I’ll be the first to admit that for several years, I was an ‘Amazon-aholic’. Everything I needed could be purchased with the quick click of a button, and it would show up at my door within a few days. I was a ‘hyper-consumer’, without any thought of how or where my dollars were being spent. Shopping at small businesses wasn’t even on my radar.
Fast forward to this year, my mentality has shifted significantly. With the pandemic devastating so many people and so many small businesses, I took a step back from my ‘hyper-consumerism’. Amazon did not need my hard-earned dollars. Jeff Bezos certainly did not, either. With the second wave of Covid-19 hitting my home province of Nova Scotia, it’s the small businesses that needed my business. The businesses that were struggling to stay afloat all year. This year, I opted to purchase from small businesses – many that were local.
Shopping local helps to grow your community’s economy
After the financial hardships of this year, it’s your community’s economy that could really use a boost – not big box chain stores or Amazon. On average, when you purchase your goods and services locally, for every $100 spent, $68 stays in the community. By buying local, you could be putting dinner on the table for a young family instead of putting dollars into the pockets of millionaires.
You likely know the ethics of production
By purchasing goods that are made locally, you can ensure that the items were ethically made, sourced, and that fair wages were paid. If this is not something you know a great deal about, it should at least be on your radar. Many of the imported goods from around the world have been created by workers who face human rights issues, child abuse, unfair wages, or unsafe work conditions.
There are unique customization options
If you order from a big box store or Amazon, chances are there might be a few colour options of the same item, but that is as customized as you will find. Ordering from a small business or independent seller will open up more customization options for you. If you’re ordering a custom piece of art, the creator will work with you in order to create the perfect piece. You can ensure you’re purchasing a gift that the receiver will not already have, or receive from anyone else.
Quality will be unmatched
I can name serval instances that I have purchased items from big box stores that fell apart within weeks of receiving them. The quality simply is not there. Because many items are produced on a mass scale, the quantity is more important to the creators than the quality. This is not the case with small businesses. There is extra care that goes into a product that is made in limited numbers.
Unmatched customer service and experience
When you purchase items from local or small businesses, it’s just that – a small business. You won’t be stuck on hold for hours with bad elevator music blaring in the background. You will get to talk to a real person, often right away. Chances are, you’ll get to speak to the owner of the small business or the creator of the product directly. They will want to work with you to ensure you leave happy and are more likely to recommend them to your friends and family. You will get a much more personal experience than if you were to communicate with a big box store or Amazon.
My favourite small businesses
Kōst and Clay – hand-created mugs
Kuriosities Jewelry – hand created jewelry (many different price points – something for everyone!)
My Tiny Creatives – watercolor paintings (you get the canvas and a digital copy!)
Stitching Blooms – handcrafted embroidery
Luminate Co. – wellness market (online and in-store)
The Tare Shop – package free shop (online and in-store)