!

 

Room and Board

This is another company that is in the mainstream furniture business but very sustainable as well.  They have many pieces of furniture that meet the sustainability requirements as well as really advocating for a more sustainable future overall.  I applaud their work they are doing!  I do not have any direct experience with using Room and Board but have read much about their company, products and standards.  I also have several friends who have loved their products.

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products: 

  • Bedroom, living, office, dining room and outdoor furniture.

Here is what Room and Board currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and green practices:

  • Design- Their sustainability efforts start with their design.  Holding true to timeless and classic design that's made from quality craftsmanship that helps to eliminate 10,000 tons of furniture that ends up in landfills because you have the furniture for a lifetime. 
  • Manufacturing– More than 90% of their products are manufactured in the U.S.  Plus, the materials like solid wood, and natural steel are sourced from the U.S. as well.  Not only cutting down on overall carbon footprint but investing back into the lives of the American citizens. 
  • Founding member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council-  Companies are scored based on their sustainability practices.  From using sustainable materials, recyclable materials, how returns and reuses are handled.  Another thing I love that they check for is actual documentation on the chain of custody.  Meaning they are reviewing legal documents on where their wood is purchased.
  • Air Pollutants- They choose materials that contribute to lower air pollutants overall.  Asking vendors for low environmental impact textiles. 
  • Local Sourcing- They implement a 500 radius for a certain amount of their products. This means they extract, manufacture and ship within 500 miles for a certain portion of their products. Lowering overall carbon footprint.
  • Education- They are continually educating their employees on sustainability efforts and how they can do better.
  • Real people and real materials- Room and Board believes in supporting local craftsman and real materials.  They use real wood, often that's reclaimed, and recycled natural steel for their furnishings.  Their plastic is recycled plastic and their nylon is as well.  Supporting local craftsmen helps to reduce travel, and overall carbon footprint.
  • Stores and Office Buildings- From their retail stores to their office buildings they make a conscious effort to ensure sustainability is a priority.  From taking over old buildings, to adding LED lighting to their buildings, and landscaping with native plants.  
  • Support- Room and Board financially supports organizations that are leading the charge when it comes to sustainability.  They also give their staff members opportunities to volunteer too. Last year they donated $320,000 to the Nature Conservancy.

*For more information on their sustainability practices, check out their website here.

Shop all of Room and Board here!

Burrow is filling the gap when it comes to sustainable furniture that is affordable and accessible.

 

Burrow

This a new sustainable furniture company but one I've been reading lots about and I'm excited to share with you!  The founders wanted their couches to not only be comfortable but also sustainable too.  There were too many furniture companies that were too expensive or too flimsy, so they created their own!  This is a  more affordable approach to a sustainable couch in my opinion without sacrificing the important things. I don't have any personal experience using the brand but if you read the reviews they are enough to make you want to buy a couch from them!  I am in the market for a new couch soon and Burrow is definitely on the top of my list.  They also offer a 30 day trial too!

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products: 

  • Couches- from loveseats, to sectionals, and sleepers, armchairs and ottomans, media storage, wall shelves, tables and benches, and rugs.

Here is what Burrow currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and green practices:

  • Shipping- Since Burrow's furniture is modular it can come in normal shipping boxes, which saves a lot of money on shipping, unlike other furniture companies.  The boxes they are shipped in are 100% recycled cardboard boxes.
  • Eco-friendly materials- Burrow uses upcycled materials and sustainably harvested wood that is sourced from responsibly managed forests.  
  • Wood- All wood used in Burrow products is grown in either Louisiana, or Mississippi.  in responsibly managed forests.  The wood suppliers are also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council(FSC).  They didn't just stop there, they are also certified through the American Tree Farm System(ATFS) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative(SFI).  These certifications help to ensure land is managed responsibly and there is long term planning.
  • Nontoxic Fabric- They don't add any chemical additives to their furniture or treatments and the fabric is free of formaldehyde's, lead, phthalates and flame retardants.  Plus, they allow minimal VOC content less than 0.5 PPM.  Their stain resistant fabric is not doused with Perfluorinated Chemicals like so many other furniture companies but instead they use a fabric called olefin that uses upcycled polymers that are naturally stain resistant.
  • Made in the U.S.A- They make their furniture here which not only offsets carbon footprint but also helps support local businesses.

*Read more about their sustainability efforts here.

Shop all of Burrow products here!

Medley takes the cake when it comes to sustainable practices and nontoxic materials.

 

Medley 

I have read much about Medley. This is the the best of the best when it comes to sustainable furniture brands.  They really have it all when it comes to nontoxic furniture that delivers on the sustainability front as well.  This also comes with a heftier price tag too!  However, this is a great option if money is not a concern and you are chemically sensitive or if you just want to make sure your furniture is free of everything.

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products: 

  • Living, Bedroom, storage, dining, office, and accent tables,

Here is what Medley currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and green practices:

  • Manufacturing- They manufacture in California, to lower carbon footprint.  Their mattresses are made in Chicago.
  • Wood- All the wood used is real wood and not plywood.  It is Forest Stewardship Council(FSC) certified. They also use bamboo which rapidly renews on it's own.  The wood furniture polish is made from 3 ingredients- beeswax, carnauba wax, and olive oil.  
  • Foam- They offer two kinds of foam.  The first is a polyester foam that is certified through CertiPure, this is the highest certification you can get for foam.  The second option for foam is organic natural latex.  This is made from the sap of rubber trees, and is very durable and breathable.  Getting organic latex is as good as it gets when it comes to nontoxic furniture. 
  • Wool- Not only do they use wool to fill chairs and sofas but also has an upholstery fabric.  It is naturally, flame resistant, temperature regulating, stain-resistant, antibacterial and hypoallergenic. Plus, it's extremely biodegradable and renewable.  Their wool is also OEKO-TEX certified and sustainably sourced, as well as cruelty-free.  
  • Fabrics- They take their fabrics to the next level when it comes to sourcing and toxins.  They use fabrics such as certified organic cotton(certified by the Global Organic Textile).  If they do use synthetics their is a purpose- nothing goes unnoticed with Medley.  If there is a synthetic fabric used they are either Greenguard Gold Certified or OEKO-TEX certified- ensuring they are safe. By using organic cotton, Medley produces 46% less CO2 than conventional farming.
  • Customization- You can customize the furniture to your liking.

*Read more about their sustainability efforts here.

Shop all of Medley products here!

What sustainable furniture brands have you tried? 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts below:

Resources:

  1. Environmental Protection Agency. Risk Management for Phthalates. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/risk-management-phthalates
  2.  National Cancer Institute. (2011 June 10)Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet
  3. American Cancer Society. (2016 Jan 5). Benzene and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/benzene.html
  4. PubMed.gov. (1995 July). Acetaldehyde: genotoxicity and cytotoxicity in human lymphocytes. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7596360/
  5. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2010). VINYL ACETATE. Retrieved from: https://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chemical/4764#:~:text=Health%20Hazard%20Vinyl%20acetate%20has%20been%20related%20to,undergo%20spontaneous%20exothermic%20polymerization%20on%20exposure%20to%20light.
  6. PubMed.gov. (2013 Oct 22). Effects of low-level hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) exposure on cardiac development in zebrafish embryos. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23903933/
  7. Environmental Pollution Centers.org. (2018 Feb 21). What are PFOA and PFOS and how dangerous are they? Retrieved from: https://www.environmentalpollutioncenters.org/news/what-are-pfoa-and-pfos-and-how-dangerous-are-they/
  8. EHS Daily Advisor.blr.com. (2020 May 15). EPA Evaluation of Perchloroethylene (PCE) Reveals Many Risks. Retrieved from: https://ehsdailyadvisor.blr.com/2020/05/epa-evaluation-of-perchloroethylene-pce-reveals-many-risks/
  9. Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2014 Jan 16). Health effects linked with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride exposure. Retrieved from: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/tce_pce.html
  10. TIME Magazine. (2016 Aug 24). You asked: Can my couch give me cancer? Retrieved from: https://time.com/4462892/couch-cancer-flame-retardants/
  11. UL.com. What does GREENGUARD Certified mean? Retrieved from: https://www.ul.com/insights/what-does-greenguard-certified-mean#:~:text=GREENGUARD%20Gold%20Certification%20means%20products%20“emit%20even%20lower,a%20bigger%20dose%20of%20whatever’s%20in%20the%20air.”

 

My Natural Cleaning Routine

My Natural Cleaning Routine

In today's video I'm sharing my nontoxic natural cleaning routine with you! From what natural products I love to what I use to clean my bathroom, kitchen and more! Giving you the full scoop on all the best.  It's easy to think that natural cleaning products aren't as effective but that's just not true!  Today, not only are there a ton of natural cleaning solutions to choose from but they are very effective too!  I'm sharing my top 3 favorites that I've vetted for you over the years.  These cleaners kill 99.9% of germs and truly work at getting your house sparkling clean.  I'm also sharing my favorite cleaning tools, such as natural scour pads, a natural mop solution, natural bottle cleaner and more!  

Watch my natural cleaning routine video here!

 

Products Mentioned in the Video:

*Check out my Natural Cleaning Blog Post, where I dive even deeper into all things cleaning!  From favorite laundry detergents, to DIY options! 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts and videos below:

 

 

 

Sharing my favorite natural cleaning products!

Frequently Asked Blogger Questions

Frequently Asked Blogger Questions

I get frequently asked blogger questions all the time and thought what a better way to share with others then to outline the questions and answers in one blog post.  Often I find people don't understand blogging.  I'm going to eliminate a lot of confusion when it comes to blogging and really help strip away any confusion when it comes to blogging as a profession.  My hope is that you can walk away after reading this post and have a good idea of how blogging works and what it looks in the day to day and YES I'll be answering the famous question- how do blogs make money! 🙂

Before you keep reading I wanted to let you know that my friend Kate just opened her Six Figure Blogging Academy!  It's only open until Tuesday January 19th.  I took Kate's course and it completely changed my business! 

I couldn’t think of a better person to share with my audience than Kate.  She created a six-figure blog herself and then created a course that shares all of her knowledge.  I took the course and my blog has never been the same!  Even as a seasoned blogger I learned so much. I wish I would have had it in the beginning of my blogging journey.  

Kate only opens up her course once in a while, so don't miss out!  

 

Check out her Six-Figure Blogger Academy here!

 

Modern office reveal

Sharing all the frequently asked questions I get as a blogger!

 

Ok, let's dive into the frequently asked questions about blogging that I get!

 

Question #1: How Do You Know What To Blog About?

 

I think knowing what to blog about should come naturally and easy for you.  I think it should be a passion of yours or an experience you've had, or even something you're really good at.  It's really what you find interesting and will keep your attention.  For me it was easy to want to blog about natural living and natural beauty because I loved it so much!  It was easy for me to research more about the topic because I would do it even if I wasn't getting paid.  I know people who blog about Lyme disease and how they live a healthy lifestyle despite it, people who blog all about how to keep their home and life organized- the list is endless!  I always encourage people to make a list of what they're good at and comes easy to them and also a list of their passions.  This can really help them to see what to blog about.  

 

Question #2: When Do You Start Making Money From Your Blog?

 

You can start making money the first month you create a blog- really!  It might not be thousands of dollars initially but you can literally start creating income the minute you push publish on your first blog post.  With consistency and getting affiliate links(products you promote from brands who give you a small percentage of the sale), you can start earning money right away.  As far as making a consistent income from your blog it's up to you on where you want to take your blog but it's totally possible to start making a living off of your blog in even a year if you work hard.  I've known people who've done it and read so many stories.

 

Want to learn from a multiple six-figure blogging expert on how she does it?  Then make sure and check out Six-figure Blogging Academy.  Kate is a blogging genius and has helped me so much in my own blogging journey. Her course changed my business. Sign up here!

 

My wish for you is that you start the blog you've been thinking about in 2021!

 

Question #3: Don't You Ever Run Out Of Ideas To Blog About?

 

Never!  If anything I have to many ideas.  I always keep a running list of ideas I can blog about so I always have content to share.  In the beginning of blogging you want to establish some core posts as I like to call them that can really help you form the basis of your blog.  For instance, if you're blogging about Lyme disease, you could share things that have helped in your Lyme journey, share some of your favorite resources, and products.  You could also start a monthly series where you spotlight someone you've met that is living their best life with lyme disease and healing protocols they've used.  Then you could also have a whole section on things you could do to help protect yourself from contracting Lyme disease.  You're then able to capture a bigger audience because people who don't have Lyme would want to read.  See how the list just keeps going?!  As you are consistent your audience will also tell you what they want to learn more about too.

 

Question #4: Do You Have To Be On Social Media To Blog?

 

No!  You don't need to have a following at all to start blogging.  I didn't!  Although a lot of people look at social media as the end all, be all for a blog, it's actually not.  Your email list is far more important and your blog itself.  Instagram and Facebook change all the time, and can make it hard for everyone to see your content all the time.  With your email list(an email list are email addresses from your audience. You have them all on one email marketing platform where you can email them all at once) you're able to directly connect with your audience this way!  You can share with them the latest information right to their inbox about a recent blog post.  Social media is a great tool in your blogging toolbox but it is not the thing I would focus on in the beginning if you're wanting to make blogging a career and earn an income.  It would be something I would tackle later once you have a blog and email list in place.  

 

Question #5: How Do You Make Money From Blogging?

 

This is the #1 one question when it comes to frequently asked blogger questions!  I get it, I was the same way before I started to blog.  I didn't understand how it all worked.  I'm going to share with you how I've made money blogging.  There are SO many ways though!  

  • I make money through ads on my website.  You can sign up with an ad network once you have so many page views and start making ad income.  You can also start making ad income right away when you're just starting out with Google Adsense.  There's no page view requirement so you can literally start making money right away when you start your blog.  
  • I also make money through affiliates.  This is income as I mentioned earlier that I make from promoting a product or service, and then the brand gives me a commission on the number of sales I have for that specific product.  
  • Another form of income is through sponsored posts.  This is where you work directly with a brand to promote their products whether it's a sponsored blog post where you're sharing how you use the product, or a video, etc.  
  • I also sell my own products or services and make an income off of that.  This could be an ebook, course, guide, group coaching program, membership, one on one coaching, or even a physical product.  There are so many options!  
  • I also make money from consulting for businesses and brands.  Whether that's testing a new product or helping them before they even create the product.
  • Speaking at events.  Once you've been blogging for a bit and have established yourself as an expert you often start getting invitations to come and speak at events.  
  • Freelance writing for large publications.  From magazines, to other blogs, to books and more.

*I'm sure there are other ways people have made money from blogging but I'm sharing my specific ways I've made income.

 

Affiliate marketing is one way I make income from my blog.

 

 

Check out the Six-Figure Blogging Academy here!

 

Question #6: Should I Design My Own Website In The Beginning?

 

No! Absolutely not.  Custom websites are expensive and you want to make sure you're actually going to be consistent before you start shelling out thousands of dollars.  In 2021 getting a blog up and running has never been easier!  You can literally have it up in a day and you don't need to know how to code or anything.  Instead of a custom theme you can search for blog themes and just pick one you like.  They even have FREE blog themes.  If you do pay for one it's often pretty inexpensive still- anywhere from $10-$60 dollars.  The themes they have already made are still super great and offer a lot of benefits.  

 

Question #7: What Is Your Biggest Piece Of Advice For A Beginning Blogger?

 

I love this question!  My biggest piece of advice would be to invest in a course in the very beginning of your blogging journey.  I cannot tell you how much it helped me and that was after 3 years of blogging!  I wished I would have known about blogging courses or experts that could have helped me.  It could have saved me so much time and overwhelm.  I realized blogging is like any other business, when you start a job you get trained, or you go to school for that specific career choice.  Blogging is no different.  If I would have known what I know now I could have 10x my results a lot quicker and avoided so many pit falls.  

 

Question #8:  How Much Does It Cost To Start Blogging?

 

I get this question a lot too when it comes to frequently asked blogger questions. It literally can cost you around $35-$65 to start your blog and that's for your first year!  This is also the current stat for 2021.  It's the most inexpensive business model out there!  You don't need product, or huge inventory, a building- it's pretty awesome.  If you've thought blogging was expensive- think again.  It's definitely a good business model.

 

Questions #9: How Much Time Do You Spend On Your Blog?

 

This is something that has changed over the years.  When I first started I spent my daughter's nap times, and at night when she went to bed blogging.  Anytime I could get.  I would also spend time on the weekend when my husband could watch her.  This continued for several years before I had any child care.  In the beginning I would spend roughly 20 hours a week on the blog.  Now I spend anywhere from 5-30 hours depending on the season and if I'm working on something specific.  But then I also have a virtual assistant that spends a lot of time helping me, so I have to take that in to account as well. 

That sums up my post on the most frequently asked blogger questions.   Have a question I didn't answer?  Ask below!  

As you can see there has never been a better time to start blogging!  From getting all the help you need, to virtual being the wave of the future, to creating the life you want and loving it.  Blogging hits all the marks and more.

Sign up for the Six-Figure Blogger Academy here!

 

If you liked this post on frequently asked blogger questions, then check out other posts below:

 

Sharing my answers to the most common blogger questions I get!

 

There’s Never Been A Better Time To Start Blogging

There’s Never Been A Better Time To Start Blogging

There's never been a better time to start blogging and I truly believe that!  I'm continuing my blogging series that I started last week.  Today I'm sharing my thoughts on the job climate in general and why I think there's never been a better time to start blogging.  

If you didn't read last week's blog post, be sure to check it out here.  I am sharing how blogging changed my life.  I walk you through 4 of my top reasons.  I'm also sharing some personal stories in hopes that you might realize I'm just an ordinary girl who decided to go for it.  

Before you keep reading I wanted to let you know that my friend Kate just opened her Six Figure Blogging Academy!  It's only open until Tuesday January 19th.  I took Kate's course and it completely changed my business! 

I couldn’t think of a better person to share with my audience than Kate.  She created a six-figure blog herself and then created a course that shares all of her knowledge.  I took the course and my blog has never been the same!  Even as a seasoned blogger I learned so much. I wish I would have had it in the beginning of my blogging journey.  

Kate only opens up her course once in a while, so don't miss out!  

 

Check out her Six-Figure Blogger Academy here!

 

Ok, let's dive into why there's never been a better time to start blogging!

There has never been a better time to create a life that you love!

 

2020 Made It Clear-  

I don't know about you but 2020 taught me a handful of life lessons.  One of them I realized is that nothing is for sure.  Things can change from minute to minute.  It also made me realize how being online had never been such a great thing!  I say this lightly because I'm not trying to brag or sound arrogant but nothing changed for me when it came to my job as a blogger in 2020.  I didn't have to wear a mask at work- I work at home.  I didn't have to follow some new protocol, because I work at home.  My audience is made of amazing people that found me online and they were still there, if not more present because of everything being online once COVID hit.  It made me realize how convenient it was for people if I was online.  

What if my business was based on presenting the information in person, or traveling all the time?  My career would have been affected much more but since I was already online or should I say “virtual” my blog didn't miss a beat.  I was still doing the same thing, but had more of an engaged audience because people were more online than they had ever been.  

There's never been a better time to start blogging, because there's never been a better time to be online as a business!  It's made this transition seem, dare I say seamless in a lot of ways.  While I feel for so many who have been struggling with their job, having to learn new protocols and so on or lost their job all together, I haven't felt it because I had already positioned my business online as a blogger.  I'm telling you this again not to brag but to encourage you to start the blog you've always thought about starting- to create a business that will stand the test of time and where the future is going.  I'm telling you this because blogging has been a game changer for my family and I wouldn't be where I am today without it.  

Leahlani Review

Blogging has turned my passion of clean beauty into my paycheck!

 

Create The Life You Want-

Another thing 2020 taught me is that life can be short and if you're not loving the life you're living than what's the point?  I see so many people keep working jobs that they aren't passionate about.  I get it, you have to put food on the table, but what if you could have both?  Work at something you're so passionate about, while earning a living.  It's possible and I'm living proof.  We live in a country where you can literally be and do whatever you want and you have the freedom to pursue your dreams!  It's pretty awesome.

Instead of wasting away working a job you don't love, why not create the life you want with a job you're passionate about?  What if you woke up each day excited to start your day?  To learn more about something, to share your knowledge with others?  Your whole outlook on life would change.  

There's never been a better time to start creating the life you want through blogging.  To have more flexibility, to enjoy your life to the fullest, to see your family more, be your own boss and love your life- you deserve all these things. If you're not excited about the life you created, maybe it's time to build a new one.  To do something you can feel good about and that makes you have a skip in your step.  2020 taught me that a lot can be stripped away but if I still have my job and love what I do, it makes life so much more enjoyable!

 

Check out my friend Kate's Six-Figure Blogging Academy here!

 

modern office decor

Being able to be virtual with my job has been the biggest blessing in the current climate.

 

Being Virtual Is The Way To Go-

It's never been more apparent that being virtual as a business has a lot of perks.  This last year really proved to be the year that made being virtual the best thing ever.  Most people that were virtual were still able to run their business as usual and not miss a beat.  It makes business so easy and convenient when you're virtual.  You're able to be wherever you want and still run your business.  You can still operate even when there's a pandemic happening.  It's also perfect because that's where the future seems to be headed.  

With everything virtual already, people are used to living their life online.  From grocery shopping online, clothes shopping online, ordering food online, you name it, the online world has taken over and it's not going anywhere.  People have never been more online than they are right now!

There's never been a better time to start creating the life you want through blogging, because it's a career that has only grown over the last 10 years.  Blogging will continue to grow as more people seek out information online.  It's the perfect time to start creating a job that can be virtual and is online.  You will be creating a job that is on the up and up.

 

There has never been a better time to blog with all the technology advancements!

 

Blogging in 2021 Is SO Much Easier-

When I started blogging 7 years ago the blogging landscape looked a lot different than it does today!  There wasn't tutorials everywhere on how to do things, there wasn't videos and blogs on how to blog.  It was a lot of trial and error.  Thankfully things have changed and today in 2021 you can find endless resources on blogging!  If you want information for it, it's available to you.  So many companies have created the easiest websites to set up, created countless guides, offer support and so on.  Your blog could be up and running right away if you wanted.  With technology advancements, new plugins, blogging in 2021 is streamlined and so much better.  It's the cheapest it's ever been to start a blog!  You can literally have a blog up and not spend tons of money out of pocket.  You can't say that for most businesses!  

There's never been a better time to start blogging than today because you're going to save yourself so many headaches compared to years ago.  You'll be able to get the help you need and bypass so many things that newbie bloggers faced back in the day.  You'll be able to plug and play from the very beginning.

As you can see there has never been a better time to start blogging!  From getting all the help you need, to virtual being the wave of the future, to creating the life you want and loving it.  Blogging hits all the marks and more.

 

Check out my friend Kate's Six-Figure Blogging Academy here!

 

Have you started your blogging journey yet?  What's holding you back?

If you liked this post, check out past posts below:

 

Sharing how there's never been a better time to start blogging in 2021!

How Blogging Changed My Life

How Blogging Changed My Life

I'm so excited to write this post on how blogging changed my life!  I have been wanting to share my experience as a blogger now for quite some time.  I have been blogging now for 7 years- which sounds crazy!  I started in the fall of 2013.  I wasn't consistent though until January of 2015.  I know the statement how blogging changed my life is big but I truly mean it and want to share with you how it has. 

Before you keep reading I wanted to let you know that my friend Kate just opened her Six Figure Blogging Academy!  It's only open until Tuesday January 19th.  I took Kate's course and it completely changed my business! 

I couldn’t think of a better person to share with my audience than Kate.  She created a six-figure blog herself and then created a course that shares all of her knowledge.  I took the course and my blog has never been the same!  Even as a seasoned blogger I learned so much. I wish I would have had it in the beginning of my blogging journey.  

Kate only opens up her course once in a while, so don't miss out!  

 

Check out her Six-Figure Blogger Academy here!

 

How it all started…

 

I had wanted to blog for a couple years before I actually published my first post.  I finally just did it because I knew I would always find an excuse not too.  I had really changed my life over to a more natural lifestyle in 2010.  I read a book called No More Dirty Looks and it literally transformed my life!  I couldn't look at a tube of toothpaste anymore without wondering what was lurking inside.  I had already started to eat clean, but had no idea about all the toxins in our everyday products.  As I learned more, I wanted to share it with anyone who would listen.  Friends and family kept encouraging me to start a blog.  It seemed so daunting at first but I realized I just had to start- and so I did.  

Looking back at my first blog post I have a mix of emotions.  On one hand I'm so proud of how far I've come and the other hand I can't believe how little I knew about blogging. I was armed with passion and a desire to share with others.  This drive I believe helped me be consistent in my journey and not stop even when things got hard.

I want to share with you how blogging has changed my life.  I get questions all the time asking me how I got started, how much money I make and all the things. I get it, blogging can seem kind of mysterious in a way.  I want to demystify blogging over the next several weeks.  I'll be sharing a handful of blog posts that hopefully clear away some confusion and help convince you of the many benefits of blogging- because there are so many!  

Today I want to focus on how it's impacted my life in so many positive ways and how blogging has changed my life for the better.

 

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Blogging has given me the flexibility I craved-

 

I really got serious about blogging after my first daughter was born.  She was 6 months and I knew I had to change something.  I had my own organic salon at the time and while I loved my clientele and job, I didn't love that I had to be away from my daughter so much and in order to make money I literally had to be working on a client.  It quickly got old as my hubs would get off work at 5 and then I would start work.  Then I would work Saturdays and even Sundays.  We didn't have any family time, or flexibility.  I didn't see my hubs hardly and I had to physically be working in order to make money.  I remember thinking how am I going to have more kids?!  I started to blog but it was sporadic at night when I wasn't working.  While I did it for a couple months and I know a lot of people do it as well, it was too much for me.  I knew I needed to change something. I told my hubs that I wanted to quit doing hair and start blogging full time.  He was super supportive.  We knew for this to happen we needed to move out of our current house and downsize.  I wasn't making any money from the blog and there was no way we could support our current living situation if I wasn't working as well.  

So we downsized.  We went from living in a house to living in a condo.  It was hard but at the same time so worth it!  I remember being excited about all the time I would gain to work on the blog if I moved.  Once we moved I spent all my free time on the blog.  I would spend nap times, night time and any other time I could get.  I told myself I had to post a blog post once per week and I did.  Slowly it started to grow.  Looking back I knew nothing, but had a vision of what I wanted.  I craved flexibility and a job that I would make that a reality and that I loved.  Well, I got both!

Now, I can take time off when I want.  I can work where I want.  I don't even have to leave my house.  

I can be with my kids all day if I want or have a babysitter come and work on the blog for 4 hours.  I set my schedule and my time and that is literally the best feeling in the world!  If my kids get sick or I don't feel well, I don't call in sick- I'm the boss.  I take the day off.  I can work on a trip if I need too.  Having flexibility with my job has been the biggest game changer in my life.  Blogging has afforded me that luxury.

 

Check out my friend Kate's Six-Figure Blogging Academy!

 

Blogging as increased my income in more ways than I thought possible!

 

Blogging has increased my income-

 

Often people don't want to talk about money, even though I know it's on everyone's mind!  Let's be real most people can't blog just for the sake of blogging.  Great if you can but eventually everyone want's to get paid- me included.  I never realized the vast opportunities and income possibilities that blogging would bring to me.  Like most people when I started I had no idea how bloggers even got paid.  Little did I know that you could actually make a decent earning from sharing your passion and helping others.

Blogging has literally helped my husband and I financially so many times.  I don't know where we would be if we hadn't had it for specific life events. For example, my husband got laid off in 2018.  My blog supported us for literally a year while he built up his business and found something new.  We weren't stressed about the future like we could have been since we had the blog to help support us during that time.  It was also huge this past year as my husband ran for a political office in our county.  He had to step away from his job for about 5 months and during that time he wasn't getting paid.  My blog was able to help us out financially during that time when he was campaigning and give us incredible flexibility.  The amount of money I've been able to make compared to my previous job, while also having the flexibility has been the real winner.  I could have had a 9-5 job but with the life events I just shared that would have added more stress to our lives.  The magic for me has been having the earning potential, plus flexibility.  It's the best of both worlds!

It also has given me the income to be able to get help when it comes to cleaning my house, and babysitting.  I can create the life I want.  I can take Fridays off because I want too and not be worried about whether I'll get paid for those hours.  My income has increased more than I ever imagined and I feel like I'm not working harder but smarter.  I don't equate hours worked to hours earned.  Not that I don't work hard, because I do but I'm not clocking in 8 hours everyday to get paid an hourly wage.  The sky is the limit for how much money I want to make.  There is no ceiling!  As a stylist there were only so many hours in a day and only so long I could work.  With blogging there is no cap on earning potential.  You really are your own boss and creator of your life.  I couldn't love this more.  

 

I didn't realize I could make more money doing something I love, while at the same time having a flexible schedule, getting more time with my kids and creating the life I love.  

 

I have been able to work with so many amazing brands and make some awesome friendships because of blogging.

 

Blogging has brought the best relationships into my life-

 

I can't even begin to tell you the amount of relationships it has brought into my life.  From meeting fellow bloggers and having them become some of my closest friends, to creating dream brand partnerships- I've met some of the best people blogging!  It's amazing when you step out and open yourself up to possibilities all the things that come your way.  I've had the opportunity to work with some of the top brands in the natural industry, consult for some of the largest corporations and meet some of the coolest people on this blogging journey.  It's more than just a job to me.  I get to share so many amazing brands with my audience and work alongside other bloggers who truly are passionate about seeing their world change for the better.  Sometimes I pinch myself that I'm able to be a part of it all!

I remember thinking that being a mom was amazing but often felt a little lonely in the beginning.  Then blogging entered my life and really changed that perspective entirely.  Even though I work from home, I never feel lonely.  I have this amazing community I've built online.  It's afforded me the chance to have adult connection and interaction, while still caring for my kids.  Whenever I talk to other bloggers they always say the relationship piece is something they weren't expecting to be as great as it has been.  I couldn't agree more.  It's like co-workers for any other job.  

women reading a book

I am always learning and growing since I've become a blogger.

 

Blogging has created an environment where I'm constantly learning-

 

I'm learning all the time!  This has been such a fun aspect of being a blogger.  I'm always growing in my knowledge.  My passion for natural living and natural beauty has only grown these last 7 years.  I've had to pivot and learn new concepts and stay up to date on all the latest.  It's a little like honing your craft and becoming the best you can be when it comes to your skill or job.  They say if you are in an industry for 5 years then you are an expert.  I couldn't agree more!  The more I'm surrounded by like minded people, the more I learn from them.  

It's clear to see that blogging changed my life.  It made what was once was a passion of mine and turned it into a full fledged job that now helps others on their health and wellness journey.  It's amazing what one step can create.  

I'm so glad I branched out, took the first step and didn't wait.  Today there are so many more resources and tools you can have that can really help accelerate your blogging journey.  I wished I would have had these resources when I started off, it would have helped me so much and sped up my growth.  One resource that is my friend Kate's blogging course.

I wanted to let you know that my friend Kate just opened her Six Figure Blogging Academy!  It's only open until Tuesday January 19th.  I took Kate's course and it completely changed my business! 

I couldn’t think of a better person to share with my audience than Kate.  She created a six-figure blog herself and then created a course that shares all of her knowledge.  I took the course and my blog has never been the same!  Even as a seasoned blogger I learned so much. I wish I would have had it in the beginning of my blogging journey.  

Kate only opens up her course once in a while, so don't miss out!  

 

Check out her Six-Figure Blogger Academy here!

 

I can't think of a better time to start your journey then now.  Especially with a new year just upon us!  

Stay tuned for more announcements on how to turn your passion into your paycheck.  

If you liked this post on how blogging changed my life, be sure to check out past posts below:

 

 

Sharing how blogging has impacted my life in so many positive ways!

 

 

Trust me, I get it, switching products over can be expensive and mentally exhausting. But I’ve taken out the guesswork with my top 10 Best Budget Friendly Green Beauty Swaps!

Trust me, I get it, switching products over can be expensive and mentally exhausting. But I’ve taken out the guesswork with my top 10 Best Budget Friendly Green Beauty Swaps!

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