Independent. Ethical. Eco-friendly. That's Neighborly!
In short, we choose to carry products that are handmade, indie-made, ethically-made, eco-friendly and/or made in the USA, to us it is the “Neighborly” thing to do. We don't do so at any cost. We subject our products to an affordability test - our sophisticated test is, would we be able to afford this? And we select products that have a mid-century modern inspired style - driven by a simple beauty rather than one that is overcomplicated. Because of our limitations in sourcing, price, and style, Neighborly offers a truly unique collection of ethically-made home goods, gifts and artwork.
Below are more thorough descriptions of the categories our products fall under and why we've committed to them.
Handmade products are made with the love and attention to detail that more traditionally manufactured goods can't offer. They are innately unique because they are made one-by-one with a small sect of consumers in mind, not a mass audience. Neighborly supports handmade artists because it leads to a more enriched and diverse world, rather than a plain and monotonous one (i.e. boring!). Currently 67% of Neighborly's brands and makers create handmade products.
The definition of “indie-made” refers to independent designers, artists, and craftspeople who design and make a wide array of products − without being part of large, industrialized businesses. Whether making by hand or outsourcing production, independent businesses typically prioritize quality and creativity over profit and chasing current trends. This benefits the consumer in better designed, longer-lasting, and more creative styles of products than those intended for mass audiences. Free from the pressure of trying to find the cheapest producer, they tend to establish one-on-one, long term relationships with their suppliers that allow them direct oversight of production, ensuring ethical and sustainable manufacturing.
As mentioned above, Neighborly strives for a world where no human has to risk harm or be paid unfairly to make a product. We lose sleep at night thinking that a person, or worse yet a child, may have been harmed while making this shiny new thing we bought. When Neighborly sources new products, we ask questions about how products are made and the business’s relationship with their manufacturers to be sure it meets our standards and to be able to provide this information to our customers. Currently all but 5 of our roughly 215 suppliers make their products themselves, or have direct oversight of the manufacturers they use to ensure safety and pay standards are met. We hope someday soon to reach 100%.
To us it is common sense: we share this Earth and we only have one. We favor products that re-use materials, use sustainable materials and/or reduce waste in the production process.
Made in the USA
This isn't necessarily about patriotism - manufacturing in the USA ensures companies can't take advantage of lax labor and safety regulations overseas. Economically it helps build local economies, provides better paying jobs for residents, and adds character and culture to our communities. Currently 82% of our suppliers manufacture their products in the United States.
Or as we like to say "Gifts that give back"... We love when companies combine purpose and profit, or profit for a purpose. Several of our suppliers incorporate job training programs, or dedicate a portion of their proceeds to non-profit organizations. We practice what we preach, supporting numerous organizations with silent auction donations and monetary donations each year. During the holiday season, we produce a coffee mug featuring a local artist's design, dubbed "Mugs for Meals". 100% of the profits from mug sales are donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Neighborly then matches the total amount, last year's program totaled over $3500! We also sponsor local organizations like the Chicago Printers Guild, Show of Hands, the Ravenswood ArtWalk, Spudnik Press and more in support of independent artists and makers in our neighborhood and city.