Let's be clear there is absolutely no intention to promote online shops at the expense of bricks and mortar stores. Actually more and more brands adopt a complementary business model which is referred to as "Bricks and Clicks".
The topic that interests us here is to list the advantages of shopping from small business -independent shops and designers - rather than from Big Box Stores and to challenge some preconceived ideas.
- Imagine a world without small businesses: We would be slaves of high street shops. We would all be wearing similar designs or worse the exact same dress. Small stores have only a few items of each size, you feel unique.
- More expensive? It is difficult to compete with huge quantity and manufacture in China but small shops also offer discount and offers, this is just not as well marketed as the big box stores.
- Reduce the environmental impact: Most small businesses buy, produce and sell locally which reduce drastically their carbon footprint. You will be buying garments for quality and longevity, you will create less waste.
- This is where innovation happens. Fast fashion copies Fashion Week designers, manufactures and sells as much and as quickly as possible. On the contrary, slow fashion creates, innovates and brings alternatives to the mainstream.
- Create a sense of community. It is easy to know a small business owner or a designer. They are usually eager to get your opinion, to understand better what you need, what your interests are. There is a real interaction between manufacturers, designers and customers.
- Stimulate economic growth: Small businesses do not outsource to India but provide employment opportunities locally. They buy from individual local crafters, manufacturers meaning that the money you spend is mostly re-injected into the local community.
- You are going to feel good to know that there is very little chance to bump into someone wearing the same dress, that the person who made your clothes earned a fair wage, that your purchase did not travel the world, that you will not have to throw it away after you wash it twice ...
Like Anne Lappe reminded us "Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want." So let's take a chance on these small businesses and independent designers, because shopping from small businesses is more than ever an act of citizenship.