It’s November, so even though I haven’t quite whacked out the tinsel and the Michael Buble album, I’m starting to think about Christmas shopping. This year, I’m buying exclusively from independent retailers. This might be difficult if the people you love are desperate for an Xbox or a new iPhone, but even if you just make all your stocking fillers from small businesses, you’ll be making an impact. Here’s why.
Everyone’s gotta make a living
…but for anyone who’s running their own business, they might be struggling to make ends meet and still treat their family at Christmas. Every time you buy from an independent store/person/website, you are giving money to a someone who genuinely needs it. It pays their rent, it keeps the business going, and it also helps them to buy their family presents. If you choose to buy from a huge corporation, you are just a drop in the ocean within the massive pool of money they already have. Huge high-street shops will barely notice if you don’t buy your baubles and tinsel from them, but small businesses will.
[Baubles from W.A. Green]
One of a kind
Do you want to buy presents that everyone else has, or do you want your gift to be personal? Buying from somewhere independent makes your gift more unique, and reduces the odds of the ‘she’s wearing the same dress/shoes/bag’ as me scenario. Again, you’ll struggle if who you’re buying from is brand-obsessed (I’m one of those annoying people who only wears branded trainers and refuses to have an Android) but when it comes to little extras you can definitely make sure you’ve got something independent-bought. Think one-of-a-kind stationery, reworked handbags, hand-painted kitchenware…
Where to buy from
Buy local. To me, that phrase usually means going to my local off-license at 4am to get more booze cos “supporting local businesses”. But at Christmas, buy from your local wine shop, family-run supermarket, or your kinda-weird-but-harmless neighbour who sells jam. There are a huge number of independent retailers who you can buy unique gifts from. Check out these…
Love Frankie = unusual lampshades and interior accessories for anyone who likes bright colours
W.A. Green = Shoreditch-style luxury homewares that are fun and eccentric AF
Such & Such = online store selling handcrafted items you’ll love for a lifetime
StephieAnn Design = hand-designed clothing and loungewear inspired by poetry
Snacks London = laid-back apparel designed for comfort (I wear my Snacks jumper pretty much all the time I’m at home)
Elsie & Fred = glitter, animal-print, fluffy fashion perfect that’s for festivals
Dream But Do Not Sleep = geometric, California-inspired clothing and accessories
That’s Sew Maisie = their tagline is “glitter fits all” and they make colourful festival/party attire
Room 356 = mother-daughter run homeware boutique selling innovative design-led pieces with a story
Mood Good = independent jewellery brand based in London. They sell lots of personalised items which make perfect gifts!
This list is just an inspirational introduction to independent shopping. There are hundreds of bookshops, record stores, clothing outlets, green-grocers, bakers, pubs, nail salons, etc all over the country who would appreciate your custom a lot more than the large corporations.