We can’t sugar coat it; this year has stunk for indie shops and small makers. Spring, summer and winter markets have been cancelled and now lockdown 2.0 has halted the bustle of Christmas shoppers going into artisan shops during the busiest time of year.
But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom, more folk are recognising the importance of shopping small and are pledging to purchase from only their locals and independent stores this Christmas. Here are five reasons why we’re doing the same …
1. Sustainable shopping
Who knows how long the transportation takes when you’re ordering from far-flung destinations and why a teeny tiny item has been copiously wrapped in unrecyclable packaging. It’s a no-brainer that buying from somewhere closer to home is far more planet-friendly and, if it’s from a small maker, they’re more likely to care about what materials they’ve used, where they are sourced from and how they package their goods.
2. One-of-a-kind gifts
Don't be that person who puts so little effort into gifting that they just pick boring, mass-produced items, most likely from mindlessly scrolling the most popular lists on Amazon. It won't score you any brownie points with a partner, friend or family member. Taking the extra time to source something that’s unique – whether that’s browsing in indie stores, farm shops or via a small makers’ Etsy account – will reveal wonderful and individual items that is sure to make the receiver delightedly ask 'Where's this from?!'
3. Made with love
Most small makers will have poured hours, perhaps days or weeks of attention and hard work into an item, it will have a purpose and be inspired by a multitude of mediums. What you’re buying has been created with care and just the knowledge of that when purchasing something feels special.
4. Share the good vibes
Every single sale feels like a huge win to a small shop or freelance maker, whether it’s large or little. They could be cool, calm and collected on the outside during the transaction, but inside they are most likely bursting with pride and gratitude. You could be making a huge difference to their day, and you're likely to see or virtually receive the gratitude. Added bonus: how good is that all going to make you feel, knowing you're supporting someone's livelihood?
5. Customer service
If you're lucky enough to shop in-person you'll probably meet the maker behind the work. You can find out why they were inspired to create it, the process, what it's made of; as many questions as you like. If it's not in-person, you can send them a private message on social media, go to the 'about' page on their website or email them – most small shop owners and independent makers love to engage with customers.
In short: in a world full of mass-produced, boring and extremely beige items, buy something with colour and creation. Be beautifully bold, bang-on trend and a badass gifter by shopping small this Christmas.