7.13.2010

How I Came to Support Local and Handmade Small Businesses

Eastern Market forced inside due to the rain
Today a post on the scoutie girl blog really inspired me (as it often does!)  Regina Morrison had a guest post, "ya don't get it til you're in it" that really resonated with me.  It so clearly says how I feel, too.

Regina described her experience in a cubicle surrounded by bitterness (which eerily reminded me of a job that will remain nameless) and how she decided to funnel her energy into something that she enjoyed more.  You can read her whole post on scoutie girl.

Big Box Stores vs. Local

Some of you would be shocked to know that I actually used to shop at that one big box store that I now loathe quite often, though it has been many years since I have shopped there now.  I have known for quite some time that it is better to get my food from local sources as much as possible.  One of my most favorite foods is corn on the cob, and I can't imagine getting it anywhere but by the side of the road in a wagon next to a cornfield.  I anxiously await for its arrival each year.  Living in a place like Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with Eastern and Central Markets, you really don't have to try that hard to find a great variety of local food.

What really did it for me....

However, even after I stopped shopping at that horrible store, and even knowing that local farm food is really the best, I didn't turn to handmade and local for my other needs right away.  (Or at least for most of my other needs, anyway.)  I think it did take me starting my own small business to realize how important it is to support local business and handmade.
 
Like Regina said on scoutie girl today, "ya don't get it til you're in it."  (Actually, I think some people do get it who aren't in it.)  Once I was really relying on my business as my main source of income it really cemented the importance supporting local and art really is.  Yes, I was following my dream, but it's hard work.  I have to do 5 times the amount of work to make make the same amount of money as I did working for someone else.  

Sometimes more.  

Sometimes for no pay at all.  

So, if I am shopping for something anyway, why wouldn't I help out the little guy who is working as hard as I am?

Once I started my business I started to pay more attention to the world around me.  I found Building Character, whose purpose was so aligned with my thoughts on reusing and recycling, I had to be a part of it!  Now it's a whole collection of different handmade, antique and clothing from a bunch of local people in addition to the architectural salvage.

Make your spending count!

I think that a lot of us have had to do more with less, myself included.  I even left my full-time day job in the middle of a recession and now find myself working part-time again.  How I spend that hard-earned money is even more important to me now.  Yes, I could run to a big box store and get 2 or maybe 3 things instead of 1 handmade or local item.  But do I even really want those 2 or 3 things?  For me, the answer is a definite NO.  I want that one special item.  I also want to know that I am making a difference to the person I am buying the item from.

Make a change

I can understand and have heard every reason that people still go for the quick, cheap stuff.  Maybe if everyone just slowly started to gradually change their spending habits, it would make a difference.  Just starting to think about a small business for certain things one at a time would make a difference.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Great post! I'm so happy that my guest post on Scoutie Girl inspired you! I wish you the best of luck and success with your own business!