Closed, shut down, gone under. Over the past three years, these words have haunted our favourite local businesses. Seeing many of them losing vast parts of their clientele was devastating, with far too many left with no choice but to close. Yet, statistics show that we shop just as much as before, if not more. Our habits have shifted away from our local clothing, beauty, jewelry, and home goods boutiques to the massive, powerful corporations we know deep down don't have our or the planet's best interests at heart. This shift hasn't just set small businesses back; it's set us all back.
We create more of what we support, and suddenly, we have more fast fashion, mass-produced home goods, toxic self-care products, and so on.
Every time we don't choose the slow, ethical local shop, we must realize that nearly everyone else is doing the same. Each purchase is part of a collective wave of all our purchases, influencing the entire market.
Here's the silver lining: this reminds us that we, as consumers, have so much power. If we change our focus and shine our light back on our local businesses, we can make a real difference.
Top advantages for you and the community:
- Gentler on the environment, energy, resource and material-wise
- Keeps more money in your area and community
- It helps create and retain more jobs in your community, enhancing the lives of many
- Ethical businesses are also kinder to the people in their supply chains
- It supports the people you know and cherish, and fosters the relationships and mutual care that we've been so hungry for over the past few years (in turn, they can grow and offer us more options)
- We receive service, expertise, and an experience that's nourishing to everyone involved and that holds so much meaning
- Participating in your community creates connections, which builds networks, giving strength to all those within the network and the causes they champion, something that's more important and apparent to us now than ever.
"We want to live in a community with more compassion, a community whose values help to create a better world and sustainable future, and supporting businesses that do just this is a beautiful place to start." ~Julie Michaud, Founder, portia-ella
easy steps to support local
- start where you're comfortable, then expand. Maybe there's an area of your life where you're ready to try something new, something local. Start there. Find a local shop that offers what you're looking for and explore their options. As this becomes second nature to you, open up to other possibilities and ask questions about where to try the next item you're ready for. Let it unfold organically, and before you know it, you'll have discovered dozens of places to support and things to replace with more sustainable options in a way that works for you.
- spread the word. If you find a deodorant you adore and discover that they offer refills, celebrate it! Share it, recommend it, and encourage your loved ones to try it. Local shops thrive from word-of-mouth reviews, it's such a powerful tool, and requires such little effort. Shopping locally is a journey, and helping each other along the way is just another way we can make it easier for one another.
- learn about the benefits, and ask questions. The conversation around local and ethical shopping is vast and deep, involving so many different people, solutions, and industries. Talk to your local business owners about why they do what they do, what keeps them going, the real heart of it. We root for the people and causes we care about, making a choice to shop locally easier and easier with every purchase.
- make it an occasion, an outing! A huge part of shopping's alure is the joy of novelty, discovery, and luxury we find while browsing. Shopping locally is no different, with carefully curated décor and displays, it's an experience for all the senses that deserves to be looked forward to. Plan a date with your friends or take yourself out to taste what your community has to offer.