When I set out to build a brand that I could be exceptionally proud of last April, the most important goal seemed to be our message. I simply had to get it right. After many late nights of Instagram stalking and infinite chats in various Sacramento coffee shops, it was decided. We would proudly banner the tagline, "Inspired by Nature." After all, we were and I wanted everyone to know it.
We (myself and hubby) had collaboratively decided long before this moment, the goods we would produce would contain only the best, natural ingredients. We would draw our inspiration from the beauty that Mother Nature had laid out before us. I began to hashtag every product with every version of the word, "Natural" I could devise. I spent months and months, perfecting these social media posts, boldly making claims left and right about just how natural we really were... However, after nearly a year of pushing this #allnatural agenda, I began to notice a strange trend...everyone else (or so it seemed) in my industry had the same idea. This thing I had been so proud to present to the world, was not only unoriginal, it was quickly becoming distant, background noise.
As I took a closer look, I slowly began to realize that this word that I had so revered, was saturating our every outlet. Big companies used it, little gals such as myself, used it, and all the folks in between did as well. It seemed impossibly ironic! And as I dug a bit deeper, a dark sense of dread began to wash over me...this word that I so revered, was being used by just about anyone to describe nearly anything.
Strangely, it didn't matter if the products were handmade or not. It didn't matter if the products were manufactured by large, multimillion dollar conglomerates or not. It didn't even matter if the products being advertised were neon pink with a million specks of plastic glitter embedded within. They all made the exact same claim: "All Natural." At first it was rather shocking...they were all using MY word. The word that so eloquently described my lovingly, handcrafted, synthetic-free goods. How dare they!
Ultimately however, I realized, no one is keeping tabs. No one is policing the state of these claims, because no one really has a right to...yet. This is the new world we live in, where just about anybody can say anything about...well, anything! It has taken me some downtrodden heartache to now fully comprehend and appreciate the idea that it's really only a word and that people will often and choose to believe whatever best fits their agenda. It only has power when we give it power. So alas, while I am still amazingly proud of what we craft and offer to our supporters, we shan't rely solely on this word that has come to mean so little in our modern times. We shall absolutely hang tight to our truths, and spread our message; however, it will no longer be the primary wagon we hitch ourselves to. And while it may come along for the ride, it will no longer dictate our path.
And so we diverge, off onto another adventure, guiding our own way without the necessity of such common, and overrated vernacular.
Written by Meghan Wright, owner of Figs and Feathers Farm