I Stopped Using Social Media for My Sustainable Business, Here's Why

Fold and Fray Quitting Social Media Blog Post Graphic: Textiles, Vintage Cream Blouse, Clouds

Quitting Social Media

The social narrative would have us believe that using social media for business is essential for success. This is a false belief, since it implies that all businesses share the same definition of “success,” which they don't. Businesses that are guided by a social or environmental purpose do not have the same metrics for success as those guided first by capitalism, which favours profit and growth.

We’re in a time of hyperconnectivity. This is especially noticeable with the increased shift to virtual communications within the last two years. I chose to leave social media knowing it could negatively impact the short-term viability of my business. And it did. But I don’t care. Not because I don’t want Fold and Fray to “succeed”, but because the non-monetary costs of aligning with social media platforms like Instagram and those specifically owned by Facebook/Meta, outweighs any perceived benefit. I cannot in good conscience align with online spaces that negatively impact mental health, prioritize corporate profits over wellbeing, and are intentionally designed to be addictive.

Fold and Fray Quitting Social Media Blog Post Graphic: Airplane, Wool Sweaters, Vintage Levi's

Unplugging from the Internet

Throughout 2021 I took a number of short breaks from Fold and Fray to gain perspective. I believe that true sustainability-based businesses must reevaluate from time to time to ensure that their practices align with their purpose. I believe that to keep going without introspection is a symptom of capitalism and often runs counter to sustainability.

As I periodically took Fold and Fray offline from Instagram, it felt as though I was going through a detox, coming out from a subtle brainwashing. The longer I spent away, the more I was able to connect to myself, my own thoughts and nature. I believe that in order to understand the role that certain online spaces play in your life, you need to take time away, and if possible, replace it with a connection-to and immersion in the natural world. A literal unplugging. And if you are in a leadership position involved with environmental advocacy, taking time away from digital spaces and spending it in nature, may be essential for your ability to make effective decisions.

Fold and Fray Quitting Social Media Blog Post Graphic: Wool Sweater, Island Skyline, Brown Textiles

Social Media as an Expansion of the Supply Chain

I have written a paper titled “Social Media as an Expansion of the Supply Chain'' that will be available next month. This essay is philosophical in nature and presents the perspective that how we use and engage with social media is an extension of our business ethics. In the paper, I argue that we need to think of social media as an intangible extension of the supply chain. Just as we (sustainable/ethical business owners) would consider the ethical ramifications of aligning with a certain supplier, manufacturer or organization, we must also consider the same ethics when choosing to align with a certain online platform or social media app. I argue that the decisions made behind the scenes of a business, such as the choice to connect your online store to a social media app (which gives the app access to specific customer data), is an ethical decision, and needs to be considered as such. I believe that the decision to use social media needs to be weighed with the same seriousness as other aspects of business ethics, such as labour, wages, materials and all other material aspects of the supply chain. It’s for this reason that Fold and Fray no longer uses social media and has never integrated Shopify with Instagram.

Fold and Fray Quitting Social Media Blog Post Graphic: Blue Sky, Leather Bag, Denim Shorts

Benefits of Quitting Social Media

While there were mild short-term losses for Fold and Fray from quitting social media, they only lasted two months. I am now beginning to see greater financial viability by not using it at all. It is turning out to not only be a positive ethical decision, but also one with financial benefits. This doesn’t even touch on the emotional and psychological benefits, which are immeasurable. 

This decision to stop using social media for Fold and Fray frees up my time and energy. I’m able to focus on providing a better quality service/product and can reallocate my time to other projects. The cultural narrative surrounding social media and business would influence you to think it's essential to use social media platforms to be successful. It’s not. Businesses existed and were profitable before social media.

This post is based on the essay "Social Media as an Expansion of the Supply Chain" which you can read HERE.


5 comments


  • Nathan

    “ As I periodically took Fold and Fray offline from Instagram, it felt as though I was going through a detox, coming out from a subtle brainwashing. The longer I spent away, the more I was able to connect to myself, my own thoughts and nature.”

    An excellent reminder :)


  • Diane

    Thought provoking and engaging! Concur with the value of “unplugging” to nature regularly to personally, reflect, refresh, refocus and reboot. Thanks for the insight.


  • Adelaide

    This is such a refreshing read Leah! Kudos to you for permanently unplugging and I’m excited to read your paper!


  • Hugues

    Interesting read, thank you! Looking forward to read you paper and congratulations!


  • Judy

    Goog for you Leah. I’m proud of you for sticking to your principles.


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