If there’s one question we hear often from well-meaning customers, or even friends and family, when we brag about our locally produced, locally manufactured designs, it’s “What’s the big deal?” What is all the hype about buying local and spending your hard-earned cash on clothing from independent designers, when you can easily hit up the big box retailers or discount stores to get your fashions for a portion of the price?
So if you were pondering the same question, keep reading. As we strongly believe in supporting local business – not only as business owners but as customers – we wanted to list our reasons, and explain why we love to shop local – and why you should, too.
Supporting your community. When you buy from a local business, you’re investing in more than just your purchase – you’re investing in the community at large. Shopping local increases purchases from other local businesses and services. Small businesses also create local jobs, make more efficient use of public services and infrastructure, support non-profit organizations, and contribute to unique local character. That means your dollar helps grow the local economy and build sustainable, prospering communities.
Supporting the planet. The $20 top from a chain retailer may seem like a great deal, but you can be sure someone is paying the price. With costs of production, importing, and massive manufacturing facilities, major retail corporations are a strain on the planet and resources. Buying local reduces the environmental footprint, and it also means not supporting less-than-ethical practices like child labor, unfair pay, and hazardous working conditions in third world countries where mass-produced clothing is manufactured. Finally, cheap clothing encourages people to buy more and waste more – these trendy ‘fast fashions’ are poorly made, don’t hold up well, and are designed to be tossed after a season or two of wear, making you spend more in the long run than well-made, classic clothing that will stand the test of time. And let’s face it – it’s always these special pieces, not the $10 discount shirt, that truly make you feel amazing when you put them on.
Supporting originality. In a world where so much is mass-made, mass-marketed, globalized, and mostly devoid of creativity, it’s not easy to find clothing that really speaks to your unique personality and sense of style. Retail brands only focus on target markets and artificial trends, flooding stores with identical copycat styles. In supporting local artists, designers, and boutiques, you’re also supporting the creativity and effort put into their original, labor-intensive creations – and you get to pick out fashions that express your individuality, knowing you’re not going to show up at a party wearing the same dress as someone else. Not to mention these little funky boutiques just plain more fun to shop, explore, and treasure-hunt.
Recognizing the importance of small businesses, the world is catching up with the advent of local retailers, online artisan shops like Etsy, and even a counter to Black Friday madness, Small Business Saturday. You can even tweet #SmallBusinessSaturday to highlight favorite small businesses on any Saturday of the year.
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