Shopping Independent – Why should we do it?

These are uncertain times. The coronavirus pandemic has created chaos and disarray for everyone everywhere. Many small businesses, especially those still in the infancy of their entrepreneurial journey, have had to close their doors forever. And in the run-up to Christmas, many small businesses are relying on the festive period to save them from economic disaster.

At Printed by Us, we are proud supporters of many independent businesses, and we know the importance of shopping local to a community. As we enter into a second lockdown, there are still ways we as a community can support small businesses by ordering online or buying gift cards. Plus, whilst there is a need to help the small business community, there are also a lot of benefits to shopping small which will outlive this time of crisis and if you need a little persuasion, we've come up with 5 compelling reasons to shop local.

1. They help our Economy

The UK economy needs us all to choose independent shops. Covid has undoubtedly affected the economy, and while there is little we can do to stop the impact we can definitely lessen it by choosing to shop independently. By supporting one small business you enable that business to thrive and grow. This creates a domino effect as that business then supports other growing companies who support other growing companies. Independent businesses inspire and facilitate other independent businesses, creating a thriving eco-system and aiding the economy.

Plus, the healthy presence of small businesses provides jobs and experience to young entrepreneurs, giving them business and life skills. In fact, small businesses are very important for employment. In 2018, 12.9 million people (48% of the UK population) were employed by small businesses. This is a staggering figure, which shows just how much our society relies on independent businesses and the importance of shopping local in these troubling times.

2. They nurture our community

The High street is the identity of a community and a major part of that community are the small independent retailers who go above and beyond to ensure excellent customer service. Customers are far more important to a small business than they are to a big brand. Small businesses rely on word of mouth and a good reputation, therefore they must provide an excellent level of customer service. This makes shopping at an independent business a much more personal experience. Similarly, their products must be of very high quality in order for them to compete with corporate competitors. Their bundles are carefully handled and packaged with care and you know you’ll be getting good quality when you shop at an independent business. Finally, a higher percentage of money spent in independent businesses stays in the local economy - for every £1 spent, 63p stayed in the local communities, compared to 40p with larger businesses, or just 5p for online shopping!

3. They are unique

Independent businesses have uniqueness and knowledge which makes shopping with them far more pleasurable. In recent years, more and more people have been shopping independent due to people craving variation and choice. Big brands have a factory full of machines and production lines, but it is far more precious when something is uniquely made and cherished by a skilled craftsman. Small business owners only include the best in their shops. It is their job to make, organise and sell these products so you know that they are unique and will certainly be of the highest quality because the business owner has a much more personal relationship with their products compared to big brands. It’s a personal service.

4. They are ethical

It can be said that small businesses are far more ethical and environmentally conscious than most big brands. The majority of small businesses have a shorter manufacturer-to-consumer journey, meaning there is more clarity in the source of the products you buy. Smaller brands also typically have the means to manufacture and source locally and ethically because they need smaller quantities.

At Printed by Us, we’re passionate about all things sustainable. We strive to be eco-friendly and climate-neutral in everything we make and all of our prints are made with eco-friendly inks and recycled card. Plus, with plenty of new projects coming up, we will continue to produce ethical clothing made from 100% recycled cotton. Sign up to our newsletter to hear more.

5. They care

Small business owners are not the same as CEOs, they are personally involved in the manufacture and sales of their products and consequently, they care a lot more. It is a recognition of their hard work and a positive step forward. 

Small businesses are defined by their spirit. It takes guts and determination to create and run your own business and founders of independent brands have fought their way from nothing, fighting the trials and tribulations of life while they’re at it. But they have met a foe too large, no matter how clever or strong a business owner is they can’t get through this pandemic alone. It is our duty to support small independent businesses during this difficult time because it is our duty to support our community.

Do you have any more reasons why we SHOULD shop independent? Let us know on the comments below !