I love to support small independent stores and brands all year round. When the holiday season rolls around – or the main gift-giving season, as I fondly like to call it – it allows us to shout from the rooftops who your favourite independent stores, brands, and online shops are.
Four good reasons to shop independently this season
1. Investing in the local community
When local businesses thrive, the whole area thrives. I live close to a small market town with a strong indie shopping culture. A rising tide lifts all boats; I love people watching from one of the local bars, seeing people go from store to store up and down the high street. Often you can chat with somebody who’ll tell you they came to visit one particular shop and then decided to see others, often finding other treasures and treats they would never have seen or thought of buying. There is a lovely sense of community, which many of us need right now.
2. You are investing straight into that business
Independent business owners often wear many hats, cashier, marketeer, cleaner, maker and bookkeeper. When you’re a small indie business, the jobs list is endless, and we wear many hats. Your investment in indie brands means the money goes right back into the heart of the business, allowing that business to invest in employing other local people too.
3. Local specialities and original products
If you have a good mooch, you can often find local specialities – one of my favourites is vegan black pudding stocked at Plentiful Wholefoods. From handmade goods to local beers, look and see if you can invest in these gifts from your local makers.
4. It’s good for the environment
By keeping it local this holiday, you often shop sustainably as treats and treasures have less transport distance – reducing carbon footprint. Independents are great at collaborating with other small local businesses, keeping things closer to the source and fewer miles on the road.
If supporting your independent stores is not within your financial reach at the mo, here are other ways to help.
1. Help them out on their social media channels.
Engage with them, and share their posts and emails. Small independent brands often have teeny tiny to nonexistent marketing budgets; this will help boost their coverage, ensuring they get more bang for the buck.
2. Sing about them from the rooftops.
If you’ve loved a local independent brand – tell everybody you know. Recommend them to your family, friends and co-workers. Last year one of my clients gifted artisan jewellery to a family member she’d bought from one of my others clients. That family member purchased many other gifts from the original maker throughout the year.
A few of my indie seasonal gift-giving recommends
Sarah has a talent for helping people transform their vision for the future. From interview job preparation to focusing on retirement, Sarah is your person. If you have a family member looking to improve their lot, you can invest time with Sarah for them.
If flexing the budget is in the plan, or you have something super special next year, a four-day reboot retreat would be a heavenly gift. From learning to eat with the season, learning new cooking skills, and focusing on just you, this is the place to escape.
This indie store stocks many gifts if you’re local to Lancashire and North Manchester. I’ve seen people come in and do all their shopping in this one store.
Mere Artisan jewellery, based in the lake district, has a beautiful range of gifts they can send right to your door.
Now, if somebody gifted me (HINT. HINT.) time with Stacey and her magic skills, it would be one of the best gifts. Think about your local wellness people and hair salons – gifting services can be a joy for the receiver.
Having something to do and learning new skills can be a lovely gift. Natalie Gaynor offers embroidery subscription kits, produced and designed locally and able to ship anywhere in the UK. If you are local to Manchester, she regularly hosts a community class creating connection and crafting; what’s not to love?
If your people are health-focused, then this online store run from the High Peaks can be a great stop. They have everything from high-quality vitamin C supplements to the best protein powders you can hide in your ginger tea.