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The Chica Dollar

This week’s letter focuses on Chica’s role as a conscious consumer. We are dropping an old supplier, investigating new ones, and expanding on our understanding of our placement within the capitalist framework. What’s new with you? 

Elise: Dear Money Maven,

As I flipped through Instagram stories this other, I paused on a flash photo of a bottle of liquid hand soap. Around the hand soap, were sticky notes saying:

The owners of the company donate to Roy Moore ($400,000-500,000 after he was called out for relationships with young girls, ew), Don’t support workers rights, Are anti-pro choice

I searched the soap for the company name – ULINE. Shit! We buy cold-shield bubble wrap and packaging tape from ULINE. I was planning on placing another order next week. I felt grateful for the person who took the time to share that information, and then I felt dumb.

I have understood for years that money is power, that we must be picky in our consumer decisions if we really want capitalism to come close to aligning with the values that we believe in – such as fair labor, healthcare, trans rights (Donate), immigration (Donate), black lives matter (Donate), etc (Donate). We have made donations a part of our company mission, even working this into our lean structure and donating to Period Pals while Chica is still in baby stage. However, we totally failed to check what our expenses support.

I won’t be placing a new order from ULINE. We’ll figure out somewhere else to get that bubble wrap from; this may even be an opportunity to find a better packaging solution. At the least, I am grateful that the wake-up call to follow up on every supplier we are considering giving large amounts of money to for our infrastructure came early in our growth. It will be much easier to change our habits and put money completely into creating the world we envision.

Sorry for probably donating $5 to Roy Moore’s campaign, thank goodness he didn’t win.

Love,

Elise

Cassidy: Dear Dollar Doll,

From a theoretical and moral standpoint, I fantasize about divesting from the capitalist framework entirely. Don’t worry, though–I won’t turn this blog post into a searing indictment of commercial self-interest. Mostly because anarchy is not, perhaps, the best platform from which to promote our tender young business; but also because I can respect the potential of the capitalist engine. You said it best: money is power.

It is difficult to conceptualize this reality without feeling intimidated by the negative weight it carries. The inequality it necessarily implies. With power consolidated in the hands of the few, how can the many leverage the system of capitalism in their favor? How can we promote economic sustainability without overhauling the current paradigm? This perspective can become paralyzing. However, understanding my position within the consumer collective changes this dynamic, because it redefines the power of money as something accessible.

In Chica terms, this demands an intimate knowledge of our every input. My weakness there is that I automatically reach for our ingredients–especially our chocolate. We have been careful to ensure that our chocolate comes from a fair trade certified source (Santa Barbara Chocolate Company), but as we’ve recently been learning, labor conditions can still be abysmal on certain farms that are certified by third-party auditors (Modern Farmer). Our intention when starting Chica was to have a direct relationship with our cacao suppliers, and now it’s time to return and execute on that goal. I’m looking into Uncommon Cacao now as a stepping stone.

Truffle ingredients are not the only input we must be conscious of, however. ULINE demonstrates that. We buy molds, tempering equipment, business cards, packaging, stickers. Pay our dues for domain space and online services. Who are the people behind these brands? What do they ally themselves to? To know this is to leverage our power within the capitalist system.

The Chica Dollar, then, is our bargaining chip. Not just in philanthropic terms, or purchasing power–though investing in companies and organizations we believe in is a good place to start. I refer to the entire structure of Chica as an economic actor. How do we create and deliver value? How do we design a model that grants equity to our employees? How do we ensure that everyone who wants Chica can afford to access it?

Cheers to more sleepless nights as we find the answers to these important questions.

Love,

Cass

Image via Solange Knowles

Poria

Fungus & Root

Scierotium Poriae Cocos / Fu Ling / 茯苓 Scierotium Pararadicis Poriae Cocos / Fu Shen / 茯神

Poria calms the heart and soothes nerves, helping with anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, Poria drains dampness, an excess of moisture that the body collects in the wrong places and makes us feel heavy and fatigued (hello moodiness).

Chinese Salvia

Root

Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae / Dan Shen / 丹參

Salvia root nourishes the blood and heart, and calms the spirit. Salvia works with Schisandra and Zizyphus in Chica Chill to help relieve insomnia.

Rehmannia

Root

Radix Rehmanniae Preparata / Sheng Di Huang / 熟地黄

Rehmannia root is your Yin nourisher, supporting calm and cold in your system. With its additional ability to help cool blood, increase fluids, and clear heart fire; Rehmannia is a star herb for soothing and preventing heat flashes.

Polygala / Thin-Leaf Milkwort

Root

Radix Polygalae Tenuifoliae / Yuan Zhi / 元志

Polygala root nourishes the Heart, and helps soothe nerves and restlessness.

Schisandra / Chinese Magnolia

Berry

Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis / Wu Wei Zi / 五味子

Schisandra berry is famous for featuring all five flavors of Traditional Chinese Medicine: bitter, sweet, salty, sour, hot. This means that Schisandra is completely energetically balanced, promoting overall health and vitality. Schisandra helps relieve night sweats, insomnia, and hormonal imbalances. Schisandra is also rich in antioxidants that are thought to protect from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage. 

Platycodon / Balloon Flower

Root

Radix Platycodi / Jie Geng / 桔梗

Platycodon root is a neutral balancing herb, meaning it is not especially Yin or Yang. Platycodon is nourishing for the lungs, which in TCM, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Scrophularia / Figwort

Root

Radix Scrophulariae / Xuan Shen / 玄參

Scrophularia root nourishes Yin, drains fire, and cools the blood. Scrophularia is particularly soothing for irritability.

Ophiopogon / Dwarf Lilyturf

Tuber

Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici / Mai Men Dong / 麦门冬

Ophiopogon tuber works with Asparagus to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.

Stemona

Root

Radix Stemonae / Bai Bu / 百部

Stemona root is a balancing herb in the Chica Chill formula. Stemona is nourishing for the lungs, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Licorice

Root

Radix Glycyrrhizae / Gan Cao / 甘草

Licorice acts as a unifier, balancing the formula and amplifying the properties of the other herbs.

Zizyphus / Sour Jujube

Seed

Semen Zizyphi Spinosae / Suan Zao Ren / 酸枣仁

Zizyphus seed nourishes the heart and calms the spirit. Zizyphus helps relieve insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

Ginseng

Root

Radix Ginseng / Ren Shen / 人参

Ginseng root, one of the most famous herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is known for its ability to strengthen Qi and support life vitality. Ginseng nourishes the Heart and calms the spirit, helping reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Acorus / Grassleaf Sweetflag

Rhizome

Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii / Shi Chang Pu / 石菖蒲

Acorus helps relieve internal heat and is a favorite herb for reducing frequent insomnia.

Eucommia / Chinese Rubber Tree

Bark

Cortex Eucommiae Ulmoidis / Du Zhong / 杜仲

Eucommia bark balances the Chica Chill formula by offering Yang properties. Eucommia is also nourishing for the heart, and has been featured in research in Western medicine for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

Angelica / Dong Quai

Root

Radix Angelicae Sinensis / Dong Quai / 当归

Angelica root is sometimes described as the “female ginseng,” due to its fame for supporting a healthy and regular menstrual cycle. Angelica root strengthens blood and energizes circulation. In Chica Chill, Angelica root balances the herbal formula with its Yang properties.

Biota / Arborvitae

Seed

Semen Platycladi / Bai Zi Ren / 柏子仁

Biota seed benefits memory and promotes restful sleep by nourishing the heart and calming the spirit.

Chinese Asparagus

Tuber

Tuber Asparagi Cochinensis / Tian Men Dong / 天门冬

Asparagus root works with Ophiopogon to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.