This episode I'm thinking about our online community of makers, small business owners and independents. I'm talking about the benefits of shopping local and with your favourite small businesses this Christmas.
I began the year with my own commitment to reflecting on my craft practices through ‘The Maker’s Year’. It was a guiding theme for the podcast, my blog, Instagram and all my making this year. The idea was to reduce any environmental impact I could by sourcing locally and seasonally, as well as increasing my own skills to enable me to do that. I’ve loved seeing every entry in #themakersyear hashtag and so many of you who used it to evaluate your making at home too.
Anyone who has listened to this podcast before will know I love to celebrate maker businesses, people who are innovative in their field of expertise and enriching communities and the economy through their skills. So today I’m combining these two passions and sharing my goal this year for Christmas: Shop Small.
One fact I love is that research has shown that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business. It’s been investigated by local authorities and the figures seem to support this. That means more for our local communities! It's not just about the local economy though! Small businesses are innovators. I love to shop local for the level of expertise and skills I find in that business and their commitment to both the product and the customer.
Plus it’s more environmentally friendly- things like a lack of air freight and reduced packaging are a definite bonus. A lot of the maker businesses I order from are really committed to reducing their global foot print and have more control over sourcing their packaging while still keeping an eye on their margins. I also read that local producers are much more likely to source local themselves which was interesting to me.
This year, it felt important to actively choose businesses that represent diversity and individual flair. I want that voice to be celebrated and have been more than a little alarmed by some of the aggressive advertising I’ve seen from bigger brands in national media whose views I don’t agree with. There’s been a strong reaction to the Stop Funding Hate campaign and a number of large businesses won’t be getting my hard earned pennies this year because they’ve stated they’ll continue to advertise in this manner. In fact I’ve opted for presents from some makers purely based on the fact they’re supporting charities with profits from purchases.
Some of my favourite UK based independent businesses:
- Newton and Pott- aka The Modern Preserver.
- Lolahoaddesign- Prints and Christmas Cards
- Katie Robins Ceramics- Beautiful nature inspired vessels keep my plant babies happy
- AR Ceramics- Textured ceramics such as homewares
- Pip Wilcox Ceramics- Ceramic vases and vessels
- The People Shop- Hand made garments that are slightly oversized and handmade
- The People Tree- Slow fashion and sustainable production.
- Oh My Clumsy Heart- Clean, minimal jewellery
- Tatty Devine- Probably best known for their Perspex fun and colourful pieces such as a gin range that I’m coveting but they work with a lot of different materials such as wood and fabrics.
- Afro Deco- Prints that are heavily influenced by Art Deco and the bold colours of African textiles.
- Mooshpie- Illustrations both in print form and her embroidery have a slight celebration of childhood feel but grown up. This is so cute and quirky!
- Andsmile Studio-Colourful watercolour designs.
Music is 'Christmas Time' by Hill and Hale via Noisetrade.
Podcast creation support by my producer, Chris Muldoon.