Holiday season is coming up, which means that many of us are faced with the annual question of who to buy presents for, what to get them, and from where. As one of the many voices exhorting everyone to shop from small and independent stores and makers, it's got me thinking about my own spending habits, and why I actually think it's important to shop small.
For me, it goes even beyond the important economic benefits of shopping at independent stores - it has to do with trying to live a life that is filled with more connection, intention, and transparency.
When I shop from an independent store or maker, I know that someone has thought long and hard about whether this object should exist in the world, and felt compelled to spend their personal time, money, and effort to make it real. Maybe because it is something that fills a need that they have in their own lives, or is a message that they wish people more knew, or simply because it is beautiful and the world needs more beauty in it. I like that there is always a story behind every product, and a real person behind every business.
In what feels like an increasingly transactional world in which we're steadily sacrificing human interaction and connection for convenience, shopping small feels less like a transaction, and more like an opportunity for meaningful exchange. My support helps someone keep their doors open and their dreams alive and viable. In return, I get to take home a tiny piece of that dream - whether it's a greeting card that says all the things I feel but didn't know how to put into words, or an exquisite ceramic bowl that adds some much-needed cheerful presentation to scrambled eggs for dinner, or a pair of earrings that have been carefully designed and tested for the right amount of weight and jingle that feels like putting on tiny armor to face the world when I'm sad. Whatever form it comes in, I am the lucky recipient of a unique distillation of someone else's head and heart. Each of us gets to make a small but very tangible contribution to making the other's life better and richer, and there is something so easy and right about that.
As a small business owner, thank you for being so much of what makes Kwohtations possible - this venture has been such an incredible privilege, an invaluable learning experience, a life-saver in so many ways, and a very fun albeit sometimes stressful dream that I hope to be able to continue for as long as I can. I have so much love and gratitude for you all. ❤
Thanks for writing this, Janine! I just shared it to my small business Facebook page.