Are you already passionate about supporting local? Are you looking to do more to support local? It’s not about what you do now, it’s about making improvements to your current behaviors so that you can continuously get better, regardless of where you are on the buying spectrum. We hold zero judgements, we only want to help improve shopping behaviors.
Below we’ve listed Ten realistic ways to support local this holiday season:
1. The obvious first answer is: go into your local stores and purchase from them! There is something that is known as the Local Multiplier Effect, which means that 48% of money that you spend at a local business actually stays inside the local economy. When you purchase items at a big chain store, only 12% of a chain or franchise's revenues are recirculated in the local economy.
2. Take the time to write positive reviews on Social Media for the local stores at which you shop to encourage others in your network to shop local as well. Create a post on Instagram about a purchase you bought and tag the store, 'Like" and Share a store on Facebook, Tweet about a positive experience at a local store! Snapchat yourself inside a cool local store. Add product images on a board called Local Items on Pinterest.
3. Give a gift certificate to a local store as a wonderful gift to share your values and introduce a loved one to a local store. When you give a gift from a local store, your recipient may not notice or realize from where it was purchased. When you give a gift certificate they cannot help but notice where you decided to spend your money. Purchase a gift card online, purchase the gift card in store or call the business and have them send directly to your gift recipient.
4. Research seasonal fairs, markets and shows that feature local artists, artisans and makers. Many these days have really wonderful, beautiful and modern items. Check out the Renegade Craft Fair to see if and when there will be one coming to your area this season. Attend and support locals in your community!
5. Make a list of your favorite brands or shops that support local because when you need a gift in a crunch, it can be so easy to shop on Amazon in desperation. If you have a list ready, preferably with specific items on it, you'll be prepared for last minute gift needs. If you don't know where to start, there are many web sites that have ethical and made local resources (even Made Lokal has gift and shopping resources for you!). Bookmark brands and items you like.
6. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes we purchase at chain stores or online big box stores. What this post is all about is making an effort to improve our spending habits and making continuous progress for intentional spending and living. We have an amazing opportunity to vote with our wallets. We cannot control what stores sell, but if lots of consumers take part, we can take control of the items stores put on their shelves. When, or if you do shop online or at big box chains, read where items are made and the materials inside. Make it a point to support Fairly Traded products and items made locally. If you can change your habits 10% of the time, it is said you can make an impact.
7. Do you already shop at local stores? Take photos inside your favorite stores and share on Google Maps! If you aren't already a regular patron of your local shops...there is no time like the present!! Enable Google to publish a comprehensive guide in your neighborhood of where to support local businesses this holiday season. Their rules: Take a photo upon entering the store. Post images of items on display. Post close up images of your favorite products! Tag #LocalGuides on Connect.
8. Giving an experiential gift to your recipient for a local establishment both supports the local economy and also prevents tangible goods going to waste. While it is true and valid that your recipient may not use the experience, hopefully you will choose something that they like and you will not be adding to any environmental problems in the world. Make sure to give them an experience that can be exchanged or returned so that your hard earned money will not be wasted. If worse comes to worse, your gift recipient will exchange their gift or receive the money back and you will not have wasted money. Wonderful gifts that support local economies are: museum tickets or memberships; tickets to a local show; dinner out at a non-chain restaurant; a cooking, art, learning or yoga class.
9. If you do gift exchanging in your family, have a conversation with your loved ones sharing with them that you would really appreciate a locally made gift, or an experience this holiday season. Research has shown that gift givers often give gifts that they themselves would like, not for ill-intentions, but for lack of knowledge. Specifically requesting items seems so impersonal, but it really helps with the large amount of waste we deal with in this country. There are polite ways to go about it. A loved one strategically hinted, 'I'd love to find a masculine scented candle.' and then I knew what he wanted. Asking someone to personalize something for you works great too, 'I'd love it if you got me your favorite book'.
10. Make a specific goal this holiday season for how you will support your local community. It can be either in dollars, number of gifts or percent of gifts. For example, I will spend $100 of my gift giving budget on locally made gifts. Another good goal would be, I will buy at least 3 gifts that are made locally. Lastly, how about a goal being, at least 20% of my gifts will be made locally this holiday season. All of these are valid and helpful.
If anyone has other ideas on how to improve ways to shop local, we’d love to hear from you! If you have a product that is made locally, let us know about it! If you have a store that supports local product or local artisans, give us a shout out! If you shop at a local business that supports local, let us know about them if you think they are great!
Thank you for being conscious consumers and happy ethical, sustainable and local shopping this holiday season.