We are two hermanas with proud Mexican roots passionate about social justice and leaving behind a better world for the next generation. As we shopped for sustainable products for our homes, we were struck by how much of the “zero-waste” branding was erasing the origins of this lifestyle in black, brown, and indigenous communities.
We founded VOLVERde to create a space for us, our comunidad, and our narrative of sustainability.
Reclaiming the Zero-Waste Narrative
When we hear the terms, “sustainability” or “zero-waste,” we don’t often think of the most authentic champions of this movement: our abuelit@s. Our abuelitas cared for the earth, and it cared for them in return. They upheld sustainable customs of reusing, repurposing, refilling, composting, and mending – mostly out of necessity but also as a reflection of their resilience and resourcefulness. Their contributions to the zero-waste movement have been left out of the conversation – we’re here to change that.
Growing up in multi-generational households, we learned to be resourceful by instinct. We remember reaching for the butter cookie tin, only to be disappointed by the thread and needles inside or pulling out the sour cream container only to find it repurposed for the freshly made salsa of the week. We also instinctively packed our mercado bags on our way to grocery stores, flea markets, or thrift stores. And when we visited our homeland, we were sent to the corner store to return empty glass soda bottles.
The roots of Latinx sustainability run deep. The Aztecs developed a highly-efficient waste management system that allowed them to reuse, recycle, and compost. Their innovations are just now being recognized and celebrated.
VOLVERde aims to return to these traditions of sustainability. We are here to elevate the untold stories of sustainable, zero-waste, and low-waste lifestyles in Latinx culture.
We know we aren’t discovering sustainability. Instead, we’re embracing it by going back to the basics, just like our abuelitas taught us.
One-Stop-Shop for Products Tailored to Our Needs
When it came to eco-friendly products, we noticed that many weren’t made for consumers like us – with tan skin, curly hair, and scent preferences that don’t leave us smelling like incense (no offense to the incense lovers!) So we've carefully curated a marketplace with products for a wide range of bath, body, hair care, home decor and cleaning needs. And we pay special attention to the needs and preferences of Latinx consumers, which other marketplaces often overlook.
For example, we tested dozens of shampoo bars to find that only a handful work well on curly hair. We’re so excited to have two brands in our launch lineup specially formulated for curly hair: Vida Bars and Dip.
We also know that shampoo bars aren’t for everyone, so we’ve curated the best liquid biodegradable shampoos and conditioners in refillable containers. We’re here to meet you wherever you are on your zero-waste journey and do the hard work of testing and researching products for you.
Now, let’s talk scents. Many of us want non-toxic bath and body products in scents other than lavender and patchouli. While we personally love the smell of lavender, we have a sister who is not a fan and the scent has kept her away from many eco-friendly bath and body products. She keeps us honest with our scent selections. So when we came across an amazing, biodegradable body wash in a refreshing cucumber melon scent, we immediately thought of her and added it to our catalog in her honor.
We also seek to curate low-waste products that have cultural significance to Latinx consumers, such as our natural fiber brushes, enamelware and handwoven textiles. We grew up seeing around our homes, and now we are sharing modern versions to continue the traditions.
Promote BIPOC-Owned Businesses
We set out to create a sustainable business that is greater than the sum of its parts.
VOLVERde aims to create a ripple effect and drive generational wealth building in BIPOC communities, which are disproportionately burdened by the impact of climate change and plastic pollution.
For us, sustainability is more than just the impact on the environment. The conversation has to be anchored around a product’s impact on people and communities, especially communities that disproportionately bear the brunt of pollution, fossil fuel extraction and climate change. This is why we intentionally focus on sourcing from BIPOC-owned businesses. We are proud to launch our marketplace with over 90% of products sourced from women-, Asian-, black-, brown-, or indigenous-owned businesses.
Keeping Sustainable Artisanship Alive
We are here to make a lasting impact on our community. Over the years, our community has forgotten many of the sustainable practices we grew up with. Think about it: we grew up sweeping the street of our patio in Mexico using a natural fiber wooden broom, whose fabrication employed dozens of local artisans that specialized in growing, harvesting, cleaning, and weaving the right natural fibers to make a long-lasting broom.
Now, those natural fiber brooms have been replaced by mass-produced brooms made from plastic derived from fossil fuel extraction, contributing to global warming and likely exploiting workers. Locally produced, plastic-free brooms are now a relic of old times, and artisan communities have been economically devastated by the change in consumer preferences. [Side note: This isn’t to absolve polluting corporations from their responsibility to stop profiting from plastic pollution. We have our eye on them, too. We just believe individual actions matter, too.]
We're here to tell the stories of our community’s rich, sustainable artisanship.
We’re here to support artisans, give them a platform and support their growth – which is why we partner directly with each artisan and pay them a fair price for their talent and hard work.
Through VOLVERde, we will contribute to a healthier planet, build generational wealth in BIPOC communities, and preserve ancient, sustainable artisanship, all while offering you the best sustainable products for you and your home.
We look forward to serving you, your family and our comunidad.
A + M