Guess what? Some kind soul within the Austin Independent Business Alliance nominated BDJ Craft Works for an Armadillo Local Business award in the Green Business category. At first glance this may seem a bit odd as I don't typically pitch what I do as being green but despite that, the truth, in my opinion, is what I do is actually quite sustainable. This is something I've thought about before and this nomination, though unexpected, is something I will gladly accept and also use as a reason to discuss a different side of sustainability that I think often gets left out of the discussion.
In my years as both a small business owner and a wood worker I have bought products from and worked in conjunction with various green or sustainable business's. The green business model, thanks to good old human progress, has become fairly commonplace especially in a modern urban environment such as Austin. Something I've noticed and come to understand about such business's is that regardless of there level of commitment to sustainability, how green they are and even their ability to call themselves such is a pretty open and subjective matter. Unlike organic which has certain standards, the terms sustainable and green fall more along a spectrum and where that is actually takes a lot of work and research to discern. Despite some green washing that no doubt goes on with an eye toward marketing and profit, I believe the vast majority of companies who base there business's on green principles are doing it for the right reasons and if they get some positive differentiation in the market well bully for them.
An idea that came to me a number of years from ago regarding sustainability is that when something is of good design, well made and special, it tends to last. Unlike so much these days that is mass produced and seemingly designed to fail so you have to buy a new one ( a little conspiracist, I know), I like to think that the furniture and decor I have made over the years brings value and maybe even a little warmth into people's lives and this is something they want to hold onto and maybe even pass down. Unlike that ikea bookshelf destined for the land fill within a decade, hand made woodwork encompasses a level a sustainability that I think gets left out of the discussion.
Next time your buying something from an artist that is handmade, keep in mind that not only are you supporting this person in their work at putting something special out into the world, you are also engaging in a sustainable act. If its from a local artist, well that's even greener, better and more beautiful.