So I’ve noticed something. When you order something from Etsy, or at a local art fair, you feel special. You talk to people face to face – you get a pretty package wrapped up in a bow – you treasure the thing that you’ve purchased because someone ‘made’ it. It didn’t come from a factory in some other country, and you don’t have to feel guilty about throwing away that awful plastic bag it came in. Don’t get me wrong. I shop at Walmart and Target just like everyone else, but I just don’t feel as special walking out of Target with my big white plastic bag as I do unwrapping that beautifully wrapped little doodad I bought on Etsy.
My husband and I also have a little tradition where when traveling, we try not to eat at any chain restaurants. We also find cute little mom and pop type places nearby where we live, and we try to make those our ‘regular spots’ rather than the big chain spots.
So today, when I ran across this 3/50 Project, I don’t even remember exactly how I found it… I thought it was perfect for me to get on board with, because I already do what they suggest their supporters do! Their basic premise is that if you like a little local retail store, you should try to make a purchase there every month. Even a tiny one. If half of the employed population spent $50 per month at local independent stores, it would generate almost 43 billion dollars for small businesses! Isn’t that incredible?
Think, cute little produce stand along the side of the road instead of grocery store lines. The local coffee shop instead of your usual Starbucks, that pretty handmade necklace at the boutique down the street, instead of the one from the mall. And that little salon that just opened up on your block? I bet you’d get amazing, personalized service, and probably pay much less than you would at a place like Regis, or Paul Mitchell.
Again, I’m not bashing the big boys in business… I love to shop at the mall, and outlet centers, and super stores… (I like to shop just about anywhere, actually!) but I know what it’s like to struggle as a tiny business, and I know how easy it is to go to the big stores that have everything rather than the little guys with all the character. So here I am, jumping on the bandwagon. Spread the word! Buy local!
If you visit the 3/50 Project website, you’ll find all sorts of resources, from t-shirts, to flyers, to their free iPhone app. You can also register your business as a supporter of the project, and browse the list of local supporters near you!
This weekend, Sticky begins vending once again at the local Sunday market. Wish us luck!