By Abi Copley
For a long time, I’ve had the intention of moving away from the “big” shops at Christmas. Until now, being on the other side of the world to my family, I’ve been guilty of using the postage and time excuse!
This year, I started my #shopsmall adventure. I’ve not been disappointed!
So… be you a first-timer or a seasoned small shopper, here are my top five reasons to #shopsmall this festive season.
1/ Thriving Community
The first thing to hit me was the wave of noise and excitable energy in the room. Some had come with friends, others had made it a family affair, and some were enjoying the experience alone. The one thing we all shared? The joy of celebrating and reveling in the, albeit temporary, community feel.
I can’t say I’ve had that feeling racing around department stores or battling hoards in the mall! It isn’t just, ‘In Real Life’ as they say, where this sense of community warms our hearts and gets the festive feeling flowing. Markets are now a regular feature online. You can indulge in that festive shop small community from the comfort of your sofa; eggnog in hand.
2/ “When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.”
I’ve seen this quote a lot lately, and it is so true! Every time someone asks me to write a piece, no matter how big or small, it makes my heart soar. Anytime an order was placed, it meant so much more to me than it would to any CEO of a giant High Street store.
Sales and figures are not just numbers to us small business owners. They are a reflection of our hopes and dreams. They are validation that the brave steps we took to launch ourselves from the ground were the right ones.
Anytime you click ‘add to basket’, you are paying it forward. Not only do you get a gorgeous gift, a service that will make your life easier or a special treat for yourself, you are supporting another person or family. Maybe your sale was the first one that person had wished for; the one for which confirmation for is printed out and hung with pride on the office wall. This isn’t just fake flattery to get you to return. It’s raw, honest gratitude.
3/ Global footprint
Last year, Kiwis spent $6 billion in card transactions in December alone (NZ Herald). That averaged out, according to stuff.co.nz, at 178 transactions per second! That is an unimaginable amount of money in a time frame that makes my head spin. We are all becoming more aware of our global footprint when it comes to food, travel and the content of our goods. However, how much do we really consider the effect of Christmas shopping on our resources and poor old Mother Earth?
The enormous amount of plastic that we order from goodness knows where comes in a laughable amount of packaging! It’s already travelled more miles than we could count before it comes to rest under our trees. When you shop small, you become truly accountable for the impact that your festive buying makes. You can talk to the creator and learn about the provenance of their items. More importantly, often these owners are making ethically conscious choices that can only be of benefit to our rapidly depleting resources.