POPSUGAR Celebrity

Olivia Wilde Shares the Moving Inspiration Behind Her Company

Mar 20 2014 - 12:25pm

Actress and activist Olivia Wilde [1] penned a thoughtful piece on her experience in Haiti, sharing the mission of her company, Conscious Commerce [2], in the Spring issue of Darling Magazine [3]. With an emphasis on shopping with a conscience, Olivia and Barbara Burchfield started the company to highlight ethically run businesses and locally run brands, selecting products for customers to buy so that they could spend money for a good cause. In the article, Olivia explains, "Rather than beg people to donate the change left over after a Christmas shopping spree, we wondered how impactful it would be to divert some of the cash they were already spending toward carefully vetted nonprofits." Along with shopping links, the Conscious Commerce site also features people who are making a positive impact. The inspiration for their work? An eye-opening experience in Haiti, according to Olivia:

"We stood next to each other, cigarettes dangling from our mouths, rum burning our throats, hazmat suits covering everything but our sweaty faces, clutching a handful of rosaries each. We were aware of the unlikelihood of the moment — two white American girls working to bag bodies in a morgue — but this was Haiti, and we had come to expect the darkly unexpected. We were among a group of local volunteers who made this gruesome journey weekly, giving a dignified burial to the city's discarded poor. The cigarettes were to mask the retched smell, the rum to ease the shock."

The soon-to-be mom is no stranger to speaking out for causes important to her. Last year, she teamed up with Matt Damon [4] for a Water.org PSA [5] to protest the lack of access to clean water for billions of people, and she also stepped out alongside Emma Stone [6] for Revlon's EIF Run/Walk For Women [7] as an ambassador for the brand. Keep reading for more excerpts from Olivia's Darling Magazine piece, including quotes about what drives her and what gives her life meaning.

Source: Darling Magazine [8]

On what inspired her company:

"We had been granted — through our lives in film production, fashion, and design — a unique insight into the world of commerce. People of all ages and economic brackets spend, collectively, over a billion dollars a day on retail. Rather than beg people to donate the change left over after a Christmas shopping spree, we wondered how impactful it would be to divert some of the cash they were already spending toward carefully vetted nonprofits. This was the birth of our company, Conscious Commerce, and we felt this was what we had been waiting for — the bridge between two worlds. This was a way to educate consumers and brands about the needs of the world while empowering them to immediately participate and join the movement to end poverty."

Source: Darling Magazine [9]

On the importance of activism:

"The word 'consciousness' is as defined as 'the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings.' This is how we want to live our lives, spend our money, build our relationships, and run our business. This crucial awareness is what gives life meaning and separates us from every other living thing. Sadly, a pulse does not ensure consciousness. It is a choice. We could easily roll through life with our eyes down and ears shut, satisfying each need on a personal level and never feeling the profundity of our existence as one part of a global family. That day in the morgue, we lost the ability to deny our connection to both the suffering and the tremendous capacity for human kindness that exists in the world."

Source: Darling Magazine [10]


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http://www.popsugar.com/Olivia-Wilde-Darling-Magazine-2014-34402892