This is something I posted on Instagram this morning, but I had a few extra thoughts I wanted to share so I decided to share them here.
Today is Small Business Saturday. Which, if you didn't know, is a holiday created by Amex in order to promote shopping at small and local businesses.
Shopping small isn't about being trendy.
It's about supporting your community.
The place in which you live.
The hard working people who are living out or pursuing their dreams for the greater good.
It's about investing in QUALITY vs. QUANTITY.
Knowing the person behind the product.
The maker behind the creation.
A sentiment I've been working on implementing into my life more over the past year or so.
People often complain about how expensive it is to shop small/local, and I get that, but honestly when you buy one quality item you save yourself time and money down the road from having to buy five poor quality items after they quickly wear out/break/go out of style. Plus there's the whole fast fashion issue and the excessive consumerism mindset that plagues so much of our lives (if you haven't watched True Cost, do it. It's on Netflix)
Besides, really and truly think about it, wouldn't you rather know where your money's going? Who it's going to and what it's being used for? I think there's far greater value in that than we realize. And what goes around comes around. So make it a point to invest in and support small businesses, not just today, but on a regular basis. Because it's what's best for this here world of ours. We're all in this together after all. ❤
So those were my words from Instagram this morning, but then a friend of mine brought up the additional thoughts on how so many people don't have the ability to invest in quality and well made things. That that is in fact a luxury and a privilege. And how we should also be conscious and open to not only shop small, but shop second hand.
Which I 100% agree with.
And so I want to add on some more thoughts to this topic and way of thinking.
First by clarifying that when I admonish you to shop at small businesses I'm definitely also including vintage/thrift/second hand shops. Because I do think it's important to buy second hand as much as possible instead of just buying new things all of the time. ***Insert a reiteration of the dangers of fast fashion here***
Secondly, I also think it's important to seek out businesses and artists that make an effort to give back in various ways. I in no way want to come across as elitist and privileged in my declaration of the importance of shopping small, which I know it often can be construed as because it sometimes is more expensive. Rather I want to speak to the value of supporting smaller businesses BECAUSE of how much our community and society as a whole is hurting and doing this, sowing back into people, supporting each other and helping one another out, is so very important in helping out the greater good of our communities.
It's a hard issue as a whole to address because of its various intricacies and how it goes so much deeper than the surface of just how we shop.
I think I tend to get overwhelmed when looking at the bigger picture of our country and how it's hurting and impoverished and then seeing the privileged and those more well off (which I undoubtedly am one of, simply because I have a roof over my head and the ability to put food on the table on a consistent basis. Not to mention how I have extra to spend on much sillier/trivial/unnecessary things). I think my way of approaching the issue is hitting at the hearts of so many at the middle/upper class line and how consumerist we are, which is so toxic to not only ourselves and those in this country but those in other countries as well. We have so much in comparison to many who have so little or often even nothing. And my heart is at a place where I'm trying to speak to that issue on the surface so that we can then work our way down to the deeper issues and turn around and give to and help those who are maybe hurting a little more than we are.
It's what God calls us to do after all.
Be a good steward of the blessings he's given us.
I definitely have been wrestling with more extreme ways to do that though. I recently cleared out a lot of stuff and gave a carload of things to a halfway house, but even things like that make me sick to my stomach. The fact that I have a carload of excess is just wrong on so many levels.
I'm definitely trying to figure out what living a life centered on Gods will in this area looks like.
But more than that, what it looks like to not stand above reaching down to those less fortunate, but stand beside them hand in hand.
This is something that's been on my mind a lot lately, not just because I am one of those small businesses, an artist and a maker I hope people will support, but because I want to make a positive impact with my life and what I'm doing with it. Whether that's with the services I offer with my knitwear and photography or whether it's with being a consumerist/shopper myself and where I spend my money and what and who I choose to support with it.
It's also a topic of conversation I would love to hear your thoughts on, whichever side of it you take, because I want to be able to openly discuss this. So if you have some thoughts, please share them in the comments or even shoot me an email.