As a freelance fashion photographer, I know what it takes to run a small business. I also know what a toll this year has taken on us all.
2020 really brought is A-game, but I’ve been so inspired by all the ways small businesses have adapted. From independent designers who started offering payment plans for their pieces to mom-and-pop restaurants who pivoted completely to offer takeout earlier this year.
So, this year, I’m supporting Small Business Saturday by sharing a few of my favourite local and small businesses in The Great 2020 Small Business Holiday Shopping Guide (it's a working title).
You may be asking, “Why should I try to shop local, when it’s so easy to order from Amazon and have same-day delivery on exactly what I want?” And look, I hear you- I’m guilty of the odd Amazon purchase as well, but here are just a few reasons why you should try your hardest to shop local this holiday season.
It may sound obvious to point out, but one of the main reasons is that we are local! We are based in our communities,
and because of that, we care deeply about what goes on, and what happens to them. That support system is so important, and having someone on your team who has a finger on the pulse of the world they’re in is integral. As a bonus, as small businesses grow, they can employ more people from the community they work in. It’s really a win-win-win.
Local businesses tend to give back to local charities. Whether it’s donating 10% of their sales to a women’s shelter, or helping out at the local food bank every year, these businesses give back big-time.
Want to reduce your carbon footprint, but not sure where to start? Try buying local, or even second-hand! Locally made and sold clothing, accessories, and housewares mean that you can shop guilt-free knowing that what you’re buying was made ethically and sustainably.
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the “economy”, but the fact is that small shops are a huge part of our local economy, and right now it’s more important than ever to keep that going.
When is the last time Tim Hortons remembered your order? When’s the last time your local independent coffee shop did? Thought so. In photography, we often hear that the number one thing you can do to keep getting work is to be a nice person. We feel good when people treat us kindly and remember the little things, and I don’t know about you, but I’m much more inclined to hire someone who will ask me about how my cat is doing than someone who doesn’t even say hello before taking my order.
The last reason is that local folks are just so dang fun. I love searching through racks at my local thrift shop, spending time in between stacks of books at an old bookstore, and eating at a restaurant that remembers what kind of wine is my favourite. Finding small treasures and having conversations with friendly staff is one of the main reasons I love shopping local, and it’s not something I want to give up anytime soon.
Plus, I saw a post a little while ago that went "Remember the Big stores don't do a little "jig" when they make a sale. Make someone "jig" this year!"
And if that isn’t enough, here’s a stat for you - in Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report in September of this year, they reported that 163,735 US businesses have closed since March when the pandemic arrived in North America, and 60% of those have closed for good.
Yeah. Let that one sink in.
Which brings me to the fun part....
A few weeks ago I asked for people to recommend their favourite local shopping spots so I could include them in this post. Here they are, sprinkled in among some of my personal favourites.
Front & Company - My fave spot to shop trendy consignment and local vendors.
Turnabout - Luxury consignment. That Marc Jacobs bag at 60% off?? Yes please.
MCC - Specifically for my Abbotsford folks, though there are locations all over. MCC always has gems and the volunteer and fundraising work they do is incredible.
Ebb & Flow Jewelry - I wear my custom stamp necklace almost every day and I love it.
Nina Laflamme Photography - Nina goes to very cool places and takes very pretty pictures- and she’ll print them for you. She does custom commissions, so send her a message!
Oldhand Coffee - Another Abbotsford staple that almost goes without saying- almost.
Krista's Cookies - Krista made cookies for me at Thanksgiving and my family devoured them. She takes custom orders and they are delicious and adorable!
Minverva's - Cards on the table, I worked here so I’m a little biased, but the way they treat their regulars is something I’ve never experienced before. Think - getting your favourite table every time, and having a glass of your favourite red already there when you arrive for your reservation. Now that’s customer care.
G Ceramic & Co - Classic and beautiful ceramics- she also does pottery classes!
Welk's General Store - For all your stocking stuffer needs.
West Coast Jungle - For my plant moms/dads
Krause Berry Farms - Baked goods, preserves, gifts, and wine- oh my! I also worked here for several summers, and I love it. It's especially magical at Christmastime.
Hemingway's Books - Also an Abbotsford fave. Don’t forget to go downstairs to shop vinyl records!
Spruce Collective - Just the cutest store full of everything from home goods to decor.
Happy holiday shopping!