This week is Just a Card Indie Week! ‘What’s that??’, I hear you ask!
Just a Card is an organisation set up by artist Sarah Hamilton, after she saw a quote from a small business that was closing down saying, “If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open".
We see this so often from small businesses. People wonder into a shop, compliment things, maybe even take a photo, then walk out without buying anything. Then six months later they walk past the closed business, commenting that it’s a shame these small businesses can’t keep going.
Even online, it’s not uncommon for people to screen shot someone’s work, then go to someone else and ask them to copy it. As an artist, maker or designer, this is soul-destroying. So much hard work and creativity goes into bringing a new product to market, much of which is behind the scenes.
Just a Card Indie Week is to celebrate and highlight all those makers, designers, artists and small businesses that carry on, day in and day out, all year round and to give them some support in a consumerist world dominated by big brands offering even bigger discounts, especially at this time of year. The American phenomenon of Black Friday seems to be getting bigger every year, but the pressure to offer discounts is too much for independent businesses, who often don’t make huge margins anyway. Plus, it would seem that the discounts are often not all they seem…
That’s not to say you should feel guilt-tripped into buying something you don’t need just because it’s an indie, but you can choose to purchase wisely. Here are some pros of shopping with small businesses:
- Independents businesses are often more ethical – sourcing supplies and products from other local suppliers, with much less manufactured and imported from overseas factories that have lower standards of welfare.
- Supporting local businesses often means lower carbon footprint so more environmentally-friendly, and also more money going back into the local economy, rather than going to off-shore, tax-dodging accounts and shareholders.
- Many small business are run by women! This is often because women are seeking out a way to make a living that can give them the flexibility to be parents and carers too, in a way that corporate life often doesn’t work.
- Products from an independent small business are often unique! So you can find a great variety of interesting things than can be found on the high street.
- And when you buy from a small business, a real person does actually do a happy dance! Since you’re buying from an individual, you often get a better, more personal service as you buying from someone who truly cares about the product and service they offer.
So as you’re starting to think about your Christmas shopping, or thinking of New Year’s resolutions you can make for next year, please take the time to check out your local independent book shop, maker’s markets, craft houses or little online businesses to make someone do a little happy dance today.