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Sustainable Influencers

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It’s no surprise to anyone that we’re spending more of our time online these days. As we scroll through our social media feeds looking for recipes, work from home productivity tips, and DIY home improvement projects, it’s likely that a few of those posts come from social media influencers. 

From travel to cooking to home décor and fashion, influencers cover every facet of the lifestyle sector. They often promote products via paid partnerships and introduce consumers to niche brands and experiences based on their interests. 

According to a recent survey by IZEA Insights, consumers appear to engage with influencer marketing more than traditional advertising. More than half of responders said they made a purchase after seeing an influencer’s post about a particular product, and 66 percent find influencers more credible than traditional advertising because they’ve tried the product they’re posting about.

Influencers have always used their platform to promote ideas they’re passionate about, and these days, many are including messages of sustainability, a subject that’s perhaps more relevant in 2020 than ever before. We profiled three influencers who are reaching the mass market with content that promotes everyday sustainability practices.  

Sustainably Chic

Based in: Jacksonville, FL

Founded in: 2014

Natalie Kay Smith, the founder of Sustainably Chic, focuses on the area she knows best: fashion. Smith is a former fashion student and briefly worked in the industry before setting her sights on content creation. 

Her experiences in the fashion world piqued her interest in fair-trade clothing and accessories. Smith’s Instagram is filled with photos of on-trend outfits from brands she deems ethical, sustainable and pleasing to her personal aesthetic. “I won’t promote a brand just because it has a sustainable business model,” she says. “If I won’t wear it or recommend my friend using it, then it’s not going on the blog.” But Smith approves when a shop starts selling a product they’ve seen on her site, perhaps seeing it as evidence that her marketing posts are effective. 

Currently working on: A recent blog post showcases ten natural makeup brands, including some that are refillable and/or claim to be zero waste. 

The Girl Gone Green

Based in: St. Augustine, FL

Founded in: 2015

If you’ve been curious about sustainable practices but unsure of where or how to start, you may want to follow Manuela Baron. 

Baron—who is also a visual artist—has shared zero waste lifestyle tips on YouTube and Instagram under the brand name Girl Gone Green. One of her most popular videos, appropriately titled “How to Transition to a Zero Waste Lifestyle,” explains what zero waste actually means and outlines easy-to-follow sustainable practices. She also gave a TED Talk on “Living Without Trash” at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

Much of her video content focuses on minimalism, both as a design concept and a sustainability practice. She seems to reach both casual design enthusiasts as well as those more interested in her eco-friendly approach. 

Currently working on: Baron was recently chosen as an #AerieREAL Role Model for 2020.

Old World New

Based in: Texas

Founded in: 2013

“The concepts of sustainability have infiltrated my entire life,” writes Addie Fisher, the creative force behind Old World New. But that wasn’t always the case. Growing up, Fisher wanted to be an architect. Her interest in sustainable building design eventually led her to make a commitment to sustainable living. 

Her eco-friendly lifestyle is on display in her Instagram posts, covering everything from thrift store fashion finds to reusable baby products. Fisher also keeps a shopping list of some of her favorite sustainable products on her site. You’ll find plastic bottle-less dish soap, stainless steel food containers, and a reusable coffee mug. 

Currently working on: For the past few weeks, Addie says she’s “been thinking of ways my lifestyle naturally helps to ride this pandemic out. I’m so excited to learn and incorporate more lifestyle habits that help me and my family be more self-sufficient.”

Given their large followings and the trust they’ve built with their audiences, is the average consumer more eco-conscious as a result of these influencers? Perhaps. It’s hard to say whether the followers of these brands are actually implementing everyday sustainability practices, but one thing seems clear: there’s an audience for lifestyle content, particularly with a sustainable angle, and more influencers are likely to join in on this trend.


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