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5 Better Alternatives to Amazon

July 23, 2020

My relationship with Amazon is confusing. For years it was my go-to for fast, reliable and cheap access to various life essentials when I was too lazy to go to the store to buy them. I’m certainly not alone in this sentiment. 82% of US households have an Amazon Prime membership + over 112 million individuals. That’s A LOT customers. And for good reason, Amazon has offered quick shipping and lower prices than their small business competitors for years. In fact, they didn’t turn a profit on their business for the first 14 years. They did this by undercutting small businesses and essentially taking over the marketplace.

The ethics of this are obviously questionable, but in recent months with stories of poor work conditions and employee safety I’ve really started to wonder if this is a company I want to support. I’ll admit that my saltiness actually began on a more personal level when in April they decreased Amazon Affiliates commissions from 4-8% to 1% despite record high sales. Despite supporting the company for years (personally and professionally) they simply didn’t need their affiliates anymore so getting tossed to the wayside (and watching my income decrease on top of already tanking ad revenue) was a hard pill to swallow. But the more research I did into the company, and Jeff Bezos in particular, the more I realized I wanted to put my money elsewhere.

In May I quit Amazon cold turkey and in turn discovered some awesome companies that are helping to fill Amazon’s void. In some cases I’m helping small businesses and BIPOC businesses that would otherwise be shut out by Amazon and in other cases I simply prefer the ethics of the company. Hopefully this list can help you find some other non-Amazon companies as well…

Food/pantry essentials

Thrive Market is a great option if you order pantry staples online. Thrive Market is set up as a membership model. Think of it like a Costco but with health foods. You pay a monthly or yearly fee and get alllll of the pantry staples you could dream of at a discounted price (up to 50% off retail pricing). Thrive Market uses 100% recyclable packaging and zero-waste warehouses.

Home/cleaning products

You know I love my Branch Basics (which has lasted me so long) but for the rest of my cleaning supplies and products, check out Grove Collaborative. Three friends started this in San Francisco (woot!) to provide people with an easier way to find healthier home essentials. They have everything from laundry detergent to toilet spray in a variety of clean brands. It is set up as a subscription model but you can adjust the frequency of shipments to fit your needs.

Beauty/skincare products

I shared this in my Black-owned clean beauty brands post but BLK + GRN is an all natural marketplace by Black artisans. They carry bath and body products, hair products and even some household essentials. I love how their site is organized and I definitely feel better supporting these artisans than Amazon, the retail giant. One of my favorite Amazon alternative discoveries.

Books

I am an avid reader. More often than not, I’m reading on my Kindle and Amazon has made it wayyyy too easy to download books from them directly! Here is a list of Black-Owned Bookstores that have an online store. I’ll be purchasing ebooks when they’re available or will be buying the hard copy to build out our bookshelf.

Other

Zero Waste Store is a whole marketplace for basically everything you need to transform your home into a sustainable oasis! They have everything from reusable silicone bags to shampoo bars… and everything in between. They focus on ethically sourced, zero waste products and their goal is to inspire people to switch to more earth-friendly options. Sold!

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