“Ethically sourced” is a common buzzword used to describe many natural products these days. Since, by definition, the meaning of this term varies from person to person, we thought it would be more helpful to share with our customers concrete information on the sourcing of the items in our shop. We hope that by doing so we are enabling our customers to make informed decisions about their purchasing choices and we encourage you to contact us so that we can have an open dialog.

Made/Assembled in USA

usa stamp

Working with companies that make or assemble their products in America is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and pollution in general by shortening the supply chain. Also, broadly speaking, American companies follow some of the strictest environmental and labor laws in the world, which is why we’ve decided to highlight these items with this seal. 

To determine whether an item with this seal was “made” in the US vs “assembled”, simply refer to the “Details” tab under the item’s picture. If the country of origin is listed as “USA”, it was made here. Otherwise, it was assembled here. We use the FTC’s definitions on this subject.

Here are some examples to illustrate how we differentiate between “made” and “assembled”:

  • Made in USA: This item was sourced as a whole from the US and it was then prepared in the US as well. For example, our Knightia sp fossil fish were dug from a quarry in Wyoming and then prepared (i.e., cleaned and cut) locally.

  • Assembled in USA: A substantial part of the item was sourced outside of the US but the final product was completely assembled in the US. For example, while the butterfly used for our framed Morpho didius was sourced from Peru, it was carefully spread in our studio in Upstate New York by our highly skilled artisans. Then it was mounted in a frame made from American ash wood and glass from a glazier in Wisconsin.

Shop Small

handshakeNearly all of our suppliers are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Items with this seal were made by micro businesses with fewer than 20 employees (we have fewer than 20 employees ourselves!). When you shop at Evolution, you support a huge network of families that do a little happy dance with every single purchase.

Here’s a rough breakdown of the vendors in our network:

  • 5%: 100 employees or more
  • 20%: 50-99 employees
  • 50%: 20-49 employees
  • 25%: 1-19 employees


leafNatural items stand the test of time better than mass produced consumer goods that are designed to be used, discarded, and replaced continuously. The natural world is our bread and butter, and we’re passionate about enabling our customers to make mindful choices when it comes to our environment. Best of all, the items with this seal are plastic free! Natural products are - by definition - biodegradable, too. 

Here are some examples of items that we’ve identified as eco-friendly:

  • Butterflies: These are farm raised in a manner that is sustainable and beneficial to the local ecosystem. Butterfly farming provides a financial incentive for the maintenance of green spaces and helps counteract the negative impacts of other activities such as logging. In addition, 50% of the butterflies that are raised are released into the wild to maintain a healthy population and to pollinate the local flora, creating a positive feedback cycle that benefits everyone.
  • Byproducts of the food industry: Certain animal products, such as water buffalo horns, for example, are byproducts of the food industry and are considered waste products that would otherwise be discarded. 
  • Byproducts of other industries: Other animal products are byproducts of other industries. For example, coyote skulls are byproducts of the fur trade, and raccoon skulls are byproducts of pest extermination services. These are also considered waste products that would otherwise be discarded.
  • Fossils and minerals: Most of these items, after being extracted from the ground, are worked on using hand tools and cleaned with water. Also, when discarded, these items are safe for the environment since they have not been treated chemically.
  • Some manufactured products: items that are made from eco-friendly materials from verified sources (e.g., the Cognitive Surplus’ journals we carry are made from 100% recycled paper) are included in this category as well.

If you’d like to know more about how a specific item was sourced, please don’t hesitate to contact us!