If you’re reading this, you probably love shopping like I do. Who doesn’t? It’s the perfect way to spend time by yourself or with friends, to take a break from your hectic life, and most importantly a moment dedicated to finding items that help you showcase to the world who you are.
Lately, I’ve found myself scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, and even the news and taking some time to read articles that talk about the importance of buying local. Before the changes brought by COVID-19, there were many local brands and artists in the fashion and beauty industries receiving support from customers not only because they offered tailored items and experiences, but because of their practices. Many local designers had been focusing their business efforts to creating sustainable brands, inclusive brands, or brands that were created with a bigger purpose. However, once the pandemic hit, some of these brands lost their competitive advantage because for many of them, their success lied in the interactions with the customer and the tailored experiences they offered, which weren’t available to the online community. Not to mention the competition that they already faced and the high barriers to entry since they don’t have their production and manufacturing offshore. Given this, multiple influencers shifted their marketing efforts towards promoting local brands, and individuals like myself, started replacing our big go-to stores for local ones, with the intention of keeping these businesses alive.
But why is it important to support local brands? Why do we want to support local talent and keep their businesses running for much longer?
Supporting local brands is a form of promoting social inclusion because individuals believe that by contributing to their community and society in a meaningful way, they are being accepted. For this reason, local brands have bigger purposes because they not only inject money back into the economy, they are also motivated by their desire to improve their communities and help those in need. This entails creating partnerships with other local brands and fostering relationships and trust within the community by caring about customers and taking their feedback/needs into account. Additionally, supporting locally made fashion products is a way of maintaining creative communities alive. The reason behind this is that local brands create employment in the community and they build their brands around the idea that they can collaborate closely with local designers and artists to create invaluable products. Their production practices are a way of including native communities as well since they use natural fabrics and artisanal processes and talent. More importantly, locally created designs carry the history, culture, and traditions of a community which many times has been passed from generation to generation. It’s essential for us to share the stories embedded in our communities and buy local because we can’t let the local talent go unnoticed. So next time you go shopping, I invite you to consider where the products are coming from and I encourage you to visit your local stores. I can assure you that you will find unique products but most importantly you will create meaningful relationships, support a good cause, and keep the heart of your community alive for many years to come.
And if you find yourself having a hard time deciding where to start, here are some ideas:
Follow them on social media
Tag them in pictures or stories if you ever post an image wearing or using any of their products
If you’re the owner of a well established brand, consider reaching out to create partnerships or giveaways
Share their deals with your network and promote their business
When you’re looking for unique gifts, consider a local store before a chain (Amazon, for example)
If you are an expert, offer your services to local businesses to help them improve their online presence (web design, social media, etc.)
Recommend stores to your friends and unique products if you have had good experiences with any
Write reviews on social media, their website, or Google
If you’re a personal shopper or stylist, direct your clients to local shops before directing them to chain stores
Images obtained from: Valley Morning Star (https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.valleymorningstar.com%2F2020%2F03%2F30%2Fvalley-fashion-designer-makes-face-masks-healthcare-workers%2F&psig=AOvVaw03DnDQZw-AGp-ANLsdwosP&ust=1592966318681000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CA0QjhxqFwoTCNjkrZX0luoCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAP)