Shopping has become an effortless click of a button, with big retailers that we see all over the internet due to their huge ad budgets, offering a vast array of products at unrealistic prices. However, amidst this convenience and familiarity, many may people be somewhat unsure about shopping with small, sustainable, and authentic online shops that they haven’t heard of. In this blog post, I want to celebrate the unique advantages and compelling reasons why supporting small sustainable businesses can create a positive impact on the world and also show you products that are actually unique.
Choosing to shop with small sustainable online shops is an act of mindful consumption. Small independent businesses prioritise quality over quantity, curating products that are environmentally friendly and built to last. As the sole builders of a business and without large investors, quality and good customer service are the heartbeats of each business. By purchasing objects from these shops, you directly contribute to the reduction of waste, as well as investing in products that are ethically and sustainably produced with love.
Ethical and Fair Labor Practices
Unlike most if not all large retailers engage in some sort of exploitative labour practices whether that begins with the producers in factories in Asia or the workers at the end of the chain. It is almost impossible to offer very cheap products without somebody being exploited along the way. Small sustainable shops prioritise fair wages and safe working conditions for their employees and suppliers. By supporting these businesses, you are directly contributing to the welfare of workers, making a positive impact on their lives and enabling a more fair global community.
Unique and Handcrafted Products
As with my own shop, small sustainable online shops offer a treasure trove of unique and handcrafted products gathered from artisans who care deeply about their work. Each item carries the personal touch of the artisan or designer, making it a one-of-a-kind piece. The mission of my shop is to connect customers with the maker. I stock items that are handmade with beautiful flaws that come from the maker’s hands, each item is completely unique giving it its own story. Shop handmade objects sourced directly from makers.
One of the most meaningful benefits of shopping with small sustainable shops is their dedication to lowering the environmental impact of their processes. From using eco-friendly packaging materials to employing sustainable production methods, these businesses strive to leave a smaller carbon footprint. By supporting them, you can become a part of the larger movement towards a greener and healthier planet. I strive to recycle packaging and can’t bear to see perfectly good boxes and filling thrown away, sent to landfill.
Supporting Local Economies
Most small sustainable online shops and brick-and-mortar shops are local businesses deeply ingrained in their communities. This may seem obvious, but even though online shops don’t have a local footprint as such, they take part in markets and can support local suppliers. During covid, people came to rely on their local shops. When you choose to shop with them, you contribute to the economic growth of the local economy, helping them thrive against the competition of large corporations. This, in turn, fosters a sense of community and strengthens the local economy. 91 magazine has a fantastic directory of independent shops across the UK
Transparent and Authentic
One thing about small companies that separates us from big retailers is that they are often built on a foundation of authenticity and transparency. They take pride in being upfront about their sourcing practices, production methods, and values. This openness allows you, the consumer, to make informed decisions that align with your beliefs and values. Certifications such as B-Corp are a great way to find companies that are a force for good.
Really Really Good Customer Service
In contrast to the sometimes impersonal nature of large retailers, I myself and many others are passionate about personalised, down-to-earth and friendly customer service. We are accessible and eager to address any questions or concerns you may have. I am no more than an email or a phone call away. Service can also be personalised as we are much more nimble to adapt to customers’ needs. It doesn’t need to go through an internal process to be signed off, we just do it.
Investing in a Better Future
Investing in a better future for all is something that we can no longer ignore. We all need to actively help to build a world where ethical practices, environmental consciousness, and community well-being take precedence over profit maximisation. Our choices as a consumer have the power to shape the direction of the market and influence larger retailers to adopt more sustainable practices.