It’s no secret that supporting local is the feel-good choice when you decide to shop small over a big box store. We hear it every year around this time. It’s crazy to think that Small Business Saturday, traditionally held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, only officially began in the 2010 recession. The handmade movement has taken it over by storm and it’s a bonafide reminder to keep your mom and pop stores alive and well - not just during the holidays but everyday.
While I know not every item we consume in our lives is an option to source locally or small (and that’s ok), there are choices we can make. Here are just a few reasons to shop small all year round but especially during the holidays!
Each piece you choose has a heartbeat. Hands that worked tirelessly to craft that particular item- the passion poured into that mug that fits your hand just right, that dazzling necklace adjusted to fall on your neckline or even the bunch carrots grown and tended to with love everyday for 12 weeks straight. There’s a satisfaction of being able to say - “I met the person that made this and they do it because…..” We crave connection as humans and you can really feel that connection when shopping small. These businesses also know their sh*t and can tell you anything about anything to do with their product. I absolutely love talking about gems with my customers including gemstone meaning and healing properties that match what’s going on in their lives.
The Customer Service
You can’t beat the customer service. You’ll always reach a human! You’ll always get quality products and services. Why? Because these makers have worked themselves into the items they sell. They care and want you to love and adore your purchase like they do. More than likely, your go-to makers know your name and story too. I know I pride myself on getting to know my customers. This makes the whole interaction more than a shopping experience; it’s a community builder.
Let’s bring back trade and skill! Small and local business is the true “Made in America” we need. It’s a sad fact that technology has replaced a lot of skilled workers in our workforce. The handmade movement preserves handmade traditions and supporting those that choose this as their career keeps this lifestyle viable for future generations.
Small-batch, handmade goods have a smaller footprint. They are one of a kind. Goods with less miles travelled to the end customer. Sustainability is important to my little studio in both my gem and material sourcing. I use gem dealers that I trust making it easier for me to know I’m using sustainably-sourced gemstones. Just as I’ve gotten to know so many customers, my dealers have come to know me. (I was even invited to one of their weddings in India!) My shipping and packaging is packed with reused and recycled materials. I try hard not to purchase new shipping materials that add to the waste streams. (Gah-you should see the corner of my studio that is stacked with packing mailers waiting to be reused!) Nine times out of ten the small businesses you support are thinking about ways to be more eco-conscious and green in all aspects of their operations.
Those dollars spent with a small business are six times more likely to be turned back into the local community and not just with the tax dollars invested back into the city/county. Take it from me - every show I do I find another maker I want to support. I frequent the farm-to-table restaurant down the street, the weekly farmer’s market, my favorite used clothing store, a truly ‘local’ grocery store and I, kid you not, the cobbler (yes, they do still exist) These values are instilled in local makers and by passing this love around we weave a robust local commerce. And you can be a part of that fabric too.
Ok, go! Shop your local, small heart out. I can’t wait to see all the wonderful handmade treasures you find.