Brunch

A Conscious Christmas

  • Who We Are on their vision for a happy, responsible Christmas season

With Christmas around the corner, for many of us, it is time to start thinking about giving, both in gifts and in kind. Amidst a pandemic, and in the middle of one of the biggest economic crises we have seen to date, it is of vital importance that we think about how we shop and what we buy this Christmas season.

In this spirit, Who We Are is promoting “A Conscious Christmas”, encouraging customers and shoppers to spread the joy of Christmas by supporting small local businesses and their families.

Who We Are Founder Otara Gunawardene

Brunch chatted with Who We Are Founder Otara Gunawardene for a little more insight into what A Conscious Christmas means and how we as Sri Lankans can all contribute to celebrating this season consciously.

Who We Are, the online platform Gunawardene started just shy of a year ago, is all about living a conscious life the Sri Lankan way. Not too much, not too little…just the right amount of local, environmentally aware, sustainable, ethical, stylish, healthy, and happy!

As a platform, Who We Are celebrates creators and their products, from small businesses and young entrepreneurs just starting out to communities who come together to create unique products in a bid to empower themselves. Through A Conscious Christmas, Gunawardene hopes to encourage shoppers to purchase from these creators, small businesses, and communities during this joyous time of giving and celebrating a conscious Christmas.

Speaking on the thought process behind the campaign of A Conscious Christmas, Gunawardene explained that it’s all about encouraging people to gift consciously. Gunawardene shared: “The retail environment as a whole is now changing to become more conscious. As consumers, we are becoming more conscious of what we buy and how we shop and to try to make a more direct impact on the people and communities around us.

“The basic idea of A Conscious Christmas is to help customers be more conscious, aware, and responsible when buying and giving gifts this season.”

This year, Gunawardene shared that Who We Are is working with over 100 creators on a range of Christmas decor, Christmas cards, and other Christmastime products that are unique, harking back to the Christmases of years gone past when hand-made gifts and gifts from local businesses and communities had greater value.

“We have very small businesses and individuals doing things from home, using their creativity, and making a lot of items that are planet-responsible, using natural materials and no plastic or polythene. These homemade products are made with good intentions from the heart, by people sitting individually and developing them,” she said.

The Christmas collection of Who We Are can be purchased through their website under the tab “Christmas Decor”; in addition to products from small businesses, the website also includes products from communities like the students from the Chitra Lane School, a community of lace-makers from Dickwella and another community from Kandy.

Who We Are also encourages shoppers to buy local with Gunawardene, sharing that it is now more relevant than ever to really focus on supporting Sri Lankan businesses and products made in Sri Lanka.

“All businesses are struggling to build themselves up again, and there is no better time than now to start changing our focus to things made in Sri Lanka and directly help uplift communities and families by supporting them to earn more money and directly help small businesses grow,” she said, adding that now, in this troubled economic time, supporting local businesses and creators helps keep money flowing within the country and also helps boost the economy and help Sri Lanka strengthen itself.

Gunawardene also stressed that every purchase, especially through conscious platforms like Who We Are, makes a difference, strengthening our communities and nurturing a more just future for all – the makers and their families, those who use the products, the animals, and the environment.

Reflecting on this past year and sharing her hopes for the future, Gunawardene said the last two years have seen all Sri Lankans face many challenges, but that this challenging time has also seen many people find new ways to develop themselves amidst this adversity, especially creatively.

Gunawardene said: “Through Who We Are, we’ve seen quite a lot of people discover talents and skills of theirs which they didn’t know they had while they were doing regular jobs. They’re now starting to grow their own businesses and they’re enjoying it as well.

“I think there’ll be a lot more of that in the future and you will see people becoming more and more creative and innovating and developing new ways of doing things. In that sense, I think there will be a lot of change in the year or two ahead, and I hope, through Who We Are, I can help them reach a wider audience.”

 

The Christmas collection of Who We Are can be purchased through their website under the tab “Christmas Decor”.

Website: www.whoweare.lk

Facebook: Who We Are LK