SUSTAIN x THE SLOTH: Summer Soirée

Sustainability on a Budget

By Reza Cristián

SUSTAIN & THE SLOTH presented Sustainability on a Budget panel hosted at The Canvas in Williamsburg on Friday, July 26th, 2019.

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The panel had a range of amazing female sustainable entrepreneurs and experts, including Mi-Anne Chan, beauty video producer and writer for Refinery 29; Dominique Drakeford, founder of Melanin and Sustainable Style and co-founder of Sustainable BK; Jenny Welbourn, Youtuber behind Wear I Live; and Corinna and Theresa Williams, founders of Celsious. Joy Morgan, a sustainable consultant and customer experience manager at Package Free Shop moderated the panel.

We live in a world where by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish, and many cities in the world, including New York City, have declared a Climate Emergency.

So how do individual consumers like ourselves, who live in different economic backgrounds but still want to fight this climate change battle, come together in a time where sustainability seems so one-sided?

How to live sustainably on a budget

Dominique Drakeford reminded us during the panel that “Sustainability came from indigenous communities first.” Before industrialization, we lived in a village and depended on the local economy–so naturally, our way of life was much simpler and didn’t need products that came from massive manufacturing. Now, thanks to cheap labor in Asia and the internet making things available at all times, we are constantly surrounded by new products that promise to make our lives better. But Dominique reminds us that we don’t need many things we see on the internet. The first step in learning how to live sustainably on budget is understanding what is our true need and what is the “fake” need made by corporations to make sales. 

There was a lot of talk about how we, as consumers, need to become more conscious of our carbon footprint or else “we will die, our children will die, so we have to be prioritizing,” as Mi-Anne Chan put it. That is why SUSTAIN and THE SLOTH joined forces to create this topic of sustainability on a budget to create an inclusive environment.

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Companies are currently capitalizing on this sustainable movement, so when it comes to influencing and sharing these products on their platforms, these women are very keen on being transparent and sharing only things they truly feel connected with.

“Influencing is my platform, almost four years ago my action was not just influencing my own action, but showing people ways to live differently,” Jenny Welbourn said.

One way of prioritizing and/or purchasing products that may seem out of your budget? Especially products you may see your favorite influencers promoting on social media, think about how one purchase can be long-lasting versus wasteful.

For Theresa Williams, she buys only one bottle of castille soap for $13 to cover her entire beauty regimen, which lasts her the whole year, and uses baking soda as an all-purpose cleaner.


Guests after the panel were able to network with the panelists and enjoy drinks by SAINT LUNA moonshine palomas, handcrafted in small batches from locally sourced molasses and rye in North Carolina, with the purest of water, then charcoal filtered to remove any impurities. Ruza and 2017 Endgame Chardonnay provided by Winc were also served at the event. Produced in California and vegan-friendly, the drinks were perfect for the summer. If you are a first time user to Winc, enjoy this discount code of $22 off your first purchase. The event was also sponsored by The Qi who provide whole flower adaptogenic and sustainable sofa company Sabai.


In case you missed the Summer Soirée, here are some ways you can easily be sustainable on a budget. For those beauty lovers who have empty products, but don’t know how to recycle, check out Package Free Shop for a Terracycle drop-off. Or on how to Dumpster Dive, which is legal in NYC (and not considered trespassing) as Mi-Anne mentioned: you can check out her video on Refinery 29 here.

Care for Clothes

If you are tired of worrying about the damage your clothes are making when washing and drying or want all-natural products for detergent, check out Celsious in Williamsburg. AND speaking of clothes, one way to really find a cheap alternative to finding cute pieces to fit your wardrobe is to thrift…watch Jenny’s video on some cool places in NYC here.

If you are interested in learning more about sustainability check out Sustainable BK’s next event September 7th.


Photography by Sam Baselice